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Realistic Portrayals of Software Programmers?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the you're-expecting-THAT-out-Hollywood? dept.

Movies 874

lwbecker2 asks: "Warren Harrison has written a thought-provoking editorial piece on The Software Developer as Movie Icon. He explores the fact that new entrants to Computer Science curriculum are typically clueless about what 'real' developers actually do. While researching the issue of why this is the case, he determined that some potential CS degree seekers are forming opinions from portrayals in movies and cinema. He describes what he asserts to be inaccurate portrayals of developers in War Games, TRON, and The Net, and asks for input and opinions on 'the impact of the cinema and television on new software developers' expectations, as well as learn of any films that do a better job of portraying our profession...' I am sure Slashdot readers have some input on this, and I am curious if people believe _any_ movie has acurately portrayed software developers?"

cancel ×

874 comments

Hackers (1, Funny)

trefoil (153310) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327749)

I hacked the gibson.....

I guess if you join the military and do hacking for the Gov... might be some sort of accurate portrayal

office space jokes... (4, Funny)

jpsst34 (582349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327751)

... are so obvious here that no one needs to make any. If you do, I might set the building on fire.

Office Space (4, Funny)

dubbayu_d_40 (622643) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327754)

was pretty accurate.

Re:Office Space (3, Funny)

the gnat (153162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327800)

Especially any scene involving the all-purpose appliance. Before I leave my current job, I swear I'm going to take an axe to our Xerox laser printer.

Re:Office Space (5, Funny)

syle (638903) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327831)

I don't know about you, but I've never dated Jennifer Aniston.

Re:Office Space (2, Funny)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327837)

There was the TV movie "The Pirates of Silicon Valley"

Unfortunately, the main characters weren't typical programmers, but there was some reality mixed in there...

Re:Office Space (0)

azadism (578262) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327844)

Yup, all my friends blast rap music and bust up old office equipment.

Re:Office Space (4, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327864)

It was also, perhaps, an accurate portrayal of the hell of modern family restaurants. Got enough flair???

Re:Office Space (2, Insightful)

ides (14310) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327882)

Yeah Office Space or maybe even the fat guy in the original Jurassic Park. His attitude I have seen mirrored in many a developer.

Why ask on slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327756)

Didn't a recent poll show that >60% of slashdot readers had no coding experience whatsoever?

Re:Why ask on slashdot? (1)

fstanchina (564024) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327871)

Much better than the real world anyway, where this is likely in the >99% range.

Re:Why ask on slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327874)

no.

Re:Why ask on slashdot? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327910)

Suck a dick, no-talent ass-clown

Pretty accurate (3, Funny)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327757)

Most of the software people I know look just like Hugh Jackman, get to hook up with Halle Berry, and routinely do neat secret agent stuff.

Or at least I wish they did. Office Space has the most accurate portrayal of programmers I've ever seen in a movie.

Re:Pretty accurate (0, Troll)

Jethro On Deathrow (641338) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327820)

I like to eat pussy and play with large breasts.

Re:Pretty accurate (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327827)

Don't forget the blowjobs they get when they have 60 seconds to hack into the DOD. The secret is the code word is bush.

Realistic software developers in film (0, Redundant)

aron_wallaker (93905) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327758)

Two words : Office Space

(The sad part is, it's probably the closest to reality I've seen yet)

In Soviet Russia...... (-1)

Mr. Troll (202208) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327760)

Computers program YOU

Office Space (1, Funny)

jabbo (860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327762)

comes immediately to mind.

Michael... BOLTON?!?

Accurate portrayal? Absolutely. (0, Redundant)

EatHam (597465) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327767)

Right here [imdb.com]

Re:Accurate portrayal? Absolutely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327861)

Of course it's redundant. Just like the 10 other posts that occurred at 2:26pm.

Yes there is one... (5, Funny)

KDan (90353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327768)

But it was so boring it never got published.

Daniel

got one... (5, Funny)

igottheloot (573080) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327769)

revenge of the nerds.

