Here is a list of things I didn’t expect to encounter while watching The Suicide Squad, a motion picture in which Pete Davidson plays a gentleman named Dick Hertz: 1. Pathos, 2. Orange Crocs, 3. The voice of Colin Meloy.
So imagine my surprise when, 15 minutes into Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn’s new superhero epic, Meloy’s unmistakable warble sliced through a scene of an orange-Croc-clad Idris Elba performing prison chores.
“I was not ready for the war,” Meloy croons over smooth honky-tonk piano while Elba mops, scrubs, and pulls hair out of a drain. Against all odds, there it is: “Sucker’s Prayer,” a cut from the Decemberists’s 2018 album, I’ll Be Your Girl, right at the top of a Hollywood blockbuster. ("Sucker's Prayer" is not to be confused with the insane Lady Gaga/Father John Misty cowrite “Sinner’s Prayer,” but we would like to see that one crop up in Avatar 2, thank you very much.)
This experience unleashed an immediate, unstoppable torrent of follow-up questions within me: Has a superhero movie ever featured the lyric "like a Rimbaud to a Baudelaire before"? Will Elliott Smith feature prominently in the new Doctor Strange? Wait, does Sylvester Stallone play a shark in The Suicide Squad?
Nobody can know for sure.* In the meantime, you can check out the lyric video for “Sucker's Prayer” and the trailer for The Suicide Squad below. In truth, I have not finished the film, but after I was alerted to this needle drop and took in the first 15 minutes, I'm more interested than I was this morning!
It's in a wide theatrical release right now (the Fox Tower, Laurelhurst, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, St. Johns Twin Cinema, and Century Easport are all showing it), and it's also streaming on HBO Max through September 5.
*Yes, they can.