Hawkeye Misses His Target Demographic Case File #141/My Year of Flops II #38 Jeremy Renner's App
There’s something poignant as well as hilarious about celebrities who wildly and bizarrely overestimate their popularity and misunderstand the nature of their appeal. So I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for Jeremy Renner when the world greeted his tragicomic efforts to make the leap from respected actor to beloved, multi-hyphenate entertainment superstar with a Nelson Muntz-like mocking snort.
As product launches go, Renner’s attempt to re-brand himself not just as a guy lucky enough to play a fairly bland, forgettable role in a bunch of hit Marvel movies most assuredly not about him or his dumb-ass bow-slinging character as well as some legitimately great dramas but as a Sammy Davis-like supernova who acts and sings and has his own app and Amazon store for some reason was roughly as successful as New Coke and Garth Brook’s alter-ego Chris Gaines.
The Jeremy Renner app lived briefly as a laughingstock. It died as a laughingstock as well. A public that never stopped deriving malicious delight at the idea of a Jeremy Renner app, as well as the actual existence of such a preposterous and unnecessary invention got one last big, big laugh when a frustrated and defeated Renner posted the following message shutting down the app that had given the world such a hearty chuckle.
The app has jumped the shark. Literally. Due to clever individuals that were able to manipulate ways to impersonate me and others within the app I have asked ESCAPEX, the company that runs this app to shut it down immediately and refund anyone who has purchased any stars over the last 90 days. What was supposed to be a place for fans to connect with each other has turned into everything I detest and and can’t and won’t condone. My sincerest apologies for this to have not turned out the way it was intended. To all the super-fans who have supported me with your words or encouragement, amazing art, stories and time shared on the app, a genuine THANK YOU and I hope to see you on Instagram, Twitter, youtube and facebook.
As folks have been quick to point out, in order for the Jeremy Renner app to LITERALLY jump the shark there needs to LITERALLY be a shark and the app itself needs to have a physical presence, like the over-achieving app Scarlett Johansson played in Her in order to physically leap over the aforementioned dead-eyed killer of the sea like Henry Winkler’s Fonzie literally jumping over a shark on a pair of waterskis on the episode of Happy Days that famously revealed the first tiny, almost imperceptible cracks in the otherwise flawless television masterpiece.
With all due regards, Mr. Renner, Sir, as much as I would love to keep track of your doings, and see trailers for your movies, and hear snippets of your new songs, and watch your music videos and see pictures of you frolicking with your friends and family I simply can’t follow you on Instagram, Twitter, youtube or facebook because doing so will only remind me of the paradise I lost when your app shut down.
In my brief time on the Jeremy Renner app I developed such an in intense emotional connection to my fellow Ren-Heads that I felt like I had finally found the friends and family I’ve been searching for all my life. Sorry real-life friends and family, but you suck compared to the friends and family I have found on the Jeremy Renner app and now they’re lost forever, like my faith in mankind, which was, to be brutally honest, one hundred percent contingent on the success of the Jeremy Renner app.
Renner wasn’t going to let the site continue to flounder and embarrass itself, and with it its namesake, God and subject. No, he was on some Liz Lemon “Shut it down!” type shit but in a wonderfully representative development, Renner literally posted a message on his app to shut it down immediately yet a good twenty-four hours later I was able to download the Jeremy Renner app, create a profile and make at least one post announcing my excitement at being part of such a wonderful, worthwhile experiment. I decided to poke around a bit and see for myself why the best idea in the world, rooted in our most beloved and multi-talented, not to mention cyber-savvy, celebrity led to one of the biggest, and certainly most hilarious, failures in the history of apps.
One of the consequences of downloading the app for this piece is that every time I open my phone I have to look at Jeremy Renner’s stupid fucking face alongside the logos for Lyft and Weather and apps that do serve a purpose. And every time I look into Renner’s dreamy eyes I am reminded that Jeremy fucking Renner has a stupid app for some reason and it makes me hate his actorly mug anew. Sometimes I’ll open the app and be greeted by a black and white glamour shot of Renner’s face, really playing up the soulful intensity of his eyes, and my weird anger towards Renner, his face and his app reaches a fever pitch. Renner stares soulfully at you on the icon for his app, silently but unmistakably imploring with a look of smoldering befuddlement, “It’s me, actor Jeremy Renner. I have my own app now for some reason. What the fuck?”
