Several films have predicted exactly how the future would look. Most films that focus on the future present the world in a dystopian light overrun by technology, war, and violence. There is something fun about predicting what could happen if the robots revolted like in Westworld or what would happen if the world had a limited supply of gasoline, like in Mad Max.  Unfortunately, the smile fades once we realize how accurate the prediction of a movie was.

One of the best films that predicted future events was Richard Kelly’s hilarious fever-dream, Southland Tales.

Kelly, known for his hit Donnie Darko, became a director to watch. Kelly’s next major project was a nine-part interactive experience for the audience titled Southland Tales. Three parts were published as graphic novels, and the film combined three other parts.

The plot of Southland Tales is a bit all over the place and filled with jarring cuts that confuse audiences and critics. Even though the film was met with negative criticism, the film's commentary on the fears of the American people and constant news is a message that audiences can all too easily relate to now. Kelly’s specific brand of weird mixed with social commentary on civil liberties and the power of homeland security in the U.S. created a movie that nailed the chaos of the future. 

One of the many predictions Kelly nailed was the rise of the influencer.

In the movie, Krysta Now (Sara Michelle Gellar) is an adult film star who is working on her reality TV show. She is huge on self-promotion and becomes famous for being famous. It is a brand that we all know due to huge celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Both women launched successful reality TV shows and merchandise after sex tapes were leaked to the public. While the sex tapes did negatively affect the women’s mental health, the tapes were viewed by the public as self-promotion for their future endeavors and made the women household names in the world of pop culture. 

Southland_tales_sarah_michelle_gellarSarah Michelle Gellar as Krysta Now in 'Southland Tales'Credit: Sony Pictures

Many influencers now don’t have to have a scandal to have their names heard by the millions. All they need is a ring light and an account on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Viral hits allow more people to have five minutes of fame, while controversies make content creators and influencers more popular. There is no such thing as bad publicity, right? 

Southland Tales also predicted that the government was always watching us.

Before Edward Snowden released information to the public about the NSA's numerous global surveillance programs, many people joked about the government spying on us through simple technology like our phones. Films like Southland Tales and The Simpsons Movie poked fun at the fact that the government was always on the other side of the phone or camera.

Southland_tale_dwayne'Southland Tales'Credit: Sony Pictures

The monitors of the government surveillance program in Southland Tales show the audience the eerie similarities between the film's world and our current world. California is engulfed in flames, while riots, civil unrest, and political protest divide a nation even further until there is nothing left but madness. The movie is full of extremist views in the same way that news outlets show issues happening in our world. 

Most of the elements in the movie are background noise to the mass unrest of the world, and this experience is a jarring visual trip for the audience. The audience is bombarded with overlapping tales that scream and sing at them. The storyline jumps quickly from one event to another that has no relation to the previous scene. Each character is a person posting their feelings about an issue while trying to state their importance to the void. It’s a two-hour-long doom scroll through a world that won’t give the audience a break to breathe. Some scenes are fun to watch, like Justine Timberlake’s dance number, but then the narrative switches to a political argument that goes nowhere. 

Southland_tales_justine_timberlakeJustin Timberlake as Private Pilot Abilene in 'Southland Tales'Credit: Sony Pictures

An unfiltered world that is thrown in your face is unpleasant, but that is how social media is. If you were to jump on your Instagram right now and scroll through it, there is no solid plot, but there is a mood that you have cultivated. 

Southland Tales isn’t a perfect film by any means, but the warped and brilliantly messy storytelling makes the movie a surreal experience. The bizarre antics and unclear storylines make a predictive puzzle that is a little too accurate and should be viewed as a warning to our addiction to constant entertainment. Sometimes it can be good to unplug for a little bit and reconnect with the world around us before we can't escape the void constant media has created.

Have you watched Southland Tales? Let us know in the comments your favorite prediction from the movie that ended up happening in the real world! 

Source: Cindicate Productions