Friday, November 7, 2014

Are You My Ghost? Interstellar & the History Textbook

UPDATED 11/11/14: "Do not go gentle into that good night," Dylan Thomas' poem reads and is read four times during the film, each time offering a landmark of events to be contrasted, but ultimately, the meaning of the poem in the film comes from who is reading it in Christopher Nolan's masterpiece, Interstellar. I am really big into family history, and studying my ancestors who immigrated from England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany, almost all of them before the American Revolutionary War, I have often asked myself, if travel to Mars became possible, and I could have unlimited land on Mars, all I had to do was go, would I? Without a moment's thought, I can answer soundly with a loud "No." I mention this because Interstellar isn't about space travel, it's about America, and the founding of America, and what's happening right now; nor is Interstellar about climate change, but about government inefficiency.
I will not be able to do this film justice, so I am going to make this a short post. There are two villains in this film. The first villain is Ms. Kelly (Collette Wolfe), the teacher for 10 year old Murphy (first played by Mackenzie Foy, then Jessica Chastain, then by Ellen Burstyn). At the parent-teacher conference Cooper (Matthew McConnaughey) attends, Ms. Kelly informs him that Murph brought an outdated text book to class and was sharing it with her classmates; Cooper didn't see the problem in this, so Ms. Kelly pointed out they use next textbooks that have "corrected" the errors in the old books, including the error about the US winning the space race and landing on the moon. These were fabricated to destroy the Soviet Union, she informs Cooper, solely for the purpose of falsely claiming defeat over the Soviet Union. I am not kidding you, this is exactly how this happens; I am not using symbols or interpretation or theory here, this is it, straight. Does this sound like anyone you know? We encountered socialists re-writing history in Edge Of Tomorrow, Fury and Monuments Men, and that is exactly what is depicted in Interstellar.
I would like to offer a counter interpretation, equally valid, but in a different direction completely, and that is the psychoanalysis I posited awhile back because we saw Murph in her bed. Whenever a character has been sleeping, that opens the possibility for a psychoanalytic interpretation because of the way the mind works during dreams. There is an even stronger basis for psychoanalysis in the film than what I originally thought. When the film first opens, Cooper is piloting a plane that is crashing and he can't control; he wakes up, and we see Murph standing in his doorway saying, "I thought you were the ghost," to which he replies, "There is no such thing." Murph asks, "Were you dreaming about the crash?" and he tells her to get back into bed. He gets up and looks out the window--always a symbol of reflection, or a person entering into a state of self-meditation--and then there are scenes of the dust and interviews of the future generations talking about the dust the way my great-grandparents talk about the Dust Bowl. If Murph went back to bed, we can assume Cooper went back to bed as well, and everything that follows is a dream sequence: as in War Of the Worlds with Tom Cruise, Cooper takes the information from this initial scene and his mind weaves an entire dreamscape from it (please see How To Eat Art and scroll down to DREAM THEORY for more on War Of the Worlds being a dream sequence). Remember, this is a Christopher Nolan film, who gave us Inception, the film about dreams and dreams within dreams, so to say that Inception was educating us and preparing us for Interstellar is not at all ridiculous. There are several times when crew members go into "hibernation," or, as they call it, "the long nap," and later wake up (or maybe not, maybe we are just stuck in someone's dream). From Murph's perspective, there are several times when she could have fallen asleep and that initiates a dream sequence, especially when Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) takes Murphy into her office to let her take a nap. Another important detail for this interpretation is that, in the space ship, we see other crew members go into "hibernation mode" but we never see Cooper enter the long nap, maybe because he's all ready asleep. If this is Cooper's dream, what "wish fulfillment" is taking place? Instead of crashing the space ship, like he does in the "opening dream" of the film, Cooper not only saves  the ship, but he saves humanity as well. If this is a dream sequence from Murph's point of view, what wish fulfillment is there? She experiences the catharsis of the distance that is between them (literally, they are galaxies apart emotionally) but she also succeeds in making her dad proud of her. 
