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Dear Hollywood, Stop Making Movies About Computers and the Internet

By Corey Atad | Think Pieces | July 18, 2014 | Comments ()


sex tape 2014.jpg

Dear Hollywood,

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.

1995-pizza-dot-net.jpg

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.

unix-jurassic-park.jpg

Yeesh.

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.

With love,
Corey Atad



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • e jerry powell

    The thing is, even when they're not trying all that hard, for every other field of endeavor producers will hire technical consultants (though, clearly, too few are hiring Neil deGrasse Tyson). Is that so difficult with the Internet?

  • You're going to mention that scene from Jurassic Park, but not the part about how, after a scene filled with contrived and bullshit tension, she rebooted an apparently advanced computer security system by pressing ctrl+alt+del?

    Get out.

  • Idle Primate

    they get away with it because much of the audience is all

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • lavonbsawyer

    until I saw the paycheck which said $8694 , I didn't believe that my
    sister was like trully erning money part time on there computar. . there
    friends cousin had bean doing this for only thirteen months and resantly
    repayed the dept on their home and bought themselves a Infiniti . check out the
    post right here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • BlackRabbit

    What about "Her"?

  • Katylalala

    Well I felt this way about the Matthew Broderick classic War Games, so this has been going on for a minute.

  • jon29

    From the VR construct that escapes into the real world, to Denzel knowingly explaining to his partner what a smiley-face emoticon is, no movie screams "we don't understand the tech we're making a movie about" quite the way Virtuosity does.

  • John G.

    I just recently re-watched this movie, and it's not just horrifically dated, horribly misunderstood tech. It's an unwatchable cluster-fuck that literally doesn't make any sense, even ignoring the tech errors.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Without Hollwood hackers, who would we get to hack the mainframe?

  • Erin S

    Okay, so, I work on IT events, and I have to admit the "NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE CLOUD, IT'S A MYSTERY" bit makes me laugh, because that's basically what I hear, in many more words, at every seminar and conference I attend. Vendors are like, "Ooh, we're doing CLOUD" in the hopes of making some money and experts are like "Eh, cloud is a thing, it could be good for you, but you have to decide that for yourself." Not helpful. Also loved this bit from Silicon Valley: “[The Cloud is] this tiny little shitty area, which is becoming super important, and is in many ways the future of computing." Fuck the cloud. I hate the cloud. Sorry, what were we all talking about?

  • Rachel Tibbetts

    After having worked at a cloud company, every mention of it anywhere raises my pedant-hackles.

  • guyminuslife

    When my company was acquired, we were described as providing "cloud-based solutions" in the press release. This was news to all of us, since the only thing "cloud" about us was a handful of EC2 instances running a beta project that was subsequently scrapped by our new corporate overlords.

    But businesscritters love their buzzwords, I guess it made them happy.

  • aroorda

    There's a deleted scene from Independence Day where they explain all human computer tech is back engineered from the Roswell Crash. So really the Mac scene makes sense within the context of a movie about Aliens invading yet so inept they let humans piloting a ship that crashed in 1940 to the mothership.

  • Tinkerville

    How-- HOW could you pass up the opportunity to post this?!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • foolsage

    Good Lord, that is incredibly stupid. I mean, wow. I just... I... wow.

    Nobody involved in this scene, from the writers to the director to the actors to the editors (and probably the cinematographers, grips, gaffers, and so on) has any fucking clue how computers work. None at all. They're just magic boxes.

    That is amazing. It has all the best tropes: Hacking requires typing really fast! Hacking involves a lot of windows popping up quickly! Nodes need to be isolated! Hackers always duel in real time, head to head! Firewalls are just like literal walls, and hackers smash through them using brute force (instead of, say, tunneling around)!

    But then it goes even further, with two (2) people using the same keyboard, because really hacking is just some kind of video game, and what's required is that people hit a lot of keys really, really quickly! Quick, hit \ then - then = really quickly when that window pops up! That'll fix it!

    I am flabbergasted.

    This is just... wow.

  • Emily Smith

    I shall henceforth use this scene as evidence for the superiority of Criminal Minds over NCIS. Say what you will, at least they've never tried to show Garcia sharing a keyboard with anyone else.

  • emmalita

    I have never watched NCIS and I'm not going to, but that was stupid.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I don't think you're allowed to live past 65 if you don't tune in at some point. At least, that's what I've gathered from my parents and their friends.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I will take that bet!

  • emmalita

    If I have to watch crap like that after 65, I'll take an early exit.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I'm with you:
    Death before dishonor! Or NCIS!

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ok, but based on the ads - isn't Sex Tape about the fact that the characters themselves don't understand cloud technology?

  • The best cringe-worthy computer moment from CSI:
    http://youtu.be/hkDD03yeLnU

  • ERM 275

    I'm going to guess without watching it. Is it the scene where they enhance a picture so much they can see the reflection of the killer off someone's eyeball?

