What Should I Do?

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

Eleven Films to See Before and After “Taking the Red Pill”

Cinematic insight into the predicaments we face
Thursday, January 3, 2013, 8:36 PM

There is no such thing as infinite growth on a finite planet.

I'm not sure who uttered the phrase first. I have heard the phrase many times since I got hip to the truth about Peak Oil and the predicaments we face with a decline in energy availability and resources. Throughout my journey of discovery and my quest for information and insight, I have been exposed to various books, articles, and movies that have changed my perspective about the world we live in. Though I am a big consumer of the written word, movies and media have had a great impact on my exposure to various ideas and issues and have also helped me introduce these realities to family and loved ones. 

Below we will explore a sampling of movies and presentations that have been a guide for me as I traveled "down the rabbit hole."  Time to take another "red pill" and see just how far that rabbit hole goes. 

Movie #1: Collapse with Michael C. Ruppert, directed by Chris Smith, released in 2009

I will never forget the first time I saw Collapse. It is as vivid in my memory as the first time I ate wasabi. My partner rented it for us to watch on our third date. (If you have seen it, you know how funny that is.) Variety Magazine called Collapse, “An intellectual horror movie.” The film is an hour and a half of Michael C. Ruppert sitting in a smoky room talking about “conspiracy fact.” I had already been a victim of the housing bubble, losing my home in 2007. My co-workers and I were constantly getting emails about possible layoffs. Food prices were going up. Gas prices were unprecedented. I didn't think it could get much worse. Collapse made it very clear: It could get much worse and it would get much worse. And that wasn't all. Michael C. Ruppert also maintained that there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. He was talking about a Fiscal Cliff long before 2012. I hadn't, until then, thought about how much energy it took just to get resources transported. And just how much fuel it takes to produce our food. Michael C. Ruppert notes in the film that it takes nine calories of energy to produce one calorie of food in America. I was thunderstruck.

Movie #2: Food Inc. with Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, directed by Robert Kenner, released in 2008

I had seen the movie Food Inc. the year before seeing Collapse. In the movie Food Inc., Michael Pollan, author of the book The Omnivore's Dilemma, notes, “The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000.” Our industrialized food system is completely unsustainable and completely unhealthy. Food Inc. delves into the ills of factory farming, monocropping, pesticides, and GMOs. There is a scene in the film showing hundreds of shoulder-to-shoulder cows covered in flies standing in acres of their own feces. Our ability to eat this way – to eat processed, industrial food – was a direct result of the oil boom of the last 100 years. Food Inc. made me start a vegetarian diet until I could find a resource for local, grass-fed, free-range beef. It was the film that made me want to have more than a backyard garden. I wanted to move to the country. I wanted to live on a farm.

Movie #3: End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream with Barrie Zwicker and James Howard Kunstler, directed by Gregory Greene, released in 2004

Movie #4: Escape from Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream with Matthew Simmons and Richard Heinberg, directed by Gregory Greene, released in 2007

Gregory Greene was so prophetic with his 2004 film that he had to release a second film three years later. In the 2004 film, James Howard Kunstler notes that, “America took all of its post-war wealth and invested it in a living arrangement that has no future.” The End of Suburbia outlines why suburban living cannot be sustained in its current manifestation. Escape From Suburbia is a follow-up production that goes deeper. Of course, since more than half of the world's population lives in urban or suburban settings, these films can be unsettling, as so much would have to change in order for urban centers to support current populations.

Movie #5: A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash with Wade Adams and Abdul Samad Al-Awadi, directed by Gelpke et al, released in 2006

This documentary was ground-breaking in 2006 and was cutting-edge six years ago at its release. Today the film is still very worthwhile because of its in-depth analysis. This movie shows the viewer just how much will be affected as oil prices continue to skyrocket with oil becoming harder and harder to obtain.

Movie #6: Crude Impact with Thom Hartmann and William Rees, directed by James Jandak Wood, released in 2006

This film, also released in 2006, takes a look at how our reliance on fossil fuels has impacted our environment. Many people studying Peak Oil in the early part of the 21st century believed that by today, we would have reduced our energy consumption because there just wouldn't be enough cheap oil. Today we are seeing an extension of reduced energy prices thanks to fracking and deep water drilling, but at what cost to our environment? Even if we could extend the consumption-lifestyle for a few more years, should we?

