Wednesday, December 14, 2022


Another of the movies that I recorded over the Thanksgiving free preview was Idiocracy. It's on Starz Comedy tomorrow at both 4:29 AM and 8:00 PM, as well as at least once next week. So I made a point to watch it and do a post on it here.

Idiocracy is another of those movies where you probably know the basic outline of the story. Goodthinkful people have feared for a long time that the underclass has more children and as such will outbreed them and take over the world. Over a century ago, for example, Lois Weber directed Where Are My Children?, which deals directly with the poor folk being given info on "family planning" so they won't have so many children, and the rich women having casual sex and then getting illegal abortions. In the scenario set up in Idiocracy, the result of the poor having so many children is that the collective IQ of the world goes down, which I suppose is a contoversial topic if you posit that intelligence is inherited.

In the present day of the movie, Cpl. Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is a librarian in an obscure part of the Army who likes his job because it allows him to draw a paycheck while doing the least amount of work possible. But the Army has decided that Bauers is utterly average in every way, and that's just what they need for their latest top secret experiment. That experiment involves putting Bauers and a woman into suspended animation, Planet of the Apes-style, for a year. Bauers can't really protest, since he's got no family who will miss him, and has to take orders anyway. The problem is that the Army doesn't have a suitably average woman in their ranks. So they get Rita (Maya Rudolph), a prostitute who has some legal issues hanging over her, and pay off her pimp to get control of her for the experiment, in exchange for expunging her record. Rita is obviously even more unsure of this than Bauers.

Sure enough, the experiment goes wrong. The man who was running it gets arrested on sex charges, and since the program was so hush-hush, it doesn't get taken over by anybody, leaving Bauers and Rita to remain in suspended animation. Society evolves, or devolves, until future America, having no idea what to do with its garbage, has let it pile so high that the result is a garbage avalanche in the year 2505. The avalanche unearths the two suspended animation pods and opens them up, with Bauers and Rita looking surprisingly none the worse for wear. Wouldn't they have run out of nutrition?

Anyhow, Bauers tries to find out what's going on, and runs afoul of the law while doing so, which puts him in serious difficulty until a prison aptitude test reveals that Bauers is the most intelligent man left in America. This brings him to the attention of President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews), who needs help with serious problems, most especially the food shortages. Apparently, corporations have taken over much of America, with one producing a Gatorade-like drink called Brawndo using that to water the fields, because Brawndo has what plants crave, namely electrolytes. Unbeknownst to everybody, Brawndo has such a high saline content that they're actually salting the earth so that nothing can grow. It's going to take an average man like Bauers to figure out the obvious solution, to use water on the plants.

But to get there is going to take some time. One problem is that Bowers wants to get back to what for him is the present day, figuring that sometime in the intervening 500 years somebody woul have figured out how to make a time machine. Frito (Dax Shepard), in whose apartment Bauers' pod crashed, is asked by Bauers to help him and Rita find that time machine. And, of course, Bauers is wanted by the law, especially when it takes more time for plants to start growing than an impatient populace wants. Rita, not having wanted to take part in the experiment in the first place, isn't so sure what to do, although she begins to like Bauers during the course of their time together. It wasn't Bauers' fault all of this happened.

But what the movie Idiocracy is really known for is the satire and the pop-culture references. Most of it works, and I was surprised at how many things in the movie are still catchphrases I hear. It's no surprise that Idiocracy has become a cult movie over the past 16 years since its release. It also has the good sense not to overstay its welcome, running well under 90 minutes.

If you haven't seen Idiocracy before, you definitely should. Just make certain you watch it on a premium channel. I first tried to watch it quite a few years back on one of the lower-tier cable channels with commercials, and so much had to be edited for content it was ridiculous.

1 comment:

thevoid99 said...

This is a film that has aged well but not for all of the good reasons considering where humanity here in America is now. Look what has happened. There is some funny moments in the film but a lot of it is smacked on about how stupid people can become and how stupidity can just fuck things up.