Well.. (1, Offtopic)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327770)


.. speaking for myself; blonde hair, blue eyed strapping young lad. 5'11", 180 lbs, 14" penis.
Oh were these supposed to be real or imagined portrayals?

Moives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327771)

i also thought Office space was the closest.

"PC Load Letter"? What the fsck does that mean?! (1)

beowulf_26 (512332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327772)

Seriously, that movie minus the burning building was the most accurate representation I've seen yet.

Office Space (1)

Egg Sniper (647211) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327778)

Other side of the spectrum anyway, if too far.

here's a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327779)

Want a movie about what programmers have to go through on a daily basis? Check out "Office Space"

Office Space ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327781)

... Was about as close as it gets!!

duh. (5, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327782)

Has the film industry portrayed any normal person accurately? No. Normal people are boring.

Re:duh. (5, Insightful)

mike_mgo (589966) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327866)

Exactly.

Most cops aren't out there chasing down serial killers, most lawyers aren't fighting some evil corporation, and I doubt many spies blow up a whole lot of stuff. But movies about writing traffic tickets, filing divorce papers and staring at satellite photos aren't that exciting.

You've really got to get out a little more if you're basing career decisions on the movies.

What? (5, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327783)

Computer guys are the ones that hack into computers in a minimum of keystrokes, and say "We're in." And they always develop some evil artificial intelligence that threatens the world, and they can get incredible detail from a blurry photo simply by saying "Enhancing." Everybody knows this stuff.

I don't think the portrayal is inaccurate at all. But then I'm an EE.

Most Accurate Portrayal of a Computer Award... (5, Funny)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327785)

The most accurate portrayal of a computer has to be when the little girl says: "I know this, this is UNIX" - Jurassic Park.

--sex [slashdot.org]

Re:Most Accurate Portrayal of a Computer Award... (4, Interesting)

tmhsiao (47750) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327860)

Of course you're being sarcastic, but that silly looking 3D system was actually an SGI product called fsn, pronounced "fusion," and it ran on IRIX 4.0.1+ machines...

I wish it was Unix (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327893)

That window manager was rather nice.

Movie Programmers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327786)

The diff is that movie programmers are cool and do cool things. Real programmers and fucked up nerds who will bore you with inane trivia about babylon-5 at the drop of a hat.

Sadly, (4, Informative)

SplendidIsolatn (468434) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327787)

Office Space is much closer to reality than fiction for programmers, even though they are a sidebar in the story. Most people in programming are not going to be sitting in their own world, and will have to be interactive in an office environment. In most cases, you better get used to the drugery of TPS reports and interacting with people from a wide variety of departments rather than slamming out code.

not quite programming (1)

heff (24452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327790)

but i think of fight club.

Office Space (4, Informative)

Fished (574624) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327792)

Office Space accurately portrayed the pit of hell that is corporate software development:

I know a movie that accurately portrays me. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327793)

I feel that the movie "Pi" is an accurate portrayal of software developers. After the first couple days of each week, listening to the sales manager tell every potential customer that we can do absolutely anything virtually for free and yesterday, I wish I could drill a hole in my skull too.

Sweet Mother of crap (-1, Troll)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327794)

Could there be anything more silly than worrying about the movie representation of a software developer?

Jesus, why are some developers so delusional that they envision themselves as these important cool people that the rest of the world finds so interesting. They try way toooo hard to be "different" and think that shooting nerf guns in the office makes them "cool."

Damn, this one really takes the cake.

Re:Sweet Mother of crap (3, Funny)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327911)

>think that shooting nerf guns in the office makes them "cool."

I don't understand. Are you saying that nerf guns aren't cool?

Alright, boys - take away his geek license.

Tron got it right... (1)

shadwwulf (145057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327796)

In the technical side of things they were way off, however the cocky attitude of the character Flynn is about dead on to the way most good coders/hackers are that I've run into.

Re:Tron got it right... (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327878)

Well maybe YOU haven't figured out how to make the MCP do what you want, but I just sit in my office describing my program, and leave the details up to the MCP.

