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Ask Slashdot: Worst Computer Scene In TV or Movies?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-is-a-unix-system-i-know-this dept.

Movies 1200

Cuban Devil writes "Yesterday I rented a copy of The Social Network. I won't comment on the story, but the Zuckerberg character's narrated performance on hacking Harvard servers made me wonder: what's the worst computer-related acting performance ever? I leave here my vote: Independence Day, when I had to see Mr. Goldblum upload a virus, using a Mac, when it did not connect even to an ethernet network, compromising the entire alien fleet. What other major technological gaffes have you seen?"

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Agree (2, Informative)

Ramirozz (758009) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458264)

Independence Day... light years away

Re:Agree (2, Interesting)

aarggh (806617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458534)

Was Independence Day a film? I thought it was a really long PR ad for the U.S.? Kind of like the recent AD "Australia" with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

Re:Agree (1, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458558)

  • Figure out how to write code for an alien computer in a few hours without knowing alien speak. check
  • Figure out in the space of another hour how to write a virus that completely disables ships defenses. check
  • Figure out how to network to said ship to download virus in almost no time at all. check
  • Fly alien fighter craft into mother ship to upload virus. check

Re:Agree (4, Funny)

aarggh (806617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458590)

There's those Galactic Standards for methods of data transfer in action! See, standards DO work!

The Core (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458280)

The Core "Hack the Planet" yeah whatever.

Re:The Core (0)

Psyberian (240815) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458424)

Hey, don't knock unobtainium. Of course me and buddies watch the core at the budget theater and MST3Ked it

Hackers, obviously... (3, Insightful)

NitzJaaron (733621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458282)

Every time they showed a screen in Hackers I cringed. Also, that "RISC is good" comment from the lead actor made my skin crawl.

Re:Hackers, obviously... (5, Insightful)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458316)

Every time they showed a screen in Hackers I giggled and enjoyed the movie without taking it too seriously.

Re:Hackers, obviously... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458420)

Well, I took it to be in that same class as Plan 9 From Outer Space. As such, it was worth a watch...at the dollar theater, which is where I'd actually managed to see it for the first time.

Re:Hackers, obviously... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458446)

Same reason Independence Day isn't the worst offender. Their computer scenes were as unrealistic as their physics which was as unrealistic as their politics. None of it was meant to be serious.

I find something like CSI much more annoying.

Re:Hackers, obviously... (4, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458604)

yes, this is exactly the right way to do it. it was a light-hearted romp which featured corporate malfeasance and corruption; liberated and powerful computer enthusiasts; an interestingly-clad Angelina Jolie; and a great period soundtrack. what exactly is wrong with any of this?

when i was in high school, it inspired a few otherwise-uninterested people to learn a little bit about computers, and was kind of a "cult classic" among those of us who already were. the people who were offended by it were (mostly) posers. i mean, come on, the tagline on the posters was "just when you thought it was safe to turn on your hard drive" or something ridiculous like that. it's pure cheese and that's just fun, no matter how serious it was meant to be (i suspect not at all).

also, "risc is good" was poetry compared to "it's got a 28.8 bee-pee-ess modem!" and "i bet it looks crispy in the dark."

Re:Hackers, obviously... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458392)

Well... RISC is good. It makes your iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices GO .

Having said this, Hackers was unbelievably **BAD** .

Re:Hackers, obviously... (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458564)

You are missing the point. Hackers was a FANTASTIC movie and it should be taken in a fairly tongue-in-cheek sort of way. If you're nit-picking Hackers, you're "doing it wrong".

I can't remember the movie, but a very long time ago, there was a movie I saw on TV. It might have even been made-for-TV. In it, an airplane everyone was on was somehow compromised and it couldn't be piloted. Thankfully, a teenage girl on the plane had an Apple laptop (this would have been around 1997, maybe?). She plugged her laptop into the cockpit and was able to pilot the plane again, saving all on board.

it turns out... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458286)

hacking/coding/computing in real life is incredibly boring - reality doesn't make for a good movie.

Criminal Writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458292)

Any given episode of Criminal Minds is just plain ridiculous.

Easily CSI (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458296)

I'll create a GUI interface using Visual Basic, see if I can track an IP address!

