Sandra Bullock's 90s Movies Have Lessons for Today
Demolition Man (1993)
Sandra Bullock played Lenina Huxley, a mid-21st century police officer. Officer Huxley explained the philosophy of this future society; “…it’s been deemed that anything not good for you is bad; hence illegal, alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat.” This seemed silly in 1993 but in the 21st century New York City has put restrictions on soda, smoking, trans-fats and other municipalities have followed suit. The lesson from this, and some other things in the movie, is what sounds crazy today may be a reality a couple of decades from now.
Sandra Bullock played Annie Porter, a woman who lost her license and so was forced to ride the bus. When the bus driver was shot and wounded she ended up driving the bus. If the bus speed dropped below 50mph a bomb would explode. At the movie’s climax Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), the extortionist, took possession of his money. Jack Tavern (Keanu Reeves), the hero, proclaimed “You’re crazy! …” Payne retorted; “No! Poor people are crazy, Jack. I’m eccentric.” The lesson, a person with money and/or position can say or do something and be called a genius or an eccentric. A person without wealth or position can do or say the same thing and people will call that person stupid or crazy.
At the end of the movie Annie is in Jack’s arms. Jack cautions; “I have to warn you. I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.” Annie replies; “OK, we’ll have to base it on sex then.” The lesson planted in Speed was taught in Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997). In this sequel Annie is no longer with Jack. Relationships based on sex don’t work any better than those based on intense experiences.
The Net (1995)
played Angela Bennett, a computer expert. While she was well connected through her computer she had few personal contacts. When she took possession of some software the antagonists wanted they used the fledgling internet to destroy her life. She soon found out that while she knew many people only a couple of people could point to her and identify her. It was easy to manipulate records and have her records show her as a fugitive from justice. Angela pointed out how easy it is to do this to anyone:
Our whole world is sitting there on a computer. It’s in the computer, everything: your DMV records, your social security, your credit cards, your medical records. It’s all right there.
The lessons of these movies have become more relevant today than when they were released.