Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 22

Where are my flying cars!! Science fiction may be visionary, but sometimes it’s annoyingly wrong too.

What do you think was the silliest guess about the future made in a science fiction film?

Panelist: T-Rav

I don't think there have been a lot of really stupid guesses about the future, considering how many things we have now that would have been totally outlandish a few decades ago. The one thing I've never understood, though, is the idea that we could press a button and food or other materials would automatically materialize. Not gonna happen. You can't make something out of pure nothing.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Planet of the Apes. Look, it is supposed to be science fiction, so I may have to revise this if I can think of a film that presents a dumb vision of the future and pretends to take itself seriously.

Panelist: ScottDS

1995's Johnny Mnemonic. It's obviously no classic and while I'm not exactly an expert on the work of William Gibson or the "cyberpunk" genre, this film gets quite silly at times. For starters, filmmakers in the 90s seemed to think that the Internet of the future would look like a Blade Runner-style theme park and we would all surf the Internet using virtual reality or some other kind of sensory input. We're not quite there and I don't see people wearing goggles just to read their e-mail. The filmmakers also failed to take Moore's Law into account. At one point, Keanu Reeves (the titular Johnny Mnemonic) complains that he has to store 320 GB in his head. I can go to Best Buy today and purchase a 2 TB drive the size of a paperback book. Oh, one more thing. . . the filmmakers failed to predict solid state memory and personal video recorders. Despite taking place in 2021, Ice-T's character tells people to fire up their VCRs. Whoops!

Panelist: AndrewPrice

I’m going with everything about the Star Wars prequels. Why? Three reasons. First, although these are prequels, somehow their technology got more advanced than the later films. Secondly, their world is incredibly sterile. It’s a world without personal effects, a world of soundstages. No one will live like that. And third and most importantly, none of their technology is useful. It’s a world with some cool stuff, but none of it is practical and none of it is stuff that would make people’s lives better or easier.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Does The Jetsons count? If so, where did the land go? Why don’t they have any roads? I know the cars fly, but what happens to all the “antique” cars that would probably require rubber tires and garbage powered-nuclear reactor engines? And if you can fly in a car, why do they use the vacuum tubes to get places? I mean really, what happened to the purple mountains majesty? However I really hope that one day we have instant dressing tubes. It would save a lot of time.

Comments? Thoughts?


Tennessee Jed said...

this one was a hard one for me to consider. I just couldn't think of anything off the top of my head, but then it struck me that the notion of apes taking over didn't make a lot of sense. Maybe something with time travel would qualify since even though it's fun, it wseems pretty unlikely.

T-Rav - yeah, and you probably didn't think you could check game scores from your phone while lying about it to your date, too. :)

Scott: Johnny Mnemonic could be a good one. My closet aversion to the genre is unmasked because this one was floating around Best Buy Bins where they were offering to pay you to take the DVD and still I passed.

Star Wars - Your premise makes the most sense. There have been societies that have fallen back though. The future in Borneo might not be as good as the 1700's in Europe.

Jetsons - never watched it much, Bev. It seemed like the evil twin of the Flintstones.

Joel Farnham said...

The movie "TRON". The idea that you can reduce a man and somehow put him into a computer environment. Silly and useless at the same time.

Tennessee Jed said...

Joel - don't forget stupid in addition to silly. Of course, if we do somehow get reduced to computer avatars, won't we feel dumb :)

Anonymous said...

This one took me a while, then I finally settled on Johnny Mnemonic and smiled, as I thought of Keanu Reeves complaining, "I have to store 320 gigs - my head feels like it's gonna explode, dude!" :-)

I guess I wanted to pick something that took place closer to the present, as opposed to Planet of the Apes which is a bit more far-fetched.

Re: The Jetsons, I used to watch it as a kid and I always wondered how all the buildings could be supported by just two translucent tubes. (Incidentally, I'm surprised they haven't made a live-action Jetsons film yet.)

Re: the Star Wars prequels, I can excuse the technology since that was probably unavoidable (also see: Star Trek: Enterprise). Of course, it's a testament to Lucas' bad writing that you're even thinking about it while watching the movie.

