It’s been hard for me to get to the movies lately, but I recently opened a Netflix account and I am enjoying it immensely. One of the coolest things about Netflix is the huge selection. Now I can check out movies I’ve been meaning to see for years, as well as recent releases I missed when they were in theaters.
One movie I watched last weekend never got a proper release. It is writer/director Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy,” and it was released on DVD last week. You might have heard of Judge because he created the TV series “Beavis and Butthead,” as well as “King of the Hill,” which is still on the air. Many also love him for the 1998 cult hit “Office Space,” which made fun of corporate America.
“Idiocracy” stars Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph of “Saturday Night Live.” Wilson plays Joe Bauers, who is, well, an average Joe. Joe is in the United States Army and simply wants to spend the next eight years monitoring files until he can collect his pension. That is, until the Army chooses him to take part in the Human Hibernation Project. Joe is chosen because he is average in every way. When the Army can’t find a female equivalent, they choose Rita (Rudolph), a member of the “private sector.” Which part I won’t say here.
Joe and Rita are supposed to go into a comatose state for one year. However, the project loses its funding and is forgotten about. Eventually, the warehouse holding their bodies is destroyed and their coffin-like stations end up in a landfill. They wake up in the year 2505 to discover that the human race has become unbelievably stupid over the last half-millennium. Suddenly, Joe and Rita are the smartest people in the world. Eventually, Joe is asked by the president to solve all their problems.
It’s a great premise and Judge builds a hilarious movie around it. At first you wonder if Joe will meet someone in this new world that is just as out-of-place as he is. That’s often the case in stories like this, but not here. Judge’s future is just as bleak as can be.
The movie was dumped in only a few theaters in the late summer and received hardly any promotion at all. So why did Twentieth Century Fox try to kill this movie? It’s hard to find a concrete answer even with a lot of Internet searching. My guess is that they suspected it would alienate a lot of corporations and stockholders. “Idiocracy” heavily implies that huge corporations played a major role in dumbing down humanity. Still, movies much more controversial than this one haven’t been as snubbed by the studio that owns it to this extent.
Either way, “Idiocracy” is a great satire and often rings eerily true.
Now, about this Oscar contest The Cadiz Record is holding. I’ve watched the Academy Awards since I was 12 and I somehow learned many the Best Picture winners along the way. I’m not sure how or why I picked up this useless talent, but after people started quizzing me on a mission trip I went on in high school, I decided to nurture it and learn the ones I didn’t yet know.
Oscar nominations came out yesterday morning. So if you see me out in public, give it a shot. Name any year after 1928 and try and stump me. You just might win a subscription for half a year.