*Welcome to Movie Bad Girl of the Week. I am revisiting one of my favorite childhood sci-fi movies for this column. Come along on an adventure with Jessica 6 as we visit the 23rd century . You are now entering “Logan’s Run” a world where you can have any pleasure your heart desires…with one catch.
*this column contains brief harsh language.
In the 23rd century a huge domed city has been built near Washington D.C. The original people housed there were survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution. Outside there is a forgotten world. Each new generation is born into an ecologically balanced utopia. It is a life of total pleasure run by a highly intelligent computer system. The computer runs this paradise allowing people their every pleasure. The only catch is that life must end at 30 in a ritual called Carousel. You are told you can be reborn. The actual reason is population control. The people believe what they have been taught. If they are strong they will be renewed. It seems like a metaphor for religion. To make sure the that your lifespan is accurate you are given a life-clock in the palm of your hand. It looks like a crystal and the color (life clock and clothing) measure your age accordingly:
Age 0-8 clear (for clear wardrobes are white in color)
Age 8-16 yellow
Age 16-23 green
Age 23-29 red
One week prior to “Lastday” (30th birthday) The clock blinks red and black
Age 30 black (it is time for you to report to Carousel)
The life-clocks are all connected the computer system. It can track where anyone is at any given time.
There is a faction in the city that know Carousel is a lie. These people believe in “Sanctuary”, a place where you can live past age 30. People who want to live beyond their 30th birthday are called “runners.” They try to escape the city and reach “Sanctuary.” The city has a special police force called “Sandmen” who terminate runners. The people who believe in “Sanctuary” can be identified by the Ankh (the Egyptian symbol of life). They will run when their life clock begins to blink. Jessica 6 is one of this group. Her life clock is green.
Jessica 6 meets Sandman Logan 5 after a friend dies on Carousel. Logan makes advances towards her. She refuses. She lets him know she is sad that her friend is gone. Logan tells her he is sure her friend was renewed. She says her friend was killed like all the others. He asks why she would say that. She responds “Isn’t that what you do?” Logan claims he has never “killed” anyone, he terminates “runners.” He explains his job to her. She leaves.
The next day Logan is given an assignment by the computer. He will become a runner, find Sanctuary and destroy it. Sanctuary is deemed a place of immunity and there are 1056 runners unaccounted for. He asks if perhaps they were renewed. To his horror the computer does not respond. When he asks the question again the computer states that the question has been answered. Everything about Carousel is a lie. The computer then moves his life clock ahead so it will be blinking . When he asks if he will be given his 4 years back the computer doesn’t answer. Logan now has 7 days.
Logan realizes he is as good as dead and the computer has no intention of giving his life back to him. Logan contacts Jessica for help. Never in the history of the city has a Sandman become a runner. Now, Jessica is going to do the unthinkable. She is going to risk her own life to help a Sandman run and find Sanctuary.
What can we learn from Jessica 6?
First is to think for ourselves. In the film everyone is taught that you will be renewed in the ritual of Carousel. Jessica knows in her heart and mind that it is a lie. She knows there is life to be lived after the age of 30.
We spend our lives being told and taught certain things. There comes a point where we may begin to question what we are being told. We have two choices. We can follow like cattle and choose to believe everything or we can think things through for ourselves and form our own opinions. This happens on many levels. It can be religion, politics or how to best raise a child. It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is that you are thinking about it and arriving at you own conclusion.
In a society geared toward instant gratification and overall narcissism Jessica is an anomoly. Jessica has emotions. She is not afraid to embrace or show them. She shows sadness at the death of a friend on Carousel. She regrets that she did not know her mother, (everyone in the city are born in breeders and do not know their parents)she knows there has got to be more to relationships than sexual gratification. she is not afraid to have compassion for a Sandman that wants to run. Her friends want him dead…Jessica says that makes them no better that the Sandmen. She is briefly swayed to their side because a sacrifice sometimes needs to be made for the greater good. When she realizes his intentions are true she is solid as a rock in her belief to help him. She knows it is what is right.
It is very easy to be around crowds of people that are self-absorbed. Dare to be the one that stands out. There are times in life when something may go on and you feel a strong emotional response to it. Everyone else is being quiet. They are afraid that a show of emotion may be seen as weakness. I believe the exact opposite is true. It let’s people know you are alive on the inside and are not afraid that others may try to use it against you. If you can show your emotions and hold your head high that is a show of power. It shows you are comfortable with your feelings.
