Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Tomorrowland,' The Future And The Past

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 ( NPR)
( NPR)

The Brad Bird-directed Tomorrowland didn't make a lot of dough in its opening weekend, despite Bird's impressive reputation and the star power of George Clooney. It didn't get great reviews, either, but one of us (spoiler alert: it was me) liked it more than a lot of people did. We talk on this episode with our friend Bob Mondello about how the film's underlying message about optimism works and doesn't work, and about how its execution of its ambitious concept sometimes lets down the things it's trying to say.

We broaden out from there to talk about how film visions of the future do and don't satisfy, and as you might expect, Glen's got a taxonomy of future visions.

In our other segment, we flip around and look at the way culture imagines the past, both recent (The Americans) and distant (The Flintstones). Are we any more in the realm of reality when we imagine the past than we are when we imagine the future?

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about having brought a conclusion to a story that began six years ago with a disappointing box-office result for a roller derby movie we both really love. Glen is happy about a terrific podcast he's been enjoying and a discovery this week that jumps off of a discussion from last week (Game Of Thrones spoiler alert on that link). Bob is happy about the limited release next week, at long last, of a film that he and I loved at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. And I am happy about a new book, another new book, a great podcast episode, and a Tumblr that cracks me up like crazy.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: the show, me, Stephen, Glen, Bob, producer Jessica, and pal and producer emeritus Mike.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Casey (Britt Robertson) in Tomorrowland.
Casey (Britt Robertson) in Tomorrowland.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.