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.
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
PAUL J. RICHARDS | AFP | Getty Images
4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
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 Salon.com, 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.