I woke up this morning and discovered Jimmy still sprawled on my couch in his underwear.
“I thought you were going to LA,” I said, muting the TV.
“Next week,” Jimmy muttered, grabbing the remote from my hand.
“Your Superman gig still on?”
Jimmy punched the sound back on the pirated copy of Elegy he was watching. “Bigger than ever,” he murmured as a shuddering close-up of Penelope Cruz’ left breast filled the screen. “Pitt, Clooney and DiCaprio are reading.”
“For which parts?” I asked, incredulous.
“For whatever part I feel like giving them. I told you, bro; Hollywood–it’s the new Independent. You should check it out.”
His words cut deep. So deep I feared they were true. Which made me want to punch him.
“See, look at this flick,” he went on, crooking a lazy finger at the TV. “It’s Critic Proof.”
“Yeah. It’s got some arty shit, a pair of killer tits and just enough long, boring parts to make it seem like it was directed by a 13 year-old who just toked up. I’m gonna do the same thing with my Pregnant Superman flick. I’m gonna show him naked and he’s gonna have boobs. Real ones. Big ones. See that? Most critics know Transexual equals Art.”
Another close-up of Penelope’s chest blossomed onto the screen. “Poor critics,” Jimmy sighed, doing something to his balls. For a moment I wondered if he still had the frog glued to them. “I feel for ’em. They’re havin’ a tough time right now.”
“A lot of people are.”
Jimmy sat up. “See, it’s that kind of attitude that really bugs me.”
“Why?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Cuz you don’t get it. Critics are in serious trouble. You go online and you see 50 million people writing reviews. ‘This film sucked. Licked the chick with the voleyball tho. Click hear to read more of my rivews’. mrSalty Butterpopt.”
“Isn’t everyone entitled to their opinion?”
Jimmy’s eyes flicked over me in blatant disdain. “No, they’re not. Some opinions are better than others. What’s the first thing you look at when a movie opens? The blurbs. The bigger the critic the more power the blurb has. You can tell right away when a movie’s gonna tank because all the blurbs are from no-name dipshits like The Wasilla Herald.”
“I still don’t get it,” I confessed.
“There’s too many critics, man! C’mon, open your eyes. It used to be fewer critics with more clout. And now even the heavy hitters have to review Batman just to keep their jobs. I mean how many times can you say, New Crusader tepid but dark, dead Ledger saves the day?”
Jimmy punched the TV off and stared broodingly at the remote in his hand. “This tide of illegal Nobody’s is fuckin’ the whole thing up. And if we lose critics then the whole game comes tumbling down.”
Jimmy threw the remote at me. “Are you even in the business?! Critics are part of the System. They help people figure out what movies to go see.”
“People can’t figure that out on their own?”
“No, you fuckin’ idiot. Most films suck and I’m happy to have someone point that out to me. Besides, every 10-year old with a digicam knows the reviews feed the audience which feed the Numbers which feed the Box Office which feed the Nominations.”
I contemplated this for a long moment in silence as Jimmy continued.
“We should start a Save The Critics campaign,” he stated. “They’re way more important than whales. And everybody dumps on them. As if they don’t have feelings. You know what Godard said about critics? He said, “Critics are like soldiers who fire on their own troops.”
“What did he mean?”
“Who gives a shit?! It’s a nasty fuckin’ thing to say; Critics are like soldiers who fire on their own troops.”
“Here’s one I heard: Crickets have shoulders and eat their own poop.”
Jimmy stared at me in a long, cold silence. “You’ve lost it, man,” he said finally.
“You no longer have the ability to perceive reality in a way that enables you to function.”
“What should I do, Jimmy?”
“I don’t know. But you better watch it. Critics are just as sensitive as you and me. Now I’ll have to be careful with you.”
“Cuz you’re probably writing all this stuff down.”
“What makes you think I’d do that?”
“Cuz I’m reading it on your blog right now.”
“Oh.” I stared at him. “Then you won’t be too surprised if I do this.”
And I Critic Proofed him.