Movie #7: The 11th Hour with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kenny Ausubel, directed by Leila Conners and Nadia Conners, released in 2007

This movie provides a whole-systems view of limited resources. While I may not entirely agree with the message of the movie, the film has breathtaking cinematography and informative interviews. It's a big-budget version among documentaries on a similar subject. What I like about this film is that it offers the same information from a different group of researchers and commentators. Many times, information about Peak Oil and limited resources comes from the same people and organizations. The 11th Hour provides similar views from different people. And let's be honest: With Leonardo DiCaprio as the narrator of the film, this one has the potential to reach a broader audience of people who may not have otherwise been exposed to these issues.

Movie #8: The Crash Course by Chris Martenson, released in 2009, updated in 2012

So you've sat through all the above films and you or someone in your family still thinks that Peak Oil and limited resources are a bunch of cockamamie. Or maybe you're thinking that it just can't be that bad or that dire. Or maybe you're a facts-and-figures-person. Or maybe you really want to sit down with loved ones and show them, in no uncertain terms, what it is that you now know. Chris Martenson's Crash Course is that opportunity. And the best part is that it is free on the Internet and can be watched in sections. After you and your family watch the Crash Course, you will be ready to flee to the hills, start a farm, build your self-sufficient homestead, and live happily ever after. (I'm only half kidding.)

Movie #9: The television series Jericho by Chbosky, Schaer, and Steinberg, 2006-2008

Movie #10: The British historical documentary series Tales From the Green Valley by Peter Sommer, released in 2005

Okay, these are not movies. Jericho isn't even a documentary. But I couldn't leave it out. After learning about Peak Oil and the many problems that we will surely face in our lifetime, I went through many stages of grief. One of the questions I kept asking myself is, “What is the world going to look like?” I needed to see something that I could engage in, something with people trying to live in a post-industrial world. I know that Jericho is a work of fiction, but I was completely glued to it as though it were a crystal ball showing me my destined future. The show depicts a small town in Kansas after a bomb has gone off nearby. The town becomes isolated and the storyline follows the lives of the people and how they coped with very limited resources. If you have been trying to stomach the new series Revolution, give up and rent Jericho instead.

I've settled down a bit and have become more comfortable with the inevitability of a different way of life. Less than a year after watching Collapse, my partner and I left the city and moved to work on a organic farm in the Sierra Foothills. We have since moved to a rental property and now work about two acres of land without the use of tractors or other gas-powered farm hands. This is probably why I enjoyed watching Tales from the Green Valley so much.

Tales from the Green Valley “recreates everyday life on a small farm in Wales in the 1620s.” The creators of the series used historians to accurately recreate farm life in the early 1600s. The actors were committed to living for a year on the farm with no outside input and the series documents their trials and successes. Though the series depicts a pre-industrial world, it is inspiring to see people thriving without electricity and grocery stores.

But maybe you would like to see a real-life example of what a post-Peak-Oil society looks like.

Movie #11: The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil with Bruce Cromer and Jorge Mario, directed by Faith Morgan, released in 2006.

The Cuban economy was heavily dependent on the Soviet Union for foreign aid. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba's economy suffered greatly. According to the film, “the nation lost half of its oil imports and over 85 percent of its international trade economy.” Seemingly overnight, the island nation had to become almost totally self-sufficient. The first few years were hard. But the Cuban people came together and rebuilt, and today the isolated nation thrives within the confines of their own limited resources.

Bonus suggestion: The pilot episode of television's Portlandia, by Armisen, Brownstein, and Krisel, 2011

Those who have done the Peak-Oil thing for a while will get a kick out of one of the sketches from this comedy. If you have been living on a farm, raising chickens, living self-sufficiently, and making all the right choices, watch the first episode of Portlandia. It'll remind you not to take things so seriously and help you laugh at those who do.

A Movie for Children: WALL-E with Ben Burtt and Elissa Knight, directed by Andrew Stanton, released in 2008

How do you talk to your 5-year-old about a post-industrial world? Start with WALL-E. The movie shows us an uninhabitable future-earth where a robot spends his days piling the garbage left behind by the humans who have fled to a spaceship to down milkshakes and sit watching TV all day. In order to return to their home planet, the too-fat-to-walk humans have to learn to stand and be active and they have figure out how to grow plants.

