Super UserWhat is the Worst Depiction of Computer Use in a Movie
[+55] [60] Robert Cartaino
[2009-07-15 13:30:41]
[ pc computer movies fun culture ]

You know the type:

"It's a Unix system. I know this" -- in Jurassic park where a computer-genius girl sees a computer and quickly takes over like a 3-D video game, flying through the file system to shut down the park. [ video link to the scene [1]]

So what's your favorite movie gaff that shows Hollywood can be completely clueless when it comes to portraying technology?

(36) Except... - Nikhil Chelliah
(31) You're aware that the 3D user interface that Lex uses in Jurassic Park actually exists as a piece of software... Right? It's a 3D file manager. There are plenty of ports and clones for all OS's. - Jasarien
(5) This should be wiki, btw - Stefan Thyberg
Some more earlier at ServerFault: - nik
This is UNIX! I know UNIX! ... I've seen UNIX, little girl, and that was not it. - tsilb
(5) kind of actually is Unix. See the link to fsn Nikhil posted. - htw
[+74] [2009-07-15 13:41:13] hmemcpy

Creating a GUI in Visual Basic to track an IP address [1] in CSI

Depiction from a related video [2]:

alt text

This is what CSIentologists actually believe


Not a movie, but this is so bad, it still gets a +1 from me. - Jeffrey
(15) "I'll create a GUI Interface using Visual Basic" will become to solution to every problem. - Jonathan Sampson
On CSI: Miami they were tracking somebody's IP and the value was something like "" - i.e. totally invalid... - GalacticCowboy
(12) @GalacticaCowboy - The invalid IP thing doesn't bother me. It's just like making phone numbers with the invalid 555-#### exchange. - ceejayoz
(6) I could almost imagine seeing the following disclaimer in the next episode of CSI : "The IP addresses used in this show has been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities with real IP addresses are purely coincidental." - GeneQ
(2) 555 is still a valid exchange, it's just reserved. - GalacticCowboy
(1) Personally I use MS Paint for stuff like that - zildjohn01
(10) Why don't movies use the ip addresses of their promotional web servers in their movies? - Alex B
@GalacticCowboy: I saw that episode - with the pharmaceutical company blog - I distinctly remember the first octet being "301" - person-b
(11) @ceejayoz: The equivalent of 555-#### would be 10.#.#.# or 192.168.#.#. A .339 is just stupidity. - chaos
(2) What are they going to do when they find the Killer's Intellectual Property? - jrcs3
(5) chaos: Knowledgeable people would laugh even more when the genius hacker breaks int the evil server that is somehow accessible on the net with a public 10.* address. - Joey
@Alex B: Because servers get moved to new IPs? - bk1e
(4) @chaos: No, the equivalent would be 192.0.2.x, which is the IP address equivalent of "". See RFC 3330 for the details. - CesarB
@Johannes, CesarB: You are both right. I sit corrected. - chaos
My program found the killers IP! Its! - Martín Fixman
[+53] [2009-07-15 13:51:33] GeneQ
  • It's got to be Independence Day for most inaccurate: Uber geek Jeff Goldblum saving the world by using an PowerBook 5300 to destroy a city sized alien mothership by infecting it with a homemade computer virus, all within 30 minutes. Go Jeff! A Mac saved the world people, woohoo. Not.

  • While Demon Seed is the worst and most disturbing and, thank God, only movie to ever star a sex crazy computer rapist that actually manages to knock up the human protagonist. I kid you not.

    Here's the plot summary if anyone can still remember:

    "A scientist creates Proteus--an organic super computer with artificial intelligence which becomes obsessed with human beings, and in particular the creators wife."

    -- Demon Seed, [1]


