020: More Bleak Than Bleak


For this episode of The Future Is A Mixtape, Jesse & Matt discuss the slow, spiral reckoning of Ridley Scott’s much-celebrated and increasingly influential film Blade Runner, whose long and winding road lead to a sequel, Blade Runner 2049. While detractors of the original film might feel they’re viewing a sexy-time noir featuring little more than robots and porn-jazz, for the entranced, the film’s hypnotic imagery and ruminations on universal themes like humanness, memory and belonging still keep many cineaste-hearts aflutter. After the blockbuster ascendency the Star Wars franchise and SF’s increasing maturation as a cinematic genre, Ridley Scott’s formerly “one-off” was released in 1982, and quickly disappeared at the box office and inside film critics’ confused typewriters. However, unbeknownst to many, this leftover lasagna turned into the cult film of cult films. Blade Runner would later grow an organic fanbase from Arty Nerds, Noir Addicts and Cyberpunks, all of whom would despoil their underoos over spinners, unicorn origami and whether Deckard was or wasn’t a replicant. Seeing blinking cash-registers in their eyes, Hollywood producers sought out Denis Villeneuve as their architect to extend the franchise with Blade Runner 2049. Your meta-guidance-counselors, Matt & Jesse, will provide a spoiler-bonanza of both films, weigh out Villeneuve’s sense of cinema, and examine how the sequel’s repeater bleakness short-circuits better questions and ideas. The co-hosts will finally imagine how this film might be retrofitted or retold, narratively speaking, and roust its viewers into utopian dream-scaping.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Opening Music Salvo: White Zombie’s “More Human Than Human” from Their Last Album Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head (1995)

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Edition 2007)

The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist

Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 (Pre-Order)

The Art and Soul of Blade Runner: A Visual Art Book

Podcasts on Blade Runner 2049 (That May Or May Not Have Influenced Our Podcast):

Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald’s Podcast The Watch, Which Features Sam Esmail and a Discussion on Blade Runner 2049 and Mr. Robot

Slate’s Podcast Spoiler Specials About Blade Runner 2049, Which Features Dana Stevens, Forrest Wickman and Sam Adams

The Director’s Cut Podcast: Featuring Rian Johnson Interviewing Denis Villeneuve and His Critically Acclaimed Blade Runner 2049

The Collider Podcast: Episode 110 - Blade Runner 2049 Featuring Hosts Adam Chitwood and Matt Goldberg

The Original Trailer for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982)

The Official Trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049

Time Magazine: “Director Denis Villeneuve Proved to Us He Love Blade Runner More Than Anybody”

The Three Short Films Set Between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049:

Blade Runner 2049 - “2036: Nexus Dawn”

Blade Runner 2049 - “2048: Nowhere to Run”

Blade Runner 2049 - “Black Out 2022”

Ben Child in The Guardian: “Blade Runner 2049: Five Things We Learned from the Shorts”

Jason Sondhi in Best Short of the Week: “Hollywood’s Embrace of the Short Film Tie-In”

Clickhole: “Culture Shock: Everything You Need to Know About Blade Runner”

Documentaries About the Original Blade Runner:

Channel 4: On the Edge of Blade Runner (Featured on YouTube)

Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (Found in Most DVDs/Blu-rays of the the 1982 Film)

BFI Film Classics: Scott Bukatman’s Blade Runner

Instagram: “Blade Runner Reality”

Devon Maloney in Wired: “Blade Runner 2049’s Politics Aren’t That Futuristic”

Marie Claire: “These Three Women Are About to Make Sci-Fi History”

Angelica Jade Bastién in Vulture: “Why Don’t Dystopia’s Know How to Talk About Race?”

Darryl Hannah’s Background in Gymnastics Helped in a Key Scene with Blade Runner, But She Still Had a Male Gymnast Stunt Double in a Scary Sequence.

The Important Themes and Motifs of Blade Runner: Here & Here

RadioTimes: "Rutger Hauer Dissects His Iconic “Tears in Rain” Blade Runner Monologue"

YouTube: “Blade Runner - Final scene, ‘Tears in Rain’ Monologue (HD)”

Michael Shulman in Vanity Fair: “Untold Story: The Battle for Blade Runner”

The Seven (Not Six) Different Film Cuts of Blade Runner (1982)

Vice’s Motherboard’s Brian Merchant Reveals a Shocker: “The Studio Execs [Also] Hated the Blade Runner Voiceover They Forced Harrison Ford to Do”

Vulture: “Which Cut of Blade Runner Should I Be Watching”

No Film School: “Why Does the Ending of 'Blade Runner' Look Familiar? Ask Stanley Kubrick”