Before this conversation with Ms. Kelly takes place, Tom's teacher tells Cooper that Tom did satisfactorily on his exam but he can't go to college because they take a limited few, so Tom is going to have to become a farmer, like so many others. Cooper is exceedingly upset over this. In America, we are seeing this "educational protocol" being put into place with Common Core. Once Nolan has shown us what has happened to the educational standards in the country, we discover also that there is no longer an army or any military. What does this sound like to you? Again, I am just reporting on what is in the film, none of this is interpretation at all. Now that we have heard what the education system is like, we can understand why they have run out of food.
In this scenes, Murph believes there is a ghost, a poltergeist in her room knocking over the books from the shelves. Cooper tells her there are no ghosts, she needs to be scientific about it, to which she responds, isn't science the study of what we don't know about? The ghost, however, ends up being Cooper himself, passing through the physical space, or the gravitational anomaly, of her bookshelf, so he can communicate to her what he learned about the black hole that she needs to know in order to complete the equation. Cooper going away is not a good thing, however, as with so much that we don't understand about love, Dr. Brand (Michael Caine) steps in to become a kind of surrogate father to her and teaches her physics so she can work with him. In this way, Murph becomes a "founding mother" of the future generations. FOR DISCUSSION ON THE CORN FIELD, please see the very bottom of the page, under the last poster caption. On a different note, what happens at Murph's parent-teacher conference with Ms. Kelly? Before Cooper leaves to go to it, Grandpa (John Lithgow) tells him that Ms. Kelly is single and Cooper should ask her out to do his part to "repopulate the world." At the conference, after we hear what Ms. Kelly has to say about the Soviet Union and the moon landing, she asks Cooper what he's going to do with Murph and he mentions that there is going to be a baseball game. At this point, Cooper could ask Ms. Kelly out, but he doesn't, he rewards Murph for sticking up for the truth, by taking Murph to the baseball game instead of Ms. Kelly, meaning, Cooper doesn't want to mate with a woman who believes all that silly nonsense the government has taught her. 
The government has taken people who were pilots and engineers, like Cooper, and turned them into farmers. This has actually happened in history, at various times when the Soviet Union purged the country of all the farmers revolting at the way the government was running things, the government, after killing the farmers, realzied there was no one to grow food,... duh. So they randomly started pulling people from factories or anywhere they could, and sent them to farms and told them to start farming even though they hadn't the slightest idea how to farm. Yes, there were famines because they hadn't the slightest idea how to do anything on the farm so thousands in the cities died because of the situation on the farms. That's the government running things for you. So, what happens in Interstellar?
What does this book and two movies have in common with Interstellar? They depict worlds in which those who are capable of great things, are regulated to doing menial, hard labor. in World War Z, author Max Brooks writes that many of the elite in Hollywood were much happier after they gave up their professional lives and learned cleaning toilets and shoveling dirt. In War Horse, Joey the horse is a Thoroughbred meant to run races, but instead, he is used to plow up fields full of rocks and pull a wagon, and but for one race, never gets to do what he was bred for, and Spielberg agrees that this is how society should be modeled, just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should. Likewise, in Fury, Norman was a clerk and typist, but he was pulled and put in a tank to drive, which he had never done before and, in Interstellar, Cooper of course, was a pilot and an engineer, but he was reassigned to being a farmer. World War Z, War Horse and Fury are each pro-socialist; what socialism has done is weaved a loose lie to people that is the exact opposite of what it intends: you will get to do what job you want, at the level you are capable of working, so people think that for people who can't work very much, they won't have to do much (that's right, because they will just be killed as being a drain on society's resources) and if you always wanted to be a writer, like in The Great Gatsby, you are going to get to be a writer because that's what you want to be. Interstellar reveals the truth: people will have to  work at the job the government tells them and that's all there is to it, except that there comes a time when creativity and skills are needed that people haven't been given the freedom to develop, and then the whole system is at risk for being destroyed.
