While watching Tom Cruise repeatedly and hilariously die in the vastly (Vastly!) underrated Edge of Tomorrow last weekend, I started thinking about how he could have really used a precog — one of the psychics in Minority Report used to prevent murders — to help him. And then I went down a Tom Cruise rabbithole; acknowledging I'd never consider him one of my favorite actors, but admitting he stars in four of my favorite surprisingly rewatchable action movies (Edge of Tomorrow, Minority Report, Collateral, and War of the Worlds), one of my favorite surprisingly rewatchable comedies (Tropic Thunder), and two first-ballot entries in my surprisingly rewatchable Hall of Fame (A Few Good Men and Jerry Maquire). Which then made me think that perhaps he is one of my favorite actors, and Jesus just doesn't want me to admit because he hates Scientologists.
I eventually left the rabbithole and landed back on Minority Report, remembering how cool everything in that movie was when I first saw it. The personalized, pupil-reading ads. The robot spider things that appeared in a nightmare or six. And, the coolest thing of all, the wall-sized, interactive, touch screen computers.
There was another part of the movie I thought was really cool, but I couldn't quite remember what it was, so I took out my BAFIP (Big-Ass Fucking iPhone) and googled it and HOLY SHIT I'M CARRYING AN INTERACTIVE, TOUCH SCREEN COMPUTER AROUND IN MY POCKET!!! That cool-ass technology from the future was actually in my hand!!!
My cousin and I had a similar epiphany a few weeks ago. We were talking about how the Total Recall reboot sucked, which then led to a convo about how awesome the original was, which then lead to her realizing that the coolest part of that movie — being able to see the person you're talking to on the phone — seemed unfathomably futuristic then but is available now with FaceTime.
I'm sure you all can think of other examples of cool-ass things appearing in movies depicted in the near future that we actually possess now. Like Black presidents. Which should come to no surprise. Because we're in 2015. 2000 was 15 years ago. There are kids who will graduate from high school this year who were born in 1999. We are in the future. Like, right now. Those movies from the 70s, 80s, and 90s depicting times in the near future were, effectively, depicting now.
But why doesn't it feel like it?
The answer can also be found in Minority Report. And Total Recall. And Looper. And The Jetsons. And pretty much every other screen depiction of 21st century life.
We don't have flying cars.
This is it. This is the one thing keeping me from feeling like it was 2015 instead of 1996 for the 19th consecutive year. And no. A 700-hp Dodge Charger Hellcat isn't enough. (Although, if I get my hands on one this summer, it'll make due. For now.) I'm not talking figurative flying through the streets. I want to fly above them. I want to get in a car and look left, right, up, and down before crossing the street. Forget accidentally running over squirrels. I want to sideswipe a sparrow. I want wings, motherfucker.
Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be alive to see this happen. Inventing a flying car is one thing. Creating the infrastructure for them is an whole other animal. Let me put it this way: There's a highway in Pittsburgh (Route 28) that they were doing construction on for something like 172 years. Seriously, if you're a Pittsburgher, you knew to avoid Route 28 like Wale avoids hits. Even now, as construction has been done for over a year, people are still hesitant to take that road; scarred from years of potholes, awkward speed limit changes, and random scaffolds changing traffic patterns.
Basically, if it takes that long to make some alterations to a 10 mile stretch of road, imagine how long it would take to build the skyhighways needed if everyone had flying cars. Or how expensive that would be. Or how skyhighway fender-benders would kill people on the ground hit by fallen debris. Or how expensive your flying car insurance premium would be. Or how pissed birds would be for interrupting whatever the hell birds do up there.
Still, even with all of these very practical concerns, I still want to live in a world with flying cars. I want to be able to say "Aiight, man. I'm gonna jet" and get in my car and literally jet away. I want to float above the City County building while blasting "Hard Knock Life" from my flying car stereo speakers. I want to drop 20 pounds of confetti on a motherfucker, because dropping 20 pounds of confetti on a motherfucker has always been a randomly odd goal of mine.
That day will probably never come though, so I guess I'll just play with my BAFIP and accept that I'm carrying the cracked-screen future around in my pocket.