Recently, at the behest of my girlfriend and the rest of society, I saw the current cinematic attraction The Hunger Games. After the film I had a number of questions, comments, criticisms and critiques. All of which, once enunciated , were instantaneously countered with a resounding, “You NEED to read the book!!!” Well too bad, society. As an American I’m upholding my God-Given Constitutional Right to never read ever. Not EVER. Also if you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting, I was busy.
Anyways, the post-apocalyptic dystopia “Panem”, as presented in the film seemed a little lac-“But you didn’t rreeead the booo I GET IT. As I was saying, all-in-all the future didn’t really seem as bleak/soul-crushingly empty as it could have for the citizens of Districts 1 through 12..13? 14?? So you’re a little hungry, each year you lose a couple of teenagers, and alright there’s a pinch of total government control over your lives? #nbd I proudly present a short list of films and novels containing my personal favorite/ most admirable dystopian societies.
Logan’s Run – Directed by Michael Anderson, 1976
Why? City run by maniacal computer overlord, everybody dies at 30 to avoid “overpopulation”/human uprising, 1970’s visions of the future #hilarious, and this robot that tries to freeze people/is a refrigerator.
Children of Men – Directed byAlfonso Cuaron, 2006
Why? This director found a way to take the crushing sadness of real-world British socialism and go even further. No need for Hunger Games when teenagers no longer exist, is there? Despite all of the important religious symbolism and social commentary that I missed while Clive Owen was staring into my eyes, this movie was intense. I believe it’s safe to say that this film proved, beyond any doubt, that the children are our future.
Equilibrium – Directed by Kurt Wimmer, 2002
Why? Do you like art? How about feelings? Too damn bad, go back to Amherst. In the meantime, someone in this glorious dystopia decided it would be a good idea to give Batman (played by Christian Bale) a magic pistol that never runs out of bullets…I hope he doesn’t start to sympathize with the resista-THE END. Also starring Taye Diggs.
Running Man – Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, 1987
Why? Just read the first sentence of the plot description from Wikipedia: “By 2017, the global economy has collapsed and American society has become a totalitarian police state,censoring all cultural activity. The government pacifies the populace by broadcasting a number of game shows in which convicted criminals fight for their lives.” Are you terrified yet? How could this be the future of America? What government leader would use its people’s fascination with entertainment to distract them from enormous debt, a failing economy, growing police control and overcrowded prisons?!? My god…
Fahrenheit 451 – Written by Ray Bradbury, 1953
Why? Oscar Wilde once said, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” Well Oscar Wilde was a communist. Taylor B. Woodward once said, “As an American I’m upholding my God-Given Constitutional Right to never read ever. Not EVER.” Taylor Woodward was born out of a giant egg found in a nest at the top of a massive sequoia, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. In this horrifyingly clairvoyant depiction of mankind’s growing obsession with alternative forms of media and entertainment, the true horror lies in the glaring similarities between Fahrenheit 451‘s dystopian nightmare, and our own decaying society.
I weep silently knowing that Ray Bradbury has lived long enough (91 years old) to see the dawn of e-books, 72 inch televisions, and programming such as: 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, The Jersey Shore, I Used to be Fat, Every show on MTV, 19 Kids and Counting, Cake Boss, Extreme Couponing, Long Island Medium, Mamas Boys of the Bronx, Say Yes to the Dress, Dance Moms, Toddlers in Tiaras, Pawn Stars, Full Metal Jousting, Swamp People, Big Shrimpin’, Hairy Bikers, and Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. I’d go on but my rage levels are soaring, instead I’ll leave you with another quote.
“We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now…” – Ray Bradbury, prophetic author & humanity’s last hope
1984 – Written by George “The Orwell” Orwell, 1949
Why? Spending the next week writing would barely be enough time to explain all the ways in which 1984 is magnificent. So I’ll just say this:
In 326 pages George Orwell presents a hellish nightmarescape devoid of reason and thought in which an eerie calm surrounds the soulless, faceless masses, eyes unblinking in a synchronized march towards a future without change or hope. Pulling us helplessly into an overcast realm of gloom in which a careless glance, or slightest hesitation means death, or worse. George Orwell stabs the reader in the heart with the cold, raw reality of our own emotions and self-doubts, breaking us down from the inside outward, until finally unleashing a conclusion so devastatingly unforgiving that we are forced into the most powerful crygasm of our entire lives.