|Dark Knight Matched the Hype
1st day Record
|Idiocracy is Pure Genius
August 8, 2008
|I did not see Idiocracy until three years after it premiered. That is because I never heard of the
movie. I am quite disappointed in the film distributor, Fox, because the marketing campaign was
non-existent. The film was dumped in theatres during one of the slowest movie attending
weekends of the year, in only a handful of screens, with no theatrical trailer or television
commercials and only a single opening-day newspaper.
Fox botched the release of another Mike Judge film, "Office Space." But in comparison to
Idiocracy, Fox gave the Office Space a decent release in 1999, putting it out into almost 1,750
theatres. The film simply wasn’t embraced by audiences until its premiere on cable and DVD.
Since then, “Office Space” has rightfully found a cult audience, with its dead-on characterizations
and wish-fulfillment fantasies of practically everyone who has ever worked in that type of
environment. So the question is, why didn’t “Idiocracy” get any kind of chance to sink or swim on
its own merits? Why was this hidden away from the press, and kept away from most of the major
East Coast metropolitan cities? Elementary, my dear Watson... the film is just too savage in its
brutal skewering of modern society for mass consumption. While a movie like “Talladega Nights”
might tap the audience it targets with a velvet glove, “Idiocracy” hacks away at both the smart and
the dumb with a comedic machete.
The synopsis of the film is pretty simple, yet genius. The two videos summarize the film plot (for those of you future people). A narrator
explains the decay of natural selection, the concept of unintelligent people enthusiastically out-breeding intelligent people, creating a
society irreversibly dysfunctional. Demographic superiority favours those least likely to advance society. Consequently, the children of the
educated élites are drowned in a sea of sexually promiscuous, illiterate, alcoholic, proletarian peers.
In 2005, Army librarian Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), the
military's "most average" soldier, and Rita (Maya
Rudolph), a prostitute terrified of her pimp, Upgrayedd
(pronounced: up•grade, two D's for a double-dose of
pimping), are guinea pigs in a secret, year-long, military
hibernation project. They are sealed into their
hibernation chambers, to be awakened a year later, but
the experiment is forgotten when the officer in charge
(Michael McCafferty) is arrested for his own prostitution
ring. The military base is demolished, and a
Fuddruckers (eventually devolving into Buttfuckers) is
built on the site.
Five hundred years in the future, Joe's and Rita's
hibernation chambers are jarred open in the 'Great
Garbage Avalanche of 2505', reviving both of them. Joe
crashes into the apartment of Frito Pendejo (Dax
Shepard), a typical, idiot citizen of the U.S. future, with an
apartment full of junk food and a prominent, giant
television that is covered with adverts. His name, Frito
Pendejo is a haphazard combination of a product
mascot (Frito Bandito) and pendejo (pubic hair), the
Spanish slang word insult.
Joe is disoriented: in brief conversation Frito insults Joe's "more advanced" manner of speaking as "faggy"; in hospital, slacker Dr
Lexus, MD (Justin Long), diagnoses him as simply "'tarded" and "fucked up". Dr Lexus panics on discovering that Joe has no barcode-
tattoo on his left wrist, and so cannot be scanned for automatic debit payment from his bank account. With all that, Joe finally grasps that
500 years have passed since the Army put him in stasis. He is disturbed by the sights of the collapsing world, and flees the hospital,
only to be arrested at a Carl's Jr. junk food vending booth for not paying his hospital bill and for not having a barcode tattoo.
At trial, Joe's public defence lawyer ("Attornee at Law") is Frito Pendejo, Esq., who stupidly helps convict him. Joe is imprisoned; a poorly-
designed I.D.-tattoo machine re-names Joe as "Not Sure" and barcode-tattoos him as such. During a mandatory (and very simple) I.Q.
test, Joe grasps just how stupid humanity has become. Easily escaping his dim gaolers, Joe returns to Frito's apartment, asking him if
a time machine exists to help him return to the past, to 2005. Frito claims there is one, but agrees to help only after Joe promises him
billions of dollars in interest on a bank account that Joe will open in the past on his return.
