Joss Whedon assembling a 'sh*t ton' of celebrities for an anti-Donald Trump film will backfire, and spectacularly

Remember when millions of people with no meaningful view on the EU referendum heard a multi-millionaire West Hampstead mega-star called Emma Thompson call Britain “a misery-laden cake-fuelled grey old island”? This is Whedon's Emma Thompson moment

Click to follow
The Independent Online

When William Morris wrote “Nothing useless can be truly beautiful”, he patently had never visualised an anti-Trump public service announcement starring the thinking woman’s crumpet Mark Ruffalo and “a sh*t ton” of other famous people like including Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, James Franco and Don Cheadle. Because the Save The Day video, three minutes of comedy-with-a-kick, truly is beautiful. And very funny too.

This film, encouraging people to register to vote in order to keep The Donald from the door, is a Joss Whedon production. Whedon is the man behind Buffy, Dollhouse and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and this film, as you might expect, is snappy, self-aware and without an inch of spare flesh. It pokes fun at all those formulaic, po-faced, preachy celebrity appeals we’ve sat through before, like Bono clicking his fingers to end world poverty or Beyoncé emoting on gun control. Whedon nails the plinky plonky piano and the sombre script read plaintively in multiple famous voices, cutting occasionally to a lumpen, and in this case Hispanic, “real person” to root the message in a few inches of sincerity. There’s a nice joke about Mark Ruffalo being somewhat blackmailed by all the other actors into getting “his dick out” in a movie as recompense for viewers keeping Trump out of the White House. The whole thing is beautifully done, in fact, almost beat perfect. But, as I say, completely useless.

Because if you’re the sort of American citizen who’s excited to wake up to a new wry, erudite titbit from the brain of Joss Whedon starring Martin Sheen and James Franco, then I’ll wager that it had already crossed your mind to register for a vote on November 6th anyway. It is, after all, now 100 days since Trump threw his hat into the ring for GOP nomination with his candid views on Mexican rapists and inconvenient pregnant women. And Whedon himself wouldn’t have had the brass neck to first-draft a scene as preposterous as Trump at the Derry Hall, New Hampshire, in mid-August pledging to “build the greatest wall that you’ve ever seen ... If they call it the Trump Wall, it has to be beautiful.”

Say what you like about Donald Trump, but he has not been stingy in giving any sentient being qualified to vote in the United States some shove to double-check that their name is on that register. No one who loved Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore in the 107-minute long lesbian sperm donor emo-amble The Kids Are Alright is waking this morning, blinking in the sunlight, to fresh news of a mysterious horizontal-haired Joker called Donald who aims to harness the Free World for his own bidding.

There is something quite joyous about a “sh*t ton of celebs” donating their time in order to send themselves up as handwringing thesps who are at odds with the normal everyday world, but, nevertheless, attempting to sway straggling voters. The fact remains, however, that if anything, Whedon’s video will motivate the disenfranchised who didn’t care that much about voting before to simply vote what they feel is “anti-celebrity”. Let’s call it the Emma Thompson effect, in tribute to that point in February where millions of people with no meaningful view on the EU referendum heard a multi-millionaire West Hampstead mega-star call Britain “a misery-laden cake-fuelled grey old island”. In the case of Whedon’s Save The Day film, James Franco, God love him, will never quite understand that despite being voted Sexiest Man Living by, starring in Spiderman and even managing to liven up the blot on humanity that is Judd Apatow’s Pineapple Express, he is not someone the average man on the street sees as a kindred spirit.

Trump’s ever-growing “basket of deplorables” will not, I feel, be shamed into joining Team Hilary by hot ‘n’ fresh news from Don Cheadle that Trump is “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.” Despite this being a brilliant line, and powerfully delivered by Cheadle, it is worth remembering that America’s “fabric of society” is precisely what Trump finds dissatisfactory right now. He has gained massive ground by promising to make this fabric smoother and better.

I respect the celebrities in Whedon’s video for sending themselves up as cosseted figures with really deep thoughts who polarise public opinion. It’s a shame they are never quite self-aware enough to shut up.