Moviedrome Redux: ‘Idiocracy’ (2006)

❉ “I can think of few films that would qualify more as ‘of the moment than Idiocracy.”

I can think of few films that would qualify more as “of the moment” than Idiocracy. Despite being released 10 years ago, this film feels more relevant and applicable each and every day, as seemingly half of the U.S. populace are mentally out to lunch, and I can think of no better time than right now to reignite the fire for this scathingly brilliant, insanely prescient satire that also happens to be a genuine opus of dick and fart jokes on top of it.

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Endlessly screwed with by 20th Century Fox, it’s sort of hard to take subversive co-writer/director Mike Judge (Office Space) and co-writer Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) to task for the obviously crude and partially unfinished CGI and some of the more questionable production values. And yet, some of the ramshackle qualities actually worked to the film’s benefit, and is in keeping with the silly, flippant, yet harsh tone. But repeatedly and rather strikingly, this film hits so many truthful notes of ugly, bitter humor that’s coming from an aggressively smart and all too honest place.

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Luke Wilson plays an amazingly average military desk jockey who decides to take part in an experiment where he’s frozen in a top secret government program. When the morons running the project forget to thaw him out, he’s left on ice until the year 3001, where he’s unleashed upon a society consisting solely of complete and utter fools. He’s the smartest man in the world, and the film chronicles his desperate attempts to try and find a time machine to get back home while evading various idiocies that are thrown his way. It’s pointless to try and rehash the hilarious bits and pieces of this punishingly funny movie, but make no mistake – this film is a glorious PISSER. It also has the potential to anger a lot of people, especially those of us who don’t want to be reminded of how astonishingly accurate this film is, and how it seems to be correctly predicting where much of our society is heading – into a field of dead crops being hydrated by Brawndo.

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And I’d just like to make it be known that I saw this film, in the theater on opening weekend at a total shitplex in Sherman Oaks – I’m very happy to have contributed to its $495,303 worldwide box office gross. It’s ridiculous how Fox treated this film, and while I’ll never personally be privy to the behind the scenes issues that plagued this project, there are SO MANY AWFUL movies that get made and released on a WEEKLY basis, so it’s totally crazy to think that a film this smart, this bold, and this consistently funny would get the red-headed step-child treatment. I’m also not sure if I’ve ever seen a studio film so lovingly bite the hand that’s feeding it; the level of corporate disdain that Idiocracy revels in is bracing to behold. The film also went by the titles The United States of Uhh-merica and 3001 at various stages of development/production. Idiocracy is a film that began its life as a piece of fiction, but has actually revealed itself to be a documentary in hiding.


❉ ‘Idiocracy’ was released on DVD by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2007 and is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.00

❉ Nick Clement’s latest venture is Podcasting Them Softly, a weekly podcast discussing all things cinema. He is also a regular contributor for MovieViral.com.

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