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What happened to Mike Judge's Idiocracy?

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What happened to Mike Judge's Idiocracy?

Old 06-03-08, 06:28 AM
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Bill Maher explains why Idiocracy was dumped by Fox (at 1:25 - 1:59) on his show, September 15, 2006 (episode 82):

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Last edited by baracine; 06-03-08 at 07:27 AM.
Old 06-03-08, 08:11 AM
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I gotta call bullshit on the whole conspiracy thing. There are plenty of movies that get the same treatment for the same simple reason. They are just not very good.

It was a clever idea executed very poorly.

Although it's popular to show Americans as stupid, and funny to think they are too stupid to understand a movie lampooning their stupidity... you have to follow Occam's razor.
Old 06-03-08, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DeputyDave
I gotta call bullshit on the whole conspiracy thing. There are plenty of movies that get the same treatment for the same simple reason. They are just not very good.

It was a clever idea executed very poorly.

Although it's popular to show Americans as stupid, and funny to think they are too stupid to understand a movie lampooning their stupidity... you have to follow Occam's razor.
Occam's razor tells me Bill Maher is right. We're talking Fox here, after all. The network that cancelled Futurama but brought back Family Guy, the ultimate compendium of fart and penis jokes... Now, that's scary...

And there's no conspiracy. It was all out in the open. Test audiences just didn't get it. And there are apparently quite a few contributors to this thread who never got it either...

Last edited by baracine; 06-03-08 at 10:17 AM.
Old 06-03-08, 10:34 AM
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From Wikipedia:

Production

Early working titles included The United States of Uhh-merica[2] and 3001. Filming took place during 2004 in and around the cities of Austin, San Marcos, Pflugerville, and Round Rock, Texas.[3] Test screenings around March 2005 produced unofficial reports of poor audience reactions. After some re-shooting in the summer of 2005, a UK test screening in August produced a report of a positive impression.[4]


Release issues

As of February 2005 the film's scheduled release date was August 5, 2005, according to Mike Judge.[5] In April 2006, a release date was set for September 1, 2006. In August, numerous articles[6] revealed that release was to be put on hold indefinitely. Idiocracy was released as scheduled but only in seven cities (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Mike Judge's hometown, Austin), and expanded to only 125 theaters, not the usual wide release of 2500-3000 theaters. According to the Austin American-Statesman[7], 20th Century Fox, the film's distributor, did nothing to promote the movie ó while posters were released to theatres, no movie trailers, television ads, or press kits for media outlets were provided. The film was not screened for critics.[8] Lack of concrete information from 20th Century Fox led to speculation that Fox may have actively tried to keep the film from being seen by a large audience, while fulfilling a contractual obligation for theatrical release ahead of a DVD release, according to Ryan Pearson of AP.[9] In the New York Times Dan Mitchell argued that Fox might be shying away from a cautionary tale about low-intelligence dysgenics.[10] John Patterson of The Guardian suggests it is a result of the film's anti-corporate message, noting that in the film Starbucks now delivers handjobs, and the motto of Carl's Jr. has devolved from "Don't Bother Me. I'm Eating." to "Fuck You! I'm Eating!"[11] Also in the film, a Carl's Jr. vending machine cheats a customer, Fuddruckers' name gradually morphs into "Buttfuckers", the fictional Brawndo corporation buys the F.D.A. and the F.C.C, and the Fox News Channel is depicted in unflattering newscasts (20th Century Fox, which distributed the film, and the Fox News Channel are both owned by the Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corporation).


Reception

Idiocracy was not screened for critics. Its much-delayed release received no publicity and the film was initially distributed to only 130 screens.

Despite these troubles, the film received generally favorable reviews by critics. It received a 70% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes[12] (from 37 reviews). Praise focused on concept, casting, and humour; the worst of the criticism was directed at the film's release issues, and some special effects and pacing problems.

Box office receipts totaled $444,093 in 135 theaters in the U.S.[13]


Releases

The movie was released on DVD on January 9, 2007 with fullframe and widescreen aspect ratios, deleted scenes, English and Spanish spoken language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. So far it has earned $9 million on DVD rentals, over 20 times the limited theatrical release. [14] On September 1, 2007 the film opened for cable and satellite viewers on the Cinemax premium channel, and started airing on HBO networks in January 2008.

Cult following

Despite the small release and lack of promotion, Idiocracy has grown to have a strong following. In 2007, Omni Consumer Products [15] (named after the fictitious RoboCop corporation) and Redux Beverages introduced a real Brawndo energy drink.[16] It is marketed online with a tongue-in-cheek YouTube advertisement featuring the voice of comedian Mark Little, inspired by one of his sketches called "Powerthirst."[17]
Old 06-03-08, 11:03 AM
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I thought about this movie when I saw the new Indiana Jones. A guy was clapping and cheering when Shia kept getting hit in the nuts - I just thought "Ow, My Balls".