(25) +1 for Independence Day...obviously aliens don't use AV software - Norton, are you listening? - Joe Schmoe
(4) Independence Day overwhelmed my improbability detector near the start. By the time they got to the virus, I was just letting it all slide. - Mark Ransom
(16) All intelligent lifeforms independently arrive at TCP/IP, that's how Goldblum could talk to the aliens' computers - Kip
Maybe they used AppleTalk. ;-) - GeneQ
(1) I'm pretty sure he used a powerbook. - GameFreak
Corrected. Thanks. ;-) - GeneQ
(5) Except they'd had 50 years to study a piece of alien hardware - not inconceivable that they'd have analyzed its computer system and designed adapters (hardware and software) to interface with it. Though I don't remember enough of the movie to say whether Goldblum's character would have had access to the results. - Michael Borgwardt
(1) I'm so glad I was a kid when I saw Independence Day - phsr
not pick too many nits.. but the mother ship was big enough to launch dozens/hundreds of city-sized attack vessels :) - warren
(3) The computer virus was an attempt at a modern-day equivalent to the virus that saved us from the aliens in War of the Worlds. It's mildly amusing if you remember the storyline to War of the Worlds. - rob
Demon Seed did have the cool "geometric robot" though (lurking down in the cellar, crushes the guy). Was reminded of it recently looking through these pictures: - timday
[+47] [2009-07-15 16:32:35] chaos

I just love the fact that in all TV and movie login interfaces, a successful login results in a giant modal window popping up that says


and hangs around for like 90 seconds. Because yeah, that's what I need when I log in.

Of course, phpBB pretty much does exactly this, which is just one of the many reasons why it must be killed with fire.

(16) of course, the password has to be displayed on the screen in clear text, both while it is being entered, and on the access granted page - Kip
(3) Add to that a voice that says "password <pronounce password> accepted" - hasen j
[+41] [2009-07-15 13:32:50] Kip

Hackers, pretty much the entire movie.

(12) +1: The part where they "fly" through the internet from a phone booth is epic. I want that. - Jon Tackabury
(4) While they rotate in the phone booths. - Brad Gilbert
Is that one with Robert Redford, and the blind guy who has a Braille reader, or was that Sneakers? I forget. - geoffc
(2) must be sneakers... - Kip
(2) @geoffc — Yes, you're thinking of Sneakers. - Ben Blank
(7) Yeah, but hackers had a young Angelina Jole in it .. that has to count for something - Bruce McLeod
(9) I disagree! It was really quite decent for a hollywood "computer" movie. Social engineering instead of magic hacker software, all-night disassembling of code, total obsession with technology, even the basic idea and plot was plausible. They got so much right that I forgive them the 3D gimmick UI. - Console
(2) They had to do the 3d crap to keep it interesting... do you really think anyone (that isn't on this site) would watch a movie about fat geeks hacking from a command line? - Matthew Whited
The phreaking (from inside jail) was good, but the flying-round-a-city-hacking stuff wan't. - Dentrasi
Hacking from a phonebooth is completely possible (see: ). And I agree with Console; they actually did a pretty good job of including some real technology and hacker culture for a Hollywood film. Didn't make it any less cheesy, but it was surprisingly well-researched. - Lèse majesté
[+31] [2009-07-16 21:52:13] Paolo Bergantino

Enemy of the State [1]: "Zoom in. Enhance. Rotate!"


(3) I literally /facepalmed when I first saw that. - hmemcpy
(2) Computer take us around the other size? "It can hypothesize..." - tsilb
(23) I'm stunned at the number of people who honestly believe you can do this. I always tell them "if you could really zoom/enhance that well, we wouldn't need to spend millions of dollars on telescopes. You could just point a Kwik-E-Mart security camera at the sky, then zoom/enhance a couple dozen times and see distant stars." Usually I get a blank stare, which I assume corresponds to them thinking "yeah, why don't scientists do that? It'd be cheaper." - Kip
Magical Pixel Gnomes! Enhance! - EvilChookie
They also wonder why we can't take photos of stuff on the moon from the earth. (does anyone realize the power of a lens that would be required just to make the LEM look like a single pixel) - Matthew Whited
(2) @Kip: the "zoom, enhance" thing isn't totally unrealistic - for satellite photos especially, the resolution is extremely high and the zoomed out shot is obviously resampled. Think of it like Google Maps - when you zoom in, it's pixellated at first, then becomes clear. Enhancing grainy CCTV footage to perfection, though, is ridiculous. - DisgruntledGoat
any link to the scene? (youtube or something?) - hasen j
(1) @hasen j : check this out , starts at 2:08. - Snark
@Snark, wow, they blew this way out of proportions ... - hasen j
(1) Watching the video, they explicitly state "We need footage from two, maybe three high quality cameras". Uh... it is possible to reconstruct a 3D model of a scene with several camera viewpoints (or even one if it moves, sometimes). So, "Rotate" = yes, in this case. - Fake Name
Yea, I believe Microsoft actually has software that lets you construct 3D environments from a number of photos of the same location. A lot of image processing software can also reconstruct partial 3D environments using a single photo. You can't see around corners, but they do let you calculate the shape and dimensions of objects in the shot. - Lèse majesté
[+27] [2009-08-17 01:36:25] bedwyr

Since TV shows keep appearing, this little tidbit from Stargate Atlantis [1] was one of my favorites:

Tech: "They're sending a databurst"

Weir: "Download it to a non-networked, firewalled computer."


