The Brad Pitt Image Redemption Plan

“My wife left me”

Welcome to the end of an era. Today, Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences including marijuana and alcohol consumption, differing parenting methods, and reported infidelity with his co-star on “Allied,” the almost inconceivably French Marion Cotillard. This is starting to become a pattern for Brad — film a movie with a beautiful brunette actress, leave wife, rinse, repeat — and it’s a pretty bad look, a seedy middle path between contemporary beautiful men Leonardo DiCaprio’s Entourage-esque pertpetual Bachelorhood and George Clooney’s marriage to Amal Alamuddin, a person whose work actually matters outside the realm of popular culture.

Unfortunately, relationships aren’t Siddhartha, and choosing the middle path between those two extremes doesn’t end with quiet contentment but in loud, ugly divorce. What Pitt needs now is some emergency image management to distract from the fact that he’s now a confirmed serial philanderer. No one wants to “lose” their divorce in the eyes of the public, even if it does mean that they don’t have to take care of 40 adopted children anymore. I have a full plan that I think can help him not just get through these rough times but actually leave him with a better public persona than he had before the divorce.

Step one, of course, is to adopt more children. Three or four should do the job. Even though Jolie is asking that he have visitation rights with Shiloh and Maddox and Jerandy and Hae Lee, the fact that a part of the reasoning for the divorce is a difference in parental philosophy means that Pitt has to prove that he’s really all-in on fatherhood. Adoption is the best path because it doesn’t involve him actually getting a woman pregnant and having a child that shares his DNA, meaning he legally doesn’t have to care about it as much.

Not having to care as much is crucial for step two: become a troop. This is my advice for literally anyone who ever finds themselves subject to public backlash. Did you get in trouble with drugs or alcohol? Become a troop. Star in a critically panned movie? Become a troop. Did you trip over your shoelaces and some people saw you and you felt embarrassed? Become a troop. Americans love troops so much that they take someone kneeling during the national anthem to protest murders as disrespectful to them, and will get very nude and red about it. If you’re a troop once, you’re always a troop, meaning that Jolie will have retroactively divorced a troop, which will make her the villain in this saga. By serving overseas, he won’t have to care for his adopted children, making them a zero-effort investment. He’s also been in enough war movies that we know he looks damn good in uniform. There’s literally no possible downside to Brad Pitt joining the military.

Once Pitt’s active duty is completed, there’s a very specific series of films he has to make. The first is a Marvel Universe blockbuster where he plays a John Oliver-style comedic political pundit who eviscerates everything that everyone already agrees should be eviscerated by day, and is a wealth-based superhero like Iron Man, almost exactly like Iron Man, it should probably just literally be Iron Man, by night. This movie will be guaranteed to make dizzying money, while also forging positive associations with moviegoers who consider themselves intelligent and thoughtful, which is all of them. This will get some “Brad Pitt is back!” buzz going.

The next movie should be a boxing film, preferably one based on a true story, if there are any left. Boxing movies are like crack to Oscar voters, and will have his name swirling around in awards season previews for months. They also always come with claims from trainers that the star was so good and committed to the craft that they could have gone pro if they had chosen to pursue boxing instead of acting. They’re never true but they always sound good. Finally, training for a boxing movie would get him back into tip top shape, which will be important for the last film in this arc.

The last movie Pitt will need to make during his redemption phase is Fight Club 2. The original came out 20 years ago, so he needs a new zeitgeisty project to reel in younger fans, and the vague meaningless mumbo-jumbo that constituted the original could use a still-vague-but-in-a-more-millennial-way update.

The plot is simple: Edward Norton’s character has hit a midlife crisis. In a rush of social activism, he starts campaigning for a local libertarian politician… played by an irresponsibly shredded Brad Pitt! Who is actually also the same person as Norton! And they start a club where all the libertarians in the city get together in church basements and fuck each other, for catharsis! And things spiral out of control and mayhem ensues! The critics will be split on it but the kids will love it, and Pitt will have proven that he can carry blockbusters and low-budget indie nonsense alike.

Once he is redeemed as a father, soldier, and actor, all Pitt will have to do is find a respectable wife (or husband?) in the mold of Amal Clooney. I don’t have any candidates because I don’t know about anything that’s actually important, and I also don’t know the best way to Google prospective candidates because “respected UN women” didn’t bring up anything useful, but I’m almost positive that there are candidates. Convincing such a woman to marry him will prove that he cares about more than looks and is smart enough to be respected by someone everyone else respects.

The last part of the Brad Pitt Image Redemption Plan is perhaps the most crucial: he has to not cheat on the new wife. It sounds simple enough on paper, and I don’t think most people have a big problem with that, but apparently Brad Pitt does. So, this time he should just not do that. Third time’s the charm?

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