So, maybe I was a tad hasty in my complaints about my extra work on The Surrogates. I got paid yesterday (which is pretty quick for Hollywood) and the check was way more than I expected. It came out to more than two weeks at my old Harvard job, and a little less than half of what I would make here in a week (with all the taxes and stuff taken out), for one frikkin' day. Of course, it was a long day, which almost equals half a week here at BU, so it almost balances out. But, needless to say, I'll be on the look-out for calls for extras when that Mel Gibson movie comes to town soon. I'm such a paradox.
The funny thing, I really do not enjoy the actual work. it's so far from actual movie-making that it's ridiculous (as I've stated a billion times before). It obviously bugs me more than it would an average person because of my film background, but that's just another part of the Curse of Film School, I guess. Still, film degree or not, I hate the whole "Hurry Up and Wait" culture on a movie set. I hate the boredom between takes. I hate the way everyone on the crew is seemingly having the worst day of their lives. I hate the disorganization. I hate the pretentiousness of some of my fellow extras, some of whom think that this will actually get them somewhere in Hollywood. But I like the mon-aaaaayyyyyy. I'm such an American.
I did realize something about movies after seeing Wanted this weekend. It was a totally ridiculous movie based on a pretty interesting graphic novel, and I expected nothing less, so i didn't actually hate it. however, I saw it with my brother and his wife, and my brother is the eternal optimist, so he tried to explain to me the intricacies of the plot, which I am going to talk about now, so you may stop reading if you don't want it spoiled. First, though, let me assure you that there were no intricacies to this plot, so feel free to read on.
The book (if I remember correctly) is set in a futuristic kind of world where this fraternity of bad guys pulls the strings behind the scenes and basically controls everything in secret. So, every one is basically a bad guy except working stiffs. So, when Wesley (the main character) starts killing people, he knows he's killing bad guys because everyone is a bad guy. No moral ambiguity. The movie seems to take place in our world, so the bad guys who need to be killed are determined by this bizarre weaving device that spits out threads in some kind of binary code that somehow gets translated into names. These names are people who will apparently do something terrible down the road (like kill Angelina Jolie's dad), so they have to be rubbed out in the classic "Ends justify the means" thing. I don't really get it either, but the point is you have to believe this stuff or the whole point of the movie is down the crapper, and guess which handsome blogger wasn't buying that premise.
My brother the optimist (Bless him) was trying to legitimize this movie for me, but really, there was no changing my mind. I didn't buy the whole fate/weaving business, so the moral core of the movie was gone for me. I didn't mind the action sequences and liked seeing Angelina's ass for a few seconds, but the point of the movie, the moral center, kaput. After discussing this fact the entire ride home, I finally asked my brother why he was trying to make lemonade out of this somewhat sour lemon, and he said, "I don't know."
Therein lies the rub. most of the movie-going public is optimistic, and they want to be entertained, so they'll take films like Wanted as it comes and accept it for what it is. I myself cannot. And it's not just the film background. It's mostly the pessimism.In my mind I know that Wanted wasn't meant to win any Oscars, and I know that the thousands of rat-bombs that Wesley apparently made over-night were a completely unrealistic, yet stylistic, choice that most people will just swallow (Truly, it smacked of a writer sitting in his house and thinking, "What's never been done before? I got it! Rat-bombs!"), and I know that we are not meant to analyze Wanted for any more than two minutes after the thing ended.
But I must.