ROTN (1)

Undaar (210056) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327798)

Everyone's saying Office Space, so I'm gonna be different.

I think the one that most resembles myself is Revenge of the Nerds (parts I and II).

er...well...maybe not...but kinda...

so what's new? (5, Insightful)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327799)

Do cop shows accurately depict cops?
Do westerns accurately depict cowboys?
Do war movies accurately depict soldiers?
Does pr0n accurately depict sex?
The list goes on...

Re:so what's new? (4, Funny)

jpsst34 (582349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327841)

"Does pr0n accurately depict sex?"

Yes. Duh. For me sex always involves at least 9 people, wives who don't care, and lots of toys, preferably of the mechanically driven kind. Oh, and people shaving one another. Gotta have that.

Re:so what's new? (1)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327847)

> Does pr0n accurately depict sex?

Well? Do they?

EXACTLY! (1)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327885)

I wonder if the professors at CIA have the same lament when all their students are expecting to be James Bond.

Re:so what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327888)

You mean you don't pull and and shoot a massive load on your partner's face?

Wait, you mean TRON wasn't accurate? (2, Funny)

gwizah (236406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327801)

What self-respecting developer hasn't pictured himself immersed in a high-tech world interacting with characters and enviroments controlled by a hostile master control program, Fighting for change against impossible odds?

Oh wait, you aren't reffering to .NET developers are you?

Anti-Trust (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327802)

It was like they were gay.......

Antitrust (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327803)

by far the most accurate to date...

Problem is story-telling, not stereotype (3, Interesting)

CommieLib (468883) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327805)

The basic problem is that simple stories require simple characters, and generally, we're not talking Jane Austen where computers are involved.

Display a computer programmer that works out, or has a family, etc., that takes time out from the CG and explosions. It also confuses the stupid audience that flocks to the picture...

Having said that, I thought Hugh Jackman's programmer in Swordfish was presented as pretty cool, even the rest of the movie was totally goat.

Two Words (1)

Justin0407 (19120) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327806)

Office Space.

They're always background characters. (2, Insightful)

dpplgngr (63186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327807)

Those nerds that Matthew Broderick went to ask questions of in Wargames.

The fat hacker in Jurassic Park.

In enemy of the state there was some guy (Jack Black) in a van.

On and on...

"Antitrust" is the only one that's even come close (3, Informative)

RichardtheSmith (157470) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327808)

It shows programmers working their asses off on some new communications system...

Comment for Mr. Harrison and all CS students... (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327809)

if films != reality and tv != reality and nonFictionBooks != reality then ( Welcome to life. )

Antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327810)

"Antitrust" was a relatively good portrail...
Any takers?

well.... (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327811)

I'd read the article, but I'm too busy hunched over a desk writing code to keep NSA from invading my brain.

10: Get tinfoil
20: Apply to head
30: Return to 10

I've seen better movies at the dick of a goat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327813)

I've seen better movies at the dick of a goat.

Generally,nobody is portrayed accurately in movies (1)

MisterFancypants (615129) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327814)

Not cops, not firemen, not spies, not presidents, not traditional scientists. Why should computer scientists be any different?

Accurate portrayal of people's real life jobs in movies would just be boring anyway.

Re:Generally,nobody is portrayed accurately in mov (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327900)

What woldn't be boring, I think, is accurate protrayal of computers. How hard would it be to have a computer that didn't have animations and beeping noises for every task?

Although, IIRC Jurassic Park did better than most movies. It was funny to see a supposedly realtime video with a bar at the bottom showing the progress of playing the video file.

Bigger, Longer & Uncut (2, Funny)

Mr Fodder (93517) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327817)

I'm convinced the prediction for Mr. Gates in the South Park [imdb.com] movie will eventually come to pass.

It's not just programmers (4, Insightful)

marsvin (84268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327819)

Hollywood doesn't portray anything or anyone accurately, not just programmers, but secret agents, scientists (the most dangerous profession, according to the movies), police officers, psychiatrists, airline pilots, women, and vegetarians as well... even "normal" people are somehow made extra-normal on the screen.

