We have begun a new era in American history. On Jan. 20, reality TV star, sexual-assault perpetrator, and all-around garbage human being Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States. The future has never looked so bleak! And so, in these uncertain times, we look to movies to show us what our lives will be like. From replicants to robot suits and everything in between, here’s a guide to what the next eight years will look like, according to the movies.
2017: The Running Man
“In 2017, the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources, and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand.”
So begins The Running Man, which pretty much got 2017 right on the money. The plot of this movie involves the U.S. government investing in reality television to keep the population entertained and distracted. That’s something our president, currently executive-producing a reality series featuring the star of The Running Man, couldn’t possibly understand, right?
In 2018, the corporations will fully take over. In Rollerball, The Energy Corporation controls pretty much everything people need — food, transportation, gloves with spikes on them, the works. Individuals may be sacrificed at the altar of these faceless companies, but on the plus side, war no longer exists. Who needs war when you’ve got Rollerball?
2019: Blade Runner
In 2019, corporations will still be all-powerful, and now they’ll be making replicants that look and sound exactly like humans. We’ll send Harrison Ford out to capture some of the replicants that escape, but as it turns out, he might be one too! So 2019 will be the year in which we start to question our belief in Harrison Ford (we may have to repeat this future in 2049, possibly with Ryan Gosling).
2020: Edge of Tomorrow
In the year 2020, aliens will attack Earth. That was inevitable, really. We’ll get really cool robot suits, and some of us may get stuck in a time loop. Getting killed over and over again will probably suck, but at least we’ll get to hang out with Emily Blunt.
2021: Johnny Mnemonic
There seems to be a weird recurring theme of super-corporations taking over the world in the future. Wonder why that could be! In 2021, we will become our own flash drives. It’ll be convenient at first, but for all the data we store, we’ll start losing our own memories. And without our memories of being human, we’ll basically be robots. Or Keanu Reeves. Whichever is less lifelike.
2022: Soylent Green
The world is overcrowded, global warming has become a huge problem, and everything around us is dying. Why not have some delicious Soylent Green to take your mind off your troubles? Never mind what’s in it, it’s probably fine and not objectionable in the least.
2023: X-Men: Days of Future Past
In 2023, we’ll experience a robot uprising. Like the aliens, this was also inevitable. But we’ll send a representative (Hugh Jackman) back to the 1970s to try to avoid this future. And in the process, he’ll retcon a bunch of other stuff too, seemingly at random. And then, based on the trailer for Logan, we’ll wind up in a totally different dystopian future anyway. And it’s all Hugh Jackman’s fault. Thanks a lot, Hugh Jackman.
2024: Highlander II: The Quickening
In 2024, we will use the word “quickening” just way too much. Like, it will be obnoxious how much we use the word “quickening.” You and your friends will throw Quickening parties. Merriam-Webster will name “quickening” its word of the year. People will measure their worth in how often they can use the word “quickening” in a sentence. “Hey Steve, how quickening fast can you get this quickening over to the boss’s desk? Place it over there by the quickening.” In many ways, this is the bleakest future of all.
Sick of the corporate rule, alien attacks, robot uprisings, and quickening parties, we will retreat into the comfort of our homes, where we will find glorious, delirious love. Of course, that love will be with our computers, but hey, love is love, right? After eight years of hardship, we deserve some happiness. When your girlfriend sounds like Scarlett Johansson and nobody ever makes fun of your high-waist pants and mustache, then life is going pretty good.
And from there, who knows? We’ll have been through so much when President John Cena takes command of the Oval Office in 2025. If we’re lucky, we’ll make it long enough to see the Children of Men future of 2027. Humanity faces total extinction while Michael Caine smokes weed and listens to the Rolling Stones? Yeah, that sounds about right.
Michael Smith lives in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 2017.