  • Guest

    Actually, the 3D file viewer in that scene from Jurassic Park was a real experimental prototype called "Fsn" from SGI. The scene is still totally inaccurate and cliche, but it was real (unreleased) software!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

  • DataAngel

    No one is allowed to say anything bad about Hackers. Ever.

  • finneganscake

    On that note, actors: please learn how to type. You are so bad at it and it makes me upset that you never learned this essential life skill.

  • Emily Smith

    It's worse the younger they are. A sixty something actor I can understand. Someone in their forties? Meh,.. Maybe I'll buy it. Anyone in their twenties? GTFO. A TEEN? May as well announce themselves as a time-traveller from the 1800s right now.

  • theKelz

    Swordfish.

    I'm just throwing it out there. The parts that weren't Halle Berrys parts were about the Wolverine as a super hacker.
    Does anyone remember the parts of that movie that weren't Halle Berrys parts?

  • MrMinion

    Say what you want, but the first scene of that movie was really great. The tone, the way those two guys respond to Travolta's musings, the reveal ... it was a wonderful start. Too bad the movie couldn't follow up on that.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I remember, very clearly, the scene where Wolverine must hack into a system, while getting a blow job, with a gun to his head.
    And I remember it because my friend's mother took us to the movie, that was a fun ride home.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    I remember a part where Barbarino makes Wolverine do a hack while getting a blowjob. And I remember a part where they're all in a cafe and War Machine is outside and then there's an extended slow-mo sequence for some reason. Also Halle Berry parts.

  • TQB

    Does anyone remember the parts of that movie that weren't Halle Berry's NAKED parts?

  • kushiro -

    I believe that whole movie was created just so they could show topless Halle Berry.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Also, the best show ever done about computers and the internet is The IT Crowd, and no one will ever top it. Hollywood has just not learned that lesson.

  • theKelz

    Maybe we should try turning Hollywood off and back on again.

    Though that didn't work for the government so....

  • John G.

    It did work. It's just that we're not in the timeline where it worked.

  • That's because we didn't leave it off long enough.

  • Preach.

    Mr. O is a system administrator. (I am non-techy, at least not to his level. Apparently mad Excel skillz don't count.) Anyway, I laugh to myself because nearly the first question he asks any time someone calls him with a problem is "have you rebooted it? That means turning it off and turning it back on."

    Well that and the time Roy was under the desks of the attractive ladies in marketing to "fix their computers." I still love that one.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    That was the first Richmond episode, I think! All the Richmond episodes are forever favorites in my family.

  • emmalita

    Last night I was stirred from my slumber by a crow calling three times.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Cau...cau...

  • emmalita

    Well, you know what a crow sounds like.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Passing to my window, I trod on a piece of LEGO. Oh! It went right in the heel.

  • emmalita

    I turned on my television set and noticed the reception wasn't great, not terrible, just not great.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Hear me well! No good could come of your trip to the theatre tonight! No good at all! And if you ask me--

  • emmalita

    That's just bloody rude.

    Where's my heat?

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Gosh, I love you.

  • emmalita

    We are united in Richmond love.

  • Pants_are_a_must
  • Uriah_Creep

    My hand is sore from upvoting all the Richmond posts.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Hey, hacking in Skyfall meant casting Ben Whishaw in that film. It also meant Ben Whishaw had to learn to type on a computer especially for the role. For this reason alone, I will always defend Q.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I prefer Q when he does more realistic things - like hand Bond a pair of grenade launcher pasties.

  • BWeaves

    Oh, I thought you wrote ". . . hand Bond a pair of grenade launcher panties."

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I feel either is plausible.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Oh god, what if they're nipple pasties.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    "it's a UNIX system. i know this!"

  • WestCoastPat

    "You’re too addicted to awful computer tropes like 3D interfaces and “zoom, enhance” to ever be properly cured.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    While I agree with everything you said, after reading "oooooh, the clooouuuuuud" this is all I can see in my mind:

    http://31.media.tumblr.com/tum...

  • theKelz

    That's all I've been able to think every time that preview airs. It brings to mind an alien sex tape that gets lifted by a cloud claw.

    I'd watch the shit out of that. Or is that the plot of the next Star Trek?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    From your lips to JJ Abrams' ears.

  • Benny Gesserit

    Well, I wasn't going to bother with "Sex Tape" anyway and that header has pretty much closed the deal.

  • Mrs. Julien

    1. Awesome.
    2. Still awesome.

  • Dove of Doom

    Dear Internet, First Stop Making Websites About Hollywood and the Movies

  • Jormis

    More movies about McCloud, please.

  • pissants_doppelganger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

    Hate to break it to you, but that Jurassic Park file system is a real thing. Though, it does seem terribly inefficient compared to a plain text terminal. I have to give this a pass though as it has allowed me on more than one occasion to say "This is a Unix system...I know this." while at work.

  • Emily Smith

    I'm embarrassingly happy that this is a real thing.

