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Hollywood potrayals of computer usage

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If you have watched any television or films, there is a good chance you've seen somebody on them using a computer. Frequently, the potrayals of computer usage in these shows and films is so far removed from reality, that they are often cringe worthy. Even if you have never touched a computer in your life, you would still likely think to yourself "Theres no way it could possibly happen that way".

 

Now I am not saying that these shows and films are bad, but in many of cases the use of computers is highly unrealistic. They are sometimes used in means similar to magic, where a scene with a computer can be used in almost any method to advance the plot.

 

This is a post for these sorts of moments. Inspired by an article on cracked, which I highly recommend reading first. Heres the link.

 

Now I will not repeat the examples in that article, given that they are discussed in far more detail than I plan on delving into in this initial post. However, I will expand upon it by providing additional examples:

 

 

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

There was an episode where a demon got sucked into a computer, simply because a book in which the demon was already trapped in was scanned into it. This made him without form, where he was able to reach any computer on the planet seemingly that was connected to the internet.

 

 

 

Son in Law:

 

First off I have trouble believing Pauly Shore could use a computer, especially back in 1993. That said though, all one needs to hear is a quote from his character in the film.

 

"Your PC got harshed, right? Cause your system heaps at the wrong parameter. So l toasted the dated directory, tweaked the P-RAM...and reglazed your subroutine."

 

 

 

General Hospital:

 

The character of Damian Spinelli often assist his mobster friends by "hacking" into computers. Whether it be the police department, a hotel, or a hospital... He seems to be able to hack his way into any computer and do whatever the situation at hand calls for him to do. He refers to himself as "The Jackal", and tends to nickname everybody he knows (such as "Stone Cold", "The Valkyrie", etc...)

 

You can basically some more details about him here: http://www.angelfire.com/tv/curlyqgrl/gh/other/spinelli.html

 

 

 

Weird Science:

Lets see, they basically used their computer to create what amounts to an attractive genie while wearing bras on their heads. What else needs to be said?

 

 

 

I'm also not even going to go into detail on either TRON or Wargames, as the entire premise of both movies is entirely unrealistic as well. Not unlike hackers, which was mentioned in the cracked.com article.

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Sorry, but your first example is Buffy the Vampire. You're complaining about urban fantasy unrealistically portraying a demon-possessed computer being used in a highly unrealistic way that is almost similar to magic.

 

You know what else is highly unrealistic and similar to magic? A demon possessed computer.

 

Also, my first thought was that you must have read cracked... GOOD [email protected]

 

Anyways, as best as I can tell, when Hollywood deals with computers they're basically hoping that they can come up with something using complicated enough terms that people don't immediately recognize it as [cabbage]. And, altho most hacking seems to involve a hacking program of some sort, you do occasionally wind up with the occasional autistic kid who hacks the CIA or something.


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What? No mention for Hackers? At all?!?!?!

 

190474.1010.A.jpg

 

No surfing through giant towers of binary towers and 'super awesome 80s laptops'?

 

C'mon!


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Sorry, but your first example is Buffy the Vampire. You're complaining about urban fantasy unrealistically portraying a demon-possessed computer being used in a highly unrealistic way that is almost similar to magic.

 

 

First off, I am quite a fan of Buffy. I never claimed the show itself was intended to be realistic, its a show about vampires.

 

That said, it was mentioned as its an example of unrealistic computer usage. I never said the show itself had to be realistic in order to qualify as an example.

 

 

What? No mention for Hackers? At all?!?!?!

 

190474.1010.A.jpg

 

No surfing through giant towers of binary towers and 'super awesome 80s laptops'?

 

C'mon!

 

The only reason I omitted hackers was because it was already covered in the article itself, which I felt sufficiently covered it with more detail than I intended on delving into with the initial post. It was one of the 8 examples mentioned in the article that inspired the post.

 

The ones I listed where further examples, that where not listed in the article.

 

But yes, it is among the first examples I think in regards to this subject, along with Wargames and TRON.

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I don't know how to explain it, but in a lot of films and tv-shows, they use programs (mostly police) where there are several different windows just floating around, maybe someone knows what i mean, bit difficult to explain, but it looks kinda stupid.

 

Also, i suppose CSI with their magnification of images is pretty funny.