I totally 100% agree about the sterile part and these films aren't the only ones that suffer from that problem - too many movies present characters living in apartments and working in offices and if/when we see personal effects, everything is perfectly arranged - there's no sense of history or improvisation (someone using a mug as a pencil holder, for instance). And everything is so clean. I don't blame shooting on soundstages - after all, Blade Runner was shot on soundstages. I blame a director who doesn't care, and if the director doesn't care, I can't blame the art department for not feeling inspired.

In his book Making Movies, Sidney Lumet talks a lot about the importance of set decorations and authenticity. I've always been fascinated with this aspect of movie-making - for example, making sure the newspaper articles tacked to the lead character's bulletin board are the kind of articles that character would consider important and come from the newspaper where that character lives, etc.

(None of this applies to movies that have a deliberate look - the comedies of Wes Anderson being a good example, where part of his style is a neatly organized frame where everything is perfectly laid out.)

T-Rav said...

What did Planet of the Apes ever do to you, Jed? ;-) We can do a lot of things we never thought we could, to be sure, but not the things which completely violate the laws of physics. You can't make stuff larger than a subatomic particle pop into being at your command like that. (For the record, I was going with a guess about the future, not a general movie, so I didn't list one.)

Speaking of which, the difference in technology between the Star Wars prequels and the originals always bothered me. Not a whole lot, because sometimes there is a technological regression of sorts, but it's still a little hard to believe. But a lot of stuff from all those films is impossible. Exhibit A: lightsabers. I know, no one wants to hear it, but there is no way to control a beam of light so that it only goes out a few feet and then stops/disappears; especially one so strong it can cut through anything. Also, I hate to break it to you guys, but faster-than-light travel is also probably a violation of the laws of physics and therefore also impossible. Sorry, Millennium Falcon.

Individualist said...

Johnny Mnemomic the movie is not a good application of cyberpunk. It suffers from a Hollywood film maker who knows nothing of science and technology trying to show the tech.

The idea behind cyberpunk VR involves the idea of "simulated senses". Essentially I can drill a small data port in your head and implant cybernetic devices into your cerebral cortedxc that when turhned on can take over every one of your senses and your motor functions.

Whenm you "jack" in to your cyberdeck you appear to be in a comatose state. What is happening is that every physical sense you have is now receiving imput from a computer program. Every action that you tell your body is now redirected to the same program.

With this technology you create an avator that exists in a virtual world inside the computer. There are no screens googles or any of that. Just a wire in your head.

The idea was that the human brain is wired to m ake very complex decision in the real world. So when you execute a file search program for instance to look for someone's address. Your virtual avatar would go to a virtual filing cabinet. open it up and pull the file out. Your mind is telling the computer program to link to several databases. develop sophisticated search queries and snatch the data and copy it.

The idea was that the human brain has something the computer chip does not, randomness. Chips are on/off. Nuerons have thousands of connetions and can manage Yes/No?Maybe. By creating a virtual world that had elements that the human mind can see and hear and taste and touch and linking programs to actions that while they are very complex are simple to us (think about how many individual commands your mind must send your hand just to pick up and drink a glass of water) the speed at which decisions can be sent to a computer interface is multiplied exponentially.

In the cyberpunk version of VR the virtual world is created by the cyberdeck and the linking programs sometimes. The programs and contructs appear as they are because the user has a program which made them appear as such. If the worldf looks like a bad 80's action movie, a plane of hell, or one populated by baribie dolls it is because the user wanted it that way.

The other thing about cyberpunk genre that is new is the idea of "Black" Ice. ICe stands for Intruson Countermeasures. Since you are using a virtual environment and your brain is immersed in this world then if a program could effectively locate you and send power surges or overloads of data or commands to screw with how the device worked it coulod injure or kill the user attached.

This above is the true focus of the punk in the cyberpunk genre. The idea that "hackers" are now no longer cowardly geeks hiding from the world but are people that risk their lives to protect or get information.

Sorry I thought I would have to put this out there becasue Scott DS is right about the movie. They did a bad job with the Tech.

Anonymous said...

