The Jeff Goldblum Issue
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX did not screen Independence Day: Resurgence for critics, probably because the film is so good it would annihilate critics' ranking systems. For how does one give a film "five stars" when it deserves all the stars in the universe? How does one offer "two thumbs up" when a more accurate assessment would be to have each person on Earth join together to raise all of our thumbs to the heavens? And how does one rate "10 out of 10" when one knows ∞ is the only numerical concept that could come close to representing Independence Day: Resurgence?
Or perhaps Fox didn't screen it for critics because they realize a film of this magnitude—nay, an event of this magnitude—doesn't need critics. Let us not forget that Independence Day: Resurgence is the first mainstream motion picture starring our beloved Jeff Goldblum since the impossibly ancient era of 1997. It has been a long wait. We hunger. As Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff asked earlier this week on PBS NewsHour: "Could anticipation for seeing Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day: Resurgence possibly be any higher?"
Surely it could not. No doubt you have been informed that all businesses, schools, and government offices will be closed this Friday, June 24, so as to facilitate each of us being able to see Independence Day: Resurgence on opening day. And of course you learned, during President Barack Obama's weekly national address, that all ticket costs for Independence Day: Resurgence will be covered by the Affordable Care Act. And certainly there is nary a man, woman, or child unaware that, from the first gentle kiss of daylight to the deepest, coldest night, from the moistest crevice of South American rainforest to the Arctic wastes that hath never known the gaze of man, the rhythm of our chant thrums through the air—a global frequency, a shared heartbeat, a truth we all know:
In one sense, our chant is truth itself: With Independence Day: Resurgence, Jeff Goldblum is back, reclaiming his rightful place upon the world's silver screens. Yet in another sense, Goldblum has never left us: Like a benevolent creator, he has always been here, albeit in subtler forms. Let us not forget his ever-welcome presence—a joyous constant, whether Goldblum is impishly peeking from the corners of Wes Anderson films, solving mysteries most vexing on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, or selling us GE lightbulbs and trying to get us to use apartments.com. Betwixt these visions, Goldblum has appeared in cinema's finest motion pictures: The Fly, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. He heralded television's golden age by gracing The Simpsons, Inside Amy Schumer, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He has crooned lyrics to the Jurassic Park score ("In Jurassic Park—scary in the dark—I'm so scaaaared that I'll be eeeaten"); like a dark wizard of jazz, he regularly summons his band the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra to the Los Angeles club Rockwell, where he gracefully slides behind his piano and microphone. "We have a kind of hootenanny, or be-in, or some kind of jam session is what they call it," Goldblum once humbly explained to NPR, "and people seem to enjoy it."
Enjoy it we have, Jeff. And yet—two decades since Jurassic Park, Independence Day, and even The Lost World—we at last find ourselves on the cusp of another Goldblumian blockbuster, waiting for it to remake our culture, our lives, our existence. And while Fox might not be showing Independence Day: Resurgence to critics, they are, at least, giving us as much Goldblum as possible. Take, for example, the YouTube ad for the film in which Jeff Goldblum and his venerable character from Independence Day, David Levinson, gaze into each other's eyes: "Yours," Goldblum tells Levinson, "look like a glass of brandy... on a table as the sun comes in the window at sunset."
Truer words have never been spoken.
But they have been whispered. They have been sung. They have been chanted.