The Pitch

So on the heels of my Los Angeles trip I’ve taken a look at the posts that I was writing to describe things and have decided that I want to add just this one little bit to finish the adventure off with a little bit of thematic reflection. Most of my posts have some sort of spiritual dimension to them, and I think I can offer a little insight into what people say when they talk about divine inspiration of scripture. Or if not that specifically, then maybe just a little bit about divine inspiration in general.

So in addition to my Wilson Saga that I am writing about the Israel ordeal, I’d been adding some blog posts about the bike ride through Arizona and the LA trip. To be frank, the Wilson Saga and Israel ordeal is not entirely unrelated to the LA trip or the writings that have accompanied it. See, in addition to wanting to try out writing a travel blog post at my step-dad’s suggestion, the whole trauma of having to deal with the forces of evil has motivated me to look into getting into journalism in order to find myself in a position to expose the wickedness that the governments of the world do to unsuspecting travelers and other forms of human victimization. Further, after having made contact with an LA production company, ideas come to mind about all the cutthroat documentaries I could produce about the dastardly villains that I’ve been coming across. And to be straight up about it, the travel blog post and comments about Los Angeles were written with the aim of showing news institutions that I can write.

Of course being me, I couldn’t just write a normal travel blog post, but had to observe that my bike route through Arizona allegorically represented a spiritual journey. I just had to add a philosophical nugget to my travel blog, and that nuggets happened to be that reality is a story written by infinite intelligence.

Coincidentally, though, I’d also decided to pad my writing resume by writing a film review of David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Now I love David Lynch, the man and the artist. And I want the reader to know that I am absolutely not a judgmental person as many Abrahamic monotheists are accused of being by those of a more New Age spiritual persuasion. I love Lynch’s movies regardless of what his personal thoughts on God are, but I observed that the underlying theme of Eraserhead looked to me to be hostile to the idea of God.

And so as of the end of my trip, I had written one post that says that the true reality that we actually live in is a story itself, but added that human art also makes stories with meaning, and that this meaning can be quite hostile to the author of reality.

But I’d been spending the whole week in LA basically concerning myself with the saga of Zack Snyder and the Justice League. I mean the goal of going to LA was to pass out my book to the Magnificent Seven filmmakers that inspired me to start telling stories. The first and the biggest on the list for me was Zack Snyder. To that, though, Chris Terrio was the screenwriter for the whole Zack Snyder superhero vision, and Ben Affleck was a big Warner director who played Batman in the Zack Snyder superhero films. So three of my seven inspirational filmmakers were related by the whole Justice League affair.

Now I’d left LA after having a lot of fun passing out my book and learning of a production company in Hollywood, and was quite happy to be on my merry way. But sure, I would have liked to have met any of the Magnificent Seven personally, and so there is I suppose that aspect of the trip that “If I had been someone known or important, maybe I could have met these dudes personally or gotten some of them to take a more serious look at my work, or gotten some more tips about how to start out…” and all that kind of stuff.

I mean I really didn’t feel too much of that, but yeah, a bit of it may have been there. Also, one thing I did learn is that impromptu pitches of story ideas or scripts to filmmakers can be a bit dicey in some ways, and artists are a little selective about what they will listen to because they don’t want to get sued some day after making a movie or something and having to hear from some story guy that the idea had been stolen or whatever. That’s actually one reason why I didn’t really push pitching any ideas to anyone on my trip.

However, there is one pitch that I would like to have made, that I regret that I couldn’t make because I just wasn’t known or important enough to get with the guy that I would make it to. And actually, the pitch that I would make wouldn’t be to any of my Magnificent Seven. And it wouldn’t be my idea that I pitched for a story idea that I had.

See, leaving Los Angeles, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that if I had been some kind of Hollywood insider or famous person, well, how do I say it? I’ll just say that I promise that if I could have gotten fifteen minutes face-to-face with David Zaslav, The new president of DC Entertainment, I know for a fact that Justice League 2 would get made.

So for those who don’t know, Zack Snyder made three movies involving the Justice League for Warner Brothers, who own DC Entertainment, and while they made money, they generally got panned critically. Why this happened is an amazing story that would of course require more references to demons and the forces of evil than my Wilson Saga or Electrochemical Girl adventure contain. The whole saga of the Justice League movies is in fact so dripping with spiritual meaning that I am writing this post to cap off these recent posts I have been writing to introduce the idea that not only is actual reality a story with meaning, and not only can artists write meaningful stories that rage against the divine, but artists can write meaningful stories that advocate for the divine.

