We should be so lucky to have a real life scenario where Dave, the movie, happens. I was delighted to re-catch the 1993 film last night… and finished off with a real smile on my face. Plus a positive attitude, and a lot of wish fulfillment. Watching again this was a great time and help up surprisingly well so many years later.
Note of excitement that’s only a little political:
The idea that if we just took a good hard look at our spending choices in the US Budget, we could move that cash into positive reforms, is exciting. I realize it’s not that easy — each cash allowance is earmarked for different departments, and if they don’t spend it they lose it…but that’s a broken system. We should focus on sending money to issues that will help humanity suffer less. Not to buy thousand-dollar staplers for administration employees. (Yes, look this up.)
So, avoiding political battles. I don’t want to upset people. But Dave is just such a darn feel-good movie about what could happen if someone who really wanted to help people became a public servant, and if we had a a simple but smart accountant take a sober look at where we’re leaking money (like millions of ‘petty cash’ allotments), and make some big budgetary changes._
Alright, alright, I’m not saying (as Dave posits) that we can get a job for every American who wants one. But isn’t this what FDR did? The Conservation Corps of America said, “Hey, if you’re able bodied, let’s make stable trails, and safe roads, and solid hospitals…” — and that’s certainly better than sending out a welfare check for no work at all.
In Dave, the message is that people WANT to be productive and feel their days have structure and meaning. Sure, some people would rather be fishing or playing video games, but that’s better than having desperate people become criminals and overload the expensive penal system. Let them fish. Maybe they can help feed their families or communities; never a bad thing.
A Post Scarcity Economy can happen — think Star Trek
I’m getting political again…but I just really think we can do this. We almost have most of the Star Trek post scarcity indicators:
- Replicators that can create anything off the waste products society makes, from the molecular level up (ie – industrial 3D printers getting better all the time).
- Self driving cars to prevent millions of expensive accidents and illegal acts.
- Holodecks to keep people content, entertained, and mentally active (VR and AR simulations are constantly improving. At the last Comic Con, I WALKED ON THE MOON. It was real enough to make me cry with joy). Rome had a good idea with their Bread and Circuses program, cynicism aside…
- AI – Self-aware, self-replicating computers that can take over the most menial of jobs, be our expert medical diagnosticians, run simulations on how society can benefit most from automation, etc, and so on, ad infinitum (The Singularity could happen any time now).
- Nano Tech that can create durable goods with almost unlimited strength capabilities, including the possibility of Space Elevators (Getting closer every day).
- Warp Speed and Transporters are not really a thing soon, but we don’t need those to make Earth a paradise for all. We don’t live in a United Federation of Planets just yet. 😉
We aren’t at these scientific levels yet, but many will probably happen in our lifetimes, making goods, education, health, and basic services available to all, almost freely. This is what a post-scarcity economy could mean for humanity.
And honestly, if you think about it, most people want to contribute their skills to betterment in some way. There’s no downside to smarter resource allocation.
Dave (the movie) shows what happens when Dave (the character) — a smart, honest, and caring person who only wants to be a public servant performing the job the country ‘hired’ him to do — accidentally gets into office, and has a chance to do just that. No egos. No excess. Just: Do. The. Job.
Why should “the normal” be to expect less from our leaders? Politicians aren’t celebrities. They are public citizens. And we hire them to make things better.
What else? The characters were great!
Dave (Kevin Kline, in a fantastic double role performance), gives us a comic, sweet-spirited, fascinating take on “What If?…” He’s never been this lovable in any role.
Sigourney Weaver did a bang up job as Dave’s muse, and Frank Langella (as always) was perfect as the corrupt Chief of Staff you love to hate. “You’re LINT!” might have been my favorite line.
Speechwriter Kevin Dunn as Alan was simply adorable, but the MVP role goes to Ving Rhames as Duane, the “president’s” bodyguard. I melted when he finally opened up about how sweaters made his neck look big. His final line to Dave, about taking a bullet for him, was sentimental without being gooey: a perfect character development moment.
And Duane’s last-second scene at Dave’s office door made me grin like a freaking fool, realistic or not. Just happy vibes all around. Share this movie with everyone you know.
Yes: Real People Cared Too
A LOT of real life politicos, TV hosts, pundits, and celebrities (Hi Arnold!) played themselves in Dave. Clearly, some important folks got the humor of the film, and the sweetness, and also maybe cared about making our country a better place for everyone.
Lastly. Thank you, Director Ivan Reitman (of Ghostbusters fame) for making a seemingly fluffy movie with a ton of heart and hope for all Americans.
Movie Grade: A
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)