As portrayed in The Running Man, 2017 is a hellscape for many and a utopia for a privileged few, a world which the world economy is collapsing, local police forces are militarized, and nearly all culture is centered around a catchphrase-spouting, media-obsessed billionaire reality TV star. Crazy, right?
The 1987 film predicted a reality-TV-addicted culture long before Survivor premiered, and features now eerily prescient lines like “Get me the president’s agent!” The movie also features a government and media entertainment complex that edits video footage and presents it as truth, manipulating the public through mind games and spectacular imagery the masses desperately crave.
The film was less successful in predicting minor details - vending machines sell soda for $18, there's a monorail public transit system in Los Angeles, and Dweezil Zappa is some kind of paramilitary revolutionary. Still, would you be surprised if 2017 brought us TV programs like Climbing For Dollars, in which a man climbs a rope for money while wild dogs attempt to maul?
In the final chapter of the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the story takes us 19 years into the future, as Harry, Hermione, and Ron send their kids to Hogwarts. While the year is never explicitly stated, Harry Potter nerds online and around the world have targeted this date September 1, 2017.
This date was discovered by taking various stated births and deaths from the canon, and is so complicated JK Rowling herself screwed up and declared the epilogue took place in 2016. She has since corrected herself, and verified the final scene is set in September of 2017.
Knowing this, what does the epilogue tell us about the far-off year of 2017? Basically nothing. The wizarding world seems unchanged by muggle technological advances (seriously, no wizard kid wants an iPhone?), and all we know of the world outside King’s Cross Station is muggles still have cars and driving tests.
Perhaps the most glaring issue with the epilogue is it predicts in 2017 Harry is still married to Ginny; he hasn't left her for Hermione, his true soulmate. A digression...
In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode SB-129, Squidward is frozen for 2,000 years before awakening in the distant future of 2017. After some time travel shenanigans, he returns to the present day, which is 2017 (despite the episode being produced and aired in 1999.)
This poses a key question: do all episodes of SpongeBob Squarepants take place in 2017 and, therefore, in the future? Is that what's happening at the bottom of the sea while life on land continues its slow trudge to annihilation, totally oblivious?
This is never answered. However, this does mean the origin of the game jellyfishing, which Squidward invented when he went back in time before 2017, creates a causality loop. Very heady stuff for SpongeBob.
In Barb Wire’s 2017, the United States is a dark, violent wasteland knee deep in a Second Civil War. The only person who can save the world is Pamela Anderson.
Barb Wire - a futuristic remake of Casablanca (seriously) - stars Anderson as a superhero bounty hunter. The film predicts a rise in retinal scanning (correct), an America over-run with Nazi-like bad guys (hopefully not correct), and a future in which studios released female-led superhero movies (still not correct, with very few exceptions). Dystopia never tasted so bitter.
Parks and Recreation
Though it aired in 2015, the final season of Parks and Recreation jumped ahead to the future. So treat yo-self to an elbow bedazzling and welcome to 2017, in which everyone has holographic phones, deliveries are made via drone, and the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.
The show offers some more predictions for the year 2017:
- Elton John is the new owner of Chick-Fil-A.
- Kevin James stars in a Jason Bourne reboot, and according to Leslie “he nailed it.” (which almost sort of happened?)
- Jack Sparrow is set to marry Daenerys on Game of Thrones (which really should happen).
- LeBron James has made the decision to take his talents back to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat once again.
- Morgan Freeman and Shailene Woodley are feuding, as are Nicki Minaj and Jesse Eisenberg (almost).
- Verizon, Exxon, and Chipotle have merged and are one of America’s eight remaining companies.
Cherry 2000 is the story of a man's attempt to repair his malfunctioning sex droid. It comes bearing the tagline: “In The Year 2017, A Good Woman Is Hard To Find. A Cherry 2000 Is Even Harder.” Hell yeah.
In the world of Cherry 2000, after civil insurrections and economic collapse, most of America is unrecognizable. Las Vegas is in ruins. Manufacturing is in decline. And Melanie Griffith shoots a rocket launcher while suspended on a car over the Colorado River (that has yet to happen but hopefully soon?).
Cherry 2000 (released in 1987) depicts 2017 America as a hypersexualized dystopia, where sexbots (or gynoids) have become commonplace, and real sex is a black market commodity. Surely sexbots would be a welcome alternative to pervasive rape culture and lenient sentencing.
Fortress, released in 1992, presents a dim view of 2017. America has a one child policy, and after a couple is found guilty of breaking it (on a technicality; their first child died), both are placed in the Fortress, an underground, high-tech prison. Highlander’s Christopher Lambert plays the lead role of John.
Fortress predicted the rise of privately owned prisons, a major industry from which politicians and corporations benefit. In August 2016, the Justice Department announced its intentions to end this, though whether or not that happens remains to be seen. It also predicted prisons will have laser walls and flamethrower-wielding cyborg prison guards. Which isn't actually a thing, unfortunately.
A pop song by Billy Joel, set in a post-apocalyptic 2017 America. Miami 2017 tells the story of a man who goes to Miami after disaster befalls New York - and seemingly most of the rest of the world.
You may scoff at the man behind Uptown Girl writing such a dark piece, but remember, this is the singer-songwriter who created the existential masterpiece The Stranger, which may or may not have anything to do with the Camus novel of the same name. As Slant comments on Joel's album: "The Stranger might not carry the weight of Albert Camus’ famous novel of the same name, but its title track certainly finds the singer in an existential crisis, unable to completely expose his true self to his lover or himself." Maybe it's a good thing he doesn't expose himself.
In Joel’s version of 2017, New York is in ruins, with church burnings in Harlem and bridge-destruction concerts in Brooklyn. With the Bronx “blown away” and Manhattan sunken at sea, the narrator heads to Miami, singing:
You know those lights were bright on Broadway
That was so many years ago
Before we all lived here in Florida
Before the Mafia took over Mexico
There are not many who remember
They say a handful still survive
To tell the world about
The way the lights went out
It remains unclear whether Joel's song is a long-con aimed to get people to invest in south Florida real estate, though those who have may soon wish they hadn't.
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