Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 29

Science fiction is about dreaming big and looking to a better tomorrow, but it's not often very realistic.

What film do you think gives the best representation of the future?

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I guess I'd have to go with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We finally have extra-terrestrials visit . . . and they are friendly! Certainly, as a franchise, Star Trek is very positive, but more so in the television shows than in the films, I think.

Panelist: ScottDS

If we're talking about technology and other "cool" stuff, then I would have to say Minority Report. Spielberg and his team really did their research even though some of it still seems a little far-fetched. On the other hand, if we're talking about culture, then I would have to say Star Trek, minus some of Gene Roddenberry's more ridiculous ideas. Humans are out exploring the universe and, while some of our neighbors haven't quite learned to behave, Earth is more or less a paradise. Who wouldn't want to live in a world free of poverty, war, and disease? (Of course, they never tell us exactly how we arrived at that point; only that it took another world war to get there.)

Panelist: AndrewPrice

I'm going with the world of Outland and Alien, which are very similar. I think these films show what the "near-future" will be like, where space is industrial rather than poetic because that's what is likely to happen long before we end up with Earth-like off-world colonies.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Any of the Star Trek-related movies or television shows. Gene Roddenberry came pretty close to what our world is becoming. When anyone says that Steve Jobs invented the Ipad, they are wrong. It was Gene Roddenberry or at least he invented idea.

Panelist: T-Rav

Maybe it's my natural pessimism showing, but I tend toward Blade Runner more than anything else. Modern society seems hell-bent on dystopia more often than not, and the portrayal of a run-down, decaying civilization in Ridley Scott's film seems to me like a preview of where we're headed with our current leaders and attitudes--a former Soviet republic writ large. Not to mention that at the rate we're making increasingly sophisticated robots, Replicants may make an appearance sooner rather than later.

Comments? Thoughts?


Tennessee Jed said...

After reading through the panelist comments, it appears to me that Bev, Scott and myself all took the meaning of the term "best" to mean "positive" whereas T-Rav took it to mean "most realistic" or perhaps "most likely." Since Andrew also went that way, and since he devised the question, it now appears the latter was the interpretation he had in mind. To quote Leonard Nimoy: "fascinating.:

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is fascinating. I know there was one question where I e-mailed Andrew for clarification but this obviously wasn't it!

As for "most likely," Demolition Man comes to mind: no one, including police officers is allowed to carry guns; sexual intercourse is illegal; and we all listen to old advertising jingles for entertainment. Schwarzenegger may not be president but he was a governor so that's close enough. :-)

But I can't see Taco Bell turning into a 5-star restaurant anytime soon.

Tennessee Jed said...

Saw Rollerball (the original with James Caan) recently and that seems like a potentially likely scenario also. As far as Demolition Man and ***** Taco Bell's, don't be so sure:)

Kelly said...

Jed, I find that you all often interpret questions differently, which I think is kind of cool.

My best and is most favorite future would probably be the Star Trek world of Jim Kirk. My most likely future would probably be Fifth Element.

AndrewPrice said...

Morning everyone... I hate changing my clocks. Grr.

Scott and Jed and Kelly, A lot of these questions are a little ambiguous by design. We could be more specific, but I'd rather let everyone interpret them themselves and then see what people come up with! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I love Rollerball. It's a heck of a lot smarter film than people want to believe because they get caught up in the idea (from the critics) that it's a statement about violent sports.

Tennessee Jed said...

Kelly - I agree it is kind of cool. It is also instructive in terms of the art of communication. Sometimes even the most basic phrases can be viewed differently:)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Demolition Man is one of those fascinating films where they mix up the politics. They basically imply what Hollywood sees as a right-wing "moral" dystopia, but then they toss in things the left has been after for years (e.g. health campaigns, anti-gun). In many ways, it's basically a libertarian film. And I'm not surprised Dennis Leary is in it.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The world is full of quality ambiguities. In fact, most of the words we use to judge things ("best", "worst" etc.) are entirely ambiguous. I think it's interesting to leave those in the questions because it gives a much broader answer to the question based on what each person thinks is more important. In other words, you may think "best" should mean "most real" and I might think best should me "most ideal."

AndrewPrice said...

Kelly, Fifth Element is one of my favorite science fiction films for a lot of reasons, one of which is that it's one of the few non-dystopian films I've seen about the future.