Re:Easily CSI (2)

Psyberian (240815) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458356)

Yep, and I give you the horrible truth, CSI is for the brain dead.


Re:Easily CSI (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458574)

Why do computers on TV have to display all the photos/fingerprints in its database when doing any kind of search?

Hackers... (4, Informative)

Xyverz (144945) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458302)

"It's a P6 chip ... RISC architecture is gonna change everything".

Re:Hackers... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458340)

Heh... Or...the Gibson... >:-D

Basically like LawnmowerMan and Swordfish, the whole movie was one giant computer gaffe.

Re:Hackers... (2)

jeek (37349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458504)

The Gibson name was used because Clay or SGI wouldn't lend them their name, iirc.

Re:Hackers... (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458594)

You do realize Hackers isn't a film that you're supposed to take seriously, right? It's a great movie. Feel free to criticize technology in the majority of films out there, but complaining about it in Hackers is like complaining about how much Monty Python sucks, because "there isn't really any such thing as a ministry of funny walks!".

WarGames (0)

fredr1k (946815) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458304)

"Greetings Professor Falken" need i say more? WarGames is probably the most cheezy movie of them all.

Leave WarGames alone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458402)

That movie is a SAINT in a world of sinners.

Re:WarGames (5, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458454)

"Greetings Professor Falken"

need i say more? WarGames is probably the most cheezy movie of them all.

You shut your whore mouth!

Seriously, though, Wargames was probably the most accurate cracking movie ever made. Instead of "creating a GUI in Visual Basic and tracking an IP address" a la CSI: Braindead, the main character actually spent weeks poring over information about the creator of the system to try to work out how it was designed and what the likely methods would be to gain entrance. He also used social engineering techniques to gather information about his targets.

Re:WarGames (3, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458562)

The best part was that it was done with one of those giant acoustically coupled phone modems.

Re:WarGames (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458512)

A brilliant troll, this post. Pick the one movie that comes the closest to getting it right and see how many slashdotters choke on their replies.

GUI Interface in visual basic! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458308)

This. [youtube.com]

Spew forth as many technical-sounding terms as possible to confuse the average person and make them think you know what you're talking about!

Re:GUI Interface in visual basic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458442)

Must have just earned her MCSE ;)

Blowfish (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458318)

Hackers and Blowfish (err, Swordfish) stand out the most as appallingly bad. Though I have to admit it's the rare TV or movie that gets computer science in even the ballpark of plausibility.

I'd go through a lot of TVs and monitors if I acted on my impulse to throw bottles at the screen every time a 3D UI or infinite-zoom-and-enhance camera or other horrible Hollywood trope involving computers is used.

This is UNIX... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458324)

I know this!

*twitch* That horrible little girl in Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park (5, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458334)

Macs running Unix? Yeah, like that will ever happen

Re:Jurassic Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458432)

The computers in that movie were Macs, Suns, SGIs, and a CM-5. The unix scenes were on unix machines.

Re:Jurassic Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458528)

but MacOS X is basically a Unix decendant. and in 1993 there are Unix flavors that could run on the Motorola M68000 chip.

Sneakers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458342)

Sneakers. Click the button, and the screen ANSI's all over the place, revealing whatever you're hacking into. ...I can use 'ANSI' as a verb, right?

--Scatterblak (slashdot account won't werkie now for years...)

The Core! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458350)

The Core, in which a single teenager, fueled by Hot Pockets, controls worldwide access to every piece of information ever. Also, The Core is the most brilliant disaster movie ever made.

The Net (4, Insightful)

willith (218835) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458354)

I have to nominate the Sandra Bullock abortion The Net [wikimedia.org]--the entire film. Compared to that movie, Goldblum's antics are totally plausible.

Re:The Net (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458488)

Never saw it...wouldn't know. (And it was because I'd suspected the horror of the movie up-front... :-D)

Re:The Net (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458598)

I thought "The Net" was the one where the main character hacked into a computer using an actual unix privilege escalation command-line from the time. I thought that movie was fairly accurate. No hacking passwords by magically typing keys, no remotely controlling things that had no internet connection. The most implausible thing was hackers hiding secret links in web pages, which I've known people to do. Or the hackers putting unnecessary animations onto web pages... oh wait, people did that too... especially when the net was new.

Mission Impossible 1 (4, Insightful)

bakuun (976228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458370)

Tom Cruise breaks into a vault at CIA with their most important computer, and when presented with a login screen clicks the "override" button on the computer (right next to the "ok" button), which simply logs in without having to enter a password.

Re:Mission Impossible 1 (4, Funny)

aarggh (806617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458422)

But to be fair, it was made for and starred Tom Cruise after all! Is there no beginning to his talents?

Re:Mission Impossible 1 (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458518)

Hell, half the time at work people struggle with large install packages and they have the benefit of documentation, people standing over their shoulder, a developer on speakerphone...

The scene from 24 (1)

aarggh (806617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458374)

The scene where Chloe and Bill are trying to hack into the CTU and she says "I'll get in through the subnet"! I loved 24 but I recall I had involuntary muscle spams when I heard that line of crud.

Re:The scene from 24 (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458426)

You forgot that she had to open a socket first.

They always had to open a socket.

Re:The scene from 24 (2)

aarggh (806617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458468)

The opening of a socket was implied as we all all know you can't do anything unless you do that first, I know I always open a socket before I do anything at work, even getting a coffee!

Re:The scene from 24 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458510)

Speaking of Chloe, what up about Chloe checking her E-mail on Gmail on her Android phone?
Either she was violating policy to forward CTU E-mails to her personal Gmail account or CTU were using Google Apps for Government...

Scotty in Trek's Voyage Home (1)

GinRummy33 (629101) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458396)

The fakest looking keyboard skills are when Scotty inputs the formula for "transparent aluminum" into the computer in the movie Voyage Home (the one where they go back to modern day LA). He just kinda hovered his hands over the keys and randomly smacked his fingers over the buttons very fast. Will have to give props to the funny bit of talking into the mouse first, though.

Re:Scotty in Trek's Voyage Home (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458560)

Actually, I think that scene was supposed to promote the fact that Scotty had never before used a QWERTY keyboard (or likely a keyboard of any type as we know it), and yet he is so skilled and such a quick learner that he was able to go from hunting and pecking to 80+WPM in a matter of seconds. Considering the skills it would take to be able to sit down at a piece of alien technology and figure it out in a short period of time, that's really not much of a stretch. They didn't call him the miracle worker for nothing.


Re:Scotty in Trek's Voyage Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458588)

Agreed, but it was the SF Bay Area.

The Social Network Scenes (1)

TheGhostface (1284408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458408)

were actually good and plausible or did I miss something?

The "login backdoor" part of Tron Legacy wasn't tho, but at least they did use linux and not some made up OS :)

die hard 4.0 (1)

funkelectric (931604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458412)

Uberhackers are killed by urging/social engineering them to press a certain key, which then causes explosives within the computer to detonate. And that was the best bit.

Re:die hard 4.0 (4, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458474)

I just like how computers in general seem to be packed with either explosives or 5 megawatts of power in pretty much every sci-fi movie. Star Trek is one of the worst offenders for this. "Oh no, the computer is overloaded! *bzzzt, boom*" If I blew up a PC everytime it got stuck in a logic loop I'd be typing with hooks by now.

Superman III (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458416)

Richard Pryor breaking into a computer system. To the prompt "ENTER PASSWORD:", he types "BYPASS ALL SECURITY". Bingo!

Not just a terrible scene. A truly terrible movie.

Teletype Displays (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458418)

While I wouldn't call it a gaffe, I'd call it annoying. There is the habit Hollywood has for displaying text to screens like it is being printed on a teletype machine (Alien, The Matrix, etc), complete with clicking noises. I know it is done for the slow readers in the audience but still.

Then there are the unnecessary graphics. Someone will be doing genetics research and a totally useless image of a DNA strand will appear on the screen (Jursassic Park, The Fly (remake)). "Hey look, DNA! So THAT'S what I've been working on for years!"

I'd say Independence Day is the worst offender for bad technological plot gimmicks but The Terminator is also guilty. Why would a robot need a display in its head? Wouldn't it just think the info, not display it to its own eyes? Yah, not as thrilling to the audience to show a robot standing there staring and analyzing.

Re:Teletype Displays (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458608)

If the robot just thought the info, then the audience wouldn't be able to perceive it.

Independence Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458440)

The alien ship showed up as a large wifi access point with no auth or encryption turned on.

The terrible bleeping text (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458450)

Why the hell do they do that? What self-respecting geek would use something so annoying that it bleeps every time it displays a character?

House MD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458452)

There was a scene in one episode of House where the doctors used some sort of technology to visualize their patient's dreams. That was pretty awful. Up until then, the show had been pretty good about not resorting to such ludicrous misrepresentations of present-day technology.

WarGames 2: The Dead Code (4, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458462)

Yes, this movie exists. [imdb.com] And yes, it's godawful beyond belief.

Here's a review [blakeyrat.com] I wrote about the movie when it came out. But, really, every detail is awful-- not just the computer scenes, but every scene is brimming from top to bottom with WTF. It also doesn't help that they couldn't get any characters from the original, except WOPR (if you count that.)

Re:WarGames 2: The Dead Code (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458580)

Uh...wow...that IS an awful movie. I'd never realized they'd made a travesty of this nature...

Salt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458480)

The scene in Salt, with Angelina Jolie, where the russian spy forces the president to launch a nuclear strike is... RIDICULOUS. I mean, you're telling me that it takes about 5 minutes for the President to authorize a nuclear strike. Kinda unrealistic... And of course, there has to be a loading bar... that comes to a screeching halt just as the hero is there to save the day. I just thought this scene represented everything that is wrong about computer scenes in movies.

My secrect question (2)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458482)

When ever I see a scene qui a computer, or a sculptor, or somebody speaking a "foreign language" that I know, I'm wondering ...

Are all the scene about things I do not know anythng about just as bad ???
Are all the docter cringing when they see Dr House ? (probably) and what do the lawers make of the "good wife" ? and new york women of "sex and the city" ?

Or are we singled out to be really interpreted badly ...

BTW I do actually laught but really hate the big bang theory ... is it really necessary for the US general public to believe that inteligent scientist are social looser to enjoy a movie ?
It's geeksplotation.. if you would stereotype any other human category as much you'd probably be sued to bankrupcy...

            I guess we do have too much of a sense of humor...

Jurassic Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458498)

Hands down, Jurassic Park. "This is Unix! I know this!"
meanwhile seeing some crazy spinny GUI, and remember this is circa 1993.

I cringe every time.

Re:Jurassic Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458576)

Why? That 'crazy spinny GUI' is stock standard IRIX of the day. That is, ironically, about the only moment in hollywood that I can think of that is actually real.

The Matrix (2)

TDyl (862130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458524)

It has to be "The Matrix" - who can believe there are that many long leather coats on the planet?

Too many to count (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458526)

And trying to pinpoint the worst is a battle, as there are just so many contenders for the prize, all deserving it pretty much equally.

I just can't figure out why Hollywood can't seem to get such an everyday item right. It's not like they attribute implausible capabilities to guns, cars and motorcycles these days.

Wait...I mean...*carrier lost*

Remake of Knight Rider (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458532)

The Knight Rider remake (only saw the pilot) was just full of fail. After they get hit by a rocket and are on fire, they drive around for ages. (Granted, it's not the worst because his love interest has to strip down since they're cooking.) Then there's a car chase, and he just sits there while the car drives around for him; that's the worst car chase I've ever seen.

The worst part wasn't how dumb the writers were about technology, it was how the technology killed off any possible suspense.

NCIS (3)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458566)

All the time, over and over again, the TV series NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service is the worst. I understand the goal is to express mood and plot and not to be technically accurate, but still, it's painful.

Diehard 4.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458568)

The delete button is supposed to magically fix my system when pressed? Didn't know that o.o

Almost anytime they... (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35458572)

* Rattle off an IP number. More often than not it will contain numbers above 255.

Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35458606)

How about every single scene in TNG? Here you have a presumably starship-sized computer built with technology hundreds of years ahead of our own... And you need to talk to it? It would be so much faster than a human that it would be able to anticipate everything, so shields and defenses etc. would be operating automatically, before the slow humans even know what is going on.
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