Earlier today, Vulture devoted over half of their brief paragraph about a new Chris Evans movie trailer thusly:
Gifted is a touching new family drama about an uncle who fights to protect his late sister’s daughter and blah blah blah. Point is, you care about this movie out of a whole bunch of other potential weepy indie dramas (that are probably also good) because this is the movie that brought together Captain America and Marcel the Shell.
It made me laugh because, yeah, if not for Chris Evans and Jenny Slate’s IRL romantic relationship I wouldn’t necessarily not care about Gifted, but I most certainly never would have heard about it until now. This is apparently the movie which drew Evans and Slate together, leading to their unforgettable appearance on Anna Faris’ podcast where the entire world, including Faris and Slate’s boyfriend of the time, seemed to see the writing on the wall (i.e., these two are clearly super into each other) before Evans and Slate actually did. Months later they were a couple, and now the movie that started it all is almost here.
Vulture’s signature snarky take on the story also inspired me to maybe come up with a real thinkpiece about the intersection of art and celebrity. I was going to delve into the rise of tabloid journalism, podcasting and Instagram culture as well as the economic forces which leads celebrities to continually feed that system (i.e., film salaries are down, residuals are fading, ergo they all have to find alternate revenue sources such as paid Instagram endorsements while also building up social media presences to enhance their profile for prospective film/TV producers). I was going to link to and quote a great Pajiba piece from earlier this year which argued 2016’s death roll of celebrities hurts so much because it marks the end of the age of heroes, those great unknowable talents who we so happily mythologized in popular culture throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. Our modern day heroes, though, are more knowable than ever before. For example, want to know if Chris “Captain America” Evans is a butt man or breast man, or if he’d ever sleep with a girl on the first date? He answers those questions on Faris’ podcast
But, man, it is what it is, and, seriously, overthink much? Plus, when you get away from the echo chamber that is so often the internet you’ll realize how few average people actually follow this stuff. I personally don’t know a single person IRL who actually cares and/or knows Chris Evans and Jenny Slate are dating now. If I told them they’d probably ask afterward, “Who’s Jenny Slate? And which one is Chris Evans? Is he Captain Kirk?”
Gawd, she’s the girl from Parks & Recreation, The Obvious Child and that YouTube series you never watched, and he’s Captain America. It’s totally a big deal that they’re together, and given their differing levels of fame the internet still argues over whether or not she’s lucky to be with him or vice versa.
Yeah, but does the movie underneath this all look any good?
What movie? We’re talking about a movie here? Since when?
Ohhhhh yeah, Gifted. Damn. Um, it could be pretty good, like Good Will Hunting as a legal drama involving a court room custody battle. It’s a bit difficult to buy Evans as the guy with a troubled past just because, look, he has a beard, but Jenny Slate could be perfectly fun as the school teacher. Ditto for Octavio Spencer as the, um, I wanna say doting nurse?:
You will cry at this movie, and if you don’t you are a Chandler Bing-esque robot or, y’know, just immune to sitcom-y schmaltz. However, I’m rooting for it to be good, and if it’s not it’ll always be the answer to a trivia question should Evans and Slate turn into a long-term power couple on the Hollywood scene, like how Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks first met while making an episode of Bosom Buddies but fell in love on the set of the 1985 movie Volunteers.
Gifted is due out April 12, 2017.