If you look to films and television for career guidance, chances are you wouldn't make a good programmer anyway.

most are normal. (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327823)

Most of the programmers I work with are not uber geeky. In fact most are musicians, artists and people who just kind of fell into it.

Most of here think of programmers as guys or gals who build their own computer and install linux for fun. The kind that would know what the a binary tree is, but most are not like this at all. Most don't have computer science majors, and in some cases are better programers because of it.

On a side note I feel like these types of people are missing from the open source community. The reasons for that are many, but mostly because the programming tools are a little too powerful and a little less friendly. We need people who don't really care about how perl or other languages work under the hood, and just care about making programs that are easy to use, and actually do what your average user really needs.

Re:most are normal. (0)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327896)

Are you talking about me? I'm kind of a musician (I just play bass), and I fell into programming. Now I "program" perl that parses html, pdf, and word files into text. I've been doing it for months and I didn't find out that PDF documents begin with %PDF until last week. I get other people's programs and get them to work. And they often started off a filter that already existed.

I should quit and find a job roaming malls dressed as Hello Kitty.

Not developers, but how real-life projects... (1)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327825)

See The Pentagon Wars [imdb.com] for a good example of how projects work once you get out into industry.

I have the answer (1)

LongJohnStewartMill (645597) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327828)

I am sure Slashdot readers have some input on this, and I am curious if people believe _any_ movie has acurately portrayed software developers?

Two words: Booty Call.

No groupies (1)

CodeWheeney (314094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327833)

I'm sure my m4d sk!llz would get me more programmer groupies if it wasn't for the inaccurate portrayal of my profession in the media. For instance, I type with two hands and never, ever, randomly click a pen. I'm pretty sure these groupies would look like Famke Janssen, too.

Swordfish... (1)

BaronSprite (651436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327836)

I wish I could get into the FBI by typing bypass.....

Re:Swordfish... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327889)

I wish I could get into the FBI by typing bypass.....
You could, but I changed the password when I installed the rootkit.

Life of a Software Programmer (4, Insightful)

Nept (21497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327839)

Bob Slydell: If you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?

Peter Gibbons: Yeah.

Bob Slydell: Great.

Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door--that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh--after that I sorta space out for an hour.

Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?

Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

*Sigh* (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327843)

While researching the issue of why this is the case, he determined that some potential CS degree seekers are forming opinions from portrayals in movies and cinema.

So once again we take the opinions or ideas of the Galactically Stupid, and assume that it is a problem for the population in general. Nice job.

Real Geeks (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327845)


Forget Office Space, all geeks look like this [mugshots.org]

Developers are either: (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327846)

Very fat. Or very thin.

Did anyone else wince (0, Offtopic)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327848)

everytime Jackman opened his mouth in Swordfish? its like they skimmed websites for words they didn't understand and strung them together in something not quite, but almsot completely not a sentence.

Apprently the problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327853)

that Hollywood makes it sound like fun, when it's actually drudgery.

RevolutionOS (3, Insightful)

ForsakenRegex (312284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327855)

It doesn't get anymore accurate.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0308808

Swordfish! (1)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327862)

If I got a cent for evey time I had to crack 128 bit encryption whilst getting a blowjob and with a gun to my head I'd have almost a dollar!

Study proves Windows still way ahead of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327863)

In reply to this [slashdot.org] post

No law says we can't use Linux or Mac. Lots of people do. Most people would agree both are < sarcasm >better than Windows </ sarcasm >.

Has any Linux user ever been able to view? :

- www.feedroom.com [feedroom.com]

- www.nakednews.com [nakednews.com]

If no, this proves that Linux lages behind windows as far as home users are concerned.

If yes, tell me how did you do it and what player did you use. My Linux real player won't play either of the two sites.....

pet peeve (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327870)

the one thing that really pisses me off in movies about computer nerds are the sexy, spinning 3d graphics/text combination, as if that's what the screen actually looks like. but then i guess

/gov/nsa$ _

wouldn't be as cool...

