Science Fantasy Friday: Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Future

What better way to end a week of time travelers, pop star political leaders and consumerist dystopian futures than with a science fiction movie that ties all of them together.

Idiocracy paints a dismal, horrific (yet strangely hilarious) view of the future – and it is a future that seems to be looming just over the horizon.

Bureaucracy at work.
Bureaucracy at work.

The modern cult classic by Mike Judge was unfairly quashed by producers – making under a million in its entire theatrical run – but it has found new, richly deserved life on DVD (and in heavily edited form on Comedy Central).

The film follows the adventures of an average Joe as he wakes up after an accidental 500 year nap. Not completely original, sure, but unlike more hopeful or disastrous futures, the world of Idiocracy seems hauntingly similar to our own. Everyone has at least one product and/or cussword in their name (imagine parents being that meangood thing that hasn’t happened), television is aimed at the lowest common denominator (unlike the real world), food coloring and flavoring is being sold as water (who would fall for that?) and the government is fool of inept morons (ah-chem).

More importantly, despite the copious amounts of profanity, this film is a great educational tool. Sure, it has fart jokes and thinly veiled innuendo – and that appeals to fans of lowbrow – but the underlying message is what’s important: this is what happens to you if you drop out of school.

Pictured: Lowbrow humor
Pictured: Lowbrow humor.

Here viewers are presented with a future in which no one bothers to read, math is left to malfunctioning computers, everyone is out for themselves, choices are made based on popularity and coolness. Yeah, that’s high school, but what happens when that becomes the rest of your life? Sadly, that’s where the country is headed. Everyone is given second, third and fifth chances and told everyone is equal, so there is no need to try harder.

It’s been suggested the movie makes fun of various ethnicities, disabilities or poor people, but the suggestion that idiots have more kids has nothing to do with racism, mental capacity or wealth.

Everyone should watch this film at least once, if not for the biting social commentary than for the poop jokes. If nothing else, try the drink.

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2 comments

  1. Before I saw the film it was explained to me by a friend as a perfect send-up of Buck Rogers – that rather than the primitive man being more capable than people of the future, the man from the past is less primitive than the people of the future.

    • That’s how I see it… obviously the film has very little to do with Buck Rogers, but with the sleeping-in-a-cave for 500 years bit, it deffinately has some surface similarities.

      I’ve always admired the 1929 version of Buck Rogers (and I’ll post about it some day with images), and I wish they could re-capture that primitive-futurism again. The latest iteration of Buck Rogers seems more along the lines of Star Trek.

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