Anonymous said...

Jed -

I read all about that woman and her Olive Garden review. On one hand, if I lived in a small town, I'd be excited, too. On the other hand... it's Olive Garden (I say that as a fan), and her review does border on parody but that probably says more about society than anything else.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I lived in a town where Denny's was "the big restaurant." (You have to go 45 miles to find anything decent.) So I can fully understand why an Olive Garden would amaze some people.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - it fits your definition of a conservative film to a tee even though I think the makers had a different thought in mind. Corporations instead of "government" but the film is a tribute to the fee spirit of the individual :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Oh, perhaps I should have specified my last comment referenced Rollerball

Doc Whoa said...

This is a tough question because there are so surprisingly few "good" futures on film. Most are dystopian or cornball. So I think I need to go with Star Trek because I can't think of many others that wouldn't be horrible places to live?

Doc Whoa said...

I saw Rollerball on Andrew's recommendation after reading his review and I really loved it.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I doubt very much that they intended to make a conservative film, but it absolutely fits the bill. It's basically the "Brave New World" future on film and it's a warning against oppression by carrot rather than stick.

It's too bad it's been largely lost by audiences.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, That's true. There are very few "good" futures on film. I suspect the reason is that films are about conflict and if your setting isn't somehow shocking, then you would just go ahead and set the story in modern times.

P.S. Glad you liked Rollerball!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'm tempted to say Zardoz -- but that just may be my secret desire to run around in a red banana hammock wearing pirate boots while sporting lamb chop sideburns and carrying a gun.

Sadly -- no one has made a decent movie for Brave New World because that is the most accurate depiction of the near future... amused to death.

As a Christian I'd like to say Left Behind, but then that causes derisive laughter in me and I hate to ridicule brothers in Christ -- even if their movie SUCKED.

I'm gonna say Escape From New York... hope springs eternal... and with Nanny Bloomberg Manhattan has become a sort of prison. Mikey is the DUKE.

I'd also say the games Modern Warfare 2 and 3 are the best depictions of the very near future in their limited scope of the world.

Outlaw13 said...

Unfortunately the film I think best represents our short term future is "Idiocracy".

"The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

Floyd R. Turbo said...

The problem with future movies (going all the way back to Lang's Metropolis and the versions of HG Wells movies) is that they're made by Lefties who always have a paranoid fear of right wing dictatorship so we get loopy depictions like Logan's Run, Soylent Green, The Handmaid's Tale (which is a good book and not a horrible movie -- as it is) and even Escape From New York (as awesome as it is)... with a jack-booted government. Many of them are awesome... Equilibrium is my favorite.

Even Alien and Outland are left-wing paranoid fantasies of a militarized/crony capitalistic space future.

Is it not enough for Lefties to ruin the present that they have to ruin the future as well? You figure folks who self-identify as Progressive would have a rosier picture of the future. I think in fact they know, on some level, the logical outcome of their worldview is mass death and starvation.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Zardoz LOL!! Nice!

Brave New World is absolutely where we're headed and a lot of people seem find with that.

I haven't played Modern Warfare, so I can't comment on that.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Isn't that the truth. And we see more evidence of it every single day. I fear that many things that film somewhat-jokingly predicts will be fact very soon.

I wonder if that film is ripe for a serious remake? I wonder if you could make a serious version of that?

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I think the real problem with progressives having a rosier picture of the future is that even they know that their views will lead to disaster, not paradise. Seriously, if you took everything the left wants and built a society around it, it would be a nightmare society -- something like Demolition Man without anyone objecting to the loss of freedom and individuality.

Equilibrium is a great film. It's also another remake of 1984, which I think explains why so many conservatives like it.

LawHawkRFD said...

I'm with Outlaw13.

Anonymous said...

Andrew and I talked about this once and I believe the difference between a right-wing paranoid fantasy of the future and a left-wing one is often a matter of degrees.

If, in Alien, Ash was found out to be working for the government instead of the company, well, that makes a little bit of a difference, doesn't it?

And part of it is the message and the phrasing. Which sounds worse: fascist right-wing military dictatorship... or electric car? :-)

(Yes, I'm grossly over-simplifying it.)

T-Rav said...

