Alfonso Cuaron’s masterful “Children of Men,” the best film of 2006, takes place in a not-too-distant future where women are unable to give birth and the planet is dying out. It’s a metaphor for the way things are going today. Everybody is so excited to look into the future, but if art is truly a reflection of our culture, then these movies prove that we should be lucky we’re not going to be around to see the next century. The world is going to pot, so to speak, and these films are way ahead of the game. Excepting “Children of Men,” here are some other interesting movies that prove the future will suck. Celebrate your mortality because it’s all downhill from here, kids. On J.D.’s turn to spruce up his list, he made a few changes, but have no fear, the dragons are still making the cut. Read J.D.’s “Top 10 Movies that Prove the Future Will Suck” here.
10 ½. Runaway (1984)
The tagline for this campy sci-fi thriller, which takes itself far too seriously to realize how funny it really is: “It Is The Future. He fought the horror of robots programmed to kill.” Tom Selleck is a cop who must contend with housekeeping robots who look like dishwashers and accidentally kill the families they are supposed to be assisting. KISS bassist/reality TV star Gene Simmons is a nasty man named Luther (Lucifer=Devil=Satan) who makes smart-missle bullets that can follow people around corners and mechanical spiders that hop around and squirt poisonous venom. It all adds up to loads of ridiculous fun, and a really sucky future where novelist Michael Crichton is allowed to continue directing movies.
Luther: That wasn’t very nice, Ramsay!
10. Westworld (1973)
More Crichton silliness. In this imaginative-but-laughable dystopia, Yul Brynner’s Wild West outlaw robot takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He is stuck in a fun-filled theme park where robots mingle with humans and, for recreation, the humans can do whatever they please. Every day Brynner’s robot is shot to shit by wealthy assholes who want to live out their John Wayne fantasies. When Brynner’s robot brain finally decides he’s Dee Snider and he’s not going to take it anymore, he fights back! It’s kind of like the evil KISS robots at the theme park in “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park,” but without all the KISS.
Interviewer of Delos Guests: [voiceover] Why don’t you make arrangements to take our hovercraft to Medieval World, Roman World and Westworld. Contact us today, or see your travel agent. Boy, have we got a vacation for you.
9. The Terminator (1984)
Although this future is glimpsed only briefly in James Cameron’s original sci-fi suspense thriller, it consists of a brutal war between man and machine, and the machines are kicking our asses. Those soulless hunks of metal think they are so smart that they’ve sent one back in time to kill our leader’s mom and stop him from ever being born. Their evil machine stayed, of course—and continued to kill lots of bad guys and utter punny catch phrases post-kill, eventually becoming the governor of California. Now, if we could only go back in time to find his mother.
The Terminator: I’m a friend of Sarah Connor. I was told she was here. Could I see her please?
Desk Sergeant: No, you can’t see her she’s making a statement.
The Terminator: Where is she?
Desk Sergeant: It may take a while. Want to wait? There’s a bench over there
The Terminator: [looks around then looks back at him] I’ll be back!
8. Alphaville (1965)
Jean Luc-Godard directs an unusual black-and-white sci-fi noir with very little costumes, special effects, or set design. Its chilling effect comes from a grating soundtrack, stark cinematography, and the mechanical manner of its characters. “Alphaville” is a confusing and truly disturbing movie that opines that, in the future, we may have a lot less of the traits that we closely identify with human beings.
Natacha Von Braun: You’re looking at me very strangely.
Lemmy Caution: Yes.
Natacha Von Braun: You’re waiting for me to say something to you.
Lemmy Caution: Yes.
Natacha Von Braun: I don’t know what to say. They’re words I don’t know. I wasn’t taught them. Help me.
Lemmy Caution: Impossible. Help yourself; then you will be saved. If you don’t, you’re as lost as the dead of Alphaville.
Natacha Von Braun: I… love… you. I love you.
7. The Postman (1997)
Sometimes it is hard to see how certain pictures ever get greenlit. Here is a truly terrifying post-apocalyptic version of the future from Oscar-winning director Kevin Costner (he who dances with wolves!) where delivering mail is the noblest profession of all and Tom Petty pops up dressed like he was in his “You Got Lucky” video, minus the cool song, or his 4X4 with sidecar. This lame-ass “Road Warrior”-ripoff-looking future really sucks ass.
