Films of the decade: "Idiocracy"

Let's be clear: Mike Judge's movie isn't that good. But its hilarious indictment is all too accurate

Published December 23, 2009 5:42PM (EST)

A still from "Idiocracy"
A still from "Idiocracy"


Film that moved me the most in the last decade. Like salmon swimming upstream, only the ones that made it to my permanent DVD collection need apply. Let's see. "Downfall." Pro: Gripping historical epic, best depiction of absolute power absolutely disintegrating. Con: Can't get You Tube ranting Hitler parodies out of mind. Next. "A.I." Damn, spoken for. Alternate Spielberg choice, "War of the Worlds." Pro: Best 9/11 movie ever, "United 93" notwithstanding. Con: Can't get You Tube ranting Cruise parodies out of mind. Next. "Wit." Pro: Brought me to my knees with documentary-like portrayal of the black hole of ultimate human connection. Also, bonus points: Emma Thompson, my personal goddess, in the performance of the end of a lifetime. Con: Only on HBO, not in theaters. Damn. "The Wrestler." Pros: Mickey Rourke working that deli counter. Great epilogue from personal god and hardest working music man of the decade, Bruce Springsteen. Con: Cuts too small a slice of life to have life-changing resonance.

Get a grip. Running out of choices.



Let's be clear. It's a crappy movie. The sum does not work. But the parts, oh, the blessed parts. Mike Judge judges Dumb America, and comes up with an indictment of guilty on all counts. In this decade of the deification of Dumb, where we stand by helplessly as the American intellect circles the drain, just one film kindled that bonfire of these insanities. Amazingly, Fox, the epicenter of Dumb, actually paid for Judge to make this thing. Aghast at what he wrought, their corporate lizard-brain soon recognized that they'd better toss it straight down the release memory hole. But "Idiocracy" prevails. It takes for granted what the sentient American thinks, but never says out loud. The Dumb are gaining on us. They have staked out all the parameters of our culture. All politics is professional wrestling. All media is professional wrestling.

Let's face it, all America is professional wrestling.

And along with Brawndo-swilling President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, and Randy "The Ram" Robinson, we're just stuck in the ring.

Film Salon has invited a group of special guests to write about their favorite film(s) of the 2000s. To read the entire series, go here.

By Erik Nelson

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