28 Silly Things About Interstellar

interstellar mackenzie foy matthew mcconaughey

Generations of corn-disrespecters

Oh my.

I don’t always have beefs. I saw Big Hero 6 this weekend and was rendered nearly beefless. But the thing about beefs is once you have one good beef core, more beefs tend to snowball around it, until you are in the middle of the second act taking out your notepad because the beef is so massive it goes supernova.

Not that I hated this movie. There’s some great stuff here–ideas, performances, cinematography, visual effects. Hating this movie would be like hating the guy at the Y who grunts really loud when he lifts. He’s just doing his thing, man. Let him do his thing.

Still, there are many silly things about Interstellar. There are almost too many silly things going on in Interstellar to document, so I am trying to pick only the most amusing or least remarked upon by everyone else’s lists of silly things.

Some heckles contributed by very good-looking co-hecklers. Absolutely uncontrollable amounts of spoilers ahead.


1. There’s a food blight we never see, which doesn’t seem related at all to a series of suffocating dust storms, so we get not one but TWO unexplained ongoing apocalypses.

2. Earth managed to lose 6 billion humans, key food staples, and MRI machines, but keep all infrastructure with regard to water, electricity, fossil fuels, textiles, textbook publishing, auto repair, orthodontia…

3. For a food-depleted world dependent on everybody farming, 1) nobody does any damn farming and 2) food scarcity is only spoken about, never seen, and 3) there is no issue with Dad Cooper going on a corn-killing joyride. Come on, man, milk a goat!

4. For a moon-landing-denying civilization of luddites so depopulated and decentralized there’s no more national military, there’s still a federal government gathering taxes (on what? from who?) and siphoning billions into a stealth space silo making a stealth space shot.

5. For a movie suggesting a global apocalypse, this movie never ventures from one town. May I never complain about an opening credits montage again.

6. Why does the dusty “binary” (thin band = 0, thick band = 1, separated by gaps) have three states? WHAT DOES A GAP MEAN AND WHY DOESN’T THE DUST MEAN ONE AND THE GAP MEAN ZERO AND WHAT CHARACTER SET IS HE USING AND HOW THE EFF DO YOU HAVE A CHARACTER SET MEMORIZED?

7. What is the Morse code for “square root”?

8. Why is NASA having a board meeting in the middle of the night?

9. Who had to call the Endurance‘s original pilot to let him/her know the gig was being given to a random dude who showed up the night before?

10. Where is the rocket launched from that nobody notices, until later when “the whole world is counting on” the mission?

11. Fifth dimensional superbeings might have done better by sending a seed bank, and perhaps before 6 billion people dropped dead.

12. How did NASA get tens of thousands of fertilized eggs for a secret project? How are one or two people are going to raise thousands of human hatchlings to adulthood? Without a Costco?

13. Didn’t the first batch of astronauts to this galaxy (the batch with Miller, Mann, and Edmunds) have a space station? If so, where is it? And why didn’t they place probes on their respective planets but spend most of their time chilling at the station? For that matter, why send meatbags when you have prehensile sprinter robots?

14. In space and on the remote planets, what are the astronauts eating?


I hope there’s some sandos in here

16. The whole altering-the-past-but-there’s-apparently-just-one-timeline hinge of the plot… I can’t even… how did he know an unknown thing to tell it to himself before he knew it? So I won’t.


17. These are the least-prepared, least-resourceful astronauts imaginable. Dad “I just signed on yesterday” Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is the only idea guy on the team. They come out of the wormhole with no clear plan of action in place. They visit the skyscraper-wave planet without glancing around for, you know, periodic skyscraper-sized waves, they land on water in their water-loggable vessel, they send out two meatbag astronauts to retrieve a data recorder instead of the PREHENSILE SPRINTER BOT (TARS, voiced by Bill Irwin).

interstellar matthew mcconaughey

Sure is hard to hear 100-meter high waves with this helmet on

Then, when crisis arises due to Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) making a series of deadly blunders, Cooper’s the only one who thinks to deploy the PREHENSILE SPRINTER BOT. (Big ups to the robots in this movie, which were the best part.)

