Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Net

With the pace at which technology moves, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of just how far computer technology has advanced in the last two decades. Harken back to a time when your computer was a foot wide and weighed as much as two bowling balls, and join us as we prepare to dive into Sandra Bullock’s elaborate Ted Talk on planned obsolescence, aka The Net.
  • For showing a female involved in tech: = +50pts (in 1995); = +20pts (in 2014). 
  • So that no viewer of The Net will be forced to read, anything typed is also spoken. = -25pts 
  • The main character, Angela Bennett, is so much of a tech goddess that she orders a pizza online (!) = +3pts (According to a Reddit user, online pizza orders in the 90s were sent to a single corporate office and then faxed to individual store locations. Research!) 
  • When Angela visits an Internet chat room, there are zero instances of cyber sex or use of the phrase “A/S/L?” Their 1995 Internet is very different from ours. = -7pts 

  • Angela Bennett comes this close to meeting her Internet boyfriend, who’s not only hot but also a pilot. = -15pts for his untimely death, = +15pts for being one of the few times an Internet boyfriend has been a catch. Total = 0pts (No one wins when Internet boyfriends crash their Cessnas into nuclear reactors.) 
  • The hackers hide a virus in a program called “Mozart’s Ghost” in order to take over the world, a sentence we hope sounded just as ridiculous twenty years ago as it does now. = -4pts 

  • A hot stranger who owns a yacht chats up Angela on the beach and she’s not at all suspicious. For a hacker, you’re kind of dim, girl. = -20pts 
  • Within minutes, the hot guy with the yacht steals Angela’s identity and hacks into a police database to issue a warrant for her arrest. Good thing his mom didn’t need to use the phone line. = -11pts 
  • Movie cliché #1: Close up shot of killer’s eyes just before he pulls the trigger. = -2pts 
  • Turns out the cyber terrorists are named “Praetorians.” For sounding like a dinosaur. = +5pts; For almost certainly being the name of a terrible metal band. = -5pts 
  • “Give us the disk and we’ll give you your life back.” = +8pts
  • For Angela’s mom being the hottest Alzheimer patient ever. = +2pts 
  • '90s tech alert: “Sir, this is a cell phone. We can’t trace its location!” = +3pts 
  • Turns out Dennis Miller was once Angela’s therapist, then her boyfriend, and now is just a guy who provides exposition. = -12pts 
  • But at least his name is “Dr. Champion.” = +5pts
  • Sorry, but we’d rather date the guy who tried to kill us than Dennis Miller. Because his whole head-shaking “hey babe” shtick is its own slow death. = - 15pts
  • Turns out she won’t have to, as the bad guys have hacked Dennis Miller’s pharmacy so that he gets a fatal dose of his prescription. We envision the pharmacist seeing a prescription for rat poison and shrugging, “Hey, computer said so!” = +5pts
  • For explaining that “IRL” means “in real life.” = +5pts (in 1995); = -5pts (in 2014) 
  • Dennis Miller lies silently in his hospital bed. = -15pts (For plausibility)
  • Movie cliché #2: Emergency room doctor yells “get her out of here!” at onlooker as patient flat lines. = -9pts 
  • These bad guys won’t stop chasing Angela. If only she could find a drawbridge that was about to open so she could leap across while the bad guys skidded their cars to a stop—oh wait—guess it’s her lucky day! = +6pts
  • Movie cliché #3: Bad guy confronts good guy in an amusement park. For reminding us of better movies like The Third Man and Strangers on a Train. = +25pts
  • The fact that the movie is set against the backdrop of the AIDS awareness movement reminds us of the struggles people with this deadly disease face and adds a sense of poignancy to the film. = +10pts 
  • For making us use the word “poignancy” to describe The Net. = -17pts
  • Repeating strings of programming code and a flashing IP address are this movie’s way of saying, “Hey guys, there’s some serious hacking going on right now!” = +3pts 
  • There just happens to be a tech convention in town where Angela can find the software she needs to prove her innocence and defeat the bad guys. For great timing. = +20pts
  • Some guys at the tech convention are carrying tote bags that say “Mac User,” proving that Apple obsessed douches were not relegated to 2008. = +3pts
  • Movie cliché #4: Parking garage shoot out. = -22pts
  • Movie cliché #5: Bad guy accidently shoots another bad guy instead of good guy, sighs and softly whispers, “shit.” = +6pts
  • “Do you realize that you’ve erased everything we’ve done to you? You’ve taken back your life.” For summing up the last half hour of the movie, because some of us may not be able to handle the sophisticated technological references in The Net. = -25pts
  • Perhaps the most unbelievable part of the movie is that the Internet was never once accessed via an AOL free trial disc. = -15pts 
Total Score = -7pts

Available on: Amazon, the VHS collection of that guy from high school who called himself a “1337 haxxor”

The central flaw in the film, other than the idea that a group of cyber terrorists could control the world at a time when most people used their computers to play Oregon Trail, is the implication that there is one single electronic record for everyone, which is kind of like the movie version of the “permanent record” that your teachers warned you about. Still, it serves a history lesson for millennials and a jaunt down memory lane for the rest of us.

Score Technician: Amanda Hemmerling

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