Thursday, February 23, 2012

A very successful birthday present


You know you've bought the right movie for someone when they watch it two days later on their own ... and then tell you they'll watch it again with you in "maybe three weeks."

Yeah, a movie you're willing to watch twice in a month is something you should own.

I knew as much when I bought my wife Idiocracy for her birthday, which was this past Sunday. In fact, when it came up maybe six weeks ago in some other discussion, she said "I love that movie so much, I feel like I should own it." She wasn't dropping hints -- she was just expressing her love for the underrated Mike Judge gem from 2006.

But because I'm an observant person and a good husband (Ow! My arm hurts from patting my own back!), I took that nugget of information and ran with it, ordering a copy from Amazon a week or two later. It arrived in plenty of time for her birthday -- shipped to my work so she wouldn't get wind of it.

I presented it to her on Valentine's Day as an early birthday present, since she'd be leaving down the next day for three nights away as another early birthday present. I knew she'd need things to watch on her laptop at the end of the night. And I knew she'd watch Idiocracy -- which she did last Thursday night.

Can I pause for a moment to say just how awesome it is that my wife loves Idiocracy? Some wives love Twilight or The Vow. My wife loves Silence of the Lambs and Idiocracy. I think I married the right person.

Idiocracy came into our lives in early 2007. It was the final movie I watched before I closed my 2006 rankings in late January, which meant I was watching it at some ungodly hour when she was already asleep. I was sitting there, late at night, like (appropriately) an idiot, laughing quietly to myself. I had to show it to her.

That second viewing -- my last complete one to date -- transpired not too much later, maybe a couple months. It was love at first watch for my wife. She was laughing up a storm, and she has since watched it twice more on her own, both times happening to catch it when it came on cable. Both times unpremeditated, I believe -- which can be an even better indication of the power a movie has over you.

We don't pay for movie stations anymore, so that particular scenario was not likely to arise again. And it's been a couple present-giving occasions since I'd bought her a movie, so I thought it was perfect timing.

The reason we love Idiocracy is not only because it's so funny, which it is. If you don't know the concept, it stars Luke Wilson as a below average soldier in present day, who is cryogenically frozen for (I believe) 500 years -- awaking to discover that he is now the smartest man in the world. That idea is rich with possibilities, and Judge mines them for gold. Throw in a hilarious performance from Maya Rudolph as the present-day prostitute who is also cryogenically frozen, and walks through the future fearing the vengeance of a pimp who has been dead for 450 years, and you've got terrific material.

But part of the reason we love it is that it needs our love. The studio unceremoniously dumped this movie in late August/early September, with nary an advertising campaign. In fact, as an indication just how little this movie registered, even on the day of its theatrical release it was listed on Moviefone.com as Untitled Mike Judge Project. I remember that quite clearly, and am not sure if I had seen that phenomenon before or have seen it since.

In the intervening years the film has gained a cult appreciation, but it's still not as widely seen as it should be. So if you are among those who haven't seen it, change that today. If you have your doubts, just consider the pedigree of the film's director. He created Beavis and Butt-head and Office Space -- if one of those two doesn't interest you, the other should. (I might as well pause here to also pimp Beavis and Butt-head Do America. You'd never guess it, but that movie is not only funny, it's also smart.)

Besides, then you'll have something to talk about with my wife the next time you see her.

1 comment:

Travis McClain said...

I dig Idiocracy's thesis but I confess that I can't really think of specific lines or bits that really resonated with me.