Engineers like Cooper are "reassigned" to becoming farmers, even though they aren't good at it. Then, the top soil erodes because they don't know how to effectively implement strategies of sustainable agriculture (there is a tie-in with Matt Damon's character here that we will refer back to) and then you have the massive dust bowls (I live in Kansas, I know this). Top soil erosion is caused when the micro-organisms in the soil die, when there are not sufficient earth worms, and when there is not sufficient humus in the ground to feed the organisms (so you get good, heavy loam that stays in place and creates a nutrient-dense soil). Dust, like that blowing and causing blight to the wheat crops in the film, is "dead dirt," it has no micro-organisms in it and so it has nothing to keep it anchored to the ground. This film is NOT about climate change, it's about improper government handling of resources. Now we are ready to discuss the film's second villain, Matt Damon.
If you will notice, in this scene, Murph's hair is all crazy and out of place; why? Hair symbolizes thoughts, and even though she sounds intelligent in this scene, her hair tells a different story, as it does throughout the whole film. For example, when she's 10, her hair is brown, but when she's grown (Jessica Chastain) it's red; Nolan could have colored Chastain's hair for the film, but he didn't, so there is a reason he wanted the dis-continuity between the little Murph and the older Murph. When she's little, she is more humble and meek, she's stubborn, but she's also daddy's little girl, and brown is the color of humility, because to be humble is to be lowly like the dirt of the earth, and put nothing else before yourself. As she gets older, her hair turns red: red is the color of blood, either because we would spill our own red blood for the love of another, or because we are so angry at them, we would spill their red blood to appease our anger. I am not suggesting that Murph hates her father, but she has serious abandonment issues and she retains her anger against him, not sending a message to him for over 23 years (not until her 33 birthday). That's pretty angry. Another feature of her hair (Chastain) is a bit of it that keeps falling over her eyes, or into her face. When that happens, it means she's not controlling her emotions and her anger/repressed feelings are "getting in the way" of what she is trying to do.
Yes, it's Matt Damon who is the villain, not just his character Dr. Mann. As we have speculated numerous times, conservative film makers are willing to hire liberals to represent a certain viewpoint in their film because the film makers know that the public knows what some of these crazy people believe, including Matt Damon. In the film, NASA started the Lazarus project, which sent probes and crews into the Saturn wormhole and they found twelve planets, three of which appear to be viable for sustaining life. Cooper and crew are supposed to go to those three planets and decide which is the best one to re-settle on. The first one ends up being too close to the black hole, so even though it has abundant water, there is no life. Having wasted their fuel resources on this first planet, they don't have fuel to actually go to the other two, so they have to decide (and more on this below) and Cooper chooses Dr. Mann's planet because they have received a steady thumbs up signal saying they should come to the planet.
So they go to his planet.
Their life depends on this ship, and, to a degree, Cooper's sense of self and purpose depends upon this ship as well, because he had been a pilot, that was taken from him, and then he was given another chance. In the film, because the crew members have "executive action" regarding the destiny of all humanity, the ship becomes the "ship of state," and Matt Damon's character hijacking the ship is analogous to what has happened in America with the candidate he supported in 2008 hijacking America. Dr. Mann's (Damon) disregard for the docking protocol for the ship ends up getting himself killed and the craft permanently destroyed.  Just like with the government "spinning out of control" in committing treason (arming and aiding American enemies) and with the deficit that is over $17 trillion dollars now. At the end, when the dying Murph tells Cooper, "No parent should have to watch their child die," it means two things. First, she has completely forgiven him (years before) for leaving, she understands, and it's because she has her own children now that she is better able to put herself in her father's shoes. Secondly, Cooper as a founding father should not have to watch the nation to which he helped give birth die, so that's why it won't die: Murph, as an epoch is passing, but she has passed on to her children what they needed, the next generation of Americans, so that their love and sacrifice insures the children won't die
When they get to Mann's planet, everything is frozen (like, the pro-socialist Disney film Frozen; please see Frozen & Liberal Political Agendas for more). Mann has been in hibernation for years, and immediately starts crying when he wakes up and sees Cooper, the first man he has seen in more than twenty years. Mann then tells them that the planet has some ammonia, but on the surface, it is perfectly breathe-able air and this planet is good for habitation. Amelia and Cooper then get a relayed transmission from Murph on earth that Dr. Brand (Michael Caine) has died and he said the whole mission was a sham, that the only reason for sending them into space was to start a colony of embryo eggs that would survive, but nothing could be done to save people on earth. Desperate to get back, Cooper goes with Mann to set up observation posts to collect data and then return, but Mann attempts to kill Cooper to save himself and the mission. This is part is imperative to understanding the film.
