Saw a movie last night which I wasn't actually interested in seeing at all, and it turned out to be surprisingly good. I kinda want to go right back and see it again.
Like Zombie Strippers, the movie Wanted is a shining example of what may be my favorite type of movie these days: smart, masquerading as stoopid. Movies in this category are better than plain stoopid movies that are popular because they are truly just stoopid and have almost nothing worthwhile to say but do have lots of Lowest Common Denominator appeal. They are also better than those smart movies which might say a great deal, but will only ever reach a small audience of people who already understand and agree with what is being said--preaching to the choir doesn't help any of us. (Not that those are the only other film options, of course.)
I will say, it is unfortunate that in order to accomplish this, Wanted does have to resort to glorifying (even beautifying) hyper-violent gun-play, which, in my opinion, is the last thing the American mass-mind needs more of these days. But it pushes it so far into the realm of impossibility that it's hard to imagine anyone taking it seriously, and the pure spectacle is just fucking fun to watch. And once you get past that, the movie is genuinely inspired. It also makes no bones about the fact that it is trying to inspire, speaking directly to those of us who find ourselves working in, say, boring cubicle jobs, while secretly (or openly) feeling like we're meant for something greater and perhaps more beneficial, both to ourselves and to society. (Or at least, something more interesting.)
Okay, I admit it. It speaks to me. Maybe there are other people who it speaks to, I don't know, but there are a few little moments during the film that made me feel like a child being lectured by a stern but well-meaning parent. And not in a subtle way either. Utterly, intentionally, obvious. It made me feel kinda paranoid (totally paranoid), like, "Do the film-makers know me?! Have they been spying on me? Damn! I'm kinda creeped out right now, though maybe I should be grateful for all the effort they made on my behalf, I mean, a feature length action movie is a serious undertaking just to try to motivate me or get a few positive messages into my thick skull. Think of the man-hours!"
And I wasn't even stoned when I saw it!
If I had been stoned, I might still be too creeped out to write this.
But for those of you who do get stoned, and do work in a boring cubicle job and do feel like you're meant for something bigger and better, I whole-heartedly recommend smoking a big fat bowl, and seeing this movie on a big fat screen. But don't see it at the Loews on 34th st., because the sound kept going in and out which was really annoying and a couple of ladies in the row ahead of me kept talking back to the screen, especially when they were surprised by the things that weren't surprising, like: "Oh my god! He killed him!"
(Yeah. He's gonna kill lots of people. It's that kind of movie. Oh... maybe -- I'm sorry -- have you not... um... is this your first movie? Ah. That explains it. Yes, in American movies, people kill lots of other people. Lots and lots of them. Lots of killing. Oh, and the people running around on the big rectangle can't actually hear anything you tell them about what to look out for, or who might have a knife, because, you see... they aren't really there.)
Now, I know intellectually that there are plenty of other, well, guys mostly, who probably need an entertaining ass-kicking even more than I do. But that doesn't make it feel like this movie was any less specifically aimed at me. Personally.
Back when I still smoked pot, I had that feeling, much more strongly, about many things. Several tracks off a Bjork record. Almost all of OK Computer by Radiohead. The South Park movie. Hate comics. Hey Jude. The lyrics to just about every song in the entire set of a friend's brother's band performing at sidewalk cafe back in '97. The graffiti on the wall of the men's room at the Lakeside Lounge. The conversations of total strangers passing me on the street/in the park/anywhere. WBAI. Newspaper headlines.
Holy ill-communication Batman!
Though, I gotta say, the messages from all these sources weren't negative or menacing or hurtful in any way. In fact, most of them were either trying to help or just playfully mock me. I really shouldn't complain. I just didn't like the fact that I was receiving "messages" at all. Leave me alone! I just wanna get high! I don't want to be part of some creepy borg/hive mind, even if it does want to help me! It's amazing I kept smoking pot as long as I did. (I attribute that to the memory-erasing aspect of heavy pot-use. I kept forgetting that pot would make me feel like everything around me was communicating with me in metaphorical double-speak underneath the obvious surface meanings, and only I would even notice the deeper-level communiques because they only applied to me.)
Interestingly, most of said communiques seemed to be telling me I needed to do more fucking.
Some said I needed to express my creativity more.
Some of them were pleading with me to slow-down my pot smoking. And when I ignored those particular warnings, they gradually became sterner and more blunt, instead demanding that I stop or else suffer severe loss of various faculties, mental, physical and spiritual, which I both needed and enjoyed.
(I'm not even kidding.)
Of course, those messages are all things that my own subconscious would want me to become consciously aware of (and to heed). But on the deepest level, the subconscious mind of the individual is a part of/one with the collective consciousness of everyone/everything. And pot is a mind-expanding drug. A mild psychedelic. The word "psychedelic" literally means "mind-manifesting" as in: it can help you witness the contents of your own mind. The higher the dose, the deeper into "mind" it reaches, until it hits the place where your mind and the mind of, you know, the cosmos or some shit, are one and the same. In order to provide a nifty external sensory showcase of your own mind to symbolically or poetically or literally reflect it back to you, the Universal Mind could certainly employ the aid of something like the dinner conversation of the party at the next table, or a radio show, or Radiohead. You think there's anything beyond the reach of The Universe?
But I had trouble taking advice from, like, my own mom. And, lo! I found myself attempting to ignore, or even rebel against, The Universe!
This, of course, makes me a colossal idiot.
It also makes me just like countless other humans. Wheeee!
Whoa. I wasn't expecting to go off on that tangent when I sat down to write this.
In conclusion, Wanted is a fun movie, especially if you like looking at Angelina Jolie's perfect face. The end.