Denny's is a great restaurant, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

Floyd, "Left Behind" was a better book than it was a movie, which isn't really saying much.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

@Scott... Ash works for both.... it's fascistic in a way... Kruppworks in Space with Hydra Marines. But as Jonah Goldberg spelled out... that's left-wing too.

A Right Wing future movie would be Minority Report in setting and classical virtues -- timeless virtues -- in story. No matter. You could film 300 as the forces of liberty defeat Iranian Republican Guards as a last stop on the way to Israel in 2023.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I love Denny's. It is in fact my favorite restaurant in that range by far and I've been there far too often. :)

But it's not really the place you want to go with a prom date, which was the case in W.Va.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Sadly, we're much closer to that than we are some sort of Star Trek future.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It doesn't matter what the government calls itself. It can call itself a democracy, a dictatorship or a corporatocracy.... the effect is the same if the "thing acting with the authority of a sovereign" (either by law or de facto) suppresses the individual in favor of the collective. All the rest is just window dressing, just like how dictatorships always call themselves "Democratic People's Republic of..."

But the left doesn't like that because they won't admit they are primarily totalitarian in nature. So they pretend that if the government is "a corporation" then it's somehow a rightwing thing, even though it's not. In fact, you can get a government which does everything the left wants, structure it like a communist dictatorship, and then call it "a corporation" and the left will swear this is an evil rightwing government. They simply don't want to see the truth.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I think you're right about Minority Report because it comes straight out and attacks the idea of thought crime, something the left loves more and more.

BevfromNYC said...

Interesting choices - And I have to agree with Outlaw13, and amend my answer -

Our best possible future - StarTrek
Our most realistic future - Idiocracy

Dear God,
Please go with my first choice.
Your friend,

Anonymous said...

Andrew and Floyd -

Interesting thoughts about Minority Report, though, given the year it was released (2003), you can imagine why Spielberg felt it was "relevant."

(To be fair, the film had been in development for years and was even going to be a Total Recall sequel at one point.)

Man, some of this government/corporate stuff is confusing. :-) I only ask now because one day I'm going to write a film or a TV show or a comic and it'll touch on this stuff... and some idiot reviewer (we'll call him Ben S., or better yet, B. Shapiro) is going to label me something I am not. I'd rather nip that in the bud now.

Oh, one more note about restaurants... I was ecstatic when a new Burger King opened up near here and it had one of these in it.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Let's hope our friend upstairs is listening! Because right now, Outlaw is absolutely right.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That is pretty cool. I'd love to have one for my house! :)

I see what you did there. ;)

People get confused because (1) many people try to mislead on this topic and (2) a lot of people simply don't want to see the imposition of their own beliefs as bad, whereas they see the imposition of other people's beliefs as bad.

The best way to think about it is, is the person advocating more government control or less? Toward libertarianism or toward totalitarianism?

And don't believe the hype. Just because someone says they are advocating "freedom" doesn't mean they really are -- always look at what their plan actual does to people's rights, just because someone says they have good intentions doesn't mean they do and just because they can point to one person who suddenly gets "freedom" doesn't mean you can ignore the others who are suddenly oppressed.

It's actually pretty simply UNLESS you are trying to hang on to the myth that imposing your own beliefs is somehow not an exercise in government power.

darski said...

I will say "Left Behind" because as a Christian I know that it is coming.

I also believe that the lefties will fall into a theocracy that serves their needs, wants and desires. They will love a government by someone who controls everything you can do and think they finally have Nirvana. They will also love the fact that they have mass murders of Christians on their reality TV... it will make their little hearts beat happily. Think of the joy Joy Behar could experience.

Further, atheists aren't stupid; when you have to say 'yes please" to get some lunch they will play along.

AndrewPrice said...

darski, The left has often fallen into theocratic mode. Indeed, they used the Catholic Church throughout the 1960s/1970s to spread liberation theology and they've infested many others. They would still be at it now, except they found that atheism works better as a weapon that Christianity.

Kenn Christenson said...

In the films, I've seen, think "Logan's Run" comes closer to what might come to pass. Very much like Huxley's vision - the people are controlled through gratification - and they take care of those "pesky" old people - simply by doing away with them.

Always saw a lot of Orwell in the left's planning - but, more and more I'm coming around to Huxley. Especially convincing was this cartoon - posted at Threedonia:

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, I've come around to that too. When I was younger, it just made sense that the left would force its will upon the people. That's what they'd always done and they were clearly trying to use the government to get their will on various issues still.

