ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms
Movies17 Jan 2007

Over the last few days I’ve taken in Children of Men and For your Consideration.

The premise of Children of Men is that, a few years from now, all women have become infertile and no babies are born. Fast forward to 2027, and the world society has largely collapsed as people come to grips with the inevitable extinction of our species. (It was at this point that Shengrong, recalling the title, began keeping an eye out for pregnant men).

The story centers on an illegal immigrant in totalitarian Britain who has somehow managed to become pregnant. She quickly becomes a pawn in a political struggle between the government and a terrorist group called the “Fishes”. Her unlikely protector is a weary former activist who is charged with getting her to the coast where a boat is waiting to take her to some better place. The movie is quite gripping and contains a lot of memorable images from a dystopian world. We both quite liked it.

For Your Consideration is a Christopher Guest film (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, etc) about a bunch of has-been, not-yet-to-be, and clueless actors and film-makers trying to make a family drama called “Home for Purim”. Purim, I learned, is a Jewish holiday. Don’t worry, the title of the film-within-a-film gets changed to “Home for Thanksgiving” after the studio directors ask for “less Jewish-ness”.

“Award shows are the backbone of this industry”.
“This is an industry known for having no backbone.”

For Your Consideration was funny but a little tedious. There is a natural human tendency to become enthralled with one’s own image in the mirror. Sadly, this reflection isn’t really a novelty to the rest of us – we see your ugly mug every day, after all. I think there is a bit of that going on in this film, Guest and co. are too busy staring at themselves (Actors, filmmakers, Hollywood) to make it interesting for the rest of us. In fairness, I should say that I think Hollywood is difficult to satirize since it is very extreme to begin with.

5 Responses to “Double Feature”

  1. 23 Jan 2007 at 9:47 am Rob

    We watched Children of Men a couple of days ago, too. It was good. I think what we liked the most was the tone it was able to set. It’s nice to see a proper dystopian film now and then that actually feels pessimistic. I wasn’t familiar with the “human infertility” approach to the apocalypse, but it leads to some good brooding. Actually, Aeon Flux was also all about infertile future-land… but it wasn’t gloomy at all, oh well!

    I hadn’t heard about For Your Consideration, I loved Spinal Tap, but some of the other Guest movies got a little tedious and formulaic. But they’re full of good moments (and better hour-and-a-half than spent with Aeon Flux :P).

  2. 25 Jan 2007 at 4:36 pm Ian

    I’ve heard Aeon Flux is pretty bad.

    I liked the tone of Children of Men a lot too – great scenes of cops in riot gear standing around London and nobody batting an eye.

    It was also one of those movies in which simplifying the action (no Hollywood car chases here – in fact, in the only car chase I remember, neither car would start) increases the tension. Some review I read pointed out that the hero never actually picked up a gun.

  3. 29 Jan 2007 at 9:12 pm luke

    as long as you are talking about infertile sci-fi worlds/dystopias, you can’t forget to mention “the handmaid’s tale” (of course Mgt. Atwood’s original book is better than the film, but both are good).

    something goes wrong in the US, and, at least in the state of gilead (its exact size/location), the few fertile women become breeding stock for the “christian” elite… well worth reading/watching

  4. 30 Jan 2007 at 9:05 pm Ian

    You’re right, it is a good book and does fall in the same realm of “fertility dystopia”. Apparently it gets banned frequently. I didn’t know there was a film.

    Another Atwood work, Oryx and Crake, falls into the broader category of “extinction dystopia”, and is good as well, if terrifying.

  5. 31 Jan 2007 at 11:42 am luke

    haven’t read O&C… i should sometime…

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