Sustainability is a much broader topic than one might initially think.
Sure, you can go traditional when you choose your sustainability viewing material and watch documentaries like The True Cost, Cowspiracy, Waste Land and such, but there are some real lessons to be learned in the most unlikely of viewing pleasures. You don’t have to watch serious to do some serious learning. The following three movies are my top picks for critical thinking with some rationale as to why I believe they are important views.
Average Jo is just that, 100% average in every way. He doesn’t have the drive to work his way up the ranks of the army and is happy to spend his days lounging around as the US Army librarian watching movies and ‘keeping out of the way’. The Army decide that Jo is the perfect candidate for a suspended animation experiment due to his all round averageness. So in 2005 they freeze him and a prostitute they find as the other ‘average’ female counterpart (apparently there were no average women in the army) for what was meant to be a year long experiment. Things go horribly wrong, the experiment is forgotten about, five hundred years pass and an avalanche in a mountain of garbage unearths the two experiment pods. Average Jo and Rita find themselves in a society that has been dumbed down through media and breeding, where commercialisation and disposability is the norm. Jo and Rita are now the two smartest people alive. Feeling all bit weird about the situation Jo goes to hospital to see a Dr. and is arrested for no having a barcode identification. While being barcoded (he ends up with the name ‘Not Sure’ due to a machine misunderstanding) he is given an IQ tests and uses his intellect to avoid jail. A series of evens unfold which end in his being arrested and taken to the White House to meet the president. The President (a pro wrestler) identifies him as the smartest man alive and asks him to solve the ‘great dust bowl’ crop-failure problem which has resulted in a food shortage. Jo works out that it’s because they have been watering crops with a electrolyte sports drink (thanks to marketing prowess and a continual dumb down of intelligence), the crops grow and Jo’s ass is saved.
This was a comedy movie in 2005. In 2016 it’s a scary possible reality. Why? DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT. Idiocracy is becoming a reality and it’s scary! In the movie clothing comes from vending machines and it covered in branding. I’m hoping fashion doesn’t come to that but fast fashion is making apparel increasingly more disposable. There is also two top shows in the film one is ‘Ouch My Balls’ and there is an award winning movie about an ass farting for an hour and a bit. When you check out reality TV and social media YouTube trends these kinds of programs aren’t far off what we are liking or streaming sometimes. It’s a fun watch that will make you laugh a LOT but it’s also a timely reminder that we need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.
Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil
Ever seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and thought to yourself ‘how can anyone be so evil’? What about the news? Ever seen a clip and thought to yourself ‘You Assholes!!!’. Turns out that there are two sides to every story and while the one you are being told might make perfect sense to you in the way it is presented. It’s not always the reality for all those involved. Dale and Tucker Vs. Evil is a movie all about that. Yes, this is a gruesome ‘horror-comedy’ story but it’s also a really relatable look at the way we like to stereotype good and evil and how our versions of relatives and truths can differ. Two ‘hillbillies’ are heading off to their new investment property to do some work, celebrate and relax. On the way they come across some college kids off on a camping trip. From the first meeting there is a series of unfortunate events when Dale crushes hard on a college girl and his bumbling attempts to flirt with her come across a little ‘serial killerish’. From there we live two realities and truths. The adventure of Dale and Tucker who are just two nice guys trying to make the most out of their ‘brand new’ vacation place, and the terrified college kids who (after telling some scary stores around the campfire) believe the World is out to get them. The movie from there turns into a hilarious, revolting, and very important look at the issues associated with stereotyping, fear, and miscommunication.
Ok.. so what does a comedy murder have to do with Sustainability and fashion? Well… it’s like this. Do you think critically about the messages you are told? I could sit here right now and tell you that 50% of all fashion items result in the death of a puppy. I could show you a dead puppy next to a t-shirt. Is any of this true? Do you believe it is? Would you stop to think that perhaps there was another reason why that puppy was dead? It could be that the puppy was a still birth and the t-shirt was put there to wrap it in. If didn’t think about all the possibilities you could easily take action based on the face value that fashion = dead puppies. Living your life in fear and hate while acting out your vengeance on puppy murders. It spirals quickly and this movie is the extreme series of unfortunate events. Many of the issues we have in regards to tolerance, environmental damage and human rights violations come from a lack of understanding and miscommunication. Terrorists have been type casted as Muslims or brown people when in fact anyone acting out in an extreme way to purposely create fear in others is a terrorist. Burkas, beards and a head scarf has nothing to do with terrorism. Unless we all learn to communicate, think critically and act with compassion then we are headed down the same sad and sorry path that the college kids in this movie took.
This ones a little more ‘slap in the face’ obvious in regards to the sustainability link but it’s included because we often think that Sustainability and Environmentalism has to be serious and boring. Most things in life that need to be known can be learned from Dr Seuss and you don’t have to be a kid to benefit from Seuss wisdom. This movie is a GEM. It looks at all the important aspects of our collective environmental future including the importance of individuals in initiating change. If you have ever thought to yourself ‘it’s all too far gone… what difference will my efforts make’ then head out and get yourself a copy of this movie! It’s an instant compassion fatigue fix.
What is your most favourite unlikely sustainability and environmental watch? Share with us below. Apologies if you are squeamish and were put off by Dale and Tucker… I’m a bit of an old school horror film buff (the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic fave of mine) so I loved this one.