This is the planet where Dr. Mann has been for over twenty years that he is trying to convince with false data and lies it is habitable for humanity. The 4 crew members left at this point are Cooper, Amelia, Romilly and Mann. Mann leads Cooper off by themselves and then Mann attacks Cooper, taking off his radio and then using his own helmet to crack Cooper's so he slowly suffocates. As they fight, it's just the two men fighting in this huge alien desolation, and that is a reference to the Academy Award winning film The Big Country. In the film, Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston get into a fight, and the exact same shot is used to pull back and see these two little men fighting in the great Texas wilderness. In the film, everyone is trying to survive, and water is scarce, so as in Interstellar, there are lies and dubious deeds committed but the bad guys only ending up exposing themselves and hurting themselves. We know "Murphy" refers to Murphy's Law, as they tell us in the film, do any of the other characters' names mean anything? His son Tom (Casey Affleck) is named "Thomas" which means "twin," probably because Tom grows up to become a farmer like his dad. Tom had two sons, Jesse who died, that Tom wanted to name Cooper, but his wife didn't, then the second son they named Cooper after his father, plus the name of the place that discovers Cooper drifting in space is named after Murphy, Cooper Station. I don't have proof, but I feel that Cooper's name refers to the American author James Fenimore Cooper who was not only an author of the frontier in general, but also the author of The Last Of the Mohicans, another survival/extinction story. Doyle, the geographer played by Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games) might be a reference to Fred Hoyle (because their last names would rhyme): Hoyle came up with the "steady state" model of the universe in contrast to the Big Bang theory that Father Georges LeMaitre came up with that was ultimately proved correct. Why would this be a possible reference? Humility, to show us how wrong we can be about the universe and things that are so big that we know so little about. Amelia (Hathaway) is probably a referenced to famed female pilot Amelia Earhart who, in her last voyage, crash landed somewhere and disappeared, like Amelia landing on Emonds planet. For some reason, although I am confident someone else can come up with a far better name for him, I feel like Romilly is meant to invoke Romulus, the founder of Rome, because they are, in essence, founding a new "eternal city" for humanity. Dr. Brand (Caine) is probably named after the "branding" process of cattle, because for forty years, he was intentionally working an equation he led everyone to believe he wasn't getting right because he had it "branded" in his mind that only Plan B would actually work out.  
Mann had intentionally lied about the viability of the planet so he would be rescued, then, when Murph's message plays about Brand saying the whole mission was a sham, Mann says that he knew that, too, before he left. Mann wants the species to survive, and he wants to survive, but he doesn't care anything about the other three crew members. What does this symbolize? Of course, socialism, because socialism is not viable, just like the planet Mann was researching wasn't viable, and socialism, like Mann, has no regard for individuals, but claims to care about the species as a whole (species treating humans like animals). Mann's planet isn't viable, not just because it's "frozen," but also because it's saturated with ammonia. First, ammonia is used in fertilizers, which is common in large-scale, unsuccessful farming because pests adapt to the fertilizers, so then stronger and stronger chemicals have to be used, making the food unsafe for consumption (but what is exactly done in the Soviet Union, and now in America with Monsanto).
