Dick: The Forrest Gump of Stoner Movies

Tropics of Meta

betsy and arlene dick

It is the fate of the cult movie to be ahead of its time. One thinks of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, which opened to middling reviews and pitiful box office receipts in 1983, only to see its dark media fantasia look far more prescient as video games and the Internet matured in the 1990s. Mike Judge had the distinction of directing two modern classics that tanked at the box office but flourished in video release; 1999’s Office Space resonated with the deepening economic malaise of the early twenty-first century, while 2006’s Idiocracy makes more sense today than ever before.

Sometimes, though, a film manages to be both ahead of and behind its time—as the 1999 alternate-history farce Dick makes clear. Numerous commentators over the years have noted that the Watergate spoof faced an impossible dilemma in its search for an audience; as a quasi-teen movie, it likely turned off the…

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