Indi -

Thanks for the details! Like I said, I have no experience with the genre.

However, it would be interesting to see a (better) filmmaker attempt to tell the same story today. Would it be improved, given all of the advances in technology since the 90s?

Or would it be just as badly dated in 15 years?

LawHawkRFD said...

Goody. I get to go into the wayback machine. I love the scene about halfway through Things to Come, the 30s movie telling of H G Wells's story. Aircraft have brought peace to a world that had been at war for decades and had descended into barbarity. "Wings Over the World" commanded by Raymond Massey (kind of an airborne U.N.) brings its peace bombers to pacify the final enclave of clan rule and establish the future world of peace, love and brotherhood (ick). The planes have two fuselages each, hold about a division of paratroopers each, and in the center between the wings, the commanders watch the activity from 20,000 feet at hundreds of miles per hour on wide-open decks like the balconies of a fancy hotel. No wind pressure, not even a mussied-up hair out of place.

Tennessee Jed said...

Indie, great comment. I must admit I never realized you were an afficianado of cyber punk. As old as I am, I can actually envision what you are talking about. For some reason, I remember that Michael Creighton book/movie involving the "virtual" headset being utilized.

Rav - What? Do you think I'm some kind of magical "summoner" who can instantly summon game scores to my phone?"

Scott - I absolutely agree about the sets requiring authenticity. I often catch myself doing exactly what you describe; e.g. this person wouldn't be drinking coffee from a mug would he?

AndrewPrice said...

Great choices everyone -- well done. Jed, I think the apes are already taking over if Congress is any indication. Actually, I take that back.... apes wouldn't be this stupid!

Johnny Mnemonic was a horrid film. It's one of those films where they did nothing right as far as story telling and then their tech stuff was really shortsighted as well.

On Star Wars societies have fallen backwards, but there are many more problems with the science of the Star Wars universe. To me, the biggest thing is the none of their technology would be useful.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, It is a silly idea, but I enjoyed it as such -- I never took it as a serious guess about anything scientific, i.e. it was pure fantasy.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I win in two words...

Soylent Green.

the most annoyingly wrong ones are the preachy films.... Don't get me wrong... Soylent Green is AWESOME -- just not for the reasons the producers intended...

Coming right out of the Silent Spring Decade of the 1960s, Earth Day founding in 1970 and Paul Ehrlich's laughable Malthusian nightmare prophecies... Soylent Green is laughable as prophecy.

Escape from New York is also though knowing what a cesspool the Democratic People's Republic of New York City was in the 1970s John Carpenter's version was more likely given the progression of NYC through the lens of 1970s filmmakers. Luckily for Snake and the Duke... Rudy Giuliani saved their bacon.

Also... honorable mention to any nuclear holocaust films.

T-Rav said...

Jed, you've seen that commercial one too many times, I think. :-)

Andrew, someone once made a good point about the inconsistency of Star Wars science: With speeders, lightsabers, and spaceships that travel faster than light, did they not have the capacity to repair Vader's body at all? Heck, even we have some sophisticated plastic surgeons.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think that's a vitally important aspect of filmmaking and far too many filmmakers ignore it. I'm amazed how many times I see an office or a home or apartment (especially in science fiction but not always) and I just think "that's wrong."

Seriously, how many times have we seen people living in apartments with zero personal items except the one family photo which is key to the plot? Or working in an office where there is nothing personal in the office. (Good call on the lack of improvisation.)

Also, even when they go overboard, how many times have we seen some hard-edged bachelor cop like Arnold Schwarzenegger come to home a perfect house full of the kind of furniture you would find at grandma's house?

If you want a believable film, I think it's vital to get this stuff right.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Scott, My point on Star Wars is the uselessness of the tech. People wouldn't have any use for it (and the stuff they would need is missing). It would be like creating a laser dog polisher. I'm sure we could do it, but why would we? And then at the same time not making things like can openers.

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - unbelievable!!! Raymond Massie, portrayer of Lincoln, as U.N. Wing commander. Wow!! All we needed was armed monkeys singing "oh Aye oh, Way Oh" ;)

Tennessee Jed said...

