I had planned to share with you something else for this week’s Saturday Selection, but as I was typing up yesterday’s post about the idiots on Facebook I realized I have never done a Saturday Selections about the hilariously scary-because-it-is-so-true movie Idiocracy. And, since I just happen to have an old article on the film lurking in my files I thought I’d dig it out for you…
An Intro to Idiocracy…
It’s got electrolytes!
If you’ve ever feared that everyone is getting stupider by the minute, you may be right. If you’ve ever noticed that the dumbest and least economically stable people are having the most kids, you’re not alone. If you’ve ever wondered where our society is headed, then check out the cult hit Idiocracy. You, like me, may think you’re renting a comedy only to question if you’ve actually checked out a documentary.
First, let me warn you there is a lot of potty humor and swearing in the movie. If that bothers you then don’t watch the movie. However, keep in mind that the potty-ness is not simply gratuitous, the jokes and cursing do have a point: to show just how dumbed down everyone has gotten. So there, you’ve been warned.
Idiocracy begins with the monstrously-mandibled (but yet quite cute) Luke Wilson as Joe Bauers, an army librarian. He’s looking to do as little as possible until he can get his pension and is ranked as the most average person in the army. The military is experimenting with an idea to “preserve” soldiers until they are needed for wars and Bauers’s slacker ways and lack of family make him a perfect candidate for the trial. Along with him into the experiment goes Rita, a hooker who will be pardoned if she does the experiment. They’re only supposed to be under for a year.
Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if all went well.
Five hundred years later, society has de-volved to the point where humans are so stupid they can’t figure out anything. Pan to the cityscape where collapsing buildings are held together with ropes, broken overpasses remain broken (with cars flying off of the end because people are too stupid to not go that way), and a mountain of trash that becomes an avalanche of trash. Bauers and Rita wake up into this world (separately, of course).
Bauers gets arrested but the guards are so stupid he simply tells them he was supposed to be in the line to leave and he’s out. While in prison he’s taken an IQ test and the president finds out he’s the smartest person in the world – yes that’s right, Luke Wilson is the smartest person in the world – and puts him to work solving the issue of why the crops won’t grow.
Bauers realizes that water has been marketed as something you only use to flush your toilets and the only thing anybody drinks or puts on their crops is a Gatorade-type drink because “It’s got electrolytes. It’s got what plants crave.” Needless to say Bauers and Rita solve the problem, but not without plenty of very stupid people being very stupid.
Thoughts on Idiocracy…
Idiocracy was barely released in the U.S. and was only shown in about 125 theaters. It wasn’t marketed at all and there were no screenings for critics. However, the movie was discovered when it came to DVD and those who have picked it up have quickly promoted it through word-of-mouth. The movie became a cult hit in short time.
As I watch Idiocracy I can recognize things that are already happening and it’s frightening (so I guess this is a horror/comedy/documentary). Things such as the lack of common sense in so many people, the unavoidable marketing and sponsorship on everything, the caveman-like thrill of watching things get smashed up and burned, and of course the number of stupid people who breed.
Idiocracy may not help you feel better about society. You may in fact recognize some of the patterns of decline that all already in place. And the movie may offend any prudish types out there, but it is damn funny. And scary. At the very least, Idiocracy will make you want to pay for your stupid friends’ vasectomies and hide your smart friends’ birth control.
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.