Thursday, January 25, 2007


I’ve been busy, busy, busy lately, but I didn’t want to let much time pass without recommending IDIOCRACY, the Mike Judge film that probably never showed at your local theater, and may blow through retail just as fast. King of the Hill and Office Space creator Judge can't seem to catch a break with FOX, who continue to treat his projects like toxic waste, despite continued success. Idiocracy will probably end up being another cult film classic, but this film really shouldn’t be ignored. The story concerns Private Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), a low level functionary in the US Army, who’d prefer to stay out of sight in his meaningless clerk job. Army brass “volunteer” him for a year-long cryogenic freezing experiment, also freezing a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph), as the experiment also required a woman who wouldn’t be missed. Once initiated, the doctor in charge is arrested on prostitution charges, and the cryogenic chambers are forgotten.

The building is eventually demolished, and the chambers are abandoned in a trash heap, only to be unearthed when a garbage avalanche frees them. Joe wakes up 500 years later to a dysgenic nightmare, with the whole world dumbed down to the point that he's the smartest man alive by default. He wanders a changed USA, where crassness and instant gratification are the orders of the day. The English language has devolved to a combination of valley girl, gangsta, hillbilly and grunts. Clothing is shiny, disposable, and festooned with gaudy ads. The most popular show on the multi-screen TV is “Ow, My Balls!” featuring a man being repeatedly hit in the groin. Technology still exists, but no one is smart enough to operate or repair it. It’s pretty grim for the human race, and passive Joe finds himself forced to step up and take an active role. As possible futures go, this one seems as likely to actually happen as any Star Trek, Matrix, or Blade Runner scenario.

Idiocracy is first a comedy movie, of course, and satire doesn’t come much blacker. The film is a deft skewering of the worst excesses of our current culture and a bitterly funny cautionary tale. It’s not for everyone, and starry-eyed optimists who believe in the inherent nobility of the human soul need not apply. FOX barely distributed Idiocracy at all last summer, so who knows how long the DVD will be available. Get it while you can, it’s highly recommended.

1 comment:

Gaeasoldier said...

Saw a poster for Idiocracy at the local video store, but had no idea what it was or where it came from. Thanks for the recommendation.