You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers.
It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What movie universe would actually want to live in? Susan C.
Does a Mobius strip timeline count as a universe? As one of my favorite films, I’ve always dreamt of finding myself stuck in an endless 24-hour loop a la Groundhog Day, as it seems like the perfect environment for a moment of existential awakening. Bill Murray’s Phil Conners is way grumpier than myself (I hope…), but reliving the same day over and over and over again in the mundane paradise of Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania sounds like a recipe for self-discovery.
If that’s too close to home, then I’d prefer the pulp stylings of alternative 1939 in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Like a Max Fleischer cartoon come to life, Sky Captain’s New York is a place where technology has grown rapidly, while the sensibilities and style of a time long ago remain intact. Sign me up for any job – I’d be comfortable in either the seat of a gunning fighter plane or as the tech-savvy sidekick. Thing is, I look really, really good in soft, three-point lighting.
This question seems custom-built for a Sci-Fi response. Who wouldn’t want to live in the future with spaceships, endless supplies of monsters, and robot hookers? Me, that’s who! You can keep your death by Sarlacc digestion and your robo-herpes, I’m pining for the comforts of a past…that never existed.
While watching Sukiyaki Western Django for around the eleventy billionth time last night, I couldn’t help but find myself wanting to don a gunbelt and kimono and dive through my television But, having broken TVs/lost the respect of friends attempting this in the past, I thought it better to simply put my obsessive thoughts to paper; cyber paper is still paper dammit!
I’ve always wanted to be a cowboy, to sling guns and bust broncos. While there are several films featuring settings that would afford me this opportunity, there are few others that offer this much absurdity. Being the only white guy in a Western while everyone around me is speaking broken English and fighting with a combination of samurai swords and six-shooters? Yes please. Sukiyaki Western Django is a hodgepodge of so many different things I love rolled into one glorious burrito and shoved directly up your nose.
Let’s break this down: it’s a Japanese remake of an Italian knockoff of American Westerns with a self-awareness that allows it to be accessibly weird. Sounds like a checklist of all my favorite things. Not to mention the fact that the main character is a bad ass cowboy version of Yojimbo, my favorite Kurosawa film. I would endeavor to occupy his role.
So, here’s the tricky thing about this question – all of the universes (universi?) that immediately come to mind are either awesomely gorgeous, or awesomely boundless in the potential of one’s own physical abilities. Middle Earth, Marvel, Willow (shut up, I like Pecks!!), Little China, etc.The problem lies in that people like me die there in order to maintain the level of awesomery. Heaven isn’t the beautiful place you go to die, it’s the beautiful place you go after you die and wait for others to die.
Therefore, I think the place I’d like most to live in would be the universe of a John Hughes comedy. It’s a wonderful existence where assholes get the shaft, a nerd can have sex with the hottest girl (without regret from the hot girl), the wallflower can get the popular guy (or the jock), an annoying shower curtain ring salesman can become your best friend, an 8 year old can legally torture two inept burglars….twice, and a family vacation is horrendous and memorable in equal measure. Is it a perfect place? Of course not, but it’s imperfect in all of the best ways, because when bad things happen they’re usually quite funny. I honestly can’t think of a better place to want to be. It’s a place full of optimism. It’s a place where Matthew Broderick can break into song in the middle of Chicago and is the coolest cat for hundreds of miles.
Essentially, it’s where life is fair. The good get what they deserve and everything always seems to culminate in a warm embrace.
All it lacks are some gorgeous landscapes and some Pecks.
There are a lot of ways to go with this answer. Star Wars comes to mind because I wouldn’t mind being an awesome smuggler or killing rebel scum, but then again, if I can’t be a Jedi I don’t want some dude fucking with my mind. Jurassic Park appeals to my love of dinosaurs, science, and wholesale madness, but that might just come true anyways. Then again there’s always the universe of Debbie Does Dallas or Deep Throat where sex just happens all the time, everywhere. Or mostly in Dallas.
But after a minimal amount of thought, I’ve decided on Serenity/Firefly. I’ve got all the fancy future warfare and spaceships of a Sci-Fi movie mixed in with the lawlessness and gun toting aspects of a Western. My own personal vision of heaven, really. I’ve got all sorts of advanced technology, presumably advanced healing, longevity, and all that cool stuff. Couple that with space babes and the ability to just shoot the shit out of all sorts of things and people because I’m on the fringes of society? Hell to the yes, man. I’ll join that any day of the week. Oh and if you’re wondering, my number two universe would either be The Three Stooges or Warner Bros. Cartoons – that way I could survive all sorts of heavy objects being dropped on my head and only be comically blackened by a shotgun to the face.
Actually scratch everything and put me in Who Framed Roger Rabbit because I want to bang a cartoon.
My immediate gut response? Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s densely layered sets seem so real, I feel like I could reach through the screen and steal a slug from Deckard’s bottle of scotch when he’s not looking.
