bad/awesome flixxx review: Harrison Bergeron (1995)
"Can you imagine how I must feel, knowing that I'm striving to create a world in which no Beethoven will ever be born? But it has to be, not just because of some words in a constitution. It has to be." - John Klaxon
"Anyway, I don't think you're all that stupid." - Harrison
"Thanks! Well I don't think that you're all that smart." - Alma
"You haven't made everyone equal. You've made them the same, and there's a BIG difference!" - Harrison
Talk about a SCORE! This is a great little hard to find VHS. I got it for around 50 cents at some thrift store. It's Showtime's TV adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's sci fi short story. It's a good find because this one is low budge, but just smart enough to have done it right. AND you can't get it on DVD. This is Sean Astin, and Christopher Plummer and tons of cameo's by folks like Eugene Levy, Howie Mandel, and Andrea Martin in HARRISON BERGERON!!!
If you're a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, then you should search around for this guy. I checked and you can find it on Amazon for pennies. Even if you've never heard of this story, its premise seems like it was ripped from today's headlines. What with the Occupy movement in full effect, this is a forward look at a future not far from now, where the government has rendered everyone man and woman on Earth "equal". If you're smart or gifted in anyway, then you are subject to be "handicapped" so that you will not succeed or have anything over anyone else. The government came up with these "harnesses" for people to wear that keep them stupid. In the case of our protagonist, Harrison is smarter than the average bear. He's super smart but has been held back in school so many years that his younger brother (who'd grow up to be Darth Vader -Hayden Christiansen) has caught up with him. His folks keep taking him to a doctor to adjust his "band", but he just keeps getting smarter.
In a world with arranged marriages between those too stupid, and those too smart (in hopes of creating "average" children) Harrison feels left out and that something is wrong. When they finally schedule him the equivalent of a lobotomy, his doctor suggests he go to something that's like a knowledge brothel where he can exercise his brain- one last time. The cops raid the place and it turns out it was all a scam. In a society that is bred to be average, the government can't be trusted to really run things, so there is a shadow government of the chosen few who hypocritically enjoy the things that they regularly deny the mass public. Music, film, television, everything that the masses see is regulated to be boring, brainless and average. This is eye opening to Harrison at first but then he begins to hate the whole idea and wants to change it so that everyone can enjoy these things.
There's a chick named Philippa who talked the shadow agency into letting Harrison in their "club". He passes all the tests and they hire him and Philippa sort of falls for him and I don't think that's supposed to happen. They can't take wives or have children and they tell their families that the agents have been killed. Most of the families are too stupid to remember them a few weeks later anyway. Philippa and Harrison play chess in their spare time, and Harrison is soaking in years of jams and flicks. Finally they fall in love and Philippa wants to escape and she's freaking out but won't tell anyone what's up, and she DOES split and they catch her and give her a lobotomy. And the main dude is pissed, and Harrison is SUPER pissed.
**********************SPOILER WARNING *****************************
So, Harrison has got a job at the TV station that programs all the channels that we have in the US- which equals about 4 like old school England (and modern day in some places). Harrison lets himself in after borrowing a camera for the weekend, and then proceeds to lock himself in the TV station and airs all this music, and film and basically for like a weekend, just tells everyone in America that they are slaves and encourages them to take off their headsets. Finally they bust in and knock him out. But they don't kill him. They make him go on National television on the biggest nighttime talk show and tell everyone that his set on tv was just a big joke and he was an actor in a hoax like Orson Welles presentation of WAR OF THE WORLDS back in 1938. But after telling them, Harrison pulls a gun from his pocket and blows his own brains out on national television. Then we cut to a scene where a kid and his friend are talking about discs that they've gotten their hands on, and one tells the other his cousin is bringing a copy where the guy blew his brains out. And they proceed to watch the jazz & films that Harrison presented WITHOUT THEIR BANDS MAN!!! OUTLAWS! And so technology helped them preserve the pieces of art that had been hidden from them. And then we realize that the kid is Harrison's kid as Phillippa recognizes the music even after her lobotomy and she's downstairs, and the reason she was splitting is because she was pregnant. A no no. Yes, its shitty old Sean Astin, but its a pretty damn good philosophical sci fi story. i recommend. Cheers.
Sunday, February 12, 2012