As of this writing, we’re on the very cusp of the very first orange-twinged, twitter twit to take the office of the most powerful nation on earth. Of course, I’m talking about everyone’s favorite thin-skinned, failed business man, Donald Trump. Somehow, in between avoiding paying federal taxes and berating celebrities on reality television, American voters have deemed this man fit for the highest office in the land. In commemoration of Trump being given access to the nuclear codes, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a list of some of the best films that should give us a chilling preview of what’s to come. Have a happy apocalypse everyone, I’ll be here hoarding canned goods and old Nintendo games.
10) Idiocracy (2006) (Dir: Mike Judge): Before we can get into the nitty gritty of the apocalypse to come, we should first explore a voting base that would ever allow something like this to happen. Between gleefully consuming such mind-expanding fare as the hit TV show “Ow, My Balls” and an cultural obsession with Carl’s Jr. fast food, this should give you a pretty good perspective as to who exactly deemed this man fit for office. A comedy that will have you crying both tears of joy and sadness.
9) Children of Men (2006) (Dir: Alfonso Cuaron): Next, let’s dive right into one of the most realistic and devastating apocalyptic visions ever put to film. In a future where mankind has gone sterile, all hell breaks loose as the last remnants of society decide to blame foreigners for all their problems and fight over minimal remaining scraps as humanity starts drawing their dying breaths. With some of the most punishing war scenes ever put to film complemented by excellent performances by a game cast, Children of Men could very well be the most sadly accurate depiction of what’s to come.
8) The Road Warrior (1982)/Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) (Dir: George Miller): Now that we’re sufficiently depressed from Children of Men, let’s have a little bit more fun with our apocalypse. While it’s vision of a devastated world where the remnants of humanity slaughter each other over remaining fresh water and/or gasoline is every bit as prescient as the vision of Children of Men, the out of this world caricatures and incredible action set pieces that populate Max’s world means we can have some fun while we’re weeping for the future of humanity. You can’t go wrong with either of these action classics, but Fury Road gets an extra nod for acknowledging exactly which gender and wealth class would be responsible for such a future.
7) Her (2013) (Dir: Spike Jones): Shifting gears again, here we’re presented with a cleaner, more colorful vision of the future that is also no less terrifying than the films I’ve listed before. In a world where everyone is so glued to their smartphones and worried about their own issues without educating themselves about the world around them, is it so far fetched to imagine a person falling in love with their personalized operating system? This sort of dystopia may not have much to do with a Trump related apocalypse, but the self-absorption of the general populace is exactly the pre-cursor to the more visceral futures of Children of Men and Mad Max.
6) Snowpiercer (2013) (Dir: Bong Joon-Ho): You can condense the setting to a train, but the themes are no less relevant. This time, we’re looking at the remnants of humanity being stuck aboard a perpetually moving train. The train can’t be stopped lest everyone aboard freezes to death thanks to an ill-advised band-aid solution to global warming. The poorer and more visible minorities are crammed into the back and left to fight over minimal scraps, while the more well off live a more comfortable existence closer to the engine. While the film has a healthy dose of weirdness that shows its Korean roots, is anything in this film any more far fetched than a president who spends more time slamming Saturday Night Live on Twitter than attending security briefings? It’s vision of a frozen world is all the more relevant when you consider the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency is currently suing the EPA for doing its job.
5) RoboCop (1987) (Dir: Paul Verhoeven): This film will either be a fun breath of fresh air from some of the other films on this list, or it will be the most stomach churning of all. Brilliantly mixing brazen social commentary with gruesome violence, RoboCop is a Sci-Fi masterpiece that has rarely been matched since its release 30 years ago. It’s tough to not get caught up in the fun action-movie thrill ride while being shown a vision of Detroit that seems to be set roughly fifteen minutes from now. Also, fuck that 2014 remake, this is the masterpiece you need to watch.
4) Wall-E (2008) (Dir: Andrew Stanton): A bit of a perfect companion to RoboCop, this kid-friendly apocalyptic tale is no less terrifying when you explore the themes underneath. Our intense consumer culture is seen through to its logical conclusions through the eyes of an adorable and good natured robot whose curiousity about his dead world is only matched by his love of classic musicals and planetary probes named Eve. What happens when Wall-E encounters what is left of humanity aboard an ark-like space ship wandering the cosmos is astonishingly chilling and dark for a children’s film.
3) The Road (2009) (Dir: John Hillcoat): I’ll be honest, I’m not too crazy about this bleak and depressing road film that has a father and son aimlessly wandering a nearly dead landscape in humanity’s final days. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ll be too crazy about the real apocalypse either, so there you go. The film succeeds in exactly what it intends to do, which is make you question whether humanity’s last survivors or perhaps those who went early are really the lucky ones here.
2) Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) (Dir: Stanley Kubrick): The film may be over 50 years old at this point, but it has also likely never been more relevant. A chilling cautionary tale wrapped in a hilariously biting satire, Kubrick’s comedic masterpiece takes us to the logical conclusion of putting our nuclear weapons in the hands of crazy madmen and outright idiots. Considering Trump has tweeted out his intentions to increase America’s nuclear arsenal and ‘ol twitter thumbs has shown a tendency to lash out at the slightest criticism, how far out of the realm of possibility are the events of this movie? I’d say somewhere between probable and extremely likely.
1) Interstellar (2014) (Dir: Chistopher Nolan): Ok, there has been a lot of biting satire and horrific visions of the future on this list, so how about we change gears and end off with a little bit of optimism for the future instead. In the word’s of Matthew McConaughey’s solemn hero in the film, “Mankind was born on earth. It was never meant to die here.” So, while the film isn’t in denial about how much damage we’re doing here on earth to our own inevitable detriment, it also runs with the idea that humanity can truly come together to solve our problems, even while dealing with the idea that humanity has no true future on this planet. Nolan’s mind-bending visual trip is truly a multi-layered film that greatly rewards repeat viewings. The idea that we’re destroying our planet and environment but have enough self awareness and problem solving ability to build a new and better home elsewhere in the universe might really be our best long-term case scenario.
Some other apocalyptic honorable mentions for you if that’s not enough end of the world doom and gloom for you. By the way, several of these films are better than many I’ve plucked for the list, but were less thematically relevant to a Donald Trump presidency:
Blade Runner (1982) (Dir: Ridley Scott)
Akira (1988) (Dir: Katsuhiro Otomo)
12 Monkeys (1995) (Dir: Terry Gilliam)
Dredd (2012) (Dir: Pete Travis)
Demolition Man (1993) (Dir: Marco Brambilla)
Independence Day (1996) (Dir: Roland Emmerich)
War of the Worlds (2005) (Dir: Steven Spielberg)
Planet of the Apes (1968) (Dir: Franklin J. Schaffner)
A Clockwork Orange (1972) (Dir: Stanley Kubrick)
Pacific Rim (2013) (Dir: Guillermo del Toro)
Battle Royale (2000) (Dir: Kinji Fukasaku)
V for Vendetta (2005) (Dir: James McTeigue)
Starship Troopers (1997) (Dir: Paul Verhoeven)
Sunshine (2007) (Dir: Danny Boyle)
28 Days Later (2002) (Dir: Danny Boyle)
Minority Report (2002) (Dir: Steven Spielberg)
While we’re at it, let’s take a look at President Trump’s greatest acting moment in a Hollywood film. Now if you’ll excuse me, but canned goods pantry won’t overstock itself. Happy end of the world!