Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Welcome to Costco, I Love You."

"There was a time when reading wasn't just for fags. And neither was writing. People wrote books and movies. Movies with stories, that made you care about who's ass it was and why it was farting."

Over the weekend I got together with some friends and watched IDIOCRACY, Mike Judge’s long-shelved comedy about a future where society is so dumb that everyone drinks a sports drink called Brawndo because it’s got “what you crave”. The film received a token release over Labor Day weekend in a handful of cities (NYC not among them) and some good, appreciative reviews, but it basically got dumped because… I don’t know why. If I did, I’d be a much smarter man than I am.

What amused me was that my friends and I (and we all loved the movie) were all batting about ideas as to why the film didn’t get more studio support. Most of the theories pointed towards the film being too smart for its own good and, because it was produced by Fox, they felt that because it lambasted consumerism so savagely that perhaps The Powers That Be at Fox wanted the film buried. Maybe it tested poorly? That would explain a lot, although Fox released worse films on a larger basis last year, but the answer could simply be that they did not like the movie. Judge clashed with the studio on OFFICE SPACE and clashed with them again here and I get the feeling that maybe it would simply be a good idea for all concerned to just back away, acknowledge that you don’t get each other, and then go your separate ways.

It’s an expensive lesson for all to learn, but it’s a lesson nonetheless. Now that it’s on DVD everyone who wanted to see it based on their love of Judge’s OFFICE SPACE will finally be able to. Fox are looking like a bunch of idiots themselves because IDIOCRACY is a really good movie that is going to enjoy a similar reaction on DVD and TV that SPACE received: great word of mouth and repeat business. They’ll all make money on it, but you’ve just got to ask where the logic is on this. All they had to do was put this out by saying “The new movie from the director of OFFICE SPACE”, have some MySpace screenings and the fans would do the rest. Did their research not tell them this would happen? Do their researchers know what they’re talking about? I wish I knew, I really do. I would have loved to have seen this film with an audience and I would have been happy to pay for it, but I don’t live in L.A. or Austin (often wish I did). IDIOCRACY is worth your time and money and worth starting a campaign to get the film released in theaters again even though it’s already on disc. Everyone thinks that everyone else other than them is an idiot, so the opportunity to share that feeling with a roomful of strangers is one I think most people would appreciate.


Anonymous said...

Fox didn't want to make money on this movie. They would absolutely hate a movie with a message about disgenics - that is, backwards evolution.

Why? Because they're the ones doing it. Fox release thousands of the stupidest shows and movies and commercials and products, and are one of the biggest instigators of the "dumbing down" of our population. Fox own more companies than you realise.

They don't want anybody to hear about it because then people would start thinking - and thats precisely what Fox don't want.

Robert said...

I get the feeling that test screenings killed this movie. As Bill Hicks once said about test screenings and focus groups, studios pick "300 random yahoos" to decide what the rest of America gets to see. And do 300 random yahoos want to see themselves made fun of? I'm guessing test audiences didn't get "Idiocracy." But man oh man, it certainly is funny. I saw it on Saturday for the first time, and you referenced the line that made me laugh hardest: "Welcome to Costco. I love you." I'm still laughing.