Speaking of Douthat, a couple months ago Ross had a very good piece in the Atlantic about how 70′s paranoia is fashionable in film again. Unfortunately, the piece came out before the remake of The Andromeda Strain ran on A&E. My wife and I caught it the other night. Wow, what a horrible concatenation of clichés, plot holes, absurdities, and all around groan-inducing inanity (See the comments at IMDB for a taste). The casting has a real Love Boat feel, piling up out-of-work or between-gig fading TV stars, including some very talented ones (like Andre Braugher, who plays the Army General with his heart in the right place). Will from “Will and Grace” plays the heroic journalist. Imagine Rick Berke from the New York Times fighting off special-ops assassins in the desert.
Oh and thank goodness they found a team of scientists that looks like America: there’s Rick Schroeder (the self-sacrificing gay scientist), Christa Miller (from “Drew Carry” and “Scrubs”), Benjamin Bratt as the lead tech, and Korean American actor Daniel Dae Kim (Jin on “Lost”) as the Chinese American braniac (Kam Fong as Chin Ho, anyone?) and Viola Davis as the African-American scientist.
Anyway, amidst all of the other cliches, it turns out that the real villain isn’t the killer space bug, but the evil land-rapers, henchmen and dirty tricksters swirling around an unpopular president.
Without spoiling too much, it turns out that there’s a Very Important Environmental Message at the heart of the movie which falls on deaf ears in the corridors of the Military Industrial Complex but hopefully not on the rest of us.