Sometimes a movie or show gives a depiction or joke about the future that people watching it at the time of air just laugh off. Sometimes the film predicts the future in some way though, whether it just be a small Easter egg in the background or even a central part of the plot. With our world changing every day through technology and nature, which films can we look back on and pinpoint as prophets of our time?
The Truman Show
Maybe not in the way that we imagined The Truman Show playing out in real life, but the deluge of people that have taken to live streaming their everyday lives is giving off a more self-aware Truman Show vibe.
Even worse today, we’re starting to see some kids that are actual Trumans, with every second of their lives being shared by their parents for likes and retweets on social media by those they want a following from.
With any luck (and probably a lot of therapy) most of these kids won’t go down the same path that happened to so many before them, from the former-Disney stars to the child actors of the eighties and nineties who were exploited and had their mental health ruined.
This one is sadder than anything because the movie takes place 500 years in the future and we’ve already hit half the things predicted barely twenty years later.
Everything from the corporate sponsorship of individuals and politicians (“Brought to you by Carls’ Jr.”) to the ridiculous amount of human ignorance and waste.
Then there’s everything being automated, except in the worst and most inexpensive ways possible along with humans being replaced by machines.
This is even before we get to the abolishment of any sort of environmental standards that have happened in recent years, which only makes me dread more when some idiot inevitably tries to water crops with Gatorade.
An entire essay could be written about the dumbing down of America since idiocracy and we would still just start to scratch the surface, especially with anti-intellectualism on the rise more and more.
Everything is listening. Watching, waiting to hear every word you say when you think you’re alone. No, it’s not Minority Report where the Precogs got to listen in on everything and decide who may be capable of a crime, it’s the USA!
The Patriot Act was signed into law by George W. Bush during his term and uncovered by the larger United States population after Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA.
In simpler terms, the government has been listening in on everything, everywhere, all at once with a machine running through things to detect keywords or phrases so that they can “prevent terrorism”. Isn’t dystopia fun?
Rose cheaped out on the materials, lived with fabulous wealth, then threw it away at the bottom of the ocean with the ghosts of the Titanic’s wreck.
Does it quite match up, and may be in poor taste, the OceanGate submarine sank millions of dollars to the wreckage in much the same way. Remember, unless your name is James Cameron, know what you’re doing before f*cking with the ocean.
AI has had a recent boom that’s led a lot of creatives and even more industries scrambling, with new chatbots coming out every day and people being fooled by AI-generated art and videos almost daily now. Now though, we may flown a little too close to the sun.
AI girlfriends are advertised online and in apps everywhere now, or even just AI-generated people to speak to. Just like Joaquim Phoenix fell in love with the voice assistant in Her, many have begun serious relationships with artificial beings. Is it surprising, though? No, it seems more like the evolution of the anime body pillow, just something for lonely people to feel wanted and have something.
Still can be pretty weird though.
Oh boy, between Robocop and Judge Dredd, there’s a lot to say about predicting the future of American law enforcement.
On the one hand in Robocop we see the dispensing of justice on a very binary scale where almost anything can be a death sentence carried out by drones or programmed robot officers.
In Judge Dredd, we see the cop being granted the role of judge, jury, and executioner for all crimes around the city, able to make their own calls when seeing crimes and usually deciding to straight up murder people over the slightest rule violation.
Then we get to modern-day America which uses drones wherever it pleases and allows law enforcement to play executioner with a slap on the wrist in most cases. It’s so dystopian it’s almost funny.
Hear me out the Franchise Wars were a predictor, but they didn’t expect it to be a cold war centered around espionage and corporate sabotage.
While Taco Bell may have won the Franchise Wars in a glorious battle during Demolition Man’s future, the real-life counterpart hasn’t fared nearly as well, and Mcdonald’s still rules over everything with an iron fist.
Though does it really count if most of the franchised brands are owned by the same people? Because right now nearly every franchise is owned by one of maybe three companies in the world.
Back to the Future: Part 2
The sequel warned us about the inevitable sequels to come. When Marty sees the giant 3D board for Jaws 19 was ridiculous in the time it was made, especially considering this was released only two years after Jaws: The Revenge.
Thankfully that wasn’t the only thing it predicted, with Nike making the self-lacing shoes a reality a couple of years back and giving the first pair to Michael J. Fox himself.
Everyone reading this made it through 2020 alive (and if you didn’t I have a lot of questions about how you read), so we all know the absolute shitshow that was brought on by the years since.
While Contagion’s take on the apocalyptic event was much grimmer than the reality turned out to be, with even more damaging numbers than were experienced in reality, all the same things played out eerily similarly.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s character being patient zero after visiting Hong Kong for business, Jude Law’s conspiracy blogger pushing homeopathic remedies (at least it wasn’t horse dewormer?), and the breakdown as people isolated and things began to get worse with the theories of how the virus was made and spread. Things haven’t been very pretty for the world since, and Contagion nailed it almost ten years before it happened.
I Am Legend
To get the most obvious out of the way, I Am Legend made everyone in theaters give a little gasp and point at the screen on release when Will Smith passed by an overgrow billboard for a Batman vs. Superman movie in Times Square.
While the film wasn’t up to the status of the book it’s based on, this easter egg did give a nice little reprieve to Will Smith being besieged by vampires.