Total Recall

Vegas on Mars: Recalling ‘Total Recall’ 25 Years Later

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Philip K. Dick has enjoyed a surprisingly active and commercial afterlife considering the decidedly non-commercial nature of his output and the fact that, from a sales perspective, he was never more than a cult success during his lifetime. Then again, Dick’s posthumous popularity as the source for big-budget science fiction movies both revered (Total Recall, Minority Report) and not so revered (Paycheck, Next, The Adjustment Bureau) should perhaps not come as a surprise because Dick trafficked in the kind of sexy, hooky, accessible ideas movies love.

Dick has been adapted extensively in part because his work is so adaptable. Filmmakers can take the core of an idea explored in a Dick short story and adapt it any way they see fit, secure in the knowledge that if they take as many liberties with Dick’s work as filmmakers have tended to take, they only risk alienating a small core of Dick cultists. Sure enough, by the time the Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” was adapted into 1990’s Total Recall a quarter-century ago by a divisive satirist with a uniquely bloody, extreme take on the grotesque excesses of American culture named Paul Verhoeven, it had already been through several different strikingly different iterations.
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Why Colonizing Outer Space Is a Bad Idea: 9 Lessons From Pop Culture

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Here’s the ultimate good-bad idea: the Dutch aerospace project is planning to send four humans to Mars in 2023 … and keep them there. Permanently. As of yesterday, 20,000 people had applied for a spot on the mission, and 24 to 40 of the applicants will duke it out on reality TV to be among the first humans to colonize a planet. Clearly, they haven’t seen enough space movies to realize that this is a horrible idea. If these applicants just took the time to watch the following movies and TV shows, they’d surely think twice about hopping into a spaceship.
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