  • MIND = BLOWN

  • poopnado

    Does TRON count in this category? I really thought that was how video games worked when I was a kid. Reboot didn't help.

  • I read this and nod along, then remember that my parents won't use debit cards or order off Amazon, and my wife -- who works for a technology company! -- can't figure out how to download music or find her shows OnDemand.

  • I love how The Net is the bellwether for bad technology movies. It really *is* a ridiculous movie and it gets more and more cute with every passing year.

  • Zero Cool? Crashed fifteen hundred and seven computers in one day? Biggest crash in history, front page New York Times August 10th, 1988. I thought you was black man. YO THIS IS ZERO COOL!

  • Hack the planet! Hack the planet!

  • If you were 17 when that movie came out (like I was) all you wanted was to keep staring at Angelina Jolie.

    BTW, the hacker aliases in this movie were...hmmm...bad. The Plague? Acid Burn? The Phantom Phreak? WTF, 1994 Hollywood?

  • emmalita

    I saw it for the first time last year and I was there for the Jonny Lee Miller and cherubic Angelina Jolie. As a bonus - laughing at the "technology" and fashion.

  • John G.

    she looked so good before she decided to stop eating.

  • Jae

    Look, I'm sorry for jumping at you, but people sayng things like this always steer up bad feelings in me.

    Yes, she is much thinner now, has been for around 10+ years. She is also twenty years older and has given birth to three kids. I mean, you may find her more or less beautiful then or now, but let's not pretend that a difference between a 20-years old girl and a 39-years old mother of six who went through some stressful times, including a mastectomy, is just a couple of sandwiches. This is just the same harmful shit glossies sell us, abeit with the opposite sign.

  • John G.

    I liked her before, not because she was younger, but because she looked like a real person. She was looking like her bones were sticking out and that she was very unhealthy long before the mastectomy. I have no interest in shaming any woman for what she looks like, but it's not like those beauty magazines don't shame women into being skinny. The "glossies" you reference have a primary mission is to make women feel bad about themselves. She's in an industry that's not much better. And on top of that she's part of a celebrity power couple, so more of the hateful eyes are on her and her body than even an average actress. I don't blame her for feeling the pressure to lose weight. It's not like she's crazy. People are watching her weight and commenting every day. Aging as a woman in Hollywood is awful, and most are shunned away for decades after a certain age, which is absolutely disgusting.

    That being said, she looked better to me when she had a little meat on her bones. She looks better than I'll ever look on her worst day.

  • emmalita

    It's so painful.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Hey now! I would have KILLED to look exactly like Jolie in that movie - that was the height of cool girl fashion right there!

  • ZestyItalian2

    If I'm not mistaken, the real "hackers" of that period, late 80's/early 90's, actually had similarly ridiculous "call signs" or whatever.

    Some actual hacker aliases:

    Dark Dante
    Datastream Cowboy
    Joybubbles
    Solo
    Phone Freak
    The Masters of Deception (group)
    The Legion of Doom (group)
    cOmrade

  • DataAngel

    Phone Phreak.

  • I was 12 or 13 when it came out and I distinctly remember searching high and low for a laptop that I could save up for with my lawnmowing and babysitting money... so I could spray paint it camouflage.

  • NateMan

    I've run out of energy to shout at the screen "That's not how it works!" when it comes to computers. IT Crowd remains the most accurate representation of actual techy stuff in popular media.

  • JJ

    Agreed. However, "That's not how it works!" applies to basically everything in movies: physics, computers, military operations, medicine, money, drugs, driving, flying, etc.

  • My personal favorite are driving scenes, where the driver invariably yanks on the steering wheel every couple of seconds to simulate... I don't know, exactly. The point is this happens even on perfectly straight roads.

  • BWeaves

    OH GOTOPUS, the physics!

  • This is the header you should have used, instead of making us look at a near entirely naked Jason Segal :

  • e jerry powell

    Somehow I don't think he has a cock sock on behind that ribbon, so he's pretty much completely naked, you just can't see the bits.

    I wouldn't put it past Diaz to be naked, either. Even the worst body stocking would smooth out the curves under her breasts and above her hips, and frankly, no body suit would let her skin glow like that.

  • Billybob

    Oh, yeah, like you could hack the NSA in under a minute with an ugly bloke holding a gun to your head and an attractive young lady performing oral sex on you.

  • Repo

    Pretty bizarre job interview. You just never prepare for that.

  • BlackRabbit

    Wait, am I interviewing to be the bloke, the hacker or the blonde? Cause I could do one, fake the second, and depending on a wig and who has the hacking job, the third.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I, for one, am willing to try. Now where's my beautiful lady?

  • Maguita NYC

    You asked for blonde?

  • Uriah_Creep

    Blonde, brunette, redhead, black hair, I don't mind. I'm not a colorist.

    Also, Miss Piggy is the tits (so to speak).

  • Maguita NYC

    You've always been my favorite adorable Canuckian Casanova!

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