General Bethlehem: You see the reason you don’t want to die for anything is because you have nothing to die for. That’s the difference between you and me. You don’t believe in anything.
The Postman: I believe in the United States.
6. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Rather than simply creating robots to do the things we don’t want to do, the humans in this strikingly original anime classic from Mamoru Oshii simply use robot parts to fix their own bodies. Consequently, “life” takes on a different meaning, since very little human parts are left on anybody. The future truly sucks in this movie, but it looks cool as hell. It’s refreshing to see old school drawn animation (rather than the computer animation that’s so prevalent these days that its now the status quo) with visual inventiveness to spare.
Batô: Chief, you ever question the ethics of the neurosurgeons who monkey around inside your brain?
Section 9 Department Chief Aramaki: They undergo psychiatric evaluations, especially those in security. They’re subjected to a stringent screening of their personal lives. Of course, the ones who check are only human.
Batô: I guess once you start doubting, there’s no end to it.
5. A.I.:Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Humans are selfish assholes who blow up robots for fun at state fairs, and Haley Joel Osment is an android who just wants to be loved—is that so wrong? The film’s first fake-out ending is bleak, as the poor little android is left at the bottom of the ocean forever. Many people complained about the ending that directly followed because it seemed to give us the warm, fuzzy feeling of a typical Spielberg movie (and it seemed tacked on). If you really think about it, though, (SPOILER ALERT) having the kid see a fake version of his mother for only a day before he lives forever without ever seeing her again is a far bleaker ending that’s more depressing and twisted—in a sick, virtual reality way.
David: Mommy? Will you die?
Monica: Well, one day, David, yes, I will.
David: I’ll be alone.
Monica: Don’t worry yourself so.
David: How long will you live?
Monica: For ages. For 50 years.
David: I love you, Mommy. I hope you never die. Never.
4. Soylent Green (1973)
The future sucks all the way through this B-movie camp classic, which features people eating green slop like horses from a trough, and no less than Edward G. Robinson (”Little Caesar,” “Double Indemnity”) slumming it, big time. But it all really comes down to Charlton Heston at the end, screaming at the top of his lungs. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to reveal it, but then again, I don’t know if I can recommend sitting through the entire film to hear just one pristine, ever-quotable Shatner-worthy moment from Mr. Heston.
Richard: …is brought to you by Soylent red and Soylent yellow, high energy vegetable concentrates, and new, delicious, Soylent green. The miracle food of high-energy plankton gathered from the oceans of the world.
3. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Stanley Kubrick adapts Anthony Burgess’ novel, creating a whole slew of dumbasses who misconstrue the film’s meaning by glorifying its brusque style of violence. When I saw Motley Crue include the movie’s rape scene in a montage of “cool violence” at a concert on their Generation Swine tour, I knew things were only getting worse. When I witnessed the audience cheering and whooping to the images, I realized they already have.
Alex: There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.
2. Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott was way ahead of the curve on this one, creating a production design that has yet to be topped in its absolute uniqueness. Using real-life futurist scholars as guides, he gave Philip K. Dick’s philosophical novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” the full treatment, creating backstories upon backstories for a world that changed the way we look at science fiction films. Humans have created replicants, and must retire them when they go bad, or “outlive their usefulness.” Advertisements are annoyingly blared from a neon cityscape that mirrors modern-day Tokyo, minus the flying machines. And poor Harrison Ford has poopy pants, wearing a perma-frown through the entire film.
Batty: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
1. Brazil (1985)
Forget Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys.” This is the real Gilliam deal. “Brazil” is an absolute classic, a darkly comic dystopian nightmare where a boring office drone lives a rich fantasy life flying through the air and fighting giant samurai warriors. Terrorist bombings abound (sound familiar?), and renegade air conditioner repairmen stalk the streets, helping the common man cut through inefficient bureaucracy. A family is issued a refund check when the government accidentally executes its father due to a typo error. On top of all that, true love does not conquer all.