interstellar amelia brand anne hathaway

My doctorate in feelsology didn’t prepare me for this

18. Astronaut Romilly (David Gyasi) stays awake for enough of a 23-year solo wait to visibly age–apparently about ten years. Aside from that much time in isolation being a Castaway-type psychological torment, it’s very bad for the sanity and IQ. Wouldn’t NASA have some sort of policy like “hey maybe don’t keep yourself in conscious isolation for more than a month, like, two, tops.” Romilly explains he didn’t “want to sleep half [his] life away,” which 1) contradicts his comfort with the 2 years of sleep en route to Saturn and 2) indicates he DOES NOT UNDERSTAND HOW HYPERSLEEP WORKS VIS-À-VIS LIFE. Also WHAT HAS HE FOUND TO EAT ALL THIS TIME.

interstella david gyasi

I got some really great binge-watching done

19. Amelia Brand wants to go to planet X next because she’s in love with the scientist there–a man she hasn’t seen in ten years. The craziest thing here isn’t that she thinks “follow your heart” is good scientific policy, but that any 30+-year-old woman would want to rekindle the relationship she had in her early 20s.

interstallar anne hathaway amelia brand

He was so, so into Minor Threat

20. But perhaps Amelia’s emotional maturity isn’t the best in general because

  • she seriously makes the worst choices on the wave planet,
  • she’s more sorry that her actions lost Cooper time with his daughter than that they directly contributed to another astronaut’s death, and
  • she gives Cooper a major “I hope you’re happy” cold shoulder for not wanting to follow her “love is a physical force” logic. Mature!

Speaking of women characters holding grudges…

21. Murphy Cooper (Mackenzie Foy/Jessica Chastain) sustains a 23-year grudge against her dad for leaving when she was ten. What an actual human being might feel is a 23-year guilt trip for cold-shouldering her dad the moments before his lifelong departure.

Interstellar jessica chastain murphy cooper burn corn

Some Murphys just want to watch the corn burn

But in this movie actual character beats are traded for lots and lots of crying–some affecting, some not. The more successful emotional moments come from the fact that…

22. Dad Cooper is super tear-jerkily devoted to his daughter, Murphy. In comparison he gives approximately one fig about his son, Tom. Maybe if he had, his son wouldn’t have turned out to be such a dust-denying weirdo, which brings us to…

23. Grown Tom Cooper (Casey Affleck) has a wife and kid who develop such severe lung problems (the kid coughs once, offering helpfully “the dust” as if WE COULDN’T FIGURE OUT WHY HE MIGHT BE COUGHING) that as soon as designated medical guy Getty (Topher Grace) gives those lungs a listen he says “you have to leave… right now.” Tom is all like “nuh-uh.”

  • Tom’s wife expresses NO OPINION about what the family should do, content to go or not go as the people around her family see fit,
  • it is unspecified where they should go, or how they’ll survive there,
  • there is no sense of why the immediacy is so immediate.

Grown Murph Cooper’s solution is to set Tom’s fields on fire, distracting him and a handful of brave firefighting neighbors, so she can evacuate the family and then have a long sit in her childhood bedroom. That’s all fine. But THEN, when Tom comes back from the fire-fighting to his trickster sister and evacuating family, Murph gives him a hug and everything’s OK. I suppose they cut out the part where Tom flies into a hideous rage.

Interstellar 2014 casey affleck tom


24. Elder Murph (Ellen Burstyn) hypersleeps two years to get to the Saturn-adjacent space station to chat with Dad Cooper for two minutes. Meanwhile her closest family joins her at deathbed-side on the the Saturn space station, which means either this elderly, bed-bound woman was previously NOT in proximity to her closest family, or they hyperslept-traveled with her. Maybe Elder Murphy should have been old but relatively mobile, and there should have been a longer reconciliation before Dad Cooper hit the road, but the movie had been going for two hours and fifteen minutes at this point, so I can’t fault them for sprinting to the finish.


25. Why did the combines all mystically gather at the Cooper farm? Didn’t that have something to do with magnetism? Doesn’t nothing else in this movie have anything to do with magnetism?

