Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I love the way that google maps distorts perspective by marrying photos taken from different vantage points into a single image. For a particularly good example, check out the corner of North Lake Shore and East Ohio in Chicago, with the Lake Point Apartment Building on the right side of your screen.

Totally Escher, yeah?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Idiocracy is definitely not the grim disaster that it's un-release would have you suppose. AS you probably know, the plot is your basic Sleeper/Buck Rogers rip, with a regular guy from the present sent to the far future (the deus ex plot device here is a military experiment,) the twist being that in the future things have gotten worse as people have gotten stupider. An opening montage with a pompous high school science class film strip narrator explaining how natural selection backfires because of selfishness is worth the price of admission. The vicious satire of dumbing down is absolutely hilarious - it's great to see all the most obnoxious quirks and behaviors that grow ever more ubiquitous treated with unironic scorn instead of unironic love or ironic approval. It has pretty much the same problem as Office Space has, which is that Judge is clearly more interested in puncturing worthy targets and writing good gags than constructing compelling plots or character arcs. There's plenty of big laughs here from one-liners and especially sight gags to the point that it'll certainly stand up to repeat viewings just to get all the corner-of-the-screen minijokes. One insidious thing about the film is the focus it gives to the media/entertainment aspect of the future, since some of the shitheaded TV that's swept the world actually had me roaring with laughter, especially the reality show "Ow, My Balls!"

In a way, Luke Wilson's Joe - an ordinary unambitious guy turned savior of a dunderheaded world - feels like a guilty conscience's reaction against Office Space's Peter Gibbon, for whom lack of ambition turned out to be the key to happiness and his greatest virtue. Joe has a revelation late in the movie that he was part of the problem in his own time but was able to skate by because of other, smarter people doing the hard work of running the world. When he becomes the smartest man on earth he accepts the responsibility that goes with such a position. The other 20th Centurian, a prostitute recruited by the army is less negative about the fucktard's dystopia she finds herself in, at first because she discovers it's really easy to rip off the morons she's surrounded by, then later because it's a chance at a new life. One of the better running gags is that Joe never figures out she's a hooker, accepting her story that she's a struggling painter long after it's clear she's bullshitting him.

I fully expect Idiocracy is going to become a cable/video sensation, especially since it looks like even fewer people will see it at the cinema than saw Office Space on it's first release. Watching it on Comedy Central or TNT would be especially wierd, since the culture they exemplify are the subject of so many of Idiocracy's skewerings. Still, they'll run anything that gets good ratings and is highly quotable and rewatchable, so I bet by this time next year it happens.