Sorry, Jeremy Renner (like everyone on his app, I assume that I am talking directly to him, and in an impatient tone of voice, like I might soon want to speak to his manager), you don’t have a stupid fucking face. It’s a fine face. A little weaselly, but fine. It’s just that having to look at it over and over and over again in an endless series of dumbass poses on your app has made me resent it as your horrible, pointless app in miniature.
Because all the Jeremy Renner app really does is link to Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and give Red-Heads more pictures of their hero Jeremy Renner than they could ever possibly want or need. When a single Google Image search for “Jeremy Renner” can do as much or more than your entire business maybe you should start thinking how much value you’re really offering the public.
It’s possible that whoever was behind this embarrassment hoped that the app could grow and build into a lifestyle brand, kind of a male Goop. But where Gwyneth Paltrow inspires strong feelings, overwhelmingly of hatred and vitriolic, soul-consuming contempt, Renner inspires shrugs. He’s just some guy who happens to be good at pretending to be different people. He’s not a movement.
I doubt anybody defines themselves by their Jeremy Renner fandom, but if they do I think they’ve just established a useful baseline for the male version of being beige and basic.
On Jeremy Renner’s Instagram feed there are many, many photographs of Jeremy Renner, sometimes singing, sometimes acting, sometimes just fooling around. Sometimes he smolders. Sometimes he’s goofy and totally casual. Collectively, his Instagram screams, “Here are a bunch of photographs of me, I guess.”
Then there’s his Twitter account, which is mostly shit from his Instagram, Facebook and the app and photographs accompanied by clunky knots of hashtags.
One post on the app is of a tall tower of onion rings. It looks, good I guess? Another post is a sunset with the caption “I hope everyone had a great weekend.” In another, he’s fishing and looking very autumny in a vest.
This is the kind of quality content you could otherwise only get from your doddering grandfather who is only now learning how to use a computer.
It’s boring! It’s basic! It’s blandly promotional! And it’s all in one place for you to ignore because, for the love of God, who on earth needs to experience Jeremy Renner in any form other than as an actor in movies?
That’s the thing about Jeremy Renner. As his wonderfully failed attempt to go from being an actor to a business, man, not just a businessman, betrays, Jeremy Renner is just an actor. He’s a really good actor who can be great in the right role but that’s all he is. He isn’t an icon. He isn’t a way of life. He isn’t James Dean or Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum or Elvis Presley. He’s not even James Franco or Robert Downey Jr. He’s just another boring white guy who is good at performing words someone else wrote.
And people who are just good at acting do not need a ridiculous shrine to their ego where fans can page through image after image after image of Jeremy Renner looking soulful and intense and also like he’s very good at archery.
Since the Jeremy Renner app is still up, in glorious defiance of Jeremy Renner’s wishes and his explicit command, I was able to hop on board this digital world Titanic after it hit that pesky iceberg and meander around after the aggressive trolling Renner bemoaned in his post shutting down the app had been scrubbed from the doomed project so it was less a spectacular, profane disaster than a perversely boring failure.
Ah, but Jeremy Renner’s app isn’t just boring pictures of Jeremy Renner being boring and basic, shared by both Renner himself and his super-fans. There’s also, unfortunately, a musical component as well since the app was clearly designed as a way to promote Renner’s music. His terrible, terrible music.
This may seem harsh but based on the thirty-second song samples available on the Jeremy Renner app, Jeremy Renner is the worst, blandest rock and roller in the history of the universe. If the generic drivel Renner offers as a taste of his musical stylings is what he wants the public to hear, that he thinks represents him at his best, I can only imagine how dire the rest of it is.
The worst part of the Jeremy Renner app, and there’s a lot of competition, is that the song samples don’t stop after you leave the app, so it feels like Renner’s terrible music is following you, that it won’t accept near-universal rejection and is intent on convincing you to take Renner seriously as a singer.
It’s as if, after earning a fair amount of goodwill through a career full of fine work and excellent choices as an actor, Renner finally felt he had the leverage to tell a deeply uninterested, unimpressed public, “Actually, I’m a musician too! Here’s my new song.” The world was all, “Whatever” and then he followed with, “Oh, I’ve got an Amazon store too! So you can buy the things you need to live the Jeremy Renner lifestyle!!” and we were collectively all, “Okay, this is getting weird.” Then, a wild gleam in his eye, Renner angrily shouted, “Not to mention my app! It’s the one stop shop for all things Jeremy Renner the world has been hungering for!” and we started wondering whether we should cancel someone just for being annoying and making shitty music, not for doing anything wrong morally.
