Dear Hollywood, Stop Making Movies About Computers and the Internet
I haven’t seen Sex Tape. I have seen about a million commercials and trailers for Sex Tape, though, and every time I see them I cringe. It’s not because the movie looks bad. In fact, I’ve heard from a number of folks that it’s pretty amusing. No, the thing that makes me cringe is that the movie is about “The Cloud.” Ooooooh, the cloouuuuud. Oh no, what is this mysterious new age technology? So scary and weird and impossible to understand! I cringe because I can already imagine how dated the film will seem about a day after its release.
Look, we all get it. You just got an iPhone and it blew your mind. That’s fine. The iPhone blew my mind the first time I saw one. You’re excited about this newfangled technological magic and you want to play with it. But come on Hollywood, you’re old and out of touch. You’re not cool, and you look goofy trying so hard. Nobody asked for a movie about “The Cloud” and everyone who sees it will see right through your attempt to seem hip and relevant. It’s not a good look.
You keep doing this, Hollywood. Every time there’s some new computer technology, you decide to make a movie all about it. The result is always the same: a completely silly movie that fundamentally misunderstands and misrepresents the technology. This needs to stop.
Remember The Net, with America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock? Yeah, you’re probably trying to forget that one, but too bad, you put it out in the world and you’ll never live it down. You just couldn’t resist doing a thriller about identity theft on the Internet, and the result was a nonsensical mess of ordering pizzas online and shooting people at computer conventions.
And remember Hackers? I remember Hackers. I actually love Hackers! Unfortunately for you, I love it because it’s an insane, ridiculous movie about people “hacking the Gibson,” and because it features scenes like this one:
Or how about the Harrison Ford classic, Firewall? I’m almost positive that one got greenlit because some executive saw a pop-up on his computer about updating his firewall and thought the title would make a great idea for a movie. Well, it got made, and that $50 million budget was well spent on a movie where an iPod Mini is hooked up to a scanner to get code information off a TV screen. There was also something about how the iPod wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between 10,000 songs and 10,000 files. Ummmm…
That’s some shameful shit, Hollywood.
But even more shameful is that your obsessions with displaying the latest and greatest technology in the dumbest, most inane ways possible even infected the good films.
I love me some Independence Day as much as the next guy, but using a Mac to transfer a computer virus to an alien computer system that literally blows up all the alien ships? Really?
Or take a look at the almost criminal presentation of computer systems and hacking in Jurassic Park. Spielberg, how could you let that happen? It’s shockingly bad. In what is supposed to be one of the tensest scenes of the film we watch a young girl slowly fly through a three-dimensional file system, like some sort of terrible video game.
Even newer films like Skyfall fall into the trap of trying to make hacking look like some art installation at MoMA. It’s so disappointing.
The thing is, I’d ask you to improve on this stuff, Hollywood. Sadly, you’ve shown us time and again that you simply can’t. You’re too addicted to awful computer tropes like 3D interfaces and “zoom, enhance” to ever be properly cured. What you really need is an intervention. You need to be cut off. No more computer technology in films. Leave that to the indie and foreign filmmakers, and David Fincher. Those people know what they’re doing.
No more plots about hacking. No more movies about “The Cloud.” No more computers. It won’t be easy, I know. You’ve got to impress your grandkids. Trust me, those grandkids are laughing at you behind your back. It’s not worth it.
Just say no.