As if it wasn't enough for X-Men Origins: Wolverine to flop with audiences, now it's being held up as a movie that corrupts America's youth. The reason? Not the killing, the affirmation of the sideburn lifestyle or even Liev Schreiber's bad acting. No, it's all about Wolvie's cigar habit.
CNN is reporting on the American Medical Association Alliance's calls for all movies that feature characters who smoke to be automatically given an R-rating, so that extremely-impressionable youngsters won't start smoking in an attempt to copy their heroes. The chief example of a current movie featuring "gratuitous smoking"? Wolverine:
"Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes," [AMAA President, Sandi] Frost said. "I'm willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman's performance any less if he hadn't been smoking."
A spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox, the studio responsible for the Wolverine movie series, said Jackman's cigar was never lit and it was limited to just two scenes. In one scene, the cigar is shot out of his mouth, prompting Jackman's Wolverine character to suggest its loss would lead to clean living — an anti-smoking statement — the studio spokesman said. He said that while the Wolverine character has a cigar in his mouth in almost every panel of the comic book series, producers made "a conscious decision" to limit the cigar in the movie.
A "cigar in his mouth in almost every panel of the comic book series"? Someone should tell the Fox spokespeople to check with their partners before releasing statements; Marvel has infamously had a smoking ban in its comics for years, due to editor-in-chief Joe Quesada's father dying from lung cancer.
You may think that, with Wolverine having had terrible reviews and dying at the box office, the threat of the movie inciting a new cigar fad would be minimal, but think again; as the Hollywood Reporter's THR, Esq. blog revealed earlier this week, the movie has discovered a new life online and is, surprisingly, the most illegally-downloaded movie of the last week. So now we know: the real danger of the X-Men is that they'll teach children that smoking while torrenting movies is okay.