Film Art and Cinematography : Cups in the future

Cups in the future

In some movies that take place in the future the props department has to come up with cups that look like they're from the future. We see an unusual mundane object and feel out of place. That is what is supposed to happen. Probably people ignore it. I doubt any of these props were custom made. More likely that they went shopping for out of the ordinary cups.

Coffee cups don't look much different.

From Alien. The handle is a little weird. Straighter lines than the usual coffee mug. There are straight handle coffee cups in The Spy Who Loved Me. Both movies were made in the late 1970s so maybe it was a popular style at the time. The glasses are without ornamentation, a little spartan, but I'm not sure the intended feeling of these props was future rather than simplicity. Whatever liquid is in the glasses is at about the same level in both. Significant? I like the residue left on the sides of the glasses.

From Johnny Mnemonic. Widens at the top. I've seen them maybe even used them. Why did they choose this cup? It seems old fashioned to me, not futuristic. I don't think there is anything in it.

From Total Recall. I know I have used a similar coffee cup. It is a non-standard cup but nothing screams future. The cup behind it is more interesting. Like a plastic version of the Alien cups. Some kind of frosted plastic. I've never seen cups so large of that material but they must exist. It is fine for Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold such a cup but Sharon Stone's dainty hands will have trouble.

From RoboCop. Coffee I think, from a gas station or someplace. Clearly unlike what we are used to. Hard plastic not paper or styrofoam. Not sure how recyclable it is not that styrofoam is. Makes me anxious. Straight edges on the rim which make drinking difficult. A circular rim drives the liquid into a narrow stream but in these cups it has a much wider path and may run past your mouth and spill out. Note that they are pouring at the corners where the path is narrow. A poorly designed cup.

Other cups are different.

From Total Recall. Dark brown cups in a restaurant. I don't know about you but I'm used to clear glass or frosted plastic. I don't immediately think of Mars when I see them but I can believe it. There is nothing in them. They topple over later and nothing spills.

From Demolition Man. They're at a Taco Bell. A metal champagne flute and metal capped soft drink. High class trash. Again I'm pretty sure both cups are empty.

From Forbidden Planet. These cups don't look at all futuristic. They look artistic. Blown glass cups, not sure what is covering them, if it is more glass or a fabric. Maybe that is what cups looked like back when the movie was made or maybe they should be filled with flowers instead.

From Judge Dredd. It is small but you can see that it is a ribbed conical glass. Probably a little awkward to handle. There were a number of them placed around a table. A little fancy for a conference room I think.

From Star Trek: Generations. Normal cup in the background. The one in the foreground kind of looks like a UFO. I think it might be a candle holder they repurposed as a weird futuristic cup.

From Starship Troopers. Wine glasses with ribbed stems. They must be heavy compared to a regular glass. The decanter looks like it was borrowed from a chemistry set but a lot of those do. Makes it look futuristic though at least to the average viewer such as myself.

From Logan's Run. More chemistry set decanters filled with strange liquids. The glasses are cocktail glasses including a martini glass. In Blade Runner Deckard drinks from a martini glass but he was in a bar. These glasses seem to be for regular domestic usage. Cocktail glasses have odd shapes and might seem futuristic.

From Lost in Space. Curvy colored stems that seem difficult to handle. Some prop departments must think that a cup that looks difficult to use must seem like a product from the future. Like us primates are not advanced enough to understand these cups.

From Back to the Future: Part II. A spherical glass. Maybe the top of a gumball machine. I think you would have to use two hands to hold it comfortably unless you can palm a basketball.

From Back to the Future: Part II. Some two-tiered glass with a plastic rim. I find that with tall glasses like that the liquid can sneak up on you and spill if you are not paying attention. You need to be careful with the angle of attack. I almost think I have drank a root beer float out of a similar glass. Probably a false memory.

From Back to the Future: Part II. Not technically a cup but a bottle still it contains liquid.

Re: Cups in the future…

I'm HAPPY with mine NOW.


Re: Cups in the future

Robocop scene. Wow! I knew something was off but it wasn't their interaction with each other for the first time meeting each other. When he said you drive as they heard "all units" on the radio I thought the sound of the cup he dropped wasn't a paper one.

Bing.. Wobbledy wobble, wo-wo-wobble, wobbin'

Re: Cups in the future

Those are some remarkable observations!

Do you normally love cups?

Re: Cups in the future

Do you normally love cups?
I don't have a special interest in them. I just noticed them in a couple movies so started noticing them more and more.

Re: Cups in the future

I'm sure there's a lot of set designers that try hard to create a mood.

That must be a TON of work.

Re: Cups in the future

😺 Schrodinger's Cat walks into a bar, and doesn't. 🤨 Let's go, Brandon! 🤨 Try that in a small town.

Re: Cups in the future

Now you made me ashamed to be a Brewers fan.

Re: Cups in the future

That is not the question to be asking.

The question that needs to be asked is: Are we going to need to use seashells when we use a restroom as they do in Demo. Man and just how in the heck do we use them?

Re: Cups in the future

Who knew that stuff you drink from could be so boring!