This movie is scarily prescient in my opinion.
Old 06-03-08, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JMcCraw
I thought about this movie when I saw the new Indiana Jones. A guy was clapping and cheering when Shia kept getting hit in the nuts - I just thought "Ow, My Balls".

This movie is scarily prescient in my opinion.
So is this...

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Old 06-03-08, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JMcCraw
I thought about this movie when I saw the new Indiana Jones. A guy was clapping and cheering when Shia kept getting hit in the nuts - I just thought "Ow, My Balls".

This movie is scarily prescient in my opinion.
Agreed.

Some fueling stations have advertisements next to the pumps for additives "cars love." The advertisements feature humanized cartoon cars glancing up lovingly at the additive. Every time I see it I am reminded of Brawndo's electrolytes: "it's what plants crave!"

Of course there are many, many other things: identification with labels via corporate branding (I see this in the classroom more than one might imagine), aforementioned television programming, sex in advertising products that have nothing to do with sex, subtle language replaced with profanity, etc.

I think two of the film's prominent flaws are the too-long monster truck scene and the ending, which seemed put together hastily.

Some have also accused Judge of overindulging the mindlessness he attacks, making himself guilty of the very things he criticizes in the film. I don't know about that. I thought that in the case of satire, to beat them, one must join them (and then some).
Old 06-03-08, 01:22 PM
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Speaking of fueling stations - there was one near me that was advertising a sandwich called the "Crispy Fricken Chicken".

I thought about Fuddrucker's in the movie.
Old 06-03-08, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JMcCraw
Speaking of fueling stations - there was one near me that was advertising a sandwich called the "Crispy Fricken Chicken".

I thought about Fuddrucker's in the movie.
I would think more of Carl's Jr.

"Hey, fuck you, I'm eating."
Old 06-03-08, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Penny Lane
Of course there are many, many other things: identification with labels via corporate branding (I see this in the classroom more than one might imagine), aforementioned television programming, sex in advertising products that have nothing to do with sex, subtle language replaced with profanity, etc.
Or Valley Girl talk... The president of the United States telling the Pope: "That was an awesome speech!" and about the American war dead in Iraq during a memorial service: "They're an awesome bunch of people".

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9czSJPp6VNo&hl=fr"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9czSJPp6VNo&hl=fr" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

Last edited by baracine; 06-03-08 at 02:04 PM.
Old 06-03-08, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Penny Lane
I think two of the film's prominent flaws are the too-long monster truck scene and the ending, which seemed put together hastily.

Some have also accused Judge of overindulging the mindlessness he attacks, making himself guilty of the very things he criticizes in the film. I don't know about that. I thought that in the case of satire, to beat them, one must join them (and then some).
I just think it's exceptionally obvious from watching the film that it was about 80% finished when Fox decided it didn't deserve any more of its greed-washed, horded cash, and the eventual "final cut" consisted of what Judge could stick together and have it make sense.

Because even if it was a movie about stupidity, I have to hope that one of the jokes wasn't the extremely irritating narration that really brought the film down for me. It was clearly the best angle Judge had to connect scenes narratively.
Old 06-03-08, 03:09 PM
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I loved Idiocracy. I was dying to see it in theaters but was disappointed it kept getting pushed back. Eventually I forgot about it until I saw the DVD in Best Buy.

"GO AWAY. BATING."
Old 06-03-08, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
And there's no conspiracy. It was all out in the open. Test audiences just didn't get it. And there are apparently quite a few contributors to this thread who never got it either...
For good reason. The movie is poorly written, and fails on a comedic level.
Old 06-03-08, 05:24 PM
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I really enjoyed it and thought the humor was spot on. That said you could see it wasn't wrapped up as tightly as maybe intended due to Studio control or money issues.
Old 06-03-08, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rn4jCL9ZOkc&hl=fr"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rn4jCL9ZOkc&hl=fr" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>


I love Idiocracy. So many quotable lines.
Old 06-03-08, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by baracine
So is this...

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rn4jCL9ZOkc&hl=fr"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rn4jCL9ZOkc&hl=fr" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
*hangs head in shame for humanity*
Old 06-04-08, 02:32 AM
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I understood the movie, I just thought it wasn't very good. Yeah the idea was cute and could have been funny but it was so poorly executed it just fell flat.

Instead of assuming Americans are too stupid to "get it", why not admit the movie simply wasn't very good.
Old 06-04-08, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DeputyDave
Instead of assuming Americans are too stupid to "get it", why not admit the movie simply wasn't very good.
Despite the fact the film feels unfinished throughout a majority of it's running time, what was salvaged actually works quite well and should've been given a proper release.

