I recently rewatched this 1993 classic, Falling Down, with my partner who hadn’t seen it, and I looked for a treatment online of the main character to share my renewed fascination with Bill with others. I found interesting articles, but all with a Political Correct skew from a 2019 perspective. So let’s dive into this masterpiece from the perspective of its own place and time, which was a pivotal year Astrologically.
It’s no accident that this movie was released on February 26th, 24 days after the conjunction (alignment, coming together) of Uranus and Neptune – an historic event that only happens once every 171 years and heralds the opening of a new age in terms of technology and social conventions, how we communicate and how we see our society. People born on this year are here to rock the system when they become full adults, and anyone born after this year can truly be called Millennials.
The main theme we see in the film is Bill interacting with the full spectrum of 1990s society, in a North American context – an atomised and alienated society, comprised of multiculture, cynicism, and hate. Our main character is disgusted by this, especially as he sees himself working to protect such a society through his job with the Defense Department. This changing world has personally hurt Bill, which includes divorce and parental alienation. This coupled with poor city planning and over-populations, resulting in traffic jams in the roasting Los Angeles sun, which Bill is stuck in when we meet him. Due to his past of verbal abuse directed at his wife and daughter, many contemporary writers are quick to condemn Bill as exhibiting “Toxic Masculinity” without any compassion for what may have brought him to the point of merely losing his temper. His wife married him at some point and for some reason – likely because he was a good and noble man at the time, like his mother described him. Perhaps his wife wasn’t a perfect person and added to the psychological pressure he experienced from a rapidly changing world where his work was no longer respected by society. We should remember that then-President George W.H. Bush signed a treaty with Boris Yeltsin (then-President of the new Russian Federation) reducing the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles – possibly the very “missile” program Bill was made redundant from. The creators of the film couldn’t have known this when they wrote the script, of course, as START II was signed on January 3rd. It’s just an interesting synchronicity.
Other events after the release of Falling Down include The Waco Siege where the ATF (Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) Agency illegally attacked a compound containing families and children – filling it with ignitable gas, causing it to turn into a blazing inferno. This event, February 23rd, was a message loud and clear from the Federal government to cults, armed patriots, and homeschoolers alike – we can do this to you if you resist. This year truly marked the end of the freedom-loving mentality of the United States. With that backdrop, Falling Down was released at a very appropriate time to strike a cord with the people – particularly white, middle class, men. To this day many of us wish we could go on a rampage to set the world right: punish unscrupulous convenience store owners; gangbangers terrifying urban environments; fast food joints selling substandard “food”; hate-filled neo-nazis; corrupt local authorities. Even though we wouldn’t ever have the knowledge, means, ability, or conscience to commit such crimes, many of us agree deep down that these are issues plaguing our society.
This was also the year of: Bill Clinton becoming US President, the first President to use the media to seem “hip” and in touch with the people; Islamic Fundamentalists targeting America for the first time by trying to bomb the World Trade Center; civil wars erupted in the Baltic states after 2 years of tensions, resulting in the first genocides in Europe since WWII; the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, caused by the acquittal of four police officers who were caught on CCTV camera viciously beating an African-American (Rodney King). It’s significant that this was the first time America saw with their own eyes via television the predation of African-Americans by police, thus ushering in a new public consciousness. African-Americans have been clearly targeted by police and other whites, but it was only with the televised nature of this particularly brutal incident that the community was triggered into mass action.
“It (Bill’s haircut and style) gave me the feeling of the late 50s and early 60s and […] you kinda had the feeling that he came from another time or that he wished or he hoped for another time, when things made sense. When somebody’s time was worth while and your job made sense”
– Michael Douglas, 1993 (John C. Tibbetts interview, shown below)
Obviously we can’t look at Bill Foster’s birth chart, but we can look at those of the writer (Ebbe Roe Smith) and the producer (Joel Schumacher), and how the release date relates to them. We don’t have the rising signs of either public figure, thus no Houses to examine, which limits us in describing the “flavour” of each planet in their charts. What’s interesting is that the writer’s Jupiter is conjunct the Neptune-Uranus conjunction of that month, while the producer’s Mars is conjunct the same. Being so close, their Mars and Jupiter would have worked together nicely. Likely Schumacher wanted to tell such a story, and Roe Smith had the expansive insight to bring that alive with his script. For both Uranus and Neptune to transit one’s Mars (as they both were for Schumacher) brings uncertainty in both life and career – a lot of misplaced actions and misgivings. April/May of 1992 saw The Los Angeles Riots, which unfortunately for the movie and Schumacher (particularly), involved the targeting of Korean convenience stores and their owners by rioting African-Americans. This proved to be a huge blotch on Schumacher’s and Warner Brothers’ image. Luckily our lead actor, Michael Douglas, stepped in to meet with the special interest groups involved, and the matter didn’t seem continue after that. Wikipedia notes (without citation) that “unemployed defense workers” complained about the depiction of their small demographic, but nobody cared, possibly because they were a relatively very small group and mostly comprised of white men.
Now let’s look at Michael Douglas’ chart – as Neptune takes roughly 14 years to transit (move/enter) through a sign, all three men have Jupiter very close to Neptune in their charts. Schumacher’s Neptune is too far away to count as a conjunction (coming together/alignment). Jupiter would have conjunct for the producer (Schumacher) in September 1992, conjunct for the writer (Roe Smith) around the release, and conjunct for Bill Foster (Michael Douglas) in November 1992 and again in April 1993. The significance of this, broadly speaking, is an expansion of a person’s senses and social conscience. Also possibly an expansion of their psychic awareness and, in this particular context, connection with the current state of society on an unconscious level. It explains why they had no idea that the American-Russian treaty would put defense workers out of a job (and making Bill an unemployed defense worker) or that African-Americans would discriminately target Korean store owners (and making Bill attack a Korean store owner at the beginning of the movie). The movie itself tuned into the zeitgeist (the feeling of the time), almost magically. This is because the people involved were at the right times in their lives to deliver this message.
Unlike with Roe Smith and Schumacher, we have Douglas’ birth time (or at least that recorded by his family or the government, thus accurate within a 5 minute error margin). I haven’t sat down to analyse his birth chart, but it’s interesting that Jupiter transited into his 11th House (community, networking) in September, around when Schumacher had his Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. Clearly it was time for these two to come together. As seen in the 5 minute interview above, Douglas is very proud of the message that Falling Down put out, his role in it, and that there’s a mythological and spiritual dimension to Bill’s journey.
Excuse me, but I don’t have a “wow” thesis conclusion, but I think the facts stand for themselves. I’m now curious about Michael Douglas and will certainly do his birth chart soon.