Murphy listens to her brother talking about his plan for the next season. Please notice, the bit of her hanging down the side of her face, and the jacket; it's not Cooper's exact jacket, but it's very similar to the one he wears before he left the earth; why? We saw this device in the brilliant film Stoker when India wore her mother's shirt and her father's boots (or something like that) and it symbolized how the woman she had grown up to be was because of both of them; likewise, with Murph, her line of work is predominantly chosen to help save humanity and bring her father back home. Why does Tom not want to move, and why does he refuse to let Murph take his wife and Coop (his son) to the underground city where they will be safe? Look at Tom's jacket, and the "red lining" that is inside. Just like Murph's red hair, Tom is also angry with their dad, even though he has never shown it, like Murph does, but Tom keeps it "on the inside" like the inner-lining of the jacket. Staying at the farm is Tom's way of waiting for his dad to come back there. Is Tom bad because he didn't want to let his wife and son leave? No, that just shows what has happened to Tom because he has repressed his anger over Cooper leaving. Tom feels his dad is still alive, even though he doesn't admit it, and that his dad will come back to the farm (which he does, at Cooper Station) when he comes back, so Tom wants to stay at the farm to wait for his dad; because Tom has abandonment issues, he can't bear for his wife and son to leave him because he feels he has to stay, and that's why he won't let them go. 
Another feature of ammonia is that it's used in cleaners. Why is this important? Socialism has a way of "cleaning up" whatever it doesn't like, including history textbooks, or an entire population of people the "party" deems undesirable, whether those be Jews or whites. Mann is "cleaning up" because he views Cooper's desire to see his family again as "weak," that evolution hasn't forced him to make the higher, intelligent decision to preserve humanity, rather than specifically fighting for those he loves, his kids back home. Again, Matt Damon is an outspoken advocate for socialism and, seeing him in this role, and hearing what he says, we naturally, as the audience who has seen him outside of this role, reconcile the actor outside-of-the film to the actor inside-of the-film; please note, his best friend Ben Affleck is in the Christopher Nolan produced Batman vs Superman in which it is my theory that Ben Affleck (the raging liberal) will be cast in a similar way to Damon in this film.
This is the closet image I could find to Dr. Mann, whose first name I want to say is Wolf or something like that. What does his name, "Mann," mean? He is only a "man" but has no other identity, because he looks at people as only members of the species, and biological entities, not as real feeling and needing human beings, so that is what he himself is, just a "man." In this scene, this is the first time we see someone be woken up from the "long nap," and, as Mann himself says, he really is Lazarus (which is what the mission was named after) because he considered himself to be dead. This "coffin" feature however is the first thing we see of him, and denotes that his character is all ready dead, in more ways then one, so not just foreshadowing that he is going to die, but that something inside him has all ready died, like not being around humans in so long has caused him to cease caring for anyone but himself. 
Mann ends up damaging the space ship beyond repair so they cannot make their journey back through the wormhole. They get caught up in the pull of the black hole and Cooper has to make a decision that demonstrates why human beings are superior to animals, and why we need freedom so that we can become all we can become: Cooper sacrifices himself. There isn't enough fuel for Amelia to get to the third planet if the ship also has to carry the second spacecraft, so Cooper detaches it so Amelia can survive and Cooper goes into the black hole, relaying information that Murph requires to finish the gravity-time equation to lift people en masse off earth's surface. Instead of experiencing spaghetti-fication, like theoretical physics predicts, Cooper survives the "gentle singularity" and ends up in a fifth dimension where he figures out how to communicate with Murph: through her books.
