I came across this movie while looking at what else Betty Gilpin (GLOW) has been in. The described plot seemed so odd, I had to watch it. Bonus: For old Blade Runner fans, Sean Young had a very odd but appropriate presence in this story as the "telephone" operator, Mabel.
First thing to note, this movie is most obviously not from 1938. Instead, it's a humorous parody of movies from the past and how they pictured the future. Think of old 1930s and 40s films and comic stips that showed flying cars, and wrist watch phones (errr... they were right on that count). They also combine real 2018 objects, business names, and slang but used in completely different "old fashioned" ways. The thug with a "strap on" (shoulder holster with a gun) who is "gonna nail ya" (shoot you) is a striking example.
Recently I saw the film "Movie, Movie" (1978) which was more of an homageparody of old 1930s cinema. Future '38 is kind of cut from the same cloth but with less homage and a lot more parody. The production itself is low quality in that once things go in color, it really doesn't try to emulate the look and feel of early color films like The Wizard of Oz. Instead it is digital video run through generic filters. That's OK, because I believe the story and parody are the primary reasons this movie exists.
As interesting as the idea of this movie is, and the pretty well concealed and somewhat anticlimactic twist, it still was hard to watch. The intentionally hammy acting was funny, but also distracting. The occasional insertion of real 21st century business names, slang and the like was a continual reminder that this is fully a 21st century film. "Movie, Movie" actually managed to lure me into feeling like I was watching a movie from cinema's golden age. But that only points more to the fact that this movie was less about honoring old cinema than poking fun at it as well as the 21st century itself.
If you're a fan of offbeat and unusual movies, this would definitely be worth a watch. But don't expect a movie with high production values. Expect an interestingentertaining story more akin to watching an absurdist play. Additionally, Ethan Phillips (Neelix from Star Trek Voyager) has a role at the start of the film as well. And... Neil DeGrasse Tyson (obviously in on the joke). Don't let other reviews dissuade you from watching it. They're either trolling or just can't cope with absurdist parody.
Review by eno2000 from the Internet Movie Database.