In one of the splendid idiocies that makes the Jeremy Renner app such a singularly useless treat, if you click the web link on the Jeremy Renner app it takes you to the clunky, primitive looking JeremyLeeRenner.com!, “an unofficial website devoted to actor and musician Jeremy Renner.”
An unofficial website! On Jeremy Renner’s official fucking app! That perfectly encapsulates the app’s surreal miscalculation and terrible execution. And of course the first story on Jeremy Renner’s unofficial website is that the Jeremy Renner app, the great hope of Jeremy Renner nation, was shutting down and taking with it the dreams and hope of Ren-heads like myself.
With the Jeremy Renner app, Jeremy Renner created a goddamned paradise, a digital Garden of Eden overflowing with the Fruit of Life, and by Fruit of Life I of course mean “Glamour Shot-style pictures of actor Jeremy Renner” but a bunch of fucking snakes who thought the Jeremy Renner app was a goddamn joke had to ruin it for everybody.
This is why we can’t have nice things. A mensch like Jeremy Renner gives us this gift, and we make him look like a buffoon as a reward.
JeremyLeeRenner.com takes its web handle, of course, from Renner’s full name. Jeremy Lee Renner. Now THAT is the name of a dude who tried to shoot a president or succeeded in killing co-eds in 1970s Austin. Maybe it’s fitting that the first time I paid attention to Renner was when he very convincingly and intensely portrayed Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer.
I like to think that had Dahmer lived, he would have gotten a lot out of the Jeremy Renner app. Alas, just like the Jeremy Renner app, Jeffrey Dahmer is with Jesus now.
I was so looking forward to spending hours upon hours lovingly discussing my favorite obscure Jeremy Renner movies and songs with my fellow die-hards. Now who am I going to discuss Jeremy Renner’s 2019 debut album The Main Attraction and cover of Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” with my friends and family? They don’t listen to that shit! Does ANYONE listen to Jeremy Renner? I don’t think they do.
Thankfully Jeremy Renner is not letting the humiliating high-profile failure of his app keep him from achieving global domination as a singer/movie star. That’s why this fall he will be bringing a four day celebration of all things Jeremy Renner called The Rennersance Fair to the Hollywood Bowl.
The first day of the Rennersance Fair will feature Renner’s six-hour one-man Hamlet, which he has announced he will be performing dressed like Hawkeye as a treat for fans. On the second day, Ren-Heads will be treated to a full performance by Jeremy Renner and his band. On day three Jeremy Renner performs a TED Talk entitled “The Jeremy Renner Generation” along with “The Jeremy Renner App—It’s a Rap!”, the debut performance of a forthcoming hip hop concept album based on the failure of his app.
Then, on the final day of the Rennersance Fair, Jeremy Renner, the festival’s namesake and sole performer, will delight and astound his followers by raising from the dead the most mocked app in history and announcing the impending release of the Jeremy Renner app 2.0. This new app will literally fix all of the problems and bugs of the earlier version and become the most popular app in history.
Renner will have his electronic redemption and everyone will feel foolish for doubting the existence and passion of a nation full of passionate, deep-pocketed Jeremy Renner fiends eager to get closer to their idol through any means necessary.
Until that glorious day of cyber-salvation, Hawkeye will continue to look like a real maroon.
The one-two-three strikes you’re out introduction of Jeremy Renner the shitty rock and roller, Jeremy Renner the Amazon store and Jeremy Renner the app did indeed change the way that people saw Jeremy Renner but not in the manner intended. Instead of deepening the public’s love and affection for him Jeremy Renner’s app made him such a huge joke that it may take him years, even decades to come back from this and regain the public’s respect.
Then again, it’s also possible that the fallout from his bone-headed attempt to move into the app space is a disaster so huge and so public that he’ll never be able to live it down, PR-wise at least. His acting career will roll right along splendidly but the joke of his app and its failure will haunt him until the day he meets the same unfortunate fate of his app and every human being on earth and perishes, and then for a good long while afterwards. My hope is that when Renner dies his slot in the Oscar memorial reel is nothing but still images from his app. It’s literally how Renner would want like to be remembered so I hope the Academy acquiesces to his wishes.
Failure, Fiasco or Secret Success: Fiasco
Support independent media and My World of Flops by pledging over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace
and/or get in on the big Weird Accordion to Al campaign over at https://make-the-weird-accordion-to-al-book-a-ridiculous-r.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders