The Liam Neeson Singularity

By Shawn

Just as baked potato is a neutral substrate upon which one slathers more exciting fare (sour cream, cheese, and the like), I think of “movie” as a neutral substrate upon which to slather Liam Neeson. As is by now entirely evident to anyone who’s been paying attention, Liam Neeson is so awesome it hurts, and there’s nary a single film that couldn’t be improved by the addition of more Neeson. Now, I’ve believed this for some time, but it was only this morning that the full implications of this sunk in. The future of cinema is heading inescapably towards a single culminating moment, a moment in which Western culture finds its complete and utter fulfillment. I call that moment: the Liam Neeson Singularity (“Neesongularity,” for short).

The Neesongularity refers to an inevitable point in the future at which Liam Neeson acts every part in every possible movie simultaneously, after which there can be no more art. Why am I so confident that this is bound to happen? I’ll explain my logic:

(1)   The demand for Liam Neeson is infinite. Most human desires can be satiated—when you’re thirsty, you can take a drink, and then you’re not thirsty anymore. But Liam Neeson does not work this way; witnessing Liam Neeson act does nothing but increase the desire to see Liam Neeson act even more. Hence we should expect the demand for Liam Neeson will only grow over time, and there’s not a goddamned thing anyone can do to stop it.

(2)   Movie executives will get the message and turn up the Neeson. Movie executives aren’t stupid; they will inevitably realize that Liam Neeson is awesome, that everyone thinks Liam Neeson is awesome, and that the best way to ensure that a movie is awesome is to cram in as much Neeson as possible. Therefore, the Neeson will be turned up.

(3)   While the desire to see Liam Neeson act is infinite, audiences will want to see him in novel situations. Don’t get me wrong here—I’m not saying that people will ever get tired of Liam Neeson, because they won’t. But they’re going to want to see him do different things, not watch him act out the same plot every time.

(4)   There are a finite number of movie plots. Sure, trivial details can be varied infinitely, but there are only a limited number of movie plots that truly differ from one another enough to satisfy an audience’s desire for novelty.

(5)   Studios will eventually run out of fresh movie plots for Liam Neeson to masterfully execute. This follows from (3) and (4).

(6)   When there are no more fresh movie plots for Liam Neeson, there will still be two ways to pack more Liam Neeson into films. They are: a.) have him assume more roles in a new version of a film he’s already done, and b.) combine elements of previous plots to give audiences the novelty of seeing Liam Neeson try to do it all at once.

(7)   Along the way, we’re gonna see a lot of stuff like,Clash of the Titans 3: Release the Neeson” and “The Grey 2: Even More Wolves” and “Schindler’s List 2: Taken by Nazis,” but the logical culmination of this process is a single film that combines the plots of every film Liam Neeson has been in or could ever be in, with Liam Neeson playing every role—the Neesongularity.

What will it be like when that movie, which will probably be titled something like, “Neeson’s List: Clash of the Grey Wolves Taken by Kinsey when Batman Begins,” finally comes out? I shudder to even imagine it. I expect we’ll feel some kind of collective satisfaction—perhaps even a sense of relief?—knowing that human storytelling has finally reached its apex, that every dimension of our experience has been articulated, and that Liam Neeson was the medium through which the human could finally speak itself. I just pray that I live to see it.

8 comments

  1. Peter

    I might have agreed with this thesis until seeing Darkman recently — accidentally, after getting it mixed up with Dark City (true story) — and realizing that there are some movies too dumb for even Liam Neeson to overcome. Actually, it’s worse than that, his overacting makes a bad movie even worse. And this is despite the fact that he sort of plays multiple roles — Darkman’s only super power, other than being horribly burned, is making rubber masks to impersonate other characters. Although he’s not even very good at that, since they melt after an hour or two. (I know, I know. I said it was a dumb movie.)

    So I think there’s a self-limiting cycle that will prevent your singularity, as follows: Neeson cannot make new movies as fast as his fans can watch them, which means that in their quest for more Neeson, every fan will eventually get around to watching Darkman, thus curing them of the desire to ever see him in anything again, since they won’t be able to do so without imagining his character spouting Darkman’s dialogue. (Sample: “The darkness! What secret does it hold?!”)

    • Jen

      I can’t believe Peter just slated Liam like that. He’s not seen Love Actually (yet!) though, so I forgive him. For now.
      I, for one, cannot wait for the Neesongularity you’re talking about.

      • siblingandcharybdis

        I can hardly wait either. Just how imagine how much better Love Actually would be if Liam Neeson were playing every role. I hope we’re not too far from that glorious day. — Shawn

    • siblingandcharybdis

      Heh, you’ve definitely convinced me I need to see Darkman. With respect to the possibility that Liam Neeson’s fans will be able to watch his movies faster than he can make them, I’m assuming that technological progress will eventually remove any impediments to Liam Neeson acting constantly in multiple movies at the same time, including the problems posed by his mortality. (If they can already do hologram-Tupac, they’ll be able to find a way.) But the possibility that fans couldn’t forgive him for Darkman… It’s hard for me to understand how constantly imagining Liam Neeson yelling things like “The darkness! What secret does it hold?!” wouldn’t infinitely enrich every other movie-going experience. (One of my personal favorites is the movie Ponyo, where he’s always bellowing things along the lines of, “I have to balance the forces of the sea!”) But I guess I’ll just have to watch Darkman and see for myself! — Shawn

      • Peter

        Well, if you’re actually going to watch Darkman, then you have my sympathies. But if it’s true that Liam can start making movies faster than we can watch them (a kind of “Neeson escape velocity” if you will) then doesn’t that solve the problem in another way? There will always be older Neeson movies that no one has seen, so they can just be re-made scene-for-scene and no one will know the difference. To be safe, the studios can even destroy all the existing prints of these older movies (something that should be done anyway with Darkman as a matter of conscience) while we’re distracted by the new ones. Problem solved!

      • siblingandcharybdis

        Yes, you’re right, the technology point doesn’t help my case, since my argument assumed that the number of potential Liam Neeson movie plots is finite and, eventually, will be exhausted. I think that even with Neeson escape velocity, we should still get the Neesongularity; since at least some moviegoers will have seen previous films, novelty should be a marginal benefit to movie studios, and as long as they’re competing, we should eventually see a movie that includes all possible Liam Neeson plotlines combined with him acting every part. The larger question remains, of course, if he can be forgiven for Darkman. –Shawn

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