As with all movies on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete synopsis of the movie, but rather to document how the movie relates to the meaning of life. With that said, be forewarned, there are still spoilers ahead.
What if you could skip all those moments in life that you don't like? All those times you sat in traffic, or got into an argument, or had to sit through a boring dinner with the in-laws? Michael Newman is given this opportunity one night after he enters a Bed Bath & Beyond store and wanders on to the back through a door with a sign above it that just says "Beyond."
There he meets a strange inventor named Morty (who as it turns out is actually the angel of death). Michael goes on to tell the angel of death that he is just looking for a universal remote, which he would get. The only catch is that it controls his own personal universe, not just his TV and garage door.
Michael takes the remote home and quickly finds that he can fast-forward through all the times he doesn't like, slow-motion the times he does (though he only uses this once that I recall to watch a woman jogging), and even relive some of his fondest memories (however warped they may have been).
Morty would throughout the story give advice to Michael. For example, in the following conversation Michael confides that he wants to fast-forward to his promotion.
Morty: Consider the leprechaun.
Michael Newman: What?
Morty: The one in the cereal commercials.
Michael Newman: 'They're magically delicious'?, That guy?
Morty: He's always chasing the pot of gold, but when he gets there, at the end of the day, it's just corn flakes.
Why is the significant? All too often in life we're too anxious or can't want to find out what will happen in the future. In Michael's case, he is chasing the promotion and not spending time with his family. How many times have we all done this?
The remote is also artificially intelligent. It learns to auto-program itself based on your previous choices. Michael is soon caught up in a loop where he just keeps fast forwarding through arguments, boring things, sex, and everything else he no longer wants to skip ahead through. Yet, there is nothing he can do about it. It is too late.
Soon he finds his ex-wife married another man, his kids are all grown up, his father died, and yeah ... life has just passed him by while he was on auto-pilot. But, he is the CEO of the company, finally. Not to mention architect of the year. But, that pot of gold he had been chasing, well, it is all cornflakes in the end and he now lives alone.
His son takes a job at the same company and starts to follow in his footsteps—putting his job before his family. Michael, close to death and on life support, unplugs the very machines keeping him alive, and chases his son out into the rain to give him one last piece of advice, Family, family... Family comes first. Michael dies shortly thereafter.
Then he wakes up on the Bed Bath & Beyond bed he fell asleep on before he got the remote. He decides to change his life, live it differently. Michael Newman becomes a new man.
What is this film telling us about the meaning of life? It is telling us that whatever we pursue, life is too short to skip ahead through the times we don't like, and we cannot get caught up chasing pots of gold when what really has the most value is often right in front of us—family, love, and everything in between.
We rate the movie:
Overall - 5
Meaning of Life Relevance - 6
Uniqueness – 7
If you saw the movie, what did you think? Comment below and let us know.