Her Movie Review

Or How Hipsters Took A Dump On The Porch Of Sci-Fi

** This review contains spoilers, but to be honest there is nothing much to spoil.

I really like Joaquin Phoenix. In this movie he is a sad hipster going through a divorce, who falls in love with his artificially intelligent operating system. He plays the part of a depressed hipster loser very well, so props to him for that. 
Thinking that this will be a score for me, a sci-fi fan and my wife, a romance fan, I picked this movie for us to watch. What I didn't expect was for the movie to fail so badly at doing both genres. Being the nice guy that I am, I watch the occasional romance movie with my wife, and some of them are pretty good. The Vow was a sad movie with hipsters bohemians that I really liked. The Rebound was a romantic comedy I couldn't help liking. 

One thing that makes a romance succeed is if the characters have actual personalities. The sad panda protagonist seems to have a personality that makes us want to commit suicide on his behalf, and the OS he falls in love with, Samantha, is just too perfect in every way. The first thing this hyper intelligent AI wants to do when it is switched on is have a relationship with its owner. Pretty weird. Even weirder is that it never really shows how they fall in love. In the world of romance this is a big no no. The moment the couple falls in love is integral in the story. Way to screw that up Jonze. I guess expecting more from the writer of Jackass was a wrong thing to do. 

On to the sci-fi bit. The sci-fi in this movie is so utterly pathetic it made me want to cry. It is a fact that the occulus rift exists today. It is quite a wonder that the only solution that the lovers have to meet (and this was the hyper intelligent AI's idea) was to get some random chick off the internet to pretend to be her. You would think that by the time we can build AI capable of naming themselves we would be able to simulate touch in a virtual environment or at least be able to make a passable fembot. The movie pretends that robotics and virtual reality never existed to create an alternate hipster future where you are stuck with an even smaller screen in your awkward hipster shirt pocket where people are constantly mumbling to their computers on the bus. In fact the whole thing views like a hipster iPhone wank fantasy based on the Siri character. Besides falling in love, the only thing this AI seems to be able to do is send and sort e-mails, make tea and transcend known physics to leave you without an operating system on your computer. And we thought Windows was awful!

The movie in general is so full of the ideal hipster world, which should rightly be called a hellish dystopia of mid 20th century style mixed with people who seem depressed and bored with their lives, divorcing each other because of where you should put your shoes when you come into the house. I know where I want to put my shoe: right up Jonze's ass for writing such a shitty screenplay and torturing me with hipster dystopia for 122 minutes. 

Towards the end, and in no way am I ruining this movie for you, the AI suddenly decides to bugger off with its friends leaving our depressed meatbag alone. He and his recently divorced friend go up onto a rooftop, and a glimmer of hope twinkled in my eye when I thought that they would commit suicide because their operating systems left them. Unfortunately it just ends there. You don't end a romance movie with an unresolved question like "do the hipster losers hook up" and given that you have molested sci-fi and romance, the least you could do is offer a consolation prize of a kiss between the hipster losers. But nay. It just ends like that. 

The movie is a desperate attempt to offer social commentary and to be deep, but it even fails at that. There is no moral of the story, and there is no resolution to the protagonist's dilemma of being a lonely hipster with poor fashion sense. 

Pew Results And Christianity

The latest pew results are interesting. There is  sharp drop in mainline christianity in the US. How does this affect us non US citizens? Well it affects us quite a bit. If Catholicism lives in Rome, Protestantism lives in the US. The USA is where protestantism has its spiritual home. You can walk into a christian bookstore anywhere and you will find that much of the writing and music and video content there comes from the US, because the US is where the most money is spent on producing and promoting Christianity. Christianity requires a large contingent of scholars to prop it up because ultimately such an error prone belief system will come under criticism. Creating the right echo chambers where apologetics works takes a lot of money and hard work. Christians just think they win the arguments because almost everyone around them are still nodding their heads in agreement.

If Christianity loses the US it is going to be hard for it to maintain its legitimacy, because the US is really its last great bastion of dominance. That's not to say that the outcome of Christianity is already determined, but it doesn't look good. If it is a trend that continues at the present rate Christianity will dip below the 50% mark within about 21 years. To put that into perspective, a religion that has been dominant for more than a thousand years will decline significantly in a quarter of a century. Even if we double that to 50 years it is still a devastating loss.

Many Christians see positive growth of Christianity in China, Russia and Africa as a good thing, but it is largely irrelevant to Christians in the English speaking world. Speaking English means that you have access to thousands of resources on different religions and atheism through the internet. The ignorance of the third world won't last forever, and this is already evident with outspoken atheist groups showing up in these places. Christianity has never had to compete with that. They are no longer missionaries who only need to overcome tribal apologetics, they now have to contend with informed opinions and this is only going to get worse as this century plays out on the stage of history.

One thing seems to be pretty sure though, and that is that even if Christianity manages to get a new influx of converts (a revival), that they won't regain their former strength. To the Christians that think the end times are near, maybe they are right. They are wrong about it being the end for all of us. It seems like it may just be the end of Christianity. All religions die eventually.