It’s been 15 years since Mike Judge predicted our present. Idiocracy gave us the tale of the “most average” person in the Army (played to shrugging everyman perfection by Luke Wilson) who wakes up from suspended animation to discover a future of masturbatory consumerism and such profound anti-intellectualism that he’s now the smartest person alive. We’re now living in an era of Fox Business echoing the schoolyard taunts of the movie’s “exaggerated” fictional reporters, and a time that people feel comfortable calling the dumbest ever. For Judge, the experience of Idiocracy is more personal, since rewatching it would require him to relive the stress of making it. He recently reflected on the film’s pitfalls and its painfully accurate legacy on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
“I feel like it was cursed,” Judge said. “Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We shot it here in Austin, it was supposed to take place in a drought, and it was the rainiest summer. We had to keep killing grass which feels really awful to do. . . Then I feel like the curse of the movie just spread out into the world.”
There were the Crocs that weren’t supposed to become popular, and the bad test screenings that led to budget cuts, and the generally AWOL advertising.
And, oops, our real lives.
Oddly enough, the only thing Judge didn’t get right was the rise of smart-phone fueled social media, something that no one would have been able to predict way back in 2005. Facebook was just emerging, and iPhones were a couple of years from hitting the scene, so it’s understandable that Judge’s future is populated by a trillion channels and couch potato gluttony that Wall-E was happy to crib from.