This is one of several hyper-cool moments in the film. I have to say, I absolutely love space, and if I were better at math, as I have mentioned before, I would have gone into Theoretical Physics, but I went into Art History instead. So Amelia, Cooper and their robot TARS (which might be a reference to the Disney film Black Hole that I believe they are remaking) approach the black hole and Cooper is going to slingshot Amelia out and around towards Emonds' planet so she can be saved, while he and TARS go into the black hole and, ultimately, through the singularity, into a physical dimension of time in Murph's bedroom to convey to her the quantum data she needs about the black hole, then somehow, Cooper is pushed back through the worm hole and just outside of Saturn (which the light around the black hole looks like in this image) and is found by people who have created a mid-way station for people going through the worm hole. For Cooper to enter into this worm hole means certain death, but he realizes Amelia's ship doesn't have sufficient fuel to make it to Emonds' planet unless he detaches the space ship he is in, so he sacrifices himself so she can live, not realizing that this sacrifice will not only allow him to live as well, but to reunite with Murph and help save humanity from the suffocating conditions the socialists have created on earth. THIS IS THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE MOVIE, the self-sacrifice that Cooper makes so Amelia can live, because humans are capable of great and deep love, and that means we are not just "a species," or animals, as so many are trying to convince everyone of now. This is also how the worm hole comes into being. Earlier in the film, when Murph and Cooper are at NASA, one of the people there tells Cooper that worm holes don't occur naturally, so someone put it there for them so they could use it to access the twelve planets in the other galaxy; but who put it there, and when? Cooper did when he went through the black hole, he punctured it, so to speak (as when Rommily explains to Cooper what a worm hole is, and draws the two "Xs" on the paper, then punctures the top of the paper to demonstrate the short-cut), and the "other end" of the worm hole is where he came out of when the rangers at Cooper Station found him floating in space just off of Saturn, which is where the worm hole is located (remember, the film proposes that time is "physical," not perceived just in our minds). So, going through the black hole to sacrifice himself, initially for Amelia, but then for all humanity so Murph could get the quantum data she needed to finish the equation, means that, in spite of how powerful a massive black hole, love is more powerful.  The force that tears up the space ship inside the black hole doesn't rip Cooper apart when he ejects out of the plane, because his love keeps him together. Do you remember the compass that Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has in Pirates Of the Caribbean? It points you in the direction of what your heart most desires, and that is what we can say about Cooper ending up in Murph's bookcase. Because of his love for her, and his need to get back to her, his heart directed him to her room (he's behind the book case because he's behind that dimension of time, like five layers of an onion, so he could be in that moment because time is physical, and he was able to "access" the other two layers)  so, just as Sparrow uses Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) to find William (Orlando Bloom), so Cooper is able to use his love (without even realizing it because his love is all consuming, like the black hole) to "find" Murph in the black hole. 
This is going to be impossible for me to explain in terms of the narrative, but follow me the best you can. the traditional symbols still apply to this film, in spite of leaps of time and discrepancies in the age gap between Murph and Cooper. Cooper, as the father of the family, who turns 124, not only symbolizes capitalism (as the active principle of production) and Murph, in her old age, symbolizes the motherland (since she becomes a mother and has a large family) but little Murph symbolizes the future of the motherland, and older Cooper, when he's at Cooper Station, symbolizes the founding fathers, but not the founding fathers of the new space colonies, the founding fathers of America. When Cooper communicates to Murph through her books, those are the founding fathers speaking to us today, their ideas, their sacrifices, of the country and life. How can we say that? It's a metaphor, like all art.