But it's slowly dawned on me that there's no reason to force their will upon people when they can get it little by little by handing out taxpayer-provided goodies to bribe people. Sadly, humans are very read to fall for that. Arg.

Some on the left haven't gotten the message -- hence the OWS idiots. But the smarter left knows what they are doing and they are winning what they want little by little every single day.

Thanks for the link: Cartoon

Paulman said...

"The problem with future movies (going all the way back to Lang's Metropolis and the versions of HG Wells movies) is that they're made by Lefties who always have a paranoid fear of right wing dictatorship..."

I wouldn't put Metropolis in that category. The climax of the film featured an alliance between the industrialists and the workers under leadership of the intellectuals, something that came to pass in Germany in 1933. Metropolis screenwriter Thea von Harbou joined the Nazi Party a year earlier.

Kenn Christenson said...

Of course, on the "cool" side - there's always "The Road Warrior." One of my favorites! Not that I'd want to live in that environment - but, just about everything, in there, IS possible.

AndrewPrice said...

Paulman, I don't agree either than all dystopia is done by leftists, though most is. I think Blade Runner is a classic example of dystopia by chaos rather than an overly powerful government.

(As an interesting aside, both Orwell and Huxley were leftists, but what they created were strong warnings against collectivism and strong states.)

On Metropolis, however, I would argue that their version of utopia is very much socialism/collectivism. They are overthrowing "the establishment," which would have meant a Kaiser or something like that at the time, and then having everyone submit happily to the new collective.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, That is a very cool movie... with one odd issue. Why does everyone have to wear shoulder pads and ass-less chaps after the apocalypse?

Kenn Christenson said...

Then, there's "A Clockwork Orange." On second thought - this IS the future. Think there's a reason Ebert disliked this picture so much - it's the logical outcome to all the left's notions and "societal interventions."

Kenn Christenson said...

Shoulder pads - because they look cool, of course. Ass-less chaps? Interesting which side is wearing them. Social commentary? Hmmmm.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, Ebert's an interesting guy. I've been looking at a bunch of conservatives films and their liberal counterparts lately and in each instance, Ebert praised the liberal film without ever mentioning its politics, while he dismissed each conservative film as "confused" or "muddied." Moreover, each time, he completely misunderstood the message of the conservative film -- either intentionally or because he's just not that bright. . . you decide -- and he tried to describe as something it was not.

So it doesn't surprise me in the least that he would dislike any film which shows liberal ideas in a negative light.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! Yeah, I guess the ass-less chaps were on the bad guys. Point taken!

Outlaw13 said...

What chaps aren't ass-less? :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bravo! Nicely done! LOL!

Floyd R. Turbo said...


Metropolis... I see fascism as a form of liberalism-leftism. I saw it that way before Jonah Goldberg's book but I didn't have the gumption to write a book about it. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I've always seen it that way too. When I was in grade school I was told "no, no, these were right wingers like Republicans, whereas the communists were left winners like Democrats," and that immediately struck me as ridiculous. Both advocated nearly identical methods and very similar goals, with only a little PR standing between the two -- and neither is like Republicans in any way... though I can't vouch the same for some Democrats.

My grandfather (who was an Austrian and spent time in Russia as surgeon for the Wehrmacht) before getting stuck in East Germany for a decade, made the very solid point that "the only difference between a good Nazi and a good communist is the color of the shirt." I know he didn't say that first, but his having lived under both systems gave it a lot of weight with me. And the more I looked into it, the more obvious it became. Outside of a few meaningless organizational points, they were both very similar collectivist states.

And whenever I hear modern leftists try to explain why Nazism isn't a leftwing philosophy, it only confirms my belief because they struggle mightily to find any sort of meaningless distinction and they studiously avoid all the substantive points.

Kenn Christenson said...

I've always said that Communists are just Nazis with better PR.

Anonymous said...

It's been years since I've read Brave New World, but this discussion does ring true, as does the cartoon that was linked.
At least, we haven't seen genetic manipulation of the zygote to create a permanent underclass (Deltas?), but maybe that's isn't really necessary since we have an entrenched public educational system to accomplish the same end.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, That's true and it largely has to do with our own leftist media covering for them for years. Dupes and useful idiots.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

@mycrofth4.... "zygote manipulation" we have their called Tri-Delts.