That’s what the Justice League movies have done. And what’s more, I am convinced that the artists themselves, Zack and Chris foremost as the writers, were not quite aware of the full scope of the meaning of this story. And with that, we have an interesting phenomenon.

You see, if you take any seminal great work, say Faust by Goethe or any given play by Shakespeare, you’ll find a couple of interesting things. First, it’s quite frequent that the greatest stories never become anything until the authors thereof are dead. Of course this does not apply to Faust or Othello, but it is something to note. From there, though, you find that many of these great stories are hated by the media of the day. Many nobles wanted Shakespeare banned. His work was quite scandalous, and reviled by many when it initially appeared. The greatness of his work was revealed in time.

In addition to the fact that great work is often not recognized as great when it first appears, the other trait that accompanies the very greatest works of art, particularly in the realm of literature and film (basically storytelling) is that the creators of the stories don’t know the full greatness of the meaning of their stories. Some creators don’t know much about this greatness at all. Other creators do in fact know all kinds of things about the richness and the depth of their great stories, but even then, the audience still tends to find more in the story than the creator of it. Again taking Shakespeare as an example, there is just no way the man William Shakespeare could have known all the things that the readers would pull out of his plays over the centuries. The plays meant more than this dude could ever have imagined.

So these two things tend to be the markers of the greatest stories: they tend not to be recognized as great until later, and that they are generally recognized as having more meaning than the creators intended.

Now I have no doubt that Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio are steeped in cinematic and literary wisdom. Further, the nature of the comic book phenomenon puts storytellers in touch with many spheres of meaning from the realms of science fiction to religion and ancient mythology. I also have no doubt that the two guys have their personal spirituality, and that the movies they made included references to their spiritual understanding. None of this precludes my absolute conviction that they were saying more than they knew they were saying with their movies, however.

Let’s take an episode from Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the second movie in the Justice League Trilogy (that should be a quintet…). Every interview I saw about the fight scene between Batman and Superman showed me that the filmmakers were dealing with practical matters of how have a cinematically entertaining fight between Superman, who possesses basically godlike power, and Batman, who is a rich guy who knows karate and had a suit of body armor on. The fight was much criticized by the media and fans alike as lacking realism because Superman would have just instantly annihilated Batman. Like before the audience could blink an eye, even.

The way the fight went, you can see that Batman relied on the inherent goodness of Superman and an anticipated lack of willingness to fight on Superman’s part. That is, sure, Superman could have instantly obliterated Batman by looking at him, but of course he would not do that, and Batman KNEW he would not do that. It was Superman’s kindness that allowed Batman to lure Superman into a position of vulnerability.

Do you see the contradiction? Batman’s justification for trying to kill Superman was that Superman was some kind of harm to humanity, but his battle tactic relied on Superman being too loving to be really harmful. Now notice that when people rage against God, they invent all sorts of reasons that God must be a jackass (David Lynch did, for example) who must be opposed, yet when quizzed logically, you find that they actually realize that God isn’t out to harm – if the Almighty God is really a menace to humanity, there would be no humanity.

So this contradiction in the heart of Batman (“I’ll exploit this guy’s mercifulness in order to kill him because he is supposedly a merciless threat”) actually mimics the contradiction that exists within the hearts of those who attack the divine. Do you think Chris and Zack were thinking that when they were choreographing the fight scene between the two superheroes? Well, maybe. But more likely, as mentioned, they were just figuring out how a good fight between Superman and Batman would go.

There are hundreds of these references and allusions in the Justice League movies, and what little I have heard of the anticipated story of the last two, as yet unmade, indicate that there would be much, much more meaning in them of spiritual issues that the creators would likely only be partially aware of.

So the fact that the Justice League movies were hated when they first came out, but are already gathering credit with time as good movies, and the fact that the movies contain rich meaning that traverses the boundaries of what the storytellers were actually consciously trying to say, convinces me that it’s these movies, and not Marvel’s Infinity Saga, that will ultimately be remembered as being the ultimate masterpieces of superhero cinema.

Finally, there is the matter of opposition. So just as I have received something of a holy mission, if I am going to describe it that way, I have received utterly bizarre opposition to that mission. I’m describing all this in my Wilson Saga posts. It’s to the point that I can’t even enter the country of Israel. The forces of evil are pulling out all the stops, doing and saying utterly ridiculous things to prevent me. Likewise, when the Justice League movies came out, the forces of evil had to do their thing. The critics came out and lambasted them, not because they really sucked, but because they have meaning that is just too damned close to ultimate spiritual truth.