(7) head explodes - Randell
(4) Well, she was the lead - you always have to say ok, doesn't mean you always do what they say! - Wil
Maybe she's saying "non-networked/firewalled computer"? So it's really an either/or. Then again, she wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. - Stevoni
Well, perhaps, but it doesn't completely solve the issue: downloading implies transferring data from a local system to a remote system. Unless she meant to say, "copy it to a USB drive, walk over to an isolated system and transfer the data to it," the statement, "download it to a" is drivel :) - bedwyr
Sneakernet is still a network. - Fake Name
[+27] [2009-07-15 13:49:13] dr

The scene in Swordfish where Hugh Jackman is writing the app. It was a great setup. Just unrealistic.

(3) Let me just add some unit tests to the app.. oh nooo! - TomA
"You know, this is more than just a multi-monitor system" :) - Nick Haddad
(5) What? I am always receiving oral favors while I write php apps. - MrChrister
[+19] [2009-07-15 13:46:39] hmemcpy [1] had a pretty good list called 5 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do [2]. Some of the worst offenders are there.


Meh, the article makes a few good points, but it's obvious the author is just as clueless as the Hollywood screenwriters: 1.) he thinks that stealing money by hacking is impossible because banks employ (presumably, perfect) security; 2.) he thinks that the ability to hack into a system depends on how much RAM you have; 3.) he perpetuates the myth that computers can burst into flames from running the wrong software; 4.) he confuses hackers with crackers/script-kiddies. - Lèse majesté
[+18] [2009-07-18 16:32:27] pek

Probably all movies do this:

Everytime a letter is written on screen it produces a sound

Typing any key does this as well

(12) You've never used the old IBM PC keyboard. Model M I believe. It was LOUD. ;) - jtimberman
(1) Buckling-spring keyboards are still made; I have one in spiff professional-black with grey keycaps. Standard 104-key layout, with Winders key, and USB. Sounds awesome, and is still comfy after 10 hours of coding. - Adrien
[+17] [2009-07-15 13:50:33] Robert Cartaino

Since I used it as an example in the original question, it should be included as an answer:

Jurassic Park [1]

"It's a Unix system. I know this" -- in Jurassic Park where a computer-genius girl sees a computer and quickly takes over like a 3-D video game, flying through the file system to shut down the park. [ video link to the scene [2]]


The quote is "It's a Unix system, I know this." - Craig
Oops. I fixed the quote. - Robert Cartaino
(12) SGI machines actually were that cool in the early nineties. For reals.… - Adam Lassek
yeah - the interface was legit.. even if it was running on a Mac :) - warren
A Unix with no terminal - hasen j
(1) Actually, the machines in that scene with the pretty blinkenlights are Thinking Machines CM2s. - Tom O'Connor
[+14] [2009-07-15 14:05:29] MiffTheFox

Obligatory TVTropes link?

Obligatory TVTropes category [1].


Obligatory TV tropes pic. - Jonno_FTW
[+14] [2009-07-15 15:29:46] Jin

Everything in Swordfish.

[+14] [2009-12-02 00:36:04] Viktor

I love the progress bars at the fund transfer scenes. Counting dollar by dollar :D

(2) Ah, yes. Good one. +1 - Robert Cartaino
[+13] [2009-08-24 23:42:37] Stevoni

As much as I enjoy NCIS, apparently a normal desktop (Dell I think) is able to crack a 30 character alphanumeric password in just under 3 hours. If that's the case, I need to get a Dell.

(3) Tim is just that good ... - Matthew Whited
That is true. He can wip up an app to track all the phones used around another guy while the guy is driving. - Stevoni
lol - get me a dell too! - Matt Joslin
[+13] [2009-07-22 00:13:01] MiffTheFox

Y'know the replicators from the Stargate universe?

Apperently their programming is not that much different from opening a pop-up in Javascript [1].


The stargