Daily Lists, Movies, Tech

The 8 Most Preposterous Movie Computer Moments

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will_smith7.jpgBy Summer Mullins

Hollywood has a long and storied history of sexing anything up to make it more appealing to the masses. For instance, check out the recent 21 to see the true-life story’s fat math geek transformed into a svelte, blonde Kate Bosworth. But its bullshit machine seemingly kicks into overdrive whenever a computer enters the script. Whether through ignorance or willful belief that the common moviegoer doesn’t know jack about what a computer can actually do, Hollywood moviemakers rarely bother to present a computer’s limitations on screen, instead letting them be capable of anything, especially leaping through plot holes and loading a fat deus ex machina as needed. As geeks, this upsets us greatly, and thus have no choice but to call out the eight most egregious examples.

8) Antitrust
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If you’re a die-hard Law and Order fan, you’ve seen this one more than once. When you zoom in on a photo, it does not get clearer, it gets more pixillated. So the code for that sweet, sweet program you want to get off programmer’s computer screen by zooming in via the crap 72 dpi overhead security camera? Not gonna get it, douche.

7) Weird Science
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If any dude could create the girl of his dreams by entering Playboy-esque measurements into a pre-Photoshop wire grid, scanning in a bunch of photos of hot chicks – you know, for reference, in case the computer had never seen a sexy lady before – and strapping a bra to his head, we’d be hip deep in…actually, thanks to anime and To Catch a Predator, probably nubile prepubescent girls. Ugh.

6) Independence Day
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When Jeff Goldblum (in what was clearly the winning move in his campaign to represent Apple in endearing Goldblum stutters for years to come) first hacked into the alien spaceship with his PowerBook, Slushees spurted out of geek noses in theaters across America. Call us crazy, but we find it highly unlikely an alien civilization warped across the galaxy with spaceships that ran on a Mac OS or came equipped with a parallel port. Either Steve Jobs paid a pretty penny for that one, or the aliens were Mac user and Jobs is actually one of those aliens in disguise, which would admittedly explain a lot.

5) Swordfish
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The first mistake was expecting anyone to believe Hugh Jackman even knows how to read email. The second was, well, everything else. Let’s just pick using AutoCAD to create a worm. That’s like using Photoshop to check your bank balance. Also, the day a hacker can drop a logic bomb through their trapdoor while getting a blowjob is the day Tom Cruise walks past a hot dude and doesn’t do Katie from behind that night.

4) Firewall
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Oh, Harrison Ford, even your rugged, elderly face must have had difficulty delivering lines about how you were going to use your daughter’s iPod to record account numbers by using it as a hard drive for the scanner that you TAPED TO THE COMPUTER SCREEN. Does that scanner cord go in the earphone jack? Maybe the magic to scan something that emits light will be included in the next iPod update.

3) The Net
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The old adage goes that if Sandra Bullock says yes to it, the film is doomed, and The Net was no exception. Maybe a hacker could mess with your lease if, say, it was housed on the Internet. But no matter how good your hack is, it can’t shred the original document and erase the memory of the cranky landlord who knocks on your door the first of every month for the rent. Also, if a computer is not connected to anything, not even God’s hack is going to get you in there.

2) Johnny Mnemonic
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In the future of data couriers, Johnny’s wetware allows him 80 gigs of storage. Uh, really? Even four-year-old computers have more than that on a space much smaller than the back of Keanu’s head. Also, the last time you tried to burn too much porn onto a disc, it probably didn’t just let you and then leak the extra all over your collection.

1) Hackers
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Even Angelina Jolie’s panties could not distract nerds from this movie’s non-stop cavalcade of magical computers that could hack sprinkler systems and unnecessary 3-D sequences. But the climactic mind-boggler was when the adorable rag-tag team banded together to crack into the evil Fisher Stevens’ system USING PUBLIC PAYPHONES. Do you remember how slow a modem goes? Some of you might be too young to remember. They could have been typing by selectively pissing on the keyboard and they still would have been standing there waiting for their programs to load when the police came to haul them away for gross stupidity.

About Author

Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.