Monday, September 04, 2006
Untitled Mike Judge Blog Post
What's the best way to spend your moviegoing dough for the remaining four months of the year - provided you live in L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, or Toronto, that is (and yes, I realize that pretty much excludes all of my regular readers)? Go see the new Mike Judge comedy, IDIOCRACY. I have no idea if the movie's any good or not but at least by seeing it and possibly spreading word of mouth you'd be sticking it in some small way to 20th Century Fox, which has suspiciously gone out of it's way to completely bury and ruin this satire on the dumbing down of American culture. The film stars Luke Wilson as an "average joe" frozen by the government for research who wakes up 1,000 years later to find a society so moronic he's instantly annoited the smartest man alive.
The studio inteference and outright hostility Judge has experienced with this film sounds like any filmmaker not named Herzog or Gilliam's worst nightmare. IDIOCRACY was completed in 2004 but has sat on the shelf until just this past Friday, when Fox dumped it in and around the cities listed above with zero publicity, refusing to even authorize a trailer or website (as detailed in this Esquire article). Moviefone callers in the L.A. area are even finding the film erroneously listed under UNTITLED MIKE JUDGE PROJECT. I for one had never heard about it until last week. Since Judge is the creator of OFFICE SPACE, one of the all-time best sellers on dvd, as well as "Beavis and Butthead" and "King of the Hill," it stands to reason that good or not, the film deserves at least a FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY-level rollout. The prevailing conspiracy theory is that Fox either feared upsetting the film's corporate targets or were irked by his shots at the lowest common denominator-coddling entertainment industry (the #1 film 1,000 years in the future is a 90-minute posterior shot titled ASS). Early reports from people who have seen the film seem to be positive overall, although many are saying someone other than Judge obviously meddled with the final cut, citing examples such as the dreaded voice-over narration explaining self-evident gags on-screen. However, I'll remain optimistic about the film's quality. As the success of Beavis and Butthead proved and my junior high experience can attest, Judge's brand of satire can usually be embraced equally by those in on the satirical aspect of the joke and those who are simply tickled by the antics of their moronic counterparts on-screen. Also, let's face it: B&B's video commentaries were some of the most valuable music criticism of the past few decades.