I think if you’ve found yourself scrolling through social media these days (and come on, who hasn’t), you’ve probably seen many people digging up this movie from the depths of 2000s cinema and calling it an accurate portrayal of the future, or even the present for some. Seeing all the memes and talk around it, I’ve decided to rewatch it because I know I liked it a lot the first time, and now I’m recommending it to you: go watch Idiocracy, folks.
The gist of it is this: Joe, a very average guy played by Luke Wilson, takes part in a military experiment which freezes him and a lady counterpart, Rita (Maya Rudolph), for 5 centuries. When they wake up, it’s to an America so completely dumbed down and buried in trash, they’re the smartest people on the around.
Here’s my neat 10-point list why this movie is the bomb:
1. It’s hilarious. The humor very much stems from awareness, or an expectation of awareness from the viewer that they understand the world we live in and the very real potential that Idiocracy’s world is extremely possible. It’s absurd in all the right ways, and the jokes and acting are right on the nose with the theme of the movie.
2. When discussing acting, although Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph do a wonderful job of leading the movie as army guy, average Joe and prostitute Rita, I really have to applaud Dax Sheppard, who must’ve been the most challenged when playing Frito, an incredibly dumb, supposed lawyer. Apart from the style of speech, he really nailed the stupid part, giving off a clear feeling that there’s nothing in Frito’s head at all times. That sounds easy, but I’m sure it wasn’t.
3. Terry Crews plays the president. Enough said.
4. The story itself is actually really sad, particularly because it’s so credible. Disguised as a chill comedy, the movie brings forth pertinent ideas to our current society and the direction we’re heading when it comes to capitalism, reproduction, leadership, and the environment. In Idiocracy’s world, energy drinks replace water and no one bats an eye because “it’s got electrolytes,” trash piles up into mountains which cause avalanches, fast food is the only food around, and people revert to primal behavior: all they need is food, sex, and shelter. The story is a painful example of what could happen if we continue to move on the path we are now, and even though the movie is dated 2006, it only grows in accuracy as time passes.
5. Related to the earlier point, the first bit of the movie is the scariest. Idiocracy’s take on how this dystopia came to be is so simple and makes so much sense, watching it now is kind of worry-inducing. People with a higher IQ evaluate life differently than those with a lower score. They think about their means, the quality of their future, their possibilities and what it’ll take to raise a child before they actually get around to making one. On the other side, people of lesser education don’t have these kinds of concerns, and it only takes one guy fooling around to expand a family tree into a forest. Now, although there’s a lot to discuss here that the movie didn’t really tackle, like how being poor and uneducated isn’t a choice and there are many struggling to get out of that situation, the core idea is still accurate, and the people the movie does target, the stupid ones, more often than not reproduce without a thought in the world.
6. The movie’s vision about how popular brands and names end up looking like and being in the future is hilarious. Starbuck’s survives but at what cost? Fox News is eternal. Costco is all-encompassing.
7. I enjoyed that the Rita/Joe couple wasn’t really shoved down the viewer’s throat and it was more… these two are the only ones with some brain cells left and they are human, so yeah, they end up together. That only happens at the end though, and it was nice to see them just befriend each other and work together for the rest of the movie without any obligatory straight nonsense forced in. They’re the sort of Adam and Eve of post-idiocracy America I suppose, which is a neat concept.
8. From that, I really enjoyed Rita as a character. She was resourceful, clever, and just as important as Joe. Maya Rudolph is of course a veteran of comedy, but I’m glad Rita wasn’t stuck in a singular function such as “the woman”, “the funny one” or “the love interest” and was actually given depth.
9. The prison escape is hilarious. Michael Scofield could never.
10. It has a nice, no pressure run-time. I know this is always a point, but I somehow find it easier to dedicate 2 hours to a show I know is split into shorter episodes than it is to use the same 2 hours on a single movie. Idiocracy is only 90 minutes, so it’s the perfect duration for a movie.
There ya have it. I think you need to watch it for yourself to really feel its impact, but I’m hoping one of the points I made here have made you consider it anyway. The more people who watch this, the slimmer the chance this future actually happens, so fingers crossed.
As always, thank you for reading, and see you next week!