Wanted: A Glimpse of Angelina’s Rib Cage

On the bus the other day, a guy was explaining to a young woman why he doesn’t smoke pot anymore.

Around the age of 24 all my friends just stopped. I asked my parents about it. They told me that the same thing happened with everyone they knew. My mom says the structure of our brains changes at 24. Pot stops being easy-going. Instead it makes you paranoid.

The point of this was less to inform about the dangers of marijuana and more to highlight the hepcat, yet stable, parentage from which he descends. He would make a good provider for their children, shamanistically knowing when to warn them off the herb. Being a good citizen and taking public transportation, I was subject to a courting ritual. Given my training, however, I couldn’t let his blatant Evolutionary Anthropology go unchallenged.

Because at 24, people start paying off their student loans.

The guy was less than amused by my interruption, though his girlfriend couldn’t stop giggling. I don’t know, maybe she was high. I was on the way to see Wanted during this exchange. Inside, I felt a twinge of anxiety — was I being prophetic again?

The script for Wanted, dir. Timur Begmambetov, starring James McCavoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, probably would have done really well if workshopped at a USC Creative Writing seminar, “Epiphany in Fiction,” or something along those lines. Loosely based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar, the movie is designed to appeal to 20-something dudes who have been caught in the wage-slave grind of student loan repayment.

Many scenes were filmed on Chicago’s El – specifically the Brown Line – which I take everyday. As a viewer this caused me to feel compromised by the film’s critique of routine. The many defects in editing and directing, however, threw me out of my absorption repeatedly. Some of the cuts were abrupt, though not meant as shock directing. They were simply clumsy, especially when they were underscored by situationally inappropriate Soft Cock Rock. I can’t remember if they were playing Nickelback or Incubus. It was some band like that, humping my leg while I watched.

When The Matrix did this kind of thing a few years back, it was instantly Classic if only for the way it integrated the digital into film. Plot-wise it became a touch-stone for all subsequent millennial movies. Released in the same year as Fight Club, 1999, 20-somethings were habituated into enjoying movies about their own Awakening. To some degree, that’s fine. When you’re waking up to the corporatization of the security state (The Matrix) or coming into consciousness about the Military-Credit Card-Insurance Complex (Fight Club), then fast-paced film uses nihilism for pedagogical purposes. When the movie is about waking up to the awareness of an ancient society of Weaver Assassins – a conspiracy determined by a Giant Magical Loom whose messages are interpreted from textiles – then all you’ve got is the shape of a worthwhile movie with zero content. Once the conspiracy was revealed, you could feel the audience pull their fat asses off the edge of their seats. There would be no subversive content as grist for the mill, so why give a shit? The closest we came to edginess was hearing Morgan Freeman use the word “motherfucker.” That was actually somewhat scandalous.

Angelina Jolie, 15 Pounds Overweight

James McCavoy pulls a Tobey McGuire Spider-Man when his pecs suddenly appear to double in size after his “awakening.” Angelina Jolie appears as emaciated as usual. From her skinny arms and absence of body fat, I assume this movie was filmed prior to her pregnancy. I always find it confusing when those Hollywood starlets decide against farming their eggs out to surrogate mothers. Pregnancy decreases the months they are available for work, and you’d think walking around with a collapsed pelvic floor that looks like Sasquatch just took a dump on the stairs would conflict with the vanity necessary to even want to become one of America’s blank screens. Angelina’s role was sheer cock-tease. There was no famous person intercourse during the movie. McCavoy is simply not a big enough star yet to get to have imaginary sex with her. He’s on the move, though, and I hear murmurings about a sequel. Her character may have died at the end, but I’m sure she can come back as a cyborg. That’s how these things are done.

All in all, my epiphany on the bus really sums up my response to the movie. Use the money you’d spend on seeing it to pay your student loans. If those are paid off, save it for retirement.

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