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Sorry, but your first example is Buffy the Vampire. You're complaining about urban fantasy unrealistically portraying a demon-possessed computer being used in a highly unrealistic way that is almost similar to magic.

 

 

First off, I am quite a fan of Buffy. I never claimed the show itself was intended to be realistic, its a show about vampires.

 

That said, it was mentioned as its an example of unrealistic computer usage. I never said the show itself had to be realistic in order to qualify as an example.

 

 

 

In my opinion, a show has to be realistic in order for you to complain about how unrealistic certain aspects are. Until such a time occurs as demons are actually able to possess computers, thus enabling man-kind to study the actual effects of such an occurrence, a demon possessed computer can pull almost whatever crap it wants. It can fly. It can shoot lasers. It can hack into any internet connected computer. Hell, it can hack into a computer near an internet connection, because, [bleep] you, it's a demon, that's why.

 

Sorry to sound all negative. TV does often really, really screws up when it comes to computers. It's just, I don't think the Buffy example is a good one.


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Buying spins make you a bad person...don't do it. It's like buying nukes for North Korea.

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The only thing wrong with it is the lack of a percentage for when you need to stroke it.

 


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Moved to MM&T as I think it's more appropriate.

 

I remember Mickey rourkes "hacking" in iron man two was viewing the source of an html page..which isn't even bad as far as the portrayals go.


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CSI...sucks at that.

 

Also in every show where they use a computer. "Look at this awesome website." *uses nothing but the keyboard*

 

:huh:

 

Ever heard of a mouse?


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Thanks for that, brilliant article. The CSI "GUI/IP" thing and the Xbox Prince of Perisa hidden MS Office File were my favourites. Hollywood is so [developmentally delayed]ed.



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I checked out those 2 links - very funny. I have to give most props to CSI, though. Especially in the GUI scene:p I always noticed that hackers are portrayed as super-cool people who are smart but geeky. That kind of stuff. There are also ofcourse more accurate Hollywood films on that.


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Heh, this is why perhaps even the cheesier martial arts movies are better than some of these CSI movies, mainly because they're horrible inaccurate and often wrong.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXW-HnRSrbQ

 

That's a good example of how wrong film makers can be.

 

EDIT - It gets worse.

 

 

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I wanted to edit this in my previous post but it'll make it too long to read.

 

http://www.adequacy.org/stories/2001.12.2.42056.2147.html <- My god people are stupid. There's more logical fallacies in there than there is bots on RuneScape. Perhaps the worst troll article I've seen thus far.

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CSI...sucks at that.

 

Also in every show where they use a computer. "Look at this awesome website." *uses nothing but the keyboard*

 

:huh:

 

Ever heard of a mouse?

Similarly, the writers of both NCISes must have never seen a computer, and presumably write out their scripts either by hand or on a typewriter.

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It is annoyingly ridiculous when serious programs, CSI etc try to do computer usage and fail miserably. The same goes for programs in which actors try to 'act' playing a game with a control pad, they usually end up just pressing buttons repeatedly.

 

Films like TRON imo are fine as they know that isn't real, they know their interpretation isn't realistic, they are just making a fantasy of it, as much as die hard does fantasy police officers.


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They do what sells, and a disheveled nerd staring at his Gentoo desktop with lines of code on it does not sell. I don't think they actually believe this is how it all takes place. Well, I hope not.


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^ Some of it is just so absurd, but simultaneously completely unexciting, that stupidity and ineptitude must also factor in there somewhere.



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^ Some of it is just so absurd, but simultaneously completely unexciting, that stupidity and ineptitude must also factor in there somewhere.

Or it's just the way they push the story forward. As Nom pointed out, magical computers are a lot more exciting than realistic computers for the average viewer. It's just that a lot of times they go far beyond suspension of disbelief.

 

Something like "Zoom and enhance", that can move the story, because they've got a ~45 minute episode to catch the killer in and real forensics is far less exciting to people who aren't forensic scientists or don't work with computer science for a living (Read: Most of the world).

 

Something like two people typing at once o out-hack a hacker, though... You have to wonder where the writers get their drugs.

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One thing that's always annoyed me is when characters are playing a game and they just swing the controller around and mindlessly mash the shoulder buttons, in real life I probably move around more when I'm reading than when I'm gaming


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