One of the best series of dialogue comes from Amelia. The three remaining crew members are trying to decide between the two reamining planets which one is the more viable and which one they should visit and Amelia argues in favor of Emonds' planet. How does Cooper know she is in love with Emonds and wants to see him again, in spite of her never having mentioned it? Because Cooper is choosing Mann's planet because it is nearer and that choice means they will have enough fuel to get back home so he can see the kids he loves. In this scene, Cooper accuses Amelia of allowing her emotions to cloud her scientific judgment, but Amelia argues that love is its own form of intelligence, and that loving someone can compel us to do something we don't understand but that has to be done. As Christians, we can take this a step further. As the Latin word Amadeus says, "God is love," so when we are in an state of truly loving (self-sacrificing, forgiveness, accepting) then we are not only closest to God, we are closest to being God, which is what Jesus called us to do in Matthew 5:4-8, "Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect," which means to love one another perfectly. Since God is the highest intelligence that there is, nothing escapes Him, and nothing can be known that He did not create or cause to be, and since Love is His ultimate form, then yes, Love is the highest form of Intelligence there is, and we are called, not to love, but to be Love. Some people might argue with what Cooper deduces when he's in the "bookcase dimension" that it's future humans who created the worm hole, not God or some other higher being. That's perfectly fine, because as people evolve in love and intelligence, we should more closely resemble God, and if we develop so much love and intelligence that it's too hard to distinguish us from God, I would say our Father would be very proud of us.
Before Cooper leaves, he gives Murph a watch, and has one himself, and he tells her, that when he gets back, they will compare watches; we have seen that symbol of the "gift of the watch" before in Olympus Has Fallen. Right before she dies, the First Lady (Ashley Judd) gives the president (Aaron Eckhart) his grandfather's watch, and he asks where she found it and then she basically dies. The watch, in both films, symbolize history. Our gift is the history of this country, and what those before us have been through, and what we will go through for future generations, and that's why socialists are so desperate to erase it. Through the watch, Cooper is able to communicate to Murph what she needs to know to finish the equation to get people off earth and save humanity. But this is a metaphor for the colonization of America: our forefathers, who came when this land was wild, saved their money, made acts of faith, became indentured servants, so they could escape the lands in Europe that had no future for them, that were "suffocating them" in their inability to grow, create, invent, explore and forget their own destinies. If socialism takes over the earth, that is exactly what will happen, and there will be no place to escape to, but another planet, but we won't have the resources to develop that because the socialist government won't allow it.
As we have said many times, films are always in a dialogue with other films, and there is really no such thing as originality, and that's not what we should be interested in: it's far more important when films are repeating the same themes and delving into the same issues because that validates that it's important to culture and society. As we have all ready mentioned with their names, those bring in historical and cultural references, and there is a fight between Cooper and Dr. Mann that invokes The Big Country. Further, we can see Cooper, towards the end of the film, as a Captain America figure: he's 124 years old, but looks 33, and he has outlived everyone he once knew (except a dyinig Murph and Amelia) so he is credited with a great, heroic act in saving a society he no longer really belongs to. We can also see the reference when the still-young Cooper is at the hospital bedside of the aged Murph, and how that mirrros when Captain America is at Peggy Carter's bed side in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We can also see Luke Skywalker in him, fixing TARS that was also retrieved, as Luke fixed R2D2 and C3PO, and when Cooper steals a space ship with TARS riding in the back behind him, it instantly reminded me of Star Wars when Luke and R2 are preparing their ship to go and fight the Death Star. Being able to pick up on references and quotes from other films, expands our social consciousness so that we are not just learning about our culture as a whole, but ourselves as individuals and how we fit into this whole. 
This brings us to the significance of the poem, by Dylan Thomas. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night is like the Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman film Oblivion when it cites Lord Macauley's Lays Of Ancient Rome and Cruise's hero finds inspiration to make a noble sacrifice in those verses. Thomas' poem has innumerable interpretations, but I think for Interstellar it focuses on one thing: blindness. There is good blindness, as in the "blind faith" Cooper put in Dr. Brand, and the blind faith he asks Murph to put in him, and then there is the arrogant blindness of Dr. Mann and him "knowing what is best" and who is best to save.
