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America Doesn't Need Another 'Total Recall' Movie -- And it Says a Lot About Us That There Is One

The remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1990 sci-fi classic has hit the box office, another example of America's obsession with our own doomy death spiral.

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"In my experience, Dungeons & Dragons was something where you could create your own personality. Some people get so obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons that the alter-ego that they build up they're more connected to than their real life. We've got that in videogames that are fully immersive. And you look at Facebook, and you create whoever you want to be. You put a profile together, and what are you doing? You're selecting: "I wanna be this! I wanna be thought of as this!" And this is a profile of 'who I am' out there -- and some people, I think, live as a different person, that they want to be, on Facebook. Which is not that unlike than what's happening in REKAL. It's an ultimate escape -- and it's not always a safe one."

With this awareness, Wiseman's not exempt from his own political assumptions either—the Internet's already abuzz with the  Obama-emblazoned dollar bills he included . Already, the reviews are scrutinizing his concept of the politicized present via the dystopian future. CNN called it "infinitely pedestrian entertainment," whereas the New York Times said it " might have fared better without the baggage of expectation and comparison that it inevitably carries." The Washington Post lamented " it would be nice if TotalRecall had attempted to engage on an intellectual level." 

As Hollywood tries to predict and satisfy our doomsday scenarios—the end-of-days paranoia palpable in so much pop culture right now—not to mention our tech anxiety and our election fears, at least it's clear that a smart plot still triumphs over pandered-to pathos.

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.