En route to the time machine, Joe and Frito find Rita. She does not know that she's been asleep for 500 years until Joe tells her, even
so, she thinks Upgrayedd will find her. Frito leads them to a city-sized Costco, where Joe is re-arrested when he accidentally scans his
barcode; instead of prison, Joe is delivered to the White House. President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry
Crews) has seen Joe's I.Q. test (scoring him a most-intelligent-man-in-the-world) and recruits him as Secretary of the Interior to correct
the United States' food and crop shortages, dust bowl, crippled economy, mountains of garbage, and related matters. The other cabinet
members are lampoons of contemporary politicians — nepotism, corporate-loyalty-corruption, over-emphasis on sex appeal in political
Joe learns that water has been replaced with Brawndo:
The Thirst Mutilator, a drink advertised as "rich in
electrolytes", for virtually every purpose, including crop
irrigation. Water is only used in toilets. Over time, the
electrolytes in Brawndo accumulated in the soil, killed
the crops, and caused the food shortage. After Joe
reintroduces watering crops, the Brawndo Corporation's
stock is worthless, causing great unemployment
without visibly improving the crop situation. The angry
populace riot, and Joe is sentenced to a day
of "rehabilitation", an execution disguised as a public
demolition derby, billed as "Monday Night
Rehabilitation". Meanwhile, Rita discovers that Joe's
reintroduction of watering the soil has made crops
sprout in the fields. To save Joe (and with Frito Pendejo
in tow), she bribes a television cameraman to show the
thriving crops to the world, however, before reaching the
crop field, they are distracted by a sale at a Starbucks
chain brothel franchise. It is only after Frito and the
cameraman quarrel and fight that he (Frito) remembers
his duty, and films the crop sprouts. President Camacho
sees the thriving new plants, on the stadium's
big-screen televisions, and grants Joe a pardon just as he is to be incinerated with a flame thrower.
At the celebration, Joe decides to stay and help repair American civilization; President Camacho names him Vice President of America.
He also learns that the "Time Masheen" is just an amusement park history ride, wherein Charlie Chaplin was leader of the Nazi party
who used dinosaurs to wage war on the world, and the U.N. are called "Un", having "Un-Nazied the world forever". Joe serves a short
term as Vice President, then is elected President at the end of the Camacho Administration. Joe and Rita marry and have the world's
three-smartest children, while Frito Pendejo also marries eight wives, fathering thirty-two of the world's stupidest children, echoing the
introduction to the Idiocracy.
Large Corporation Portrayal
Many large corporations were mocked in a minor theme of the large company's role in the US. But the film was the target of civil suits by
several large corporations who were unhappy with the way they were being satirized in the film, and the lawsuit helped the studio lose
confidence in the film, even though this all happened after the film was greenlit.
Costco was portrayed as being larger than a city,
however, the greeter wanted to express that Costco was
still personal. The video to the right shows how the
greeter was successful in "sharing the Costco love."
Costco got off easy in comparison to Fudruckers,
Starbucks and Fox News (although the parent company
of Fox News was the distributor of the film).
Fudruckers name evolved to Butt and a word that rhymes
with the current ending. Starbucks became a store that was similar to an illegal
massage parlor. And Fox News merged with the
Masturbation Channel to become, "Fox News and
Masturbation Channel" which was better known as the
I was actually a bit surprised that the film did not take any
cheap shots at Wal-Mart. In my opinion, they should
have changed Costco with Wal-Mart. Maybe Mike Judge
has an issue with Costco, who knows.
So why was Idiocracy dumped? Perhaps because it taps
a growing anti-corporate mood in the nation; perhaps
because it expertly satirises the jingoistic self-absorption that now passes for public culture. Or perhaps because more people are sick
of the modern America that Fox energetically helped to build than the Fox corporation itself is ready to admit.