The space ship was modeled on the international space station. There is one last alternate theory I would like to propose, although with the science and three hour film at eleven pm, I didn't have much attention left to really think this through during individual scenes, but it's worth mentioning: chaos theory. Because the beginning of the film is lived in the last part of the film, that is, we are walked through the mysterious starts of the film and see how they are explained towards the end (the ghost, the Morse code, NASA coordinates, etc.) that creates what is known as a Mandelbrot set;an easier way to think of this is with the Russian dolls, where there is a big one, and then a smaller, identical one within that, and within that, etc. The singularity of the black hole, the pearl in the oyster, as Rommily calls it, is also the very heart of the film. When Cooper drives the truck, or we see Murph drive her jeep through the dust storm, the blinking headlights reflect the lights Cooper sees of Cooper Station after he comes out of the worm hole. The space station Endurance reflects the "endurance" of the human heart in the film. The Lazarus mission reflects the rising not only of Dr. Mann but all humanity as well, and Cooper himself.
On a closing note, it was my theory that Interstellar would be a critique of the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney pro-socialist film Gravity. That was a charming little idea I had, but Interstellar has a hundred-times larger agenda than that little view I posited, so it does hold, I think there is a critique, but that's not important given the larger framework of the film. About a dozen critics I have read have bashed the film, but not a single one has mentioned the history textbook; they have said that it isn't "emotional" enough for them, so that tells me they are probably liberals desperate to keep people from seeing the film. It might not "entertain" you in the traditional sense of the word, but it will wow you and it will make you think and it will make you grateful, and it will remind you of all you hold dear, and how blessed we are to live in a free world, at least for a little longer.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
One of the complaints my mom had with the film was Cooper's recklessness with the kids in the cornfield when they are chasing the drone. Was Cooper right to put his kids in that dangerous situation, and to ruin all that corn, just to chase a drone? They weren't just chasing a drone, Cooper was teaching his kids how to "Chase their dreams," and the drone, with its advanced engineering capabilities, was Cooper's "dream" because that was what he was good at but not allowed to do anymore. The truck has a flat tire; common sense tells us, you get the tire fixed first, but the drone came along and Cooper chased it; that's how opportunity is, that's how dreams are. There are times in our lives when all of us have a "flat tire," in finances, in our spirit, our obligations, be what it may, but if that chance comes along to fulfill your dream, it's in our very nature as human beings to chase our dream, because, for Christians, it's not really us chasing our dreams, it's the Holy Spirit pushing us in the direction God wants us to go, but that we probably wouldn't go if  we knew what was going to be on the path, and what we would have to endure (like, towards the end, when Cooper is behind the bookcase in the extra-dimension, and he spells out in Morse code, STAY; at that moment, "STAY" meant Cooper, do not leave your family, because Cooper didn't feel he was ever going to see them again, and that Dr. Brand's whole mission was a sham, so he shouldn't have gone; that's how little Murph understands it, too, but when we are "children" (and Nolan means this in the spiritual sense) and we don't understand the plans our Heavenly Father has for us, we want to be safe and secure, things to never change; older, wiser Murph, who understood the role her father was playing, could understand that STAY meant for her to stay, for them to STAY on the planet, in the house, so he could get her the information and she could fulfill her destiny. That is why she goes out into the corn field and sets that flare to light up the corn before "stealing" her sister-in-law and nephew, as well as a few moments in her old room: that corn field was where her and Tom's father taught them to follow their dreams, and if Tom didn't work with her, then everything their dad taught them, the most important lesson he gave to them as their father, would go up in flames just like that corn, because, in reality, our bodies can live without food, but our souls can't live without dreams, hopes and desires. The socialist state the country had come to at that point in the film, taught the exact opposite, you don't have to dream to live, in fact, it's better for everyone if you don't dream, and you do something useful, like farming. Again, socialists, like Ms. Kelly and Dr. Mann in the film, would deny that yo u even have a soul, and they certainly wouldn't encourage you to do anything to foster belief in it or to "fulfill yourself." The reason the truck stops just before going over the edge, when they are driving through the corn field, chasing the drone, is because our dreams will never be "the death of us," they won't destroy us, they will only make us better people, even if, for some reason, they don't work out, we will be better for it, but we will never be destroyed by them, but we can be destroyed by not having dreams (Cooper having to become a farmer instead of being the engineer/pilot he should have been).