If FOX can release shit like Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans on 3000 screens, they should've given Judge a chance.
Old 06-04-08, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
If FOX can release shit like Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans on 3000 screens, they should've given Judge a chance.
OK, you got me there. Idiocracy was 1,000 times better than either of those (but that's not saying much). That doesn't make it a good film. Idiocracy was not meant for the same audiences. Someone who liked (or even wanted to see) Epic movie or Spartans would not have appreciated comedies like Office Space or The Big Lebowski, so itís not a very good comparison.
Old 06-04-08, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DeputyDave
I understood the movie, I just thought it wasn't very good. Yeah the idea was cute and could have been funny but it was so poorly executed it just fell flat.

Instead of assuming Americans are too stupid to "get it", why not admit the movie simply wasn't very good.
What you are really saying is: "I didn't think it was funny. Therefore, Americans are not stupid." That's a very hard statement to answer when you happen, like I do, to think the film is a comedy classic...

I personally think that the reason the film hasn't been more successful is that for a too large part it shows America as it really is today, so that some audiences fail to grasp the satire and, in the exact measure where they do grasp the intended satire, feel insulted.

I liked The Big Lebowski, I liked Office Space and I liked Idiocracy. I also happen to like the idea that unpretentious year-end pantomime reviews like Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans get made, if only because Hollywood and popular celebrity-worship, comic-book culture and other dumbing-down influences on our lives deserve a swift kick in the pants for crimes against humanity such as "America Fuck Yea"-caliber films like 300, "celebrities" like Britney Spears or Paris Hilton and hip-hop in general.

Last edited by baracine; 06-04-08 at 07:21 AM.
Old 06-04-08, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by baracine
I personally think that the reason the film hasn't been more successful is that for a too large part it shows America as it really is today, so that some audiences fail to grasp the satire and, in the exact measure where they do grasp the intended satire, feel insulted.
Yeah, I grasped the satire; I just don't think it was very well executed.

For the record I never felt insulted by the movie. In fact I didn't see it as a direct insult to America. I saw the movie as portraying the world population as a whole getting stupid, while focusing on America in particular. Let's face it, an America as portrayed wouldn't survive unless the world followed the same path. To be fair I did give the movie a chance, Iíve watched it 3 times. The narrative describing the decline of the average IQ and the family tree bit was funny and could have made a decent stand alone skit.

I do feel a bit insulted though by the stereotypical "stupid American" shit that usually gets spouted. I could go to any country and put together a similar video with idiots failing to answer simple questions. There are stupid and ignorant people everywhere, just like there has always been.
Old 06-04-08, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DeputyDave
I do feel a bit insulted though by the stereotypical "stupid American" shit that usually gets spouted. I could go to any country and put together a similar video with idiots failing to answer simple questions. There are stupid and ignorant people everywhere, just like there has always been.
The problem is that nowadays very, very stupid people pass for experts in their field, some become teachers, some get a lot of air time, call themselves "Doctor" and feel qualified to give psychological advice on afternoon television. Some even get elected to high political office.
Old 06-04-08, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DeputyDave
Idiocracy was not meant for the same audiences. Someone who liked (or even wanted to see) Epic movie or Spartans would not have appreciated comedies like Office Space or The Big Lebowski, so itís not a very good comparison.
Really?

Would you rather have a studio release a film that in the first ten minutes:

- Horribly spoofs 300, Shrek the Third, Casino Royale, and Happy Feet.

- Cheap product placement thanks from Subway and Pedigree.

- Terrible (and tacky) bathroom humor such as a penguin putting a Spartan warrior in a "69" position and then proceeding to shit in his mouth.

- Cheap shots at the entire gay community.

- Makes everyone watching the film mildly retarded.

OR

A studio release of a film that is actually smart and funny. Or even if you don't think that, at least then it tries to be smarter than the average comedy fare by being a satire that might've failed, but still tried.

It's more about principle at the point than anything else. Mike Judge has made Fox millions with Office Space and King of the Hill and they fucked him over with how they treated Idiocracy -- a film that has been praised by most critics and audiences who have seen it. Yet, FOX, wanting to make a cheap buck will release shit like Meet the Spartans which is bottom-of-the-barrel entertainment meant for people who have an IQ under triple digits.

It's pretty sad.

Last edited by Matthew Chmiel; 06-04-08 at 01:59 PM.
Old 06-04-08, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
It's more about principle at the point than anything else. Mike Judge has made Fox millions with Office Space and King of the Hill and the fucked him over with how they treated Idiocracy -- a film that has been praised by most critics and audiences who have seen it. Yet, FOX, wanting to make a cheap buck will release shit like Meet the Spartans which is bottom-of-the-barrel entertainment meant for people who have an IQ under triple digits.

It's pretty sad.
It's all about what will turn the most profit, not quality.
Old 06-04-08, 01:40 PM
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I would think slapping "From the Creator of Office Space and Beavis & Butthead" on trailers would have gotten at least a decent opening weekend out of the film.

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