The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

April Fools Week: For a Rage-Fueled Trip, Hop on the Idaho Transfer

Written by: Joseph Randazzo, Special to CC2K

ImageI let this movie sit a few days before writing this review. Let it stew and marinate in my mind. Not that it’s a complicated movie, but it is a subtle movie in all its head bashing glory and I wanted to be able to sleep on it. I usually do this for movie reviews, but what usually does not happen is that I get angrier and angrier at the movie as time go on. I was literally shouting at someone in a comedy theater lobby about the movie. They weren’t even defending it or had even heard of it. Apparently I have anger issues.

I’ve seen a lot of apocalypse/impending apocalypse movies and I would consider myself a fan. Road Warrior, 12 Monkeys, Omega Man and Boy and His Dog, these are classics of the genre. Do you know why? Because you actually give a damn about the characters or the situations they are in? Idaho Transfer? Take a wild guess how I feel about them…

I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you a little bit about the plot. These scientists while working on a matter-transmit-something-or-other discover a way to go 50 years into the future and then come back. Great, right? Sports scores, new technology and cures for today’s ills. Nope. Everyone in the future is dead. Awesome. How do they die? No one knows. How did they figure this out? I have no idea, this is all back story, so we don’t get to see the first trials or their horror, we just get veiled exposition and vague references. Double awesome.

So what would normal people do? Freak the fuck out? Warn people that everyone was going to die. Tell the government? Other scientists? Fucking anybody? Nope. Not these assholes. They are keeping it on the QT.

The head scientist a new age Doctor Mengele, figures out that only people under 25 can go without having kidney failure. So he recruits a team of teenagers to go and live in the future to start a new society.

Yup that’s right.

Fuck you 7 billion people. My kids are going to avoid this.

That’s just the start of the movie.

So Johnny mass-extinction decides to have his daughters go to the Transfer – that’s what they call it when they go into the future (and they are in Idaho, ya get it?). Oh by the way. They can’t wear pants. Why? Not really sure…something about metal not being able to transfer on a person. Apparently sweatpants technology was mastered after 1973.

Seriously, the whole movie looked like it was going to breakout into an awful porn. It didn’t.

So Isa (daughter one) comes back from the transfer to pick up her sister Karen, who apparently has been in a mental institute. You know I know sparking dialogue like “how’s her head?” Seriously that’s it. Subtly to the point of confusion.

Anyway… Father Genocide thinks that his recently crazy daughter can handle the shock of the possibly preventable death of a gazillion people and sends her into the future…. where she accidently kills her sister.

I think. Subtlety is a bitch here.

So Karen loses it and goes to live in the future, where she totally ignores a letter from her now-down-two-daughters father and has sparking lines like “Karen. Is. Blank.”

You know this one was going to be special because….do you have that friend? You know, the one that just throws major facts out there, like they were nothing? “SO I was sleeping with a model while riding a pig and I thought to myself, I wonder if Steve has seen Watchmen yet. “ That guy? That’s Karen.

While talking to her sister (before she killed her) the following dialogue is said.

Isa:”Still a virgin?”

Karen: “I thought I told you about that; I got raped. Couple weeks ago….how about you? Still a virgin?

That’s it. That’s the whole conversation. I’ve had sneezes that lasted longer then the rape discussion.

Still in the first twenty minutes by the way, so we are going to jump ahead a little.

All the teens get trapped in the future. How? Still not sure, I think the government shut the switch down. More vaguely shot scenes.

Anyway, the teens decide to split up and go to Portland. No reason why to split up or go to Portland, but ok….I’ve given up on the logic train at this point. Karen spends the next half hour waxing poetic about repopulating the world and trying to get this guy she is with to sleep with her. No dice because apparently she’s not good enough for a teenage boy who has zero other options and is alone in the dessert with a pretty girl. No wonder this girl has issues. How bad is your self-esteem at this point?

At this point they also find people living. All teenagers, all like The Who’s Tommy. Deaf and all screwed up in the head. Living from hand to mouth, but as the past teens put it “very happy” insert liberal hippy bullshit here.

Jump ahead…Karen thinks she is pregnant, by Keith Carradine (the only star in the movie for like 4 minutes) but it turns out that the Transfer makes everyone sterile. HAH.

She loses it AGAIN. Takes off to go back to the Transfer machine, which is basically a bench and some knobs. That’s where she is attacked by Jennifer- another Transfer who has apparently lost it too. Jennifer killed Keith Carradine. Because “We were using it all. We couldn’t sustain it, that’s why they are dead”

That’s the explanation for the apocalypse and the environmental undertone of the movie. Seriously. The incoherent mumblings of a crazy teenager. Triple awesome.

Karen manages to get back to the past, still doesn’t warn anyone, grabs a sandwich and tries to fix the machine so she can go back in time before Jennifer wigged out. Guess what? She fails.. you know why? Because she’s fucking crazy and has no idea how the machine works and just starts playing with knobs and tools.

You ready for this?????

This movie has 2 good shots, one where no-sex boy looks at a train of dead people. And the following….

She goes into the future, and it’s years and years later. She wanders around all crazy like. Has some flashbacks and then gets picked up by talking humans and thrown into a trunk of this insane like putty type car.

She’s is being used as fuel. All of those screwed up Tommy people are.

Do you get it? It’s a message that our resources aren’t renewable and we will run out know what NO! NO! You don’t get to do that. BAD. BAD. Peter Fonda. You do not get to give me a message after this subtly incoherent cacophony of wide shots and silence.

Peter Fonda directed this piece of wonderment and has the balls to come on before the movie and talk about how much he loves the environment and wanted to make a movie about the dangers of environmental ruin. Which would have been great, if you made that clear in any time before the last 35 seconds and even that’s not clear. I’ll give the man credit though, he does encourage you to write to him and tell him what you think, good or bad. At least the man stands behind his work.

Bottom line. The movie is a mess, with self-absorbed asses, but it’s got great scenery from Craters in the Moon national park in Idaho, some interesting visual shots and a semi-twisting Soylent Green ending. Don’t watch it. Rent A Boy and his Dog instead.