AndrewPrice said...

mycrofth, It's coming fast. They are already coming up with ways to use genes to tailor children's mental and physical abilities. It's only a matter of time before a parental arms race leads to two classes of humans.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Which leads me to perhaps a realistic film we left out and which is awesome...


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent question and conversation!

Since no one has mentioned it I'll throw in Firefly/Serenity in a possible distant future.

I can definitely believe that there could be a gigantic nanny state style (leftist) government (that controls the media or has a complicite media like we do...for the most part) in charge and a smaller group of folks that just wanna be left alone to enjoy liberty.

Liberty that the government sees as a threat.

People working for the government in that film have good intentions, just like most leftists today, but the results are always bad just as it's always bad to stifle liberty and truth.

Serenity does an excellent job discussing this through the hero and the villain's conversations.

Another film would be The Island. I could see that happenning, particularly if the majority of folks devalue life which, one could argue, an increasing number of people are moving towards.

Of course, one could also argue that the clones in that film ain't really human life, just as the left says babies in the womb ain't human life, but that argument is easily shot down if one is honest about it.

Sorry I haven't been around lately. Been under the weather but doing better now.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Gattaca is a good movie. I haven't seen it in years though, and I don't recall it's specifics. I should watch it again.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, We have missed you! I'm glad you're feeling better. :)

Good choices! Firefly/Serenity really offer a very conservative view of tyranny don't they? And I could absolutely see a parallel even starting today. I also think the idea that people can do wrong even with the best of intentions is something Hollywood doesn't cover enough.

On The Island, I think we are headed there right now, in a way. I suspect the temptation of growing humans for parts will eventually prove too hard to resist.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I think it may be worth noting that a minority of folks, even during our Founding Fathers time actually embrace Life, Liberty and Private Property rights to the degree our Founders wanted.

I think most folks (at least Americans) want liberty but to varying degrees.
Unfortunately, once our public education system was mostly coopted by leftists we have a majority of people that have no idea what first principles are or why liberty is so important (much more important than "free" stuff rationed out by the guvmint).

Our entertainment culture reinforces that.
So it's a wonder that most folks still wanna be free, even if many still fall for the bait and switch many politicians use to take away our freedoms.

Thankfully, there still is folks who know how precious life n' liberty is, and there has been a pushback in private education and indepndents in the entertainment field thanks to men like Breitbart and many others so hope is always there...but it won't be easy.

Outside the US it's evewn worse, and outside of western countries it seems to be impossible.

Ironically, some of the USSR's (Russia for you youngins) satellite anexes are trying to embrace liberty (Poland, and a few of the 'Stans).

I sincerely hope they embrace it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I sure missed you guys!

BTW, good news: we finally got DSL out here! Hurray! I really wasn't expecting it out here during my lifetime.

It's only 1.5G but we can still watch videos and even films and it downloads purty quick.

It's like we entered the 21st century and faster internet is cool! :^)

Now if only we can get affordable talking computers that understand what we actually command like Star Trek...I know, it'll happen someday.

Hey, howabout a computer that reads our thoughts?
OTOH, that could be a bad idea too, lol.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think you're right that too few people truly embrace liberty. That's always been the problem with the human race, that they will too often trade freedom for comfort or safety. I think the degree to which they resist varies greatly from country to country, but even in the US a sizable portion of the population does happily go along with anything the government proposes, so long as they are promised that it will all be for the better.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, We missed you too! I was expecting to hear from you after the Washington primary. Interesting result, not what I expected?

I know what you mean about the DSL. I lived in a place where I had to get satellite because neither cable nor DSL was available. That stunk, but it was better than dialup. Then I finally managed to get cable and it changed so much about the net. Suddenly I could download videos and music and see complete webpages before the thing timed out and left the images as placeholders. What a world!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I pretty much expected Romney to get it here. Not that much of a Santorum-like evangelical influence here (also, I believe Washington has the least church attendance than any state in the union per capita but that's another story).

What were you expecting? Gingrich? Most folks I know liked the good Gingrich but saw through his obvious pandering and many hypocritical gaffes.

Ron Paul may have had a chance in a few of the sparsely populated counties but overall no chance statewide.

