Movies Inspired by the World of Information Technology
The Computer Corner
All you want to know about computers by Charles Miller
This is the time of year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts the annual Academy Awards show. I devote this column to mentioning a few movies inspired by the world of Information Technology.
Jobs (2013) is a biopic of Apple’s Steve Jobs. One of the great creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century deserved a better tribute than this movie. My advice is to read the book.
The Social Network (2010) is the true-life story of Facebook and its genius creator Mark Zuckerberg, who created a revolution in communication and rode it to become the youngest billionaire in history. His entrepreneurial success leads to both personal and legal complications that are still news today.
Hackers (1995) was seriously panned at the time but has since gained a certain cult following. A young Angelina Jolie lives in a shadowy underground of dial-up-modem-speed hackers that probably was not an accurate depiction even then, but the electronic-music soundtrack was a pioneering work and is worth the price of admission.
Enemy of the State (1998) has proven to be eerily prophetic and has seen a spike in viewers ever since Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance.
Firewall (2006) features Harrison Ford showing how to use a fax machine connected to an iPod to snatch passwords off a computer monitor. Both the plot and technical accuracy go straight downhill from there.
War Games (1983) is truly a cult favorite. Matthew Broderick hacks into the military’s war games computer system, believing it to be only a game, and almost starts World War III.
Sneakers (1992, not 2011) stars Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and Dan Aykroyd in a thriller about computers, cryptography, government espionage, deception, and betrayal. The ending will leave you chuckling, but also wondering if the NSA still has that black box.
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) received high marks from me for being true to the D. F. Jones novel of the same name. In spite of featuring now-antique technology, this film scores a very high 7.2 rating on imdb.com that is right up there with this year’s Academy Awards nominees.
The Matrix (1999) was the first of a successful trilogy that included two sequels. A computer hacker discovers that all life on Earth may be nothing more than an elaborate computer simulation. This film set a new standard for writing, photography, and special effects.
Her (2013) was nominated last year in five categories including Best Picture, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. This sci-fi story follows a man’s relationship with a disembodied voice powered by computerized artificial intelligence and shows that men do actually appreciate good conversation.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.