Political Film Society - Newsletter #258 - September 15, 2006

August 15, 2006


IdiocracyIdiocracy, directed by Mike Judge, is a satirical treatment of the premise that earthlings in five hundred years will be more stupid in a self-regulating, dumbed-down society that has abandoned fundamental human rights. When the film begins, Joe Bowers (played by Luke Wilson) is recalled from his job in a military archive to participate in a hibernation experiment; he is placed in an air-tight coffin and frozen. He is chosen because he is normal, mentally and physically. The experiment is supposed to last one year, but the base is closed, taken over by a commercial establishment named Fuddruckers (which later morphs into Buttfuckers), and Joe is forgotten. Meanwhile, evolution’s process of natural selections goes awry: High IQ couples refuse to procreate, and low IQ couples multiply so much that mean IQ levels around the world steadily drop, and morons are numerically the only humans left. In 2505, Joe wakes up to discover a world of idiots who perceive his speech, ordinary for 2005, as that of a faggot. Joe cannot adjust to the world of 2505, so he runs afoul of the law, but his relatively high IQ (100) is discovered while he is processed in the penal system, so he is soon pardoned, appointed to office, and ultimately becomes president. Corporate dominance is also part of everyday life; politicians, for example, mention that they owe their existence to Carls, Jr., (a popular chain restaurant in Los Angeles). Although the plot will resonate with many of those in American society over the age of fifty, who have observed a decline in the quality of education, the premise that IQs are inheritable is false. In biology, the well-known phenomenon of “regression of the mean” ensures that high IQ parents will have some children with lesser IQ, and low IQ parents will give birth to some with higher IQs. Idiocracy will attract audiences who might seem to have low IQs already, and indeed the antics of denizens of 2505 seems to be alive and well in 2006. MH


HavenHaven, written and directed by Frank E. Flowers, takes place primarily in the Grand Cayman Islands; he grew up there and clearly has a negative opinion on what the islands have become in recent years. Midway through the film a character explains that in the late eighteenth century there was a storm in the Caribbean, several British ships were shipwrecked on the islands, and the natives saved those on board, one of whom was the son of George III. To reward the islanders, the king decreed that thenceforward the islands would never have to pay taxes. In the 1970s the islanders realized that they could make a lot of money by allowing cash to be laundered in local banks, so more than two hundred banks emerged, accepting deposits from those involved in the drug trade and elsewhere. The film then features descendants of slaves¸ some of whom got rich, as well as middle-class whites who manage the banks. The history, however, makes more sense than the story, which revolves around subplots. Carl Ridley (played by Bill Paxton) leaves Miami in a hurry for the Caymans with his daughter Pippa (played by Agnes Bruckner), carrying large amounts of cash to escape their confiscation by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, but he is ultimately arrested along with his Caymans confederate (played by Stephen Dillane). Shortly after her arrival, Pippa meets Fritz (played by Victor Rasuk), a small-time hoodlum, who likes to sleep in vacant bedrooms, boats, and drive stolen cars; soon, to curry favor with big-time hoods, he informs them that Carl Ridley has a lot of cash, and he hands them the keys to the Ridley condo. Meanwhile, Andrea (played by Zoë Saldana), one of the daughters of the wealthy Blacks, is romantically involved with a poor white man, Shy (played by Orlando Bloom), who is so nicknamed because he witnessed a murder when he was young and refused to talk to anyone for several years thereafter. At one point, Shy is roughed up by Andrea’s brother, Hammer (played by Anthony Mackie), because her father (played by Robert Wisdom) does not want her associating with white trash. The film ends, leaving many loose ends but depicting the Caymans in the familiar “trouble in paradise” genre. MH