Aside from this damnable constant craving for scotch, I was also born with a fascination with the aesthetics of urban decay. Probably an unfortunate side effect of having spent the first two years of my life in Jersey. I live in something resembling a remote frozen tundra right now, but the sight of neon billboards, belching smokestacks and constant background drone of traffic and police sirens always evokes a sense of “home.”
Then I realize, home sucked. A more reasonable answer is Fool’s Good. As a film, Andy Tennant’s 2008 romantic comedy was kinda terrible. As a place to live, I can’t imagine anywhere more inviting. It’s warm and sunny and a tanned Kate Hudson’s always running around in a bikini. Why, I feel like I just reach right through the screen right now and grab me piece of that … uh … I’ll stop right now before this gets really creepy.
While part of me is itching to say I’d like to live in the land of sparkling vampires and enormous werewolves with studly sixpacks, so that I can cause a comment-splosion of derision and snark, I just can’t do it. The reason for this inability? Other than it not being the truth, I also keep hearing the Hogwarts Express engine calling faintly to me, its siren song winging its way across the sea and reminding me that there’s a place where I can have real magical powers. Where the wave of a wand could change nothing into something, the swallow of a potion could completely make me over and the whisper of a word could send something flying. Not only that, but there would be real magical creatures, real adventures and a whole new world of possibilities. Admittedly, I’m assuming here that I’m not a muggle, but I’m Mary Sue-ing and in my imagination I can cast with the best of them. Okay, maybe not Hermione or Dumbledore, but definitely Harry and Ron at the very least.
As an aside, the X-Men universe has a pretty strong draw too, but then you’re limited to a single power and that’s just no fun. Harry Potter gives you a tool to mimic any power you like, and that makes it almost limitless in its possibility and entertainment value. Just please don’t make me live there during the time of the last books. I want a peaceful universe!
This is a great question, and the answer is an easy one… I’d live in the Die Hard universe.
For one thing, it’s always the holidays! And the odds are 50/50 that the holiday in question will be Christmas which means I’d be in a world where I’m constantly getting and giving gifts. Who doesn’t love Christmas? And when it’s not Christmas it’s the Fourth of July (or thereabouts) and deep in the warm days of summer.
The world also offers a very clear choice as to what kind of life you can lead. It’s the real world, more or less, so you could live a normal life if you chose to… all you need to do is stay as far away from John McClane as possible. You know what he looks like, you know who he works for… just stay the hell away from the guy and life will be a pleasant stream of holiday mornings and bikini-watching.
And if you don’t want the quiet life? If you don’t want to spend your days relaxing and going about your own business? Spend some time at the firing range. Learn a new language, preferably something of the Eastern European variety. Buy a Physics book then throw it away.
And then find McClane. Introduce yourself. And wait a few minutes for something to explode.
Can I seriously answer this question without at least giving a nod to the multi-billion dollar pornography industry? After all, who wouldn’t want to get a minimum wage job as a pizza delivery boy and have random, funky-monkey sex with sorority babes all day long?
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here’s a serious answer. I’d love to live in a superhero world where average people like me could actually have extraordinary powers. Whether it’s a random mutation like the X-Men films, being bitten by a radioactive (or more recently a genetically-modified) spider or just having a load of money that allows you to build a Bat-arsenal, this would be super cool. Sadly, being a superhero ain’t easy in today’s world, and I’d easily get my ass handed to me if I tried this stuff in reality. Or, I’d just die from a random spider bite.
But the universe that I’d really love to inhabit would be that of the Star Wars films (and yes, that also includes the prequels). Not only would space travel be wicked-cool, but there’s always the chance to become a Jedi Knight and use the Force for good (or evil, if that’s the way you swing). Sadly, reality would come crashing down on me at some point when I realized that my metachlorian count is disastrously low, and I would probably end up as some greasy cantina bartender on Tatooine, enforcing my “No Droids” policy.
Like the dreaded “Flight or Invisibility” question, this one relies on a catch. Joining another universe would be great (and of course the correct answer is the Sliders universe because it has an infinite amount of parallel universes (even if it is a TV show)), but you’d still technically be yourself. Transporting to Middle Earth is great until you get ripped limb from limb and have to watch your arm being eaten by an orc. Trust me on that.
Fortunately, my natural answer allows me to be who I am already. It’s got great music, friendly people, adventure, hair treatments and movies being interrupted by chain gangs. It’s the balmy temperatures of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. I’d be able to join a folk or bluesgrass quartet, mock the KKK, and aid or abet George Clooney. Life would be taken slow, but I could reach instant stardom by singing into a can.
Plus, it would be a hell of a lot better than living inside No Country For Old Men.
If I could change universes and guarantee that I was the star…which isn’t the question, but I’m changing it to that…I’d slip right onto the tour bus with Stillwater in Almost Famous. Which would mean that, yes, I’d eventually become the famous director who made Vanilla Sky.
Answer more burning cinematic questions with the Circle of Jerks
Send your questions to email@example.com