Floyd - a fine, fine choice. And, I like your more general point. A film doesn't automatically have to lousy to have gotten it totally wrong about the future.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

The whole Star Trek universe is also -- or will be bad...

utopian dreams

Tennessee Jed said...

Rav - if I have to see that commericial one more time, I swear it will drive me crazy and I'll throw my support to Ron Paul.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Spoilsport. Everything in Star Wars is possible!!

Actually, I can forgive a couple cheats on physics so long as the rest of the world is mostly believable. And I thought Star Wars was believable. Look at how Luke's family lived. They really looked like future farmers and had tools future farmers might have. But the prequels went off the rails and went into un-thoughtful science fiction. Nothing there is real.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, No problem and nice explanation. Certainly none of that came across in the film. The film was just a mess and, as Scott notes, is laughable when he whines about being able to carry 300 gig.

I suspect the director didn't understand the technology they were supposedly employing and instead just went with a chase film which only vaguely mentions the technology.

I also like how they can safely fax the code to Newark but can't transmit the data. In fact, why not just publish the data on the web since their purpose was to release it to the world?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I haven't seen that but now I'm honestly intrigued! That sounds rather... er, interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I take it you're impressed with a certain phone commercial?

I agree with you and Scott about the set decoration. I think it's vital to making films believable and yet for some reason many directors just don't seem to care.

Reality said...


George Lucas says we are overrated

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I gotta agree. I like Soylent Green for many reasons, but the whole idea is liberal stupidity. I'm certainly not saying we couldn't end up in a world where people are starving, but not the way that film gets there. It's so wrong on so many levels.

In fact, the thing that always really bothered me about it is this idea that the whole world would be covered in city. How can people not understand how large the world is compared to the people? Drive out West and you'll see how vast this country is and then you'll realize, getting the point where people are standing shoulder to shoulder all day just can't happen.

P.S. I love Escape From New York, even if it is kind of silly.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Yes Andrew... Escape From New York is all kinds of awesome.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's the problem with selective technology in films. Too often, they get an idea for one or two items in particular and they run with it without ever fleshing out their universe. If you can replace a finger, you should be able to replace a thumb or you better explain why you can't.

On the Vader issue, however, I do need to say that he may be beyond the point their science can save his body. He was pretty badly melted.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree. Just because a film is wrong doesn't make it lousy. It just makes it wrong. Sometimes it can hurt the film, but that need not always be the case.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, It depends on which Star Trek universe you are talking about. Kirk's makes sense. But Picard's is miserable. In fact, it doesn't surprise me in the least that his whole crew is constantly volunteering for suicide missions.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't like the whole series. In fact, right now all the phone commercials bother me -- and I can't tell you which phone is which except the pink girl.

DUQ said...

Worst guess? Any of the 1950s stuff where they talked about the benefits of radiation! LOL! Good stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Dear Reality, Lucas made a fortune trying to prove that point!

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Yes... yes it is! :)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Good call. I love the old space ships which just looked like a room with a control panel and a porthole out the side as they flew off to the moon or Mars. And I do indeed recall some films that were touting the benefits of radiation, though I think those were only for a very brief period until they realized it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Tennessee Jed said...

I must admit to being a fan of "Escape from New York" because I liked the movie, not just the awesome title.;)

One more thing on the cell commercial and then I will drop it forever. I cannot tell you whether the commercial is for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile etc., so I guess it is not all that effective. But as it relates to this post, the commercial was stolen from an old comic book character who was made into a forgettable movie starring the over-rated Warren Beatty. Unfortunately, that particular bit of fantasy has, alas, come true.

Last rant (honest,) anyone who would be sneaking a peak at NBA scores on his phone,instead of trying to find creative ways to look up his dates dress; well . . . .

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree all around. Anyone who would sneak a peek at NBA scores instead of his date is a fool and is not someone who I would look to for product advice!

On the point about not knowing which phone it is, I agree. And I think that's becoming a real problem with a lot of ads lately. The primary purpose of an ad is to pimp the product, not provide 30 seconds of entertainment, and when you don't recall who the ad was for, then it's failed.