We tried satellite (Wildblue) for awhile but it was expensive, not appreciably faster for the money than dial-up (couldn't watch films) and they had a limit (a very low limit) to how much bandwith we could use without draconian penalties (bandwidth nazis!).

Comcast, which is what we have, is much faster, half the price and unlimited bandwidth. I love competition! :^)

DSL does cause one problem though: I can watch Lilyhammer now and so far (first episode) it has been good...and addictive.

We need more hours in a day, lol.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I had Direcnet, which I think is Hughes now? They were very expensive with a huge initial equipment cost ($600+). They also had a nearly one second delay before the signal arrived, which made things like games and streaming impossible. And they were mega bandwidth Nazis. It was something like 50 MB and then they would slow you to a crawl the next day. And if you did it two days in a row, they would cut you off for the entire next day. They wouldn't even tell you what they were doing. So all you would know would be that you weren't able to connect. And if you called tech support, they would promise to send someone out, but never told you "oh, we're doing that intentionally." So if they showed up, you got charged.

I was actually expecting Santorum because Santorum's people made a big deal about the state going for Robertson or someone like that in 1992 and then having a similar follow up history in 1996 or 2000. Plus, Romney didn't seem to be campaigning there, so I figured Santorum would win. I'm glad he didn't, but I was surprised.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wildblue works the same way. They might be a subsidiary of Hughesnet since we called them first and got redirected to Wildblue. Same MO at any rate and two thumbs down (with an additional two middle fingers up).

The state was a lot more conservative leaning in those days. Still is in some ways (higher taxes always gets voted down by initiatives for example).
But the evangelical influence, at least Santorum's evangelicals or Robertson's has decreased exponentially.

Plus, in my experience, most republicans since then are more pro business and concerned about the economy than anything else.

Santorum's class warfare rhetoric really hurt any chances he may have had IMO.

Washington really is a difficult state to pigeonhole politically (except for Seattle of course) and I have been living here since 1991.
Good to see that my gut feeling that Romney would win here was accurate in this case. :^)

Incidently, it's also good to see Romney win despite the interference of democrats, in states like Michigan that have the idiotic open primaries.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I am too. Santorum would have been a disaster and now I'm sure he's finished. I wrote about this the other day. If you do the math, it's over. And his "big" win Saturday really proved it, when he couldn't sweep Kansas and ended up losing more delegates than he won on the day. He's now arguing that he will win because the delegates might revolt at the convention. When you reach that point, it's time to give it up. But he's still out there name calling.

Oh well.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Barely scratch the surface and Santorum's not nearly the nice, clean cut Christian guy he likes people to believe he is.

I agree, his run is all but officially over at this point and I'm glad it is.
Although he will do as much damage as possible before he bitterly bows out or Romney wins the magic number.

I don't think most voters are listening to him any longer or give credence to his whining anymore.
No one likes a bitter and habitual whiner.

Commander Max said...

It is a shame futuristic movies are mostly populated with utopian statists. But it is something to note that utopian films are made by people with such huge egos. Aspiring dictators no less.

You guys got me thinking, films that depict a better tomorrow?

The first thing that comes to mind, is a Japanese subject- "Ghost in the Shell". There were several movies and series. It went into both the good and bad of technology.

A few more come to mind, "Real Steel" I consider it a positive future, just to see how advanced bipedal robots could be. But human nature is still the same.

"2001" I know that was well over a decade ago:).
But it did depict a very positive future, with space travel being commonplace. Plus it's style was much more optimistic, as opposed to the latter 2010 which didn't look so futuristic, more like a sudden 80's revival(which didn't happen in 2010).

"I, Robot", again it had a more positive depiction of the future. Granted things do go south, but then what fun would it be if everything was perfect.

"Bicentennial Man", yes more robot movies. I try to look at more than just the robot. You have to look at the world/stage the robots are placed. This one defiantly fit the bill of a positive depiction of the future. It even went as far as depicting a robot keeping his own earnings, and was a compassionate individual as well.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to dictatorships and fascist regimes in futuristic movies, I think the interesting thing is when they try to explain how society got that way. The Star Wars prequels could've been about this, you know, had Lucas hired a better writer!

I'm not saying everyone who writes a story like this wishes to live in such a society but I enjoy the "world-building" aspect of sci-fi and it's always interesting to chart the progress of a parallel society. That's why alternate universe historical fiction is so popular.

rlaWTX said...