A Mr. Kenneth Thompson Explains How YOU Can Make Gaff’s Origami Unicorn (or How You Can Make a Purchase Order for HIM to Make It for You for $14.99)

Duke Harper’s Youtube Aide: “Origami Blade Runner Unicorn Tutorial”

Vice: “Behold, the Moment Harrison Ford Decked Ryan Gosling in the Face”

The Official Website for Blade Runner 2049

The Official Timeline for Events in the Blade Runner Universe

Inverse Entertainment: “How All Three Blade Runner 2049 Shorts Connect to the Original”

Forbes Magazine: “Blade Runner 2049 Is A Box Office Bomb: 10 Reasons It Was Doomed”

Rolling Stone: “Why Blade Runner 2049 May Have Been a Victim of Peak Dystopia Fatigue”

Forbes Magazine: “Box Office: Blade Runner 2049 Is A Bomb Because of Its Budget”

Nexus 6 Versus Nexus 8 Versus Nexus 9?  

Wahyd Vannoni in PBS NewsHour: “Brands Treat Us Like the Replicants in Blade Runner”

Hilarious and Criminally Underseen YouTube Parody: “Trump Blade Runner Ad”

Sadly, in 2049, the LAPD Still Exists & It’s Even Bigger and Badder Than Ever: Here, Here and Here.

BBC Newsbeat: “The Curse of Blade Runner’s Adverts”

Kevin Spacey Vs. Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s Seven: “What’s in the Box?!”

The Original Miracle Birth Meme

Collider Interview: “Robin Wright on Blade Runner 2049 and Roger Deakins”

Joi as Joy: Your Pocket Girlfriend with Misogyny at Your Fingertips

Self-Creating Replicants Is an Allegory to Marxist-Feminist Notions of Reproductive Labor

A Joke Well-Deserved by LA Folks to California’s Self-Satisfied Bordertown: San Diego Becomes a Waste Dump in Blade Runner 2049

Beyond the Blade Runner Burn: San Diego Visualized in Cinema

Leah D. Shade in Patheos: “Watching Blade Runner (1982) in the Age of Black Lives Matter”

PBS Newshour: “Where Does America’s E-Waste End Up? GPS Tracker Tells All”

Alex Acks in Book Riot: “Choose a Better Chosen One”

In Blade Runner 2049, Las Vegas Is a Post-Nuclear Wasteland Whose Lasting Remnants Include Bees & Boobs (with Deckard on the Lookout for Interlopers Who Might Raid His Free Alcohol)

Is Deckard’s Dog a Replicant? That and Other Easter Eggs in Den of Geek.

The Reflecting Pond and Niander Wallace: “Blade Runner 2049: Designing the Future” - Production Designer Dennis Gassner Discusses the Brutal Environments of Director Denis Villeneuve’s Ambitious Sequel in The American Cinematographer.

Esther Inglis-Arkell in io9: “10 Lessons From Real-Life Revolutions That Fictional Dystopias Ignore”

NERD FIGHT: Were Sean Young’s Eyes Truly Green? Some Say Yes. Others Say No.

Why Joe Is Possibly an Allusion to Joe Chip from Philip K. Dick’s Ubik & Why “K” Is Also a Potential Allusion to Franz Kafka’s character Joseph K. in The Trial.

Does Deckard’s Daughter, Dr. Stalline, Really Have an Autoimmune Disorder? “15 Burning Questions We Have After Blade Runner 2049”

Dr. Stalline Is Like Osama Bin Laden as Seen in Washington Post’s Report: “Bin Laden Discovered ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’”

Roy Batty: “Shores of Orion . . . Tears in the Rain”

Jane Ciabattari in BBC News: “Is Borges 20th Century’s Most Important Writer?”

Blade Runner 2049’s Full Cast Member List on IMDb

Box Office Mojo: Blade Runner 2049’s Current Financial Pulse Rate

Deakins Nominated 13 times for Oscars & Comes Up Empty: A Working History

Erik Abriss in Collider: “Oscar Snubs: 4 Times Rogers Deakins Should Have Won Best Cinematography”

Roger Deakins in The Guardian: “Why I Won’t Win an Oscar”

The Screenwriter for the Blade Runner Franchise: Hampton Fancher: A Working History

IndieWire: “Blade Runner 2049 Soundtrack: Denis Villeneuve Finally Reveals Why Jóhann Jóhannsson Left the Project”