26. Professor Brand is called Professor Brand by everyone despite having 100% to do with NASA and 0% to do with school. Is the secret NASA really Hogwarts West? Is “Dr.” Brand too confusing? Is his first name “Professor”? That would explain why Murph, who has known him for decades, upon approaching his deathbed, non-jokingly greets him with, “Hey, Professor.”

interstellar michael caine professor brand

You can call me Proffy.

27. Least believable dialog: “Pray you never find out how good it can be to see another human face.” – Dr. Mann (Matt Damon), upon waking from hypersleep. Pray you never get saddled with dialog this awkward.

28. A ten-year-old girl might have The Stand (winning this movie’s blue ribbon for Least Flattering Comparison) in her library, but she’d probably want to slip an Anne of Green Gables book jacket on that mofo. Either that, or Murph never told Dad Cooper he really messed up his apoca-Amazon order of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

the stand tom cullen bill fagerbakke

M-O-O-N, that spells “age inappropriate”

A-a-a-and spent.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. 1. Movie takes place during global collapse 3 or 4. Six billion people died during the first one.

    2. Makes no sense.

    3. AIs do most of the work. Humans just like patting themselves on the back and being maudlin, apparently.

    4. Could be local taxes. Would almost have to be a food/labor/fuel-based tax, since I can’t imagine currency being worth much.

    5. At least there’s a suggestion of a drive between Kansas and Colorado. The movie also implies enough shit’s gone down that a NASA-trained pilot (who isn’t air force?) doesn’t know what or where NORAD is.

    6. Because most people have trouble visualizing it anyway, plus he had to come up with it on the spot while trapped behind a bookshelf like a twist ending to a Goosebumps book.

    7. … –.- ..- .- .-. . / .-. — — –

    8. Maybe they dragged their asses out of bed because an extremely qualified pilot stumbled upon the most secure installation in existence and they have a policy too look out for potential cross-dimensional interference like that.

    9. It was probably going to be Anne Hathaway and TARS.

    10. Cheyenne Mountain.

    11. They already knew that they didn’t do that so they couldn’t do that because time is a flat circle.

    12. Same place they got extremely advanced AI, I guess. Scientific advancement in IVF.

    13. They went in barely scraped together bare-bones craft (and I don’t think they even went together).

    14. Water-planet lady ate it immediately, Matt Damon spent a lot of time asleep (conserving rations/energy/everything), Wolfgang or whoever he was didn’t eat enough, it would seem.

    15. You skipped 15.

    16. The robot told him.

    17. They don’t have scanners or any of that magic-Trek tech, so they would’ve had to observe the waves directly. Which you wouldn’t think would’ve been visisble. They were also relying on bad data that seemed to say that the water on the surface was flat and shallow and had been for years.

    18. He seemed pretty fucked up by the whole thing. They had a shitload of food with them. Enough to jumpstart a colony.

    19. I want to drown whoever came up with “Quantum mechanics is love” in a fucking toilet.

    20. Everyone was glad thay guy died. His facial hair and demeanor were unsettling.

    21. Yeah, but this is a woman in a Nolan movie. I guess we’re supposed to feel grateful that she even exists and can speak.

    22. Yeah, he’s a really shitty dad. But I suppose those 5th dimension super-people were too busy to manipulate time and space to fix 2 relationships.

    23. Also, what can you glean from a low-quality stethoscope that tells you someone’s lungs have less than an hour or so before they… disintegrate? Pop? “SOMETHING BAD MEDICINE DIE LUNG DUST!”

    24. Yeah, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on there. She was probably as shitty a mom as Coop was a dad.

    25. Forgot to swap out pages from an earlier draft that had cooler stuff with AIs in it.

    26. I figured that in weird post-collapse america they’d give people names like Professor and Chief and Doctor to encourage their kids to remember the past. Nah, that’s dumb. Just like this movie.

    27. When they unzipped his bag, I kind of expected someone to say, “Holy shit. Is that… is that Matt Damon?” maybe in the director’s cut.

    28. I started reading The Stand around that age…

%d bloggers like this: