The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained.
The Film: Idiocracy (2006)
The Plot: Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), a private in the United States Army, is the quintessential average joe. He’s not smart, but he’s not dumb. He’s not handsome or ugly, physically gifted or deficient. He is, by all accounts, the exactly average American. As such, he’s selected to be a guinea pig in a top secret hibernation experiment for one year. However, when the commanding officer of the experiment is busted for running a prostitution ring, Joe and fellow guinea pig prostitute Rita (Maya Rudolph) awaken 500 years in the future where America is really, really dum. (Get it, I spelled dumb wrong on purpose?)
The Review: Idiocracy, from writer/director Mike Judge is scathingly hilarious. It’s one of my all time favorite comedies, one of the few movies that makes me laugh out loud on a frequent basis. It perfectly balances smart observational humor with the occasional nut shot. It’s the only time I haven’t wanted to punch Dax Shephard in the face (okay, second, he’s alright in Zathura.)
It feels almost elitist to like Idiocracy as much as I do, since I see it somewhat as a realistic roadmap to the future, a future where the ambiguously named Fuddruckers could eventually become Buttfuckers. A time when politics has sold out so completely and marketing has overwhelmed us to the point that the Presidency of the United States is presented by Pepsi and plants are watered with sports drinks, which obviously kill them. The film explains how the world gets really stupid – dumb people breed at a higher rate than smart people, eventually outpacing them by a large margin and breeding a nation of idiots. What does it say about me that this came off as a warning?
In the future, the completely average Joe is, by their standards, a genius with an abnormally large brain. The fact that he can express himself in complete sentences means that he’s viewed as someone who “talks like a fag” and his “shit’s all retarded.” As the new supreme intellect of the land, he soon finds himself appointed to a seat in the government under former wrestler President Camacho (Terry Crews) and burdened with solving the agricultural crisis.
Idiocracy is a hilariously bleak look at a potential future gone full retard. While I doubt the nation will fall to such levels, it does raise some salient points about our culture. The number one show in the future is OW! My Balls, which bears a striking similarity to Jackass or Ridiculousness. Advertisments are everywhere – much like today – and there is very little in the way of class. News and World Report has been replaced by Hot Naked Chicks & World Report and it’s acceptable that a restaurant is called Buttfuckers. Considering today you can watch the Naked News and billboards in Los Angeles have giant condoms on them, how far are we really from this future?
This film is 85% utter hilarity and 15% scary prediction. Luke Wilson is spot on on as the average guy and everyone cast to play a moron is perfect. One aspect that I really respect in terms of story telling is that Wilson’s Joe never really changes – he never gets smarter and doesn’t really change much, and I find that utterly realistic. If you look at most movies the protagonist usually undergoes some radical change, like an architect becoming the world’s most effect vigilante overnight. Not here. Average Joe Bauers stays true to himself and his mediocre intellect, but manages to solve the problems regardless.
But why spend 84 minutes watching this film when you only have 453,367 minutes left to live?
First and foremost, the film is hilarious. You’ll have a great time and forget that you’re going to die in a raging global inferno for almost an hour and a half. Second, after watching this movie and seeing the direction humanity could travel, you’ll welcome the thought of a cleansing fireball erasing our stupid and idiotic existence off the face of the Earth.