There is an ad out right now which features the band Maroon 5. I saw this add a dozen times and still couldn't tell you who the band was. The guy says the name so fast and so mumbled that I had no idea. I finally realized that if you look for a millisecond at the intro of the ad, you can see the band named stenciled on a guitar case -- but you have to really look for it to see it and you have to know that's a band name.

Then it gets worse. I intentionally watched this ad repeatedly to try to find out who the band was (just curious) and what the product was. To this day I don't know what the product is. And I don't just mean the brand, I honestly don't know what the product is! It's probably something about sound, but that's all I have been able to determined. Total failure.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

When it comes to sci-fi, art direction becomes much more important. However, I can see where the filmmakers have to walk a thin line: if you insist on designing and fabricating everything from scratch, then you're forced to spend more time and money on something most people probably won't notice. The producers of Blade Runner would often ask why they were designing chairs and tables when they could go out and buy some.

On the other hand, if you simply buy products off the shelf and/or go to the various Hollywood prop houses, then you risk putting something in a film that people have seen already.

In Star Trek Generations, Kirk's cabin features a silverware caddy on the counter that I'd seen in a catalog. And on the commentary, they joke about Guinan having Pottery Barn candles in her quarters. And I believe Babylon 5 was furnished by Ikea. If I were a filmmaker, I'd be pretty embarrassed if someone called me out on something like this!

With films that take place in the future, all you can do is extrapolate based on the present. In Back to the Future II, future Marty's house has a cool TV with multiple feeds on one screen... but it's not a flat-panel LCD. And they still have a fax machine in the house. Et cetera. :-) (I do like the Black & Decker rehydrator.)

And then you have props and decorations that have taken on a life of their own, like this stupid thing!

When it comes to action films and comedies, it's a little different. Great call about the "bachelor cop" apartment.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You can rent that? LOL!

Yeah, that thing has been in every science fiction show you can imagine and it is starting to stick out like a sore thumb!

The thing about ordering from IKEA or something like that is that you can always change the look by just spray painting it or wrapping it in cloth.

I agree about not wanting to spend too much money, but there are many simple things they can do that they never think about. Take a desk at the office for example, as you say -- put some pens in a mug. Add one of those plastic water bottles, toss a fake logo on it. Add some knickknacks from a recent vacation. All of that works and makes the place look like someone actually works there.

In Blade Runner one of the things I thought was brilliant was his apartment. It was cluttered and messy and looked lived in. Yet, you never really had a chance to focus on any of it because of how they handled the direction so you never got the chance to say "hey, I own that!"

Compare that with Picard's quarters which look like he just walked into a hotel. Even the paintings/photos are generic and not related to him.

On BTTF, I agree that these guys are usually just extrapolating from the present and it's hard to guess everything that will happen. So them missing flat screens is to be expected in some ways. But since they didn't go very far into the future, it's also probably forgivable. Keep in mind, at that point in the 1980s, they were still selling black and white televisions in stores, so the idea of a flat screen really wasn't an issue. And even today you can still buy the tubes... and we are now 30 years out from the 1980s. So I see things like that as forgivable.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee and Andrew: What makes it doubly interesting is that Massey was a conservative to his dying day, and wasn't the least bit timid about it. I think he may have taken the part largely because it didn't exhibit Wells's outright socialist agenda but rather clouded it in terms of techno-futuristic strong central government (which was needed as a counter to Hitler's growing threat in Europe). He probably saw "Wings Over the World" more as a strong Anglo-American military alliance than as world government.

The movie shows up on TCM fairly often. It's really a wonderful movie with an ending that is more anti-world government than pro. The future world becomes so boringly technocratic that the son and daughter of the protagonist and antagonist can't wait to "go to the stars" in a space ship fired by a supercannon. The proles and the techno-demagogues try to stop them, but they're too late.

And watching Ralph Richardson during the middle part of the movie (after the "great war") swaggering around as a British version of a Somali warlord is worth it all.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Demolition Man, though it's totally a guilty pleasure "Whenever it's on TV, I need to see it" movie...

...fines for public profanity, seashells used for personal hygiene, Taco Bell is a five-star restaurant, and the most popular genre of music is vintage commercial jingles.

