Hollywood, a world defined by high-finance ventures, vulgarly luxurious lifestyles, ferocious competition, and cynical demographic pandering, is also the source of much fuss about social injustice. Wealthy producers pat themselves on the back for exposing the unfairness of class divisions in outlandishly expensive, highly-stylized movies. Here are a few to get you started.
5. Snowpiercer (2013): This movie was kind of buried in the US and few saw it, but it is critically acclaimed and very popular internationally. The basic premise is that in the near future, the world has experienced a drastic global cooling, turning it into a frozen wasteland that cannot support life. But for the past generation, a small number of humans have been living on a giant train that circles the world continually and never stops. The train is divided into numerous segments, with an elite living in the front of the train and the poor and bedraggled crammed into the dank and dirty rear of the train. The situation in the rear of the train is so dire that they resort to cannibalism and their lives are a dirty and hellish fight for survival. The children of the back of the train are stolen by the wealthy in the front of the train, to serve their nefarious purposes. Resources are withheld from those in the back of the train to keep their numbers down and to keep them compliant. The people of the back of the train become obsessed with voyaging to the front of the train, and in their journey pass a microcosm of the inequality in the world today, car by car—an obsession with beauty, opulence, and partying. The leader, Wilford, an elderly white man, explains that he has been sowing fear and chaos between the different segments of the train in order to maintain order and keep his place as leader on the train. Eventually, the back of the train people realize the true nature of their oppression. This is all said far better in the movie itself.
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4. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): This future dystopian fantasy film was, unexpectedly, the best-reviewed film of 2015 and the winner of the most Oscars for the year. It’s also a perfect encapsulation of a society where a brutal few keep the vast majority oppressed, literally feeding off of their life’s blood and milk, keeping allies compliant by sowing fear and chaos, convincing them of the inhumanity of everyone else. The haves choose to survive via cannibalism, living off the blood and milk of the have-nots, resources carefully withheld to keep people compliant. Our hero’s blood is O- : universal donor. The villains are AB+ —they can take blood from anybody. Eventually, the people realize the true nature of their oppression, and rise up against Immortal Joe.
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3. Ant-Man (2015): This superhero film comes with a sidekick of mega class resentment. There’s Scott Lang, the solidly middle-class engineer who decided to fight the man by playing Robin Hood with his computer know-how, which landed him in jail. Just out of jail, he finds himself unemployed and living in a dive with his prison buddies, now relegated to the fringes of society. He’s ashamed at his daughter’s birthday party when his gift so thoroughly sucks as compared to the riches she is receiving in her middle class lifestyle. So he ends up breaking into the home of some rich dude, who, it turns out, is Ant-Man as well as a billionaire. Then he gets embroiled in a conflict in the midst of the military-industrial complex. He brings weapons both bigger and smaller than those of his opponents, and kicks their ass. There’s no cannibalism, though.
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2. The Hunger Games (2012-2015): The people of the Capitol live in decadent luxury while the people of the 12 Districts scrabble and starve to support those luxuries, and every year offer up the flowers of their youth for the Capitol’s entertainment. So wealthy are the people of the Capitol that they resort to vomiting during parties to make room for more delicacies, while the people of the districts starve. The children of the districts are taken by the wealthy of the Capitol, to serve their nefarious (there’s that adjective again) purposes, while the Capitol citizens are obsessed with beauty, opulence, and partying (and those things again). The Hunger Games are an annual event to sow fear and chaos between the districts and keep them from uniting to rebel against the Capitol. Eventually, the people of the districts realize the true nature of their oppression, join together, and rise up.
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1. The Human Centipede (2009): There are virtually no lengths to which I will not go for E-Verse Radio. However, I find my limit in the prospect of watching this film. I cannot do it. So forgive me if the details of the film are fuzzy here, I’m just basing my comments on innuendo that I’ve done my best to not hear. But everything I’ve learned of this film suggests it is an allegory of the class system. There are the people in the front, eating high off the hog, with the freedom to say whatever they want, and getting a constant rim job. And then there’s the middle, sandwiched between the front and the back and partaking of some of the benefits of the front but the negatives of the back, too—they, too, are getting a rim job but are also living off of the trickle-down effluvia. And then there are the people in the rear, getting shat upon non-stop.