I know what you're thinking: “Wasn't WALL-E a Disney movie?” Yes, it was.

~ Hilary Hodge

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15 Comments

svgreengoddess's picture
svgreengoddess
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 41
another important film for this list

I would like to add to this great list: What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire by Timothy Scott Bennett and Sally Erickson.   Here is a link:

Susan

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 2718
and another

Four Horsemen

"It's Inside Job with Bells on"

Features a number of names and faces you will recognize - Joe Stiglitz, Gillian Tett (FN), David Morgan, John Perkins, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Noam Chomsky, Max Keiser, Simon Johnson, Herman Daly, Hugo Salinas Price, etc.

It's basically the history of fiat money and our ongoing crash.  It's a Brit film.  I don't think its released yet in the US, but you can get the DVD through www.amazon.co.uk.

Doug

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
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Posts: 1657
The Twilight Zone's "The Shelter"

Filmed during the Cold War, this short episode captivatingly dramatizes how quickly our social fabric can rip apart when unexpected threats arise. Specifically, it shows how the unprepared are likely to turn to -- and then, on -- those who did take precautions.

After watching this, you'll want to give thought to having extra supplies on hand for the inevitable 'unprepareds' knocking on your door should a disaster arrive.

(My guess is it will also likely make you want to review our excellent reader wiki on Home Security & Self-Defense)

littleone's picture
littleone
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Posts: 200
The Matrix Trilogy Decoded

The MATRIX TRILOGY introduced the concept of red pill/blue pill. Some choose the red pill(truth). Some choose the blue pill(ignorance). 

Each MATRIX movie asks, and answers, a different question:

Film 1 asks, What is the Matrix?

Film 2 asks, Why are we in the Matrix?

Film 3 asks, How do we get out of the Matrix?

These questions, answers, the allegorical representation and meaning of the characters(Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, The Oracle, Agent Smith, etc...) are discussed and decoded by Mark Passio in this presentation recorded on September 15, 2012:

The Matrix Trilogy Decoded by Mark Passio (2hrs 4mins) -

badScooter's picture
badScooter
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Scariest movie from my youth

This is Kyle Bass, who many of you will already know.  Listen to the first five minutes, when he tells an auditorium full of hedge fund managers that know money "We all know how this ends...war, right?", with the dispassion of an oncologist discussing someone else's problem:

This is the world some of us will undoubtedly inhabit in that eventuality, a movie that scared the crap out of me decades ago (still does).  Make no mistake, if nukes are available as weapons of war, during a major conflict they will get used.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_MCbTvoNrAg

That was my very first "red pill", and it has colored my perceptions ever since I first saw it...the incredibly fragility of our highly complex socioeconomic system, required to to function to keep so many of us alive and healthy...even if I couldn't in past put it into words.

Enjoy it while we've got it,

Mike

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 301
Relationship with the unprepared during crisis

Hi Adam,

Thanks for posting this Twilight Zone episode and bringing up again the relationship of the prepared with the unprepared during a crisis.  

One of my thoughts on this is to become ready to be an active teacher of survival skills, to share ones food and build a neighborhood team.   I.E.--prepping for community building.

(These ideas are aimed at how to relate to one's neighbors and don’t include dealing with professional burglars or organized crime groups.)

1.  Invite neighbors over to learn how you raise chickens.  Give a breeding pair chickens from one's own flock to several close neighbors and establish a schedule for the sharing of breeding pairs with other neighbors in a pyramid type growth arrangement.  Get everyone on the schedule so they know they are included and the sense of a team is established.   Show them the design of your chicken coop and host a neighborhood chicken coop-building workshop to help everyone build their own. Have tools available to share.  Invite attendees to bring a saw, hammer, nails and scrap plywood including any extra to share with others.  Ask carpenters and handyman types especially to attend, teach and assist.

2.  Offer to share food from your garden.  Put a sign on your garden to the effect that you are glad to share veggies with those who are hungry, but please come back in the daylight hours and knock on the front door to request the sharing.  (The alternative is that they will steal the veggies straight from your garden at night.)  Let the desperate and hungry know that you can offer a meal of rice, beans and canned salsa if they ask.  But limit the time and the route of approach to specific daylight hours and the front door of your house.

