Batteries Not Included: The Movie 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. “The fixers” as they’re otherwise called can rebuild anything, even a burned down apartment building. The real story however is one of community coming together. It’s the sense of community to attracts the fixers. Without community there would be nothing to rebuild. Fixing what is broken and building a better future is a core message of the movie. 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.
The Developer Never Gets His Hands Dirty
As in real life the developer never gets his hands dirty. This group never battles the developer directly. Rather the developer employs an equally disadvantaged group of young men headed by Carlos. In the end he’s as much a victim of the developer as the residents. Carlos is the perfect stand-in for the duped masses that look up to Trump. They aspire to have the money and power that sociopaths like Donald Trump have. They’ve bought into the myth that people like him are self-made despite being born into incredible wealth and privilege. If not for the scapegoats they’re told to hate they’d already be wealthy.
Carlos: The Fall Guy
Carlos, the fall guy, like so many Americans, will willingly do the bidding of this evil developer. He’s desperate foolish. He thinks he’ll be rewarded with a seat at the table and a chance to live the high life. Carlos is a stand-in for the aggrieved white people who helped elect Donald Trump. He’s confused, angry, and willing to do anything. He’s trying to profit off of the destruction of his own neighborhood.
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 ends up having. That said, this isn’t the movies so I’m not holding my breath. I hope they will wake up to see what they’ve done before it’s too late. I hope they will help the rest of us put it right but I fear they will only become angrier and more destructive.
I’m not afraid to admit that I’d happily take a benevolent alien intervention which would stop Trump from destroying our country. The bigger 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 antisocial maniacs. We must stand in the way of those looking to profit from the destruction of our country. We must come together and fix this thing because nobody else, alien or otherwise, is going to do it.