We all have regrets and should be able to talk about them openly without fear of repercussion. If you have regret it is okay to say it aloud. The world and life will give us regret sometimes. You deal with it and move on. If the regret is something of your own doing learn from it so it is not repeated.
Sex is wonderful. As a teen and young adult I enjoyed it with reckless abandon relishing every moment of it. I am sure many of us did. Now that I am 47 and married I could not be happier. There is a time where it will take more than physical delight. You want to share emotions, love and your life with someone who will share those in return.
We need to show empathy and compassion for people around us even if that person is not the most popular or most liked. It is tough to stand ground against people if you are reaching for someone deemed an outcast. Like Jessica you might be swayed to the popular opinion for a while, especially if it seems to be for the greater good. However, there was a reason you wanted to help that person in the first place. If you are not sure, think on it. Watch what they do. Ask them questions. If you can get to know them and what they are about, it will help you to understand their position. You will be able to stand firm in your decision with the knowledge that it is the right thing to do.
When Logan and Jessica get outside the city their senses are assaulted with a world they didn’t know existed. They see a sunrise for the first time. They discover the rocky road hurts their feet. Jessica meets a lizard crawling up he dress and it terrifies her. She decides she hates outside. She actually hates the lizard. They realize their life clocks have gone clear and the city has no hold over them.
We all have our comfort zone. Sometimes we become complacent. We need to motivate ourselves to come out of our box to experience new things, to develop new goals and ideals. Option 2: we can sit and stagnate with a mundane life. We may see that sunrise for the first time and be in awe taken by the beauty and freshness of an experience. Sometimes on a journey towards a goal we may be walking on those rocks that hurt our feet. It is all a part of the pilgrimage. If we really want something we are going to have to work for it. We may meet the lizard and get scared. Fear is one of our emotions and being scared can come with a new venture. You need to face it head on. You will get past the fear and closer to your goal.
As for the life clock going clear. This will relate to work most times. How many people feel trapped by their job? The company owns your soul? You are not in control of your own life? Wrong! A job that makes you feel trapped is usually not a happy environment. The company does not own you. You choose to work there. There is no law saying you have to stay. You can walk away. They control your life to a certain degree because if you wish to retain your job there are rules that must be followed. If you are truly unhappy you can leave and sever that tie. I once left a job because they wanted my personal email password, access to my Facebook (maybe it was MySpace back then) and felt they could dictate who I could be friends with. They took as far as trying to tell me how I needed to act in public being it reflected on them. Fuck you! That is my personal life and not a part of my job! Especially with the terrible salary you are paying me. You have the wrong girl. I hope my replacement doesn’t mind being a possession.
Jessica is fascinated by the elderly gentleman they meet. He is simply known as Old Man. He is a jovial, enjoying the company of these young people. He talks about his parents (he knew both of them) He doesn’t even remember how old he is. He shows them paintings of all the different Presidents. He lets Jessica touch the wrinkles in his face. She asks if they hurt and he is tickled with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes. He also explains what cats are. They choose to take him back to the city to show everyone there is a life beyond the age of 30 and they are entitled to have it.
We meet people different than ourselves all the time. In the case of this movie they are meeting a senior citizen. When we meet people from different backgrounds and cultures it can be awkward at first. However, there is so much you can learn if you will just listen. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.The customs may be alien to you or be something you wished that you had. Some of what you have to share may fascinate the other person. This is one of the great things about life. We are all different. (side note: Listen to the elderly, they have lived a long life and can pleasantly surprise you with what they have done and what they know) Age is just a number and should not dictate a new behavior because you are elderly. My grandmother loves racy novels like those written by Jackie Collins, she thinks “Showgirls” is a great movie. Sex is not a new concept to her. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t have been born because my father would not exist. She is older, her sensibilities are not.What I love most is once in a great while she will cuss like a sailor. I love the look of horror on people’s faces because the sweet looking old woman let if fly. She is sweet and she is not afraid to drop the “F” bomb. I love her and hope she never changes.
Finally, we can show people by example that there are certain things they are entitled to.( i.e. respect, compassion, love) We can also show them they are entitled to live the life they want, not the one that someone else has planned for them. It is their life and they need to live it. It is okay to question things and think. It is okay to hope and dream. Most of all it is okay to reach for and achieve your goals. We are raised by family, we are taught at home and at school, many of us are raised in church and society dictates what the norm is. Look at yourself in the mirror and decide what you need for your life to make it happy, productive, fulfilling. Now…take that and make it yours.
Until next time Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl because thinking outside the box feels so damn good.