Too Late to Change Perception (4, Funny)

duck_prime (585628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327872)

If the mass media has a silly view of programmers, it is too late to change it. When I first saw Jurassic Park, and they had that scene in the outdoor cafe where they start zooming in on the greasy fat unpleasant guy, one phrase was zooming through my mind over and over: "Please God don't let him be the evil computer guy."

Me and God have to have a little talk.

Seems to me... (1)

girl_geek_antinomy (626942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327873)

it's not the movie representation of software developers that attracts students to CS courses, since obviously that's only something that real cool geeks pretend to do as a day job - I'm thinking Hackers, Swordfish... those are the kinds of movies that make computer science seem cool - and yeah, there are some of the stereotypes the author of the article is complaining about, but there's also definate suggestions of what he wants - teamwork, and people actually engaging in social interaction (if you can call Halle Berry that...). Anyway, I'd rate both of those above Tron, and *don't* get me started on The Net...

AntiTrust (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327879)

was sorta realistic, except for the whole "Bill Jobs trying to kill OSS developers" sideline...

unless... maybe RMS should watch his back, eh? :)

Didn't you see all of those cubicles? (1)

daves (23318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327881)

I thought the TRON representation was pretty accurate.

Realistic (2, Insightful)

sagwalla (551658) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327886)

I am sure Slashdot readers have some input on this, and I am curious if people believe _any_ movie has acurately portrayed software developers?

Weird Science?

startup.com (5, Informative)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327887)

Yep. startup.com was a pretty accurate portrayal. IMDB Link [imdb.com]

It was a documentary, and it was real people, but what do you want, another Office Space comment?

Actually, a pretty accurate portrayal of a programmer in a movie was in Pump Up the Volume, even though he ran a pirate radio station and wasn't a programmer. He worked out of his parent's basement, was a loner, and had a different on-air personality than in real life.

Antitrust (1)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327891)

I've always antitrust was very good. No silly interfaces, stunts or anything.

Great idea (1)

karb (66692) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327892)

I'm just at work taking a little break before I spend half an hour tracking down where I can update my contact information on the corporate website because I was asked to do so by an office administrator (secretary).

I think it would be a boon to both the tech and movie industries if more movies were made realistically portraying what software engineers do. For all you aspiring screenwriters out there, I was also munching on some "cheetos", although you might want to negotiate a product placement contract for the specific snack.

Office Admin (played by jennifer garner) : "Could you please update your contact information on the corporate webserver."

Software engineer (played by Sean Connery, munching on "Xtreme BBQ Veggie Rinds") : "Of coursh, my darling."

Corporate website (played by richard dreyfuss) : "Beep boop boop beep."

After reading through the posts.... (1)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327894)

After reading through the posts I have realized that I never want see the movie "Office Space" again, nor see those two words in close proximity to one another. Dear lord.

Alot of misrepresentation in movies (4, Insightful)

aridhol (112307) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327895)

Nothing in the movies is ever represented properly. Face it. Who would watch a cop show if 95% of it was patrolling the streets issuing parking tickets?

Most people have some idea of what a cop is. They know what the army does. They can identify a firefighter in uniform nine times out of ten.

Outside of the computer industry, nobody knows what a programmer is. They don't know that there's more to computers than Windows, so why should they know about computers?

One portrayal that annoys my wife and me is the portrayal of people in chemical/microbiological suits. The suits always look good on the actors. My wife works in one (she studies ebola). It's a big blue vinyl bag. Not form-fitting. It tends to make you look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man. It's uncomfortable. You have to shout to be heard in them.

So remember, programmers are not the only groups misrepresented. We're probably not the most misrepresented group. Next time you watch a show that includes any real-life profession, ask yourself how close they are to reality. Then complain about programmers being misrepresented.

