This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, September 04, 2006


(Above is the only known still photo of the new film Idiocracy.)

I'm watching Divorce Court on syndicated TV right now, and I find myself contemplating the screwball message of the Mike Judge satire Idiocracy, which I just saw in the theater. Are we on the fast track to becoming a nation of idiots? Are we glorifying stupidity with all of our reality-tv? Are we becoming addicted to consumption of corporate products? Will everything we use one day be sponsored by some corporate entity? Is the campaign for President just an elaborate popularity contest? Why haven't we rebuilt New Orleans yet? Most importantly, will the comparatively high birth rates among the dumb cause us to forget that, for example, crops need water, and garbage can't just be stacked in giant "trash-mountains"?

Oh, and I should explain: Idiocracy is a movie. I don't expect you to know this, because Idiocracy is opening to limited release in only 7 cities. One of those cities happens to be Dallas, and one of those theaters it was released to happens to be the one within walking distance of our apartment. This movie hasn't been advertised or sent to reviewers at all, and the only reason we found it was it happened to be at that particular theater and none of the other movies playing there were appealing. We saw that it was made by Mike Judge, and were immediately on board. Seems like a lot of other Office Space fans would be, as well. When I went up to the chick in the box office, she had to clarify the movie I wanted to see, and as I walked into the theater I figured out why: my wife and I were the only two people there. After it was all said and done, we were exactly 2/3 of the audience for the 12:30 showing.

The sad part is, this could have been a modest hit for Fox had they not decided to kill it. Mike Judge has a built-in audience, and all a trailer would have to do is concentrate on the multitude of fart jokes and all the stupid people who like Farrelly Brother comedies would show up. Why did Fox decide they didn't want the money this movie would have made? Why did they decide that losing money was more important than letting this satire succeed?

Not knowing anything about the behind-the-scenes life of this movie, it's not hard to see what happened. 4 words: Starbucks as a brothel. That prbably killed it. There are a bunch of corporations that probably don't like Judge's biting futuristic vision for them, including biggies like Starbucks, Carl's Jr., and "Uhmerican Exxxpress." There's real-life corporate branding all over this movie, from billboards to clothes to everywhere in-between. I guess it's true -- we are living in a corporate oligarchy, and that oligarchy won't let any jokes about it cut too deep or say too much.

Idiocracy is good satire in that it's dumb on the surface, but it manages to make you think. Judge has his finger on the pulse of American stupidity (as previously seen in Beavis and Butthead), and this time he tries to go after the source -- the people with a vested interest in seeing us overconsume and underthink. That this movie got buried perhaps gives us our clearest indication yet that the movie's message has merit, and that soon our stupid clothes will be covered all nascar-like in multiple corporate advertisements and our stupid TV will be filled with programs consisting solely of a man getting hit in the crotch.

If you do end up finding this movie somewhere, be warned -- its satire is often brutal, and there's very little plot to keep things from degenerating into dystopian silliness. But if you can handle the thought of a future where water has been replaced by a sports drink and the President is a WWE-style Sports Entertainer (and judging by the relative success of Team America, many of you can), I would recommend it.

Oh, and did I mention it stars Luke Wilson? How fricking controversial can it really be? Come on, Fox!


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