George is a senior at a private high school in New York. He has never done a day's work in his life and sees no point in trying to do anything because sooner or later he will die. When he should be working on assignments for school, he watches TV, listens to music or does anything that isn't what he should be doing. Despite never taking Art classes seriously, George shows talent at drawing and it's his favourite subject, but his untapped talent isn't enough to save him from the principal who puts him on academic probation due to constant slacking.
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At first, he's a young, train-hopping wanderer who has taken the name Woody (Marcus Carl Franklin), from his hero Woody Guthrie. He also plays a guitar with "This Machine Kills Fascism" painted on it. Later, the man appears as an aged Billy the Kid (Richard Gere) who can't understand why the locals are being bullied out of their land by a decrepit Pat Garrett (Bruce Greenwood). Fitfully, the sequences are shot in the dusty browns of Peckinpah and the hippie westerns of the late 1960s and 1970s. Both stories, along with the others, are consistently interrupted by a press conference with poet Arthur Rimbaud (Ben Whishaw), who speaks in a particularly American sarcasm while scrutinizing everyone who questions him, half-mumbling with cigarette in hand.
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