Yet despite all the bad press around the movies, Zack Snyder got the third one made in his driveway during the COVID craziness. A miracle on par with the refounding of Israel. But now, as a new president comes in at DC, you’re finding that Aquaman lost his woman and almost ran over somebody, Mera is losing everything she owns in a defamation lawsuit with a public that just slew her. Finally, the Flash is going to jail in New England and copping to mental health issues. We won’t even talk about Batman. I hope he is enjoying his new wife J-Lo. That’s all I can say about that guy and his incredible career ups and downs.

It pains me to talk about the efforts that the forces of darkness took to derail the Justice League movie while still in production, taking the director’s daughter from this world because he was being inspired by the divine to retell the greatest story ever told in superhero format.

What I’m saying with the above is that the actual Justice League actors and filmmakers are literally suffering, and if you ask me it’s because the forces of evil just can’t stand the idea of more Justice League movies getting made. The story is just that deep and that powerful.

So let me explain how my pitch to David Zaslav would go.

First, I’d point out that Zack’s movies and those based on his (David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman) may not have all gotten great reviews by the critics, but they made more money than other DC films unrelated to “the Snyderverse.” They are recognized as good films after the fact, and are considered DC tent poles, even though they were lambasted on release.

The fan support for continuing these movies just won’t go away. Marvel’s Infinity Saga is over, and the Multiverse Saga is not quite under way. This is the perfect time to finish the Justice League story. Finishing the story would finally make peace between Warner and the fans.

Making the story would actually tell more about divine character than the stories themselves even say. To make these stories, we have to actually forgive and empathize with and love Amber Heard and Ezra Miller, fallible people who make mistakes who play superheroes on film. We can’t hate them because they are rich and famous and maybe a bit crazy sometimes and maybe have done or said some things that make our eyes roll. In other words, we can’t be merciless judgmental celebrity hating gossips. We have to tap into a little bit of divine mercy and forgiveness in order to do this. That says a lot to me.

I really think the biggest obstacles to making those movies at this point is just the bureaucratic swamp. There is a new president at DC, but there are a lot of corporate suits at Warner who are still around, and have hated the Justice League for a long time. Those guys need to be overruled.

As for the course of production, you just give the next movies a 125 million dollar budget when you want to give them a 250 million dollar budget. You bank on them making 500 million at the box office when you want them to make a billion each. Zack can make movies on an iPhone. They can get them done. And they’ll probably make more money than projected. Understand the critics will hate them, but they say bad press is press, and press is good press. What’s more, though, the greatest superhero story ever told will get told, and will gain respect over time.

Finally, the release of the last two movies should be preceded by a documentary released on HBO Max explaining all of the drama that went into making them, and their powerful meaning and excellent quality, and point out the ridiculous failings of the monolithic movie critic engine in recognizing their greatness, and getting ahead of the press corps, and make the critics think about these monumental art films before delivering shortsighted condemnation.

That’s basically the pitch I would make if I went back to Hollywood and somehow managed to get to talk to someone that I by all rights probably would never have the opportunity to speak to. Because not only is reality a story written by God that we can read, and not only do artists write stories that speak against the divine, but the divine can move through unsuspecting artists to relate fundamental messages from God to humanity.

The Christians have some standard lines they say when they talk about how the Bible got made. They say that it wasn’t written by humans, but was written by God. When pressed, they say, okay, it was written by mortal men, but they wrote what the divine spirit moved them to write. Like, the writers of the Bible didn’t know they were writing the Bible. They thought they were writing the archive of a Judean king. But we look at it and we see hidden messages in it that the authors could not have been consciously including. And these messages have a certain consistency. So we know that the various authors were writing more than they knew they were writing under a kind of inspiration.

The Justice League movies show us that this sort of thing goes on outside of the Bible – that Hollywood directors and screenwriters can kinda sorta by accident produce stories with divine messages, and that fans can come along and declare that they contain Gospel. And for this reason, the quintet of movies should be finished. Not for fame or glory or blue ribbons or even box office dollars, but because the art is of a nature that requires its realization.

That’s the pitch I would make if I ever get to go back to Hollywood and make it. So this post has been long and convoluted, but I think it caps off some things that I was getting at in previous posts: the reality of our lives is a divine story – artists can write stories that contradict divine message – but artists can unwittingly capture divine messages in the stories they create, making them agents of the divine themselves. This is how the Bible got written. And this is how a divinely inspired text gets made.

1 Comment

  1. So many people can’t see beyond their own daily lives and if they believe in God it’s without much thought, but Jonathan really thinks and wants to know God and has a deep and abiding faith that comes across in his writing. He is interesting and worth your paying attention.

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