I’ve spent more time avoiding Interstellar than it would have taken to just go watch the damn movie. I spent one hour avoiding it on Sunday, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., where I ruled it out because leaving for a movie in the day and getting back in the dark is depressing. Then there was thirty minutes on Monday, where I drove by the theater and ruled it out because I wasn’t sure which pocket my debit card was in. Then there were three solid hours on Wednesday night, where I read all the YouTube comments to the trailers and ruled it out because I already wasted three hours.
It’s Matthew McConaughey in space. This should be a no-brainer. I saw Clint Eastwood in space, Sandra Bullock in space, even Bruce Willis in space. You name a famous person in space movie, and I’m usually right there. But something about this one leaves me cold. And I can’t possibly be a judgmental hypocrite. There must be an underlying problem with this particular space movie. So I did what anyone else would do and looked around for articles that validated me. There was some great stuff in those articles. I learned, for example, that the movie was directed by Christopher Nolan. I also learned that it had plot holes. It really screwed up some stuff about space, I guess, which is outrageous.
After looking at the headlines to the articles, I went back and watched the Interstellar trailer again. They were right about plot holes. For example, the movie looks super depressing, which is the worst possible plot hole a movie can have. It’s also three hours long and directed by Christopher Nolan. Two more giant plot holes.
Like every other Christopher Nolan movie, it just looks too intense and important, both of which are usually grounded in egotism. Everybody’s gotta be doing sotto the-world-is-in-peril voices and pulling “this is the new Dust Bowl and not all of us are gonna make it” faces, with the cutting stares into the kitchen table or the forlorn horizon. Nobody ever gets to have fun, or if they do it’s in that mechanical way where the director goes “for momentum purposes, there needs to be a joke here.” No time for earnest levity: this is a Serious Space Movie, about time, love and death. Important themes can only be done justice by brutalizing you with melodrama.
Another huge plot hole is that I bet Christopher Nolan is lame at parties – the teetotaler who wants to steer every conversation toward politics or “look, you’ve just gotta find your voice and your truth” and thinks every movie he liked that year is an allegory about Iraq.
So we’ve established that Interstellar, while obviously a very expensive movie, is enormously burdened by plot holes. But I’m not here to tear down Mr. Nolan just because I got my foot run over in the parking lot after seeing The Dark Knight Rises. No, I’m here to help him in the future, by addressing these plot holes. Let’s fix this movie for us regular folks who just want to relax on the weekend instead of being bombarded with some guy’s manifesto about valor and aging. Let’s make Interstellar 2 the greatest movie Hollywood’s ever seen.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. What works about Interstellar? No question here. Matthew McConaughey in space. Let’s keep that. No matter what we change, that’s non-negotiable. I won’t even entertain alternate scenarios.
The first thing we’ll have to do is throw away the script. As great as Matthew McConaughey in space is, I don’t like this stuff about saving the world. Regular folks will never get the chance to save the world. That’s not relatable. It turns characters into broad sketches and, in the hands of a director like Mr. Nolan, into platforms for rambling pseudo-intellectual monologues.
The leads us to the second thing we’ll do: fire Christopher Nolan.
Third thing. Rewrite the script. Matthew McConaughey seems too virtuous in this movie. He’s too much of a shining beacon of light and courage in a doomed world. That’s all too on-the-nose. And I have a family. I don’t need another movie to explain to me what love is. I know what love is. Essentially, it’s asking somebody else in the car for change so you can get a soda at Texaco. I am confident in my grasp of the subject.
But I’m no sadist. McConaughey can still have a daughter. Let’s turn the expectations of that relationship around though. Maybe he has a really bad relationship with his daughter. Matter of fact, I knew a guy who got stabbed by his daughter. He probably wouldn’t mind going to space. He wouldn’t even need an incentive. He talked about it all the time. He had the names of all the Apollo astronauts memorized and thought most of the moon landings were real but not the first two. McConaughey could play that guy, no problem.
The issue with message-driven space movies is how sentimental they get about love and courage. There’s too much wish-fulfillment in the “any one of us could be Superman” routine, and the market’s flooded anyway. Maybe McConaughey should save the world for something more realistic, like money. Maybe he can save the world for — let’s really lowball it — 200 million dollars. That sounds low, but there are intangible benefits. His character would be able to go on talk shows whenever he wanted, and his dinners would be comped in every restaurant on earth.
His co-pilots on the space ship are probably also pretty serious. Five bucks says they get into philosophical arguments and look through the windows of the space ship with great stoicism. Ten bucks at 3-to-1 odds says somebody quotes T.S. Eliot. We should completely rule out the possibility of that ever happening. Let’s make them all ex-cons who took the “save the world by going into a black hole” gig to get paroled faster.
As for the end of the movie, I have no idea what Christopher Nolan went with — you’ll note that we fired him in paragraph nine — but maybe Matthew McConaughey opens a bowling alley and tapes a picture of himself in space onto the cash register, out of the sight of the customers, to remember that great adventure where he saved the world and became a millionaire. Then he locks up and smiles over a job well done. I believe I speak for the entire country and whatever foreign markets are most profitable when I say that’s a space movie we all want to see.