TRON Is accurate. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327898)

Why, just the other day I had to foil a plan by an AI accidentally written by one of my fellow students to take over the world. It seems to be a logical progression around here:
1) Develop sentience
2) Try to take over the world.
(And no, not 3) ??? 4) Profit)
Seriously though, it can be really annoying when you're late for a lecture and get zapped inside a mainframe (an SGI box used for volumetric visualisations and taking over the world, if you must know). Sure, people focus on the glammor in movies, but after the 15th time you've had to save the world from an insane AI it really does get a little passe.

Total B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327899)

While the prof's worries may be true for anyone going into large corporate developement groups(esp government work), the brilliant/socially awkward mentality still works well in startup companies. (Which may or may not be good.)
The portrayels in Tron/WAR GAMES aren't completely off the mark either, as far as personality off the typical die-hard code-loving coders. Nor is the coding session in swordfish completely off the mark in the "mentality/mood" you get into when you're having an all nighter..That's why so many techies liked the movie..
Of course he's right on as far as extravagent lifestyles go. :) We're still pretty socially inept and are mainly kept away from the suits, but most of our customers who talk directly to us appreciate our logical straightforwardness. :)
All I can say is, if you want to enjoy your job and really ~make a difference~ in the company you are working for, startups are still the way to go, plus there's always the potential to make money at the end of all that fun. ;) (I know I know, the slump still hasn't killed my spirit yet, but then again our company isn't dieing yet...)

first, a list (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327903)

well, i think matthew broderick was pretty close to the typical nerd, except he was too attractive and not skinny/fat enough (most nerds have weight problems in one direction or the other, i was 6ft/135lbs until i was 29). whereas the goons that knock on neo's door were way off base: since when did skaterpunks get into programming?

i think the Newman character in Jurrasic Park was close to some of the computer geeks i see at surplus hardware stores and gaming conventions: overweight, overintelligent, egocentric.

then there was Whiz Kids. The albert-from-little-house character was probably pretty close. but that was a TV show, not a movie.

there was another movie, based in the future, i think with the same kid. it was very much like the RUSH song Red Barchetta -- a totalitarian society where a little nerd boy hacks into the main computers and escapes to the country where he finds a car burried under his uncle's barn. It was waaay like the RUSH song, but the nerd boy was pretty close. Anybody remember that movie? I think Lee Majors was the uncle character.

Movies don't portray occupations accurately???!! (1)

Richard Mills (17522) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327905)

Wow, so software developers AREN'T like the ones portrayed in movies? Hard to believe, because all other occupations are portrayed spot-on in movies! That's why so many kids majoring in achaeology enter college with such strong bull-whip wielding skills. And aspiring paleontologists are ready to combat fearsom velociraptors. And so on... you get the idea.

Surely there must be some kind of laws that prevent inaccuracies in Hollywood movies. Right?

Startup.com (1)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327906)

A documentry about a webcompany during and the .com bomb.

No, and you'll never see one that does either... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5327908)

Why? Because reality is boring. That's why we have movies and such in the first place.

If I wanted to watch a movie that showed some dude sitting at a computer for long periods of time, downing Mt. Dew and eating all sorts of junk food while trying to properly execute some sort of algorithm to make some modular part of some bigger picture work properly, then yeah... I'd wonder what the hell I was doing wanting to watch that, for one.

my personal hacker movie list (4, Informative)

collin.m (207384) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327909)

just yesterday I did compile a list [betaversion.net] with all movies on this subject that I know of, with a short rating and a feature list.

It's HOLLYWOOD folks... (1)

squireofgothos (310804) | more than 11 years ago | (#5327913)

It can't sell reality in the first place. No one, least of all us loyal /. readers would want to go see accurate portrayals of coders.

Wargames, TRON, The Net, Hackers, Antitrust, and even Office Space are glamorizations of what is otherwise an extremely tedious process. You'd fall asleep in the middle of the movie if they tried to be accurate. :-) Sad thing is, the most accurate image of geeks in movies might have been the ones Broderick's character visited in Wargames, the wierdos who panicked when they realized he'd brought a girl... ;-)

Seriously though, the best way to phase that whole thing would be "I'm not a coder, but I play a script-kiddie on TV".
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