movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Demolition Man was yet another movie I had avoided simply because the title seemed to indicate “generic action flick”. I’m glad I finally came around and watched it; it surpassed my expectations.

PEOPLE: I actually got this because Daniel Waters, writer of Heathers and Sex & Death 101, co-wrote the screenplay. What I did not realize was that the screenplay was also co-written by Peter M. Lenkov, who wrote 4 (and co-produced 6) episodes of 24. It showed. Demolition Man also starred a lot of well-known names: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock played the leading 3 roles. It also had Denis Leary and Bob Gunton (the warden from Shawshank Redemption, and Junction Jack from Greg The Bunny), as well as Rob Schneider in an appropriately-comedic wee part (“You don’t know how to work the 3 seashells?!?!”). So, the screenplay and the actors were of a higher quality than I expected. Even Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes — two people who annoy me — were tolerable.

QUIRKS: The way people spoke in the future was completely different. And their society was completely despicable. Salt was illegal? Non-simulated sex was eliminated? One character said he tried not to think anymore. Everyone was chipped and tracked at all times, and there had not been a murder for 19 years. Suffice to say, I definitely sided with the “Morlocks” who lived in the sewers… If I had lived in this time, I would have willingly used force — as much as necessary, regardless of the consequences — to bring true living back to these people. They were themselves too broken to even understand that they weren’t really free. Their lives were hollow approximations of what it means to be human. They may as well have been robots. You couldn’t even fuck. If you cursed in an empty room, you were automatically fined a credit — like an automated swear jar. I can think of nothing more offensive. This was a great example of what could happen if the Technology War succeeds in ensuring that technology is only used to oppress (and not empower) people. The fact that society was unable to even cope with one crazed murderer (“murder-death-killer”) said a lot about how impotent humanity could come if we all end up having homogeneous goals, thoughts, and actions. Grey areas exist for a reason, and this fascism was intolerable.

Also: In case anyone was wondering how to work the “3 seashells”, the answer from Sylvester Stallone is: “OK, this may be bordering on the grotesque, but the way it was explained to me by the writer is you hold two seashells like chopsticks, pull gently and scrape what’s left with the third. You asked for it…. Be careful what you ask for, sorry.”

BAD STUFF: Well — it was basically a “cop apprehends another cop” sci-fi movie. From that standard, one could argue that the story was not at all unique. But the science fiction, futuristic, fascist setting more than made up for that, to me. For instance, I liked this a lot better than Gladiator, Hudson Hawk, Alien Vs. Predator 2: Requiem, Bongwater, Homegrown, or the Resident Evil movies! Also: Taco Bell took over the world in the movie, but in the version we watched, they had dubbed all mentions of Taco Bell over with “Pizza Hut”. You can clearly see their lips saying “taco bell” while hearing their voices say “pizza hut”. This was done because internationally, everyone has heard of Pizza Hut, but Taco Bell is strictly an American endeavor. Knowing this secret at least made the appearance of the food (which looked like tiny tacos) make more sense.

CONCLUSION: This was a good sci-fi action flick that I had mistakenly overlooked. But this was a good thing, as it is far more impressive to watch a 1993 movie in 2008 and still think their prediction of the future not completely unrealistic. Most movies, when predicting the future, are laughable 15 years later … But this was not. They even joked about Arnold Schwarzenegger having become president! This was in 1993, 10 years before before he was ever elected governor. They even had a prisoner named Scott Peterson, though this was total coincidence.

RECOMMENDATION: See it if you are into predicting the technology of tomorrow. See it if you are intersted in the intersection of technology and politics. See it if you like cop movies.

MOVIE QUOTE: Edgar Friendly (Denis Leary): “You see, according to Cocteau’s plan I’m the enemy, ’cause I like to think; I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder – “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I’ve SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It’s a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing “I’m an Oscar Meyer Wiener”.” COULDN’T AGREE MORE!

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Christian loved it. Jordan really liked it. Scott S liked it. Benj didn’t like it.

Mood: ready for camping!
Music: Church Of The SubGenius – Hour Of Slack #1129