Mike Judge began with cartoons (Milton was an early one) like Beavis and Butt-Head which began as terrible (and not funny) little shows until it developed and became one of the funniest things ever on television. His King of the Hill has yet to become funny to me, but fortunately, everything Mike Judge has done for the big screen has been pretty brilliant.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996) -- Where the Beavis and Butt-Head TV show are about two dynamic, active, happy characters who live in a mundane and dismal town, this is about how the same two characters live in a mundane and dismal movie. Everything that was funny about the TV show is here, making me laugh every few seconds. A good adaptation.
Office Space (1999) -- Based on Mike Judge's Milton cartoon shorts, this was the first movie I've seen to really exploit what everyone who has worked in an office for even a week has felt. He got everything right, and the comedy of the film comes more from truth than exaggeration. Every character in the movie is great and funny, even the minor ones, and the movie only improves with age. Oh, and it's got the best use of rap music in any movie.
Idiocracy (2006) -- Manages to paint one of the bleakest pictures of our future civilization while being really funny throughout. Also manages to have a bit of an elitist (some might say racist) point of view without being annoying or offensive, as long as you have sense of humor about it. It's not exactly Herrnstein and Murray's book The Bell Curve, but sometimes it has some of the same ideas. The thing that saves it in that area, I think, is that even though people with low IQs are certainly shown as negative (and even though "dumb" usually just means non-white, non-"proper" English) , people with high IQs are shown as even more stupid in their own ways, the main example being the liberal couple who rationalized their way out of happiness when they didn't and eventually couldn't have the children they wanted and one of them ended up dying as a result of his "smart" lifestyle. The heroes, then, are the average Joes (in this case, very literally) who really could (in this present moment) save the world if they were just a little less apathetic. Much of the movie isn't far-fetched at all, and I think setting it 500 years in the future was too large a jump, since some of these things are happening now. We are killing our planet in order to sell Gatorade, if you know what I mean. We are electing professional wrestlers (and less incompetent people) to run the country. Food is the new sex. The funniest things about this movie, however, are the little bits thrown in that take up two seconds: ski boats in the reflecting pool, sign gags, machines that make our lives easier and never work, all the details put into the movie that keep it funny. Beyond the social satire, it's just a funny movie. Beavis and Butt-Head was also meant to be social satire, but even more than that, it was hilarious, and this movie is too. Also, Maya Rudolph looks pretty hot.
Copyright (c) Dec 2000 - Jan 2007 by Rusty Likes Movies