Commander Max, you went Asimovian - I was going to do that!

I just don't like the movie versions nearly as much as the books'. Anyway, Asimov's Robot books and McCaffrey's Talent books show a cramped, communal world. McCaffrey's also show one where most just live off of the government's largesse. I think these are possible...

Except for the Browncoats losing, I like the world of Firefly.

rlaWTX said...

[books again] McCaffrey's Pern series is a different take on the future, where they are cut off from the society they know and have to create one of their own w/o much of the tech they were used to. Their world ends up very feudal.

tryanmax said...

Aw, man! Why'd you have to do this question this weekend? I had to go dark for the move and missed an awesome discussion.

As for me, I think the best future is the one depicted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. There's something oddly romantic about a utopia governed by the dual principles: "Be excellent to each other," and "Party on, dudes!" I also like the one-hand-on-the-heart-one-hand-in-the-air reversible salute.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I agree on all points. Santorum is a snake. If anyone thinks he's a good representative for Christianity, then they better re-evaluate their beliefs.

I also expect he will do his best to do as much damage to Romney as possible. I genuinely believe he wants to see Romney lose.

That said, I agree that few people are taking him seriously outside the MSM -- which is pushing him hard, and the Religious Right which sees him as their wedge against creating libertarianism.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I've been thinking about this too and it's fascinating to me that there are so few positive movies about the future. I guess humans are inherently pessimistic?

In any event, you raise some good examples of positive futures. 2001 in particular appears to be a very positive view of the future, though 2010 tried to take much of that back.

I would be curious, however, to see a few genuine "utopia" films.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, If you want to see the BEST depiction of how this could happen, what the series Babylon 5. That series shows how a fascist state could gradually develop right down to a Gestapo-like very public secret police. It's fascinating to watch.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Speaking of Asimov, I have long thought The Foundation presented a fantastic look at a positive future, though I think the second and third books somewhat undermine it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Bill and Ted does indeed offer and excellent future and plenty of waterslides.

Commander Max said...

When it comes to big egos and film, I had Lucas in mind. He did just what a dictator would do. Get rid of any opposing views, then do what he wants. Which in the end makes makes him look like a better businessman than a movie maker. Only time will tell if he is even a good business man.

rlaWTX books are always better than the movies, like Jurassic Park. That book read like a movie, but the movie was so bad it deserved a review on MST3K.
What I've seen of Firefly didn't really pull me in, but then being a Phoenix native, the cowboy world gets a little old. Having been around it all my life.

I would take the world of Babylon 5 over most of what I've seen. But since the topic was movies, I went in that direction.

I did think of listing "Back to the Future". But like "Bill and Teds" it wasn't taking itself all that seriously. We need a lot more movies like those two.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Agreed. We are missing movies like BTTF and Bill & Ted today -- movies that were clever and fun. We seem to have lost our sense of fun.

One of the things I really liked about B5 is that it struck me as a very real world. These weren't idealized humans and they didn't pretend there no things like garbage or bathrooms. But it also had a very positive view of human potential.

Yeah, Lucas. Hmm. I don't know if he's a good businessman or just got lucky that he owns a hot property? I have definitely concluded that he's not a good director. And you're right, his biggest problem appears to be an unwillingness to allow dissent.

rlaWTX said...

what's kinda great about Firefly is that it really is a dystopian future - Big galactic gov't, hiding the truth about the Reevers, all of River's experiences... BUT there are those who are rebelling and living their own lives at the edges of this "controlled" environment!!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I've always been a fan of people fighting the system. Rebels are cool!

Individualist said...

For realism I will have to go with Floyd, Gattaca was well done. They concentrated on a tight premise and explored its meaning quite well.

The idea of genomism, a new form of elitism and racism, based upon the quality of soeone's genetically engineered DNA and what happens to the poor soul who is brough into the world without a doctor tweaking his or her embryo in a test tube first who has to compete with people engineered to have Einstein's intellect and imagination and an Olympic Athelte's physique.

The movie concentrated on this subject and explored it without predicting the end of civilization as we know it or a complete alteration of humanity into something alien. It was one of the best hard science fiction movies I have seen in a long time.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I suspect that is actually where we're headed because it's now possible to genetically engineer humans. So as some people start to use this, their kids will get better than other kids. Eventually, this will result in a two-tier track with some on it and some off it.

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