Then again, the film is a little ahead of its time in some ways, especially when it comes to "San Angeles"' ban on unhealthy things like fatty foods and Arnold Schwarzenegger's political career (kinda).

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'll have to watch for it. It sounds interesting!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I find Demolition Man interesting because it is where society is heading bit by bit.

Equally interesting these films usually wrongly try to blame right wingers for imposing ideas like banning unhealthy foods, alcohol or cigarettes. These are causes of the left, but Hollywood still insists on presenting these things as if conservatives are behind it. Escape from Los Angeles is particular stupid example of this. The president is presented as a right-wing religious nut who has banned everything that's unhealthy. I think that's a stunning statement on the delusion of the left that they would act like tyrants in real life but when they put these things on films they blame others for their own actions and make them the bad guys for doing exactly what they do every day. Talk about a disconnect!

Also, before you comment, I realize that Demolition Man does not do this politically, it is really more of a libertarian v. everyone else film, but your mention of the film brought this issue to mind -- and Hollywood does this all the time.

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - you've definitely made me want to see it. I guess I'll probably have to be a little patient. For example, Andrew's review of the Shining a while back got me hankering to see it again after all these years. Voila, it was on HDNet Movies yesterday and now sits in full HD mode on my DVR. :)

P.S. I didn't know about Raymond Massey's politics, but it makes me happy. That was back before Republicans were driven from the industry by a**h*les like Bruce Paltrow.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Props... let me say this about that...

If you're noticing the gewgaws on someone's desk and/or end table -- not to mention the manufacturer of said furniture... the film has great troubles than "bad futurism".

It is most likely booooooooring.

Individualist said...

I think when it comes to creating a scifi universe that looks "lived" in that we should give a lot of credit to Josh Whedon for the set of Firefly and Serenity. He made the spaceship looked lived in by putting personal touches in that I think added to the film.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, That's probably true to a degree, but it's all part of the suspension of disbelief. It's the same think like if you watched a war film and the Americans are using Ak-47s. Some people will overlook it, but others won't and it can be more than enough to throw people out of their suspension of disbelief.

And in this instance, it's not just the coffee mug that's the problem, it's usually the absence of any evidence that someone actually lives/works there.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I agree 100%. Not only did the inside of the ship look lived in, but the ship itself looked like an old ship that had gone through a lot. I think that adds a lot of believability.

One thing I liked about the Millennium Falcon was that it was constantly breaking down and it seemed a lot like a used car.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Andrew... I agree on art direction, etc. with glaring flaws that take you out of the film... but it's like women... why would I inspect an otherwise pretty girl too closely? I'm only going to find flaws and I'm missing the bigger picture. :-)

Though staring at movies is not creepy like staring at women.

I'm sure the same goes for dudes, but I wouldn't know.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Staring at women is creepy? Shoot!

I agree with you, by the way. Mistakes don't tend to jump out as much in good films because you're usually pretty deeply involved in the story. So it's with bad films that this is more likely to occur. And it is kind of silly to not like a good film just because of something minor in the background or a technical glitch.

But it's still a good idea to try to avoid anything that could take people out of films. If there's one thing I've noticed talking to people about films, it's how easy it is to distract them with something they think doesn't fit.

T-Rav said...

Staring at women isn't creepy! Just ask Twilight!

BevfromNYC said...

Once again, I'm late to the party. FYI - As for creepy women-starer- at'er's. It really depends on where you are staring...;-)

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

It would be interesting to see a dystopian film where they show what would happen if a right-wing religious nut took over... but portrayed it accurately.

I doubt fatty foods would be banned... but what would such a scenario look like? This secular Jew imagines no abortion (obviously), the establishment of a state religion, sex limited to missionary-style between a married man and woman, and a chain of Marcus Bachmann-owned gay re-education camps. And there would only be one TV channel that shows The 700 Club and Highway to Heaven reruns. :-)

(The preceding was tongue-in-cheek and not meant to offend!)

AndrewPrice said...

