I kept thinking “who the heck is Jesse Eisenberg?” I looked up his filmography. I have some thoughts on the matter.
Oh! The kid from 2002’s Roger Dodger. I saw that movie. Campbell Scott, son of George C. Scott, is terrific. Great script. That’s what I remember. I don’t remember Jesse Eisenberg.
Eisenberg was in The Emperor’s Club the same year, but that was a schoolmaster ‘n’ boys movie, so even if I did see it, I’m sure it’s all mixed up in my head with Dead Poets’ Society, Master and Commander and The Faculty.
Apparently I saw Eisenberg in The Village, the 2004 shaggy-dog story by M. Night Shyamalan, but I have absolutely no memory of him.
I didn’t see him in The Squid and the Whale (2005), but I saw that trailer so many times I feel as though I saw the whole thing. Still, I can’t place Eisenberg in it.
Fast-foward through a few movies I’ve never even heard of. Then we come to Adventureland (2009) and Zombieland (2009). With these movies, Jesse Eisenberg moved from the level of being a Who? to the level of being a Who’s That Guy Again?
Meaning, every time we saw his face on screen (in trailers, then the actual movies), I would ask, “is that the kid from David Cronenberg‘s A History of Violence? (No, that’s Ashton Holmes, doing a great job alongside Viggo Mortensen in that David Cronenberg gem.)
And my wife would ask, “is that Michael Cera?”
We both kinda knew we were wrong.
Now I know who Jesse Eisenberg is. He’s the guy who looks like Michael Cera and is not the guy from A History of Violence, and is the guy who plays Mark Zuckerberg in the movie The Social Network. Now I know that.
And his new movie is getting rave reviews. And it has Justin Timberlake in it. And it sounds like a story of the modern American dream: be a jerk and become a billionaire.