Saturday Matinee: Americathon

“Americathon” (1978) is, like Idiocracy, a dystopian comedy with prophetic predictions such as the fall of the USSR, privatization of public assets, smoking being banned, masses of homeless people living in cars, and the dominance of reality TV, but set in the then future year of 1998. It was directed by Neal Israel, based on a play by Firesign Theatre alumni Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman with narration by George Carlin. In Americathon’s vision of the future, the U.S. has passed peak oil and the government is on the brink of bankruptcy. In order to avoid having the country foreclosed and repossessed by the original owners, president Chet Roosevelt (John Ritter) organizes a national telethon with hilarious results. Features surprising appearances by Elvis Costello, Meat Loaf, Cybill Shepherd and Howard Hesseman.

Watch the full film here.

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