Batteries Not Included is the movie that America Needs Right Now
The story of a villainous greed driven New York land developer, vulnerable people banding together, and intelligent machines performing jobs typically done by people sounds incredibly contemporary for a film that came out in 1987 and in many ways it’s the perfect film to explain where we are and what we need to do. This is why Batteries Not Included is the movie America needs right now.
Of course the film features the “little guys” as Jessica Tandy‘s Fey refers to them or “the fixers” as they’re otherwise called who can rebuild anything, even a burned down apartment building. The real story however is one of community coming together, rebuilding, fixing what is broken, and building a better future. This cross-cultural community consists of an elderly couple coping with dementia, aging, and the loss of their son, a retired boxer who could not longer hurt a fly, a latina woman facing the trials of motherhood without help, and a down on his luck artist stuck contemplating decay.
As happens all too often in real life this group never battles the developer directly. Rather the developer employs an equally disadvantaged group of young men headed by Carlos who is as much a victim of the developer as the rest of them. Carlos is the perfect stand-in for the duped masses that look up to and aspire to have the type of money and power that evil developers like Donald Trump have and have bought into the myth that people like him are self-made despite being born into incredible wealth and privilege.
Carlos, like so many Americans, will willingly do the bidding of this evil developer because he’s desperate and foolish enough to think that he’ll be rewarded with a seat at the developer’s table and a chance to live the life that people like him live. Carlos might not look like the middle American blue collar whites who helped elect Donald Trump but he is a fair representation of them. He’s confused, angry, willing to do anything, even to try to profit off of the destruction of his own neighborhoods. Carlos is desperate for a piece of that grandiose lie that is the American Dream. My only hope is that they still have a conscious like Carlos. I hope they will wake up to see what they’ve done before it’s too late and will help the rest of us put it right.
While I’m not afraid to admit that I’d happy take a benevolent alien intervention which would stop Trump from destroying our country the bigger message that I take away from Batteries Not Included is that we need to be the fixers. We need to band together in our communities and fix this things. Yes we must disrupt the plans of evil developer looking to profit from the destruction of our country but we must come together with each other, no matter our backgrounds, no matter our politics, and fix this thing because nobody else, alien or otherwise, is going to do it.