3.  And with the food sharing, ask them to return for the "converting a lawn into a garden" talk/demo you host every Saturday.  Let them know that you need them to become food producers and that someday you may need to ask them for food.  (Preserve their pride.)  Invite them to become productive, contributing members of the neighborhood food production team while you share with them.

4.  Hoards of "stuff" will be a liability and establish you as a target for burglary.  (Especially gold coins and huge stashes of guns.)  But having skills to teach, tools to share, a warm house (where a neighbor might roll out a sleeping bag on the living room floor during the worst of a cold snap) and a producing garden make you a valuable contributor to your neighborhood.  

One of the goals here is to convert your immediate neighbors from potential burglars into allies and DEFENDERS of your property.  Rather than build a bunker that keeps them out, you build a community team that includes them.  Let them know that you consider their well being important and offer to assist them where you can.  And above all, if they are starving, that you will share your food and water with them.  This approach is both generous and selfish at the same time.  A starving neighbor may kill you to get your food.  To be safe, we need our neighbors to 1) not be starving, and 2) to know that you will share when they need help.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
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Posts: 1657
Those are excellent ideas

Those are excellent ideas, sand_puppy (sounds like you've been busy since Kripalu!)

I agree that taking such actions now are your best way to convince the unprepareds in your community that they are better off protecting you & your skills during a crisis than pirating them.

The hunker & bunker approach sends a "me vs you" signal that, more often than not, paints a big target on your stores and diminishes the panicked mob's guilt about taking them from you.

In the TZ episode, ultimately the 'prudent' bomb shelter-builder's planning was undone by this dynamic.

For those that haven't watched the episode yet, I highly recommend it. It's less than 30 minutes, and it's rivieting to watch how quickly the veneer of civility in this idyllic neighborhood vaporizes.

While the TZ episode is fiction, a real-life example of how quickly social norms similarly evaporated happened outside of Boston in 2010 when a water main broke. Within 24 hours, retail stores had been cleared out and fist-fights over bottled water erupted, prompting the National Guard to intervene. All for shortage of water that ultimately lasted only 4 days.

thatchmo's picture
thatchmo
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war, right?

Excellent outlook and points made, sand_puppy.

Back to movies, when I think of war, I think of the made-for-TV movie from 1983 called TESTAMENT. I get the willies and almost want to cry when I think of it. Then there is NO BLADE OF GRASS from 1970-societal breakdown in the UK due to virus.

Both are bummer movies, but sometimes that is what is needed to remind us of the consequences of a failure to take proper actions. Aloha, Steve.

ptf's picture
ptf
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Another huge TTZ fan

I knew there had to be other Twilight zone fans in this community.  This is a great episode, but there are somany more. I might have to head home tonight and crack open the box set.  I have to recommend Twilight zone to anyone who is interested in expanding and cultivating their consciousness.

Rector's picture
Rector
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Posts: 323
Yeah. . .

That film [What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire] is an exercise in self loathing and a waste of time. I wish I had the time back.  

goes211's picture
goes211
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Posts: 1108
I also hated that movie...

I found "What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire" to be so anoying as to be almost unwatchable.

How about a recent movie like "Take Shelter"?  It is not exactly 3-E but I found it riveting to watch and Michael Shannon was fantastic as a Cassandra like protagonist.  Was he crazy or prophetic?  Can you relate to him as he deals with others that do not share his fears/visions?

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Posts: 201
End of the Road How Money Became Worthless

A must see 2012 Documentary . All the big names in this Doc.

Eric Sprott , James Turk, James Rickards, Peter Schiff, Alasdair Macloed, Mike Maloney,

Jim Puplava. Please pass around.

http://www.economicreason.com/goldismoney/end-of-the-road-how-money-beca...

Bankers Slave's picture
Bankers Slave
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 124
A very

good post indeed Sand Puppy, giving much food for thought, no pun intended. You have altered my survivalist mindset completely. More people need to read what you have just written if they have a similiar mindset to that of mine. Thanks.

Jbarney's picture
Jbarney
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 74
Red Pill Movies

I watched Take Shelter last night and found it very engaging.  I good film with a nice message for those of us who are taking steps to make sure we are secure in whatever future unfolds.  Also, just watched the the Twilight Zone ep. that Adam posted....Shelter....disturbingly good.

Jason

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 583
The Milagro

Beanfield War

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