I watched Starship Troopers again the other day. Most people I know who have seen that movie think it’s stupid, and cheesy, and not worth seeing once, let alone multiple times. But if you’ve read Heinlein’s 1959 novel of the same name, it stays shockingly close to the original spirit, which was as much a political essay as it was a novel. Heinlein’s meritocratic democracy stands in stark contrast to our own system of government which, in the novel, ultimately collapses because “people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted… and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears.” Also, the movie has a shower scene in it, and you get to see some tits.
The movie is centered around four friends who graduate high school in Argentina (which is the first plot hole because everyone knows that there are no schools in South America). The first is played by Neil Patrick Harris, who winds up dressing like a member of the Gestapo and mind-melding with gigantic alien bugs. Let this be a warning to all parents who want to put their smart kids into medical school at the age of twelve, à la Doogie Howser. Don’t do it. Your child will grow up sick, warped, and end up starring in bug porn, licking viscous ooze off of writhing thoraxes. Anyway, the less said about that dragonfly-blowing freak, the better.
The other three characters are played by Charlie Sheen’s old coke mule, Denise Richards (playing Carmen), and two other people whom I’d never seen before, or since, playing characters named Diz and Rico. This is Rico:
Rico looks like the kind of guy you knew in high school, captain of the football team, dating the hottest cheerleader, cruising through school getting A’s without even trying, and whose funeral you attend a year later wearing a somber expression, although secretly you think it’s fucking hilarious that he died in an auto-erotic asphyxiation mishap.
Actually, in the movie he is a star athlete, but is also kind of a lunkhead. So much so, in fact, that in one scene everyone laughs at him for über-failing a math exam. Ha ha! Take that, Captain
America Argentina! Rico lusts after, and occasionally succeeds at getting into the pants of Carmen:
There’s something I just don’t trust about Denise Richards. I think it’s that really wide mouth of hers. It looks like at any time she might unhinge her jaw, lean her head back, and swallow a newborn whole. (That, incidentally, may be a large part of the reason why Charlie Sheen kept her around for so long.) Anyway, Carmen enlists in the Federation’s military to pilot starships. This becomes a problem for Rico, who is so stupid that when he enlists to be with Carmen, he is assigned to Mobile Infantry as a doorstop.
This is Diz:
Diz lusts after Rico. I mean, really, really lusts after him, publicly and at every opportunity. There’s a deleted scene from the movie that is nothing but Diz grinding her crotch against Rico’s leg for twenty minutes while they’re waiting for a bus. If during the opening twenty minutes of the movie Diz walked up to Rico and told him that she wanted to deep-throat him in front of a bunch of orphans, it wouldn’t seem out of place at all. Bitch got needs, yo!
And because Diz is such a total hornball, she enlists in the Mobile Infantry just to be near Rico, you know, in case he needs to be fluffed before battle or something. What happens next should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been in a long distance relationship: Carmen breaks up with Rico, citing the need to find herself, distance, and relativistic effects that would cause Rico to die 6,000 years before she returned home. It’s always the same, isn’t it?
So what does Rico do? Well, I tell you what he doesn’t do. He doesn’t spend the next month wearing Diz like a goddamn hand-puppet like he should. No, he sits around pining for Carmen like a total fucking ignoramus. This is the part of the movie where I start getting worked up. I find myself shouting at the screen, “Rico, you fucking idiot! You are in the military, where the only sanctioned fucking is the one your drill instructor lays on you for blinking in formation. You are going off to some frozen rock on the other side of the galaxy to be bitten in half by giant cockroaches. You’ve got this gorgeous woman practically hanging from your pubes who has consigned herself to the same sorry fate just to be near you AND YOU’RE NOT GOING TO NAIL HER? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE THE POOR GIRL A POKE!” (This kind of outburst is why I’m no longer allowed in movie theaters.)
Ugh, I get angry just thinking about it. Of course what happens is Rico finally comes around, is given ten minutes to mow Diz’s yard (seriously, his C.O. gives him ten minutes to do it), and then Diz dies a typical Hollywood battle death: “I’m not going to make it… I’m so cold… Rico, can I touch your balls one last time?” And when that happens, I’ve had it. “MORON! YOU COULD”VE HAD HER 900 FUCKING TIMES BY NOW! AND NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? RISK A COURT MARTIAL FOR DESECRATING A CORPSE? STUPID ASSHOLE!”
Because, and here’s where I’m going to finally get to the point, long distance relationships when you’re young are utterly fucking retarded. What kids are thinking when they set up a long distance relationship is beyond me. Look at the following graph:
What part of that graph makes a person going into the military, or college, or the Peace Corps think that they’re going to come out of the experience with anything other than a world of hurt? Because scientific studies that I have just now made up in my head prove that long distance relationships don’t work:
Now, if you happen to be freshly out of high school and brain damaged enough to be involved in a long distance relationship, you might be saying, “Well, not my long distance relationship! My honey-bunny and I have something special!” Again, you may find this chart helpful:
I knew a guy in college who had a girlfriend that he left behind when he got into graduate school on the East Coast. One night, as we were drinking beers to celebrate his graduation, he actually said, “You know, Heather and I have a really great relationship. I know that I should be worried about being so far away from her for so long, but I’m not. I’m really not.” That Heather went on to bang half the school and was given the nickname Crab-Cakes goes without saying. It didn’t go without seeing, however, because someone managed to get a picture of two guys violating her with produce. I shit you not. (This, incidentally, is what happens to you when you’re a slut and you attend college in the Midwest during harvest.)
That’s not to say that long distance relationships can’t work at all. More mature people can handle it, simply because they have control over the kind of impulse that makes you screw the first couple of guys you run across with cucumbers. And I suppose that Amish people could handle it too, I guess. They probably reroute all their sinful impulses into their beard-growing, which is why all their women look as if they’re members of ZZ Top. But if you’re not mature or Amish, take it from Starship Troopers: Stay away from long distance relationships. If you don’t, you’ll wind up fucked. Possibly by cucumbers.