Elbows Bev, it's all about elbows! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Good point! LOL! Of course, anyone who takes anything that happens in Twilight as an accurate depiction of anything, is headed for jail.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - what do you mean fatty foods wouldn't be banned?

Staring at women?? - I heard Apple is coming out with a breast implant tentatively priced at $299 to $399 depending on features and cup-size. It is for women who claim men always stare at their breasts, but never listen to them

Anonymous said...

Jed -

See above for Andrew's and my discussion about Demolition Man and how many things the left would try to ban are, in movies, attributed to folks on the right.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, If Ricky Santorum had his way, I think you're probably right but you understate his desires.

1. Abortion bans obviously.

2. Ricky wants to ban all contraception. He actually says that contraception "allows people to do things that aren't natural." Would he put someone in the bedroom to watch? Probably not, but he would make non-married sex or sodomy a crime.

3. Prayer in schools including clear religious indoctrination.

4. Regulation of the internet to ban profanity/pornography and making it illegal to criticize religion.

5. Reintroduction of the Hays code for television and films.

6. Shutting down of "sin" businesses, i.e. alcohol, sex, gambling.

7. Requiring persons be married before receiving government benefits.

8. Elimination of gay rights and banning of gays from various activities or rights.

9. High taxes (he thinks 28% is about right) with money used to fund various "do-gooder" crusades.

10. High tarrifs making consumer goods ridiculously expensive.


And lest you think I'm overstating this, these are all things Firehouse Ricky has already advocated in one form or another.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, An iBreast? Apple really is ahead of the curve aren't they?!

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Scott, the left would be worse, but not by much.

Also, keep this in mind. Despite claims to being a conservative, Ricky actually belongs on the left. He's an economic socialist and a social Nazi.

Mycroft said...

The hands-down silliest guess is that money no longer exists.
Star Trek is only one of many SF television shows and movies that state that money is no longer required.
That makes about as much sense as stating that people will no longer use pronouns in the future, since money has no intrinsic value but is merely a representation of perceived value.
Okay, I accept that eliminating money in the future is possible if your society relies solely on barter, but that's not believable in a Star Trek type of future.
Since ScottDS mentioned Demolition Man, I'll also include the silly idea that physical sex will be replaced by virtual reality, drugs, telepathy, etc... I would sooner believe that humans would adapt to no longer breathing.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, I think that's silly too. It fundamentally misunderstands human nature.

In fact, the only way I could see that working would be if we found ways for machines to do everything we wanted for us free of charge and give us anything we want. And that would probably be the death of society if that were even possible (which isn't likely given limited resources).

T-Rav said...

Scott and Andrew, I'm reading through such descriptions of a right-wing dystopia and I'm wondering what the downside is here. ;-) (Am I joking? You'll never know!)

As for Star Wars technology, I don't know--surely Vader wouldn't have needed that many contraptions. Plus, anyone ever heard of aloe vera?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Of course, the civil war that followed the implementation of those policies might be a good time. I've always wanted to loot.

Good point about aloe vera! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I hate the Patriots!

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

I hope you're joking! :-D

Andrew -

Yes, the resulting civil war would be fun. I could see myself working for the enemy as a spy on the inside. (Seriously, this could be a role-playing game!)

For further reading:

Future dystopias where conservatives have won

Future dystopias where liberals have won

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't think I could fake supporting Firehouse Rick even if my life was at stake.

I've seen those links from you before. I think their lists are wrong. They both misunderstand the tyrannical nature of liberalism when it gets going and they mistake "corporate" for conservative.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I know I've posted them before but it was the first thing I thought of. :-)

And I can't disagree with the folks answering with Star Trek because of the lack of money. Or as T-Rav mentioned, replicator technology.

Someone once interviewed two of Trek's long-time tech guys - Mike Okuda and Rick Sternbach, both of whom I think are geniuses at what they do - and asked, rightfully so: "Why can't they just replicate gold-pressed latinum?"

The two guys gave a purposely tongue-in-cheek answer, with obvious pauses, and said something about copy protection and molecular structures.

Rick said: "...when we can't come up with a decent answer, we - we sort of skip it. [laughter]"

They also attributed the starship "woosh!" sounds to very sensitive microphones. :-)

T-Rav said...

No matter what, we can always agree that the Patriots are evil and have probably sold their souls to the devil. This time I'm definitely not joking.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree. And this game is annoying me to no end. Come on Baltimore!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, "Sensitive microphones"? LOL! That makes no sense. First, there's no sound in space, not just weak sound. Secondly, why would they even pipe that into the ship if they could?

Still, I like the effect and I don't bother thinking about it. If they were being honest, the ship would move in straight lines anyway (not like a jet) and much of what they do just wouldn't work.

The money thing is just an ill-conceived attempt to inject utpianism.

AndrewPrice said...

Tom Brady really is a lousy human being.

T-Rav said...

Going for it on 4th and 6 = worst decision ever.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, especially without any ability to protect Flacco... and wasting the time out.

AndrewPrice said...

Ahhh... my heart!

AndrewPrice said...


DUQ said...

Evil prevails again.

Outlaw13 said...

Didn't Star Wars take place a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away?

There's a whole string of post atomic holocaust movies, A Boy and His Dog, On The far we haven't blown ourselves up yet.

I have yet to see any fashon trend match the wierd clothes they show in movies that people wear in the "future".

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, I always find that funny too how apparently in the future everyone will wear identical jumpsuits. So much for pleasing consumers.

Outlaw13 said...

I think Idiocracy pretty much has hit the nail on the head.

AndrewPrice said...

Sadly, Idiocracy may be absolutely correct. In fact, we already see traces of it all around us.

rlaWTX said...

RE sex in Demolition Man - remembering how scary AIDS was end of 82's-beginning of 90's, that wasn't a totally crazy idea, esp. when you consider it was probably a gov't enforced plan instead of a grassroots idea (like salt, etc). I bet the underground folks went at it the old fashioned way!

but I love that movie!

As for the rest, I agree with T-Rav about the magically appearing from nowhere food, etc.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, "I bet the underground folks went at it the old fashioned way!" -- LOL! True.

The problem with the replicators is that it violates a law of nature -- it creates something out of nothing which just can't happen.

Individualist said...

Tennesse Jed

I read some short stories by Gibson back at least 15 years. That's whn I got hooked on the genre.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Andrew..."Identical jumpsuits"?

See Zardoz my friend... it's all red banana hammocks, thigh boots, pron 'staches and guns.

Google Zardoz and Sean Connery

Minority Report has some plausibility.

Also plausible actually is Buck Rogers -- not the bad production values of course, but the improved cities, etc. Plus any future with Erin Gray can't be all bad.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I have indeed seen Zardoz and you are correct... not everyone will be wearing jumpsuits. LOL!

Minority Report made sense in their costuming because it wasn't much different than what you have today.

Erin Gray! :)

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I like your "Nooooooo....!!!!" comment. Seriously though, how do you miss a field goal from 32 yards out with the wind at your back? :-/

Oh well. You know what this means: Go Giants!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I know, how in the world could he miss that? Ugh.

I am not pleased about having to become a Giants fan, but there is no question in this matter: Go Giants!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

As a Cowboys fan I am constitutionally and morally incapable of rooting for the Giants.

I'll root for Darth Hoodie... hate him or love him if he wins this SB 11 years after his first in this age of salary caps, etc. he's got a great argument for greatest coach since Lombardi or Landry

tryanmax said...

And Bev thought she was late.

Hands down, the most ridiculous guess at the future comes from BttF Pt.II with the double-tie.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I just can't do it. My Patriot hate runs far too deep.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! tryanmax, Now that is an excellent choice! One tie is bad enough, two is simply inconceivable!

Anonymous said...

Hands down, the most ridiculous guess at the future comes from BttF Pt.II with the double-tie.

Yeah, I wasn't a big fan of the double-knotted ties but I did like Doc's transparent tie. And I can easily see kids wearing their pants inside-out as a fad. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I can totally see kids wearing their pants inside out. In fact, haven't they already done that once? I know when I was in college everyone wore their sweatshirts inside out and I think gangbangers were wearing their pants inside out briefly -- before they settled on just wearing them down around their knees.

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