Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who killed 'Idiocracy' and why?

So I finally got around to seeing Mike Judge's Austin-shot film Idiocracy last night. I saw it on DVD, of course, since it was just barely released to theaters--one week in five cities with next to no publicity.

We're not talking Academy Awards here, but Idiocracy is a pretty good movie -- in the 2.5 to 3 star range. So why did the Hollywood corporate weasels kill this film? I have a few theories.

+ It wasn't funny enough. They were expecting yuck yucks a la Porky's or Beavis and Butt-Head. But, duh, was Office Space aimed at the lowest common denominator? Oh, right, they stepped on that Judge film, too. But now it's a cult hit on DVD of the highest standing. I have yet to meet a college student who hasn't viewed it at least five times.

+ Not enough sex. Even the deleted scenes are pretty tame when it comes down to it. Sure, there's low-brow sex humor, but it's pretty mild. I'm betting they begged Judge to add some monster jigglers.

+ It makes fun of corporations by name. Surely they had to get permission, but in the end Fuddruckers is referred to by the most obvious of names and Costco and Starbucks are full of prostitutes for sale.

+ It's smart. Yes, this is social commentary on the dumbing down of America much as Office Space was a treatise on the trap of a corporate job. It's good and sometimes subtle, too. For instance, Judge envisioned a future where almost everybody is mixed race. But he didn't spell that out. You had to figure it out for yourself.

The truth is Judge is most interested in making fun of the world he grew up in and lives in now--the world that "elected" George W. Bush twice. Judge does it damn well, and is the closest we've got to a Will Rogers or Mark Twain of the big screen. Check out the very literate (and often not) discussion at IMDB for proof that this film resonates.

I urge you to go out and watch Idicracy if only to prove the corporate weasels wrong once again.

One complaint: Why cut the great joke about search for the Museum of Art, which was actually the Museum of Fart. Funny! Low brow! If one there were some boobs in there...

Judge is said to be at work on another film. Let's hope this one gets the full release his work deserves.

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