Sam Strange Remembers: INTERSTELLAR

Huey Lewis warned us about the power of love.

I’ve been a long-standing hater of this world and looking-forward-to-er of moving on to the next. For years, I tried to figure out how we could one day leave behind all the awful things about this planet. It wasn’t until a saw some YouTube clips for a show called Cosmos that I realized how to at least fashion a bunch of space science into a script plausible enough to give NASA some good ideas and hokey enough to make some dough. You're welcome. And thanks for the dough.

Interstellar takes place in a depressing near future. Thanks to humanity’s insatiable urge to set crops on fire and randomly drive through cornfields, almost no food exists anymore. In fact, the entire world population has been whittled down to just one dusty redneck town.

It’s kind of a special town, though, because it holds the world’s last hot shot, dick swinging pilot, Cooper. Widowed and caring for two kids, Cooper deeply wishes he could be the super macho badass he knows he was born to be. Instead he’s a farmer. This responsibility is very important to him, but even he cannot keep himself from driving over his own crops. Humanity never learns.

Cooper’s daughter, Marv, thinks a ghost is in her room because something keeps knocking books off her bookshelf, throwing dirt on her floor in Morse Code, and floating around in a white sheet while moaning. Cooper’s like, “That ain’t no ghost, that’s gravity.” Meanwhile, future Cooper is watching all this from the middle of a black hole and wishing so hard that he could punch his own face.

Eventually, Regular Cooper figures out that the Morse Code dirt message actually gives him coordinates to NASA, which is just down the street. There, he meets his old professor who tells him the world is going to end. The only way to save humanity is to fly into a wormhole and scope out possible life sustaining worlds. If they find one, they can give a big thumbs up, at which point, all of humanity will get into a flying mall and settle down somewhere new, hopefully WITHOUT the urge to drive through and/or set all their food on fire.

It it a pretty dangerous trip, however. For one, there’s no guarantee they’ll find the right planet. Other scientists have gone ahead of them, but only three survived. Furthermore, the journey to the wormhole takes two years. The trip home takes another two. Time will move slower on Earth than it will for the travelers, so Cooper will age way slower than his children, essentially abandoning them for the remainder of their childhoods. Coop’s like, fuck yes I want to do this.

Cooper has an easy time saying goodbye to his son because his son doesn’t matter. But Merv is very angry with him, and he simply can’t make it right with her. Little does he know that she’ll hold onto this anger for years and years and years because she’s just a little bit bratty. He drives off to save humanity, totally unaware of the hundreds of tantrums he’ll get to miss out on.

Seconds later, the crew is in space. There’s Cooper, Sandra Bullock, some guy I don’t remember, and Wes Bentley’s beard. On top of that, there are a couple of funny robots. Everything is really pretty. They talk a little bit and go to sleep for two years. When they wake up, they fly through a magic 8-ball and end up in some other galaxy.

So now they have three planets to check out. One is really close to a black hole, so every hour they spend there will be like seven years on Earth. The planet is really cloudy, which means there’s no way for them to see from space that it’s a useless water planet with mile high waves thanks to its proximity to the black hole. It takes them like twenty-something Earth years and the life of Wes Bentley’s beard to figure this out. Meanwhile, the other guy in their crew stayed on the ship and ages decades. The only reason he didn’t go crazy was because the ship comes equipped with Doodle Jump, though he can’t connect to Game Center.

Back on the ship, the crew has to make a choice. They can visit one of two planets - the one containing renowned scientist Dr. Baad Mann, or one containing Sandra Bullock’s boyfriend. She obviously wants to see her boyfriend, but the others disagree. She counters that her love for her boyfriend will guide humanity to safety more than cold logic ever could. The rest of the crew puts her on meds when she starts wondering if she can replace the ship’s dwindling fuel supply with hope and rainbows.

So they visit the Dr. Baad Mann planet. It turns out that instead of a wonderful home for humanity, it is a frozen wasteland. Mann only gave them the thumbs up because he was lonely. So Cooper kills him. But not before Mann blows up that other guy, whoever he was. All said, Mann may have been bad, but he was the nerdiest, most polite killer you’ll ever come across.

Back in their ship, Cooper and Sandra Bullock are in a tight spot. They don’t have fuel to make it to her boyfriend’s planet. Then Cooper gets an idea. He’ll point the ship toward that planet, give it a big boost, then bungie jump into the black hole since it’s all over anyway and he always wanted to do that.

Now… it’s time to talk about what’s been going on on Earth. Merv has grown into an angry bitter lady. Coop’s son has grown into an angry bitter man. Everything is awful. On top of that, Merv works with Cooper’s old professor, who reveals on his deathbed that he never had any intention of getting his space mall up in the air. The equation required is impossible. Everyone on Earth is going to die.

At first Merv is really upset. She starts driving through crops and setting corn on fire just like everyone else. So future humans send Topher Grace to set her straight. That doesn’t work either. So future humans keep Cooper from dying in the black hole and let him communicate to her through more Morse Code. His Morse Code sucks and doesn’t make sense, but just the effort raises Merv’s spirits and she gets back to work.

Eventually, Merv realizes that if you take 1+1, but replace the “+” with a heart emoji, love can be quantified. She plugs this into the old man’s equations, and sure enough, finds that she can defeat gravity with the power of affection. So she loads the thirty or so people still alive into her space mall, and they take off for the one planet that still has a thumbs up.

Back in the black hole, the future humans who worked so hard to make sure all this actually happened (but how did it happen the first time?) spit Cooper into space right in time for him to get picked up by the space mall. When Cooper meets his daughter again, she’s old and dying and not really interested in talking to him. He thinks about asking after the other kid but decides he doesn’t really give a shit. Instead, he gets in a little space ship and tries to beat all these space mall slowpokes to this new planet where Sandra Bullock is waiting. His plan is to test that whole “even if you were the last man on the planet” theory, which future humans tell him is also quantifiable.

(three stars)