Forbes Magazine (Japanese Edition): On Why Blade Runner 2049 Failed for Its Opening Weekend in the Box Office. {For those that can’t read Japanese, I will summarize what Tomoko (my badass wife!) translated for me--while we were both laughing at the article’s assessment: the film failed due to it 1) being aimed at middle aged men in their forties; 2) it wasn’t appealing to women, and henceforth, not of interest to dating couples or married folks; 3) and lastly dads couldn’t take their kids to the movie because of its “R” rating}

Beth Elderkin in io9: “Director Says CGI Will Take a Back Seat to Practical Effects in Blade Runner”

This Is Now Our Third Episode on Terminal Dystopia Syndrome (TDS); Here Are Some Prior Podcast Episodes Concerning TDS:

The Future Is a Mixtape: Episode 019: Fake Plastic World (on Adam Curtis’ HyperNormalisation)

The Future Is a Mixtape: Episode 004: Terminal Dystopia Syndrome (TDS) (on Dave Eggers’ The Circle)

Stephen Humphries in Christian Science Monitor: “Blade Runner 2049: Why Some Science Fiction Writers Are Tired of Dystopias”

David Graeber in The Baffler: "Despair Fatigue"

BBC News: “Blade Runner: Which Predictions Have Come True?”

SyFy Wire: “How Accurate Is Blade Runner 2049’s Prediction of the Future?” -{Futurists Grade Blade Runner 2049’s Vision of the Future}-

Mashable: How the Future Technology of Blade Runner 2049 Reflects Our Present

Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (2009)

Verso’s Blog: “In Memoriam: Mark Fisher (1968-2017)”

Zero Books’ on YouTube: “Capitalist Realism and Mr Robot”

Frank Ruiz in The Sacramento Bee: “Salton Sea Is a California Crisis. It’s Time for the State to Show Some Urgency”

Ian James in The Desert Sun: “Toxic Dust and Asthma Plague Salton Sea Communities”

California State Senator Kevin De Leon Sells Out the Public in Favor of Pay-to-Play Water Barons as Seen in The San Bernardino Sun: “Bill Targeting Cadiz Water Transfer Dies in Senate Committee”

Abby Olcese in Sojourners Online: “Blade Runner 2049 Paints an All-White Future. Again.”

Jess Joho in Mashable: “The Hidden Feminist Message Buried Inside Blade Runner 2049”

Kyle Buchanan in Vulture: “Why Ex Machina’s Take on Gender Is So Advanced”

Is Joi Anything More Than Joe’s Pocket-Girlfriend? As Explored in Collider: “Blade Runner 2049 and Gender: The Future Is Female”

GQ Magazine: “Blade Runner 2049: Let's Unpack That Strange, Fascinating Threesome Sex Scene”

Kyle Buchanan in Vulture: “The Secrets Behind Blade Runner 2049’s Surreal Threesome”

Mike D’Angelo in The A.V. Club: “An Aborted Three-Way (of Sorts) Is the Most Strangely Affecting Scene in Her”

Nathan Rabin’s “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” Essay (2007) in The A.V. Club, Where the Trope Originally Surfaced: “The Bataan Death March of Whimsy Case File #1: Elizabethtown”

Nathan Rabin in Salon Magazine: “I’m Sorry for Coining the Phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”

John Guida in The New York Times: “Are Blockbusters Destroying the Movies?”

Michael Moorcock’s Infamous Take-Down: “Starship Stormtroopers”

Angelica Jade Bastién in Vulture: “Why Don’t Dystopias Know How to Talk About Race?”

Sarah Emerson in Vice’s Motherboard: “Cyberpunk Cities Fetishize Asian Culture But Have No Asians”

Siddhant Adlakha in Birth.Movies.Death: “On Blade Runner 2049’s Asian Influence [And Disconnect]”

Amanda M. Franklin in The Conversation: “Mantis Shrimp Have the World’s Best Eyes--But Why?”

David Rudd Cycleback’s “Eye/Brain Physiology and Why Humans Don’t See Reality But a Translation of It”

Sarah Benet-Weiser in The Conversation: “What the ‘Fearless Girl” Statue and Harvey Weinstein Have in Common”

Jonathan Cook: “Wonder Woman Is a Hero Only the Military-Industrial-Complex Could Create”

A Blatant Example of “Lean-In” Feminism or a Laughable Article on Neoliberal Progressivism? As Seen in IndieWire: “Wonder Woman 2: Patty Jenkins Highest Paid Female Director”

Vice on YouTube: “Inside the Making of Blade Runner 2049” {Interviewer to Ryan Gosling: “Do you feel optimistic about the future of mankind?” Gosling pauses, gurgles, snorts, and then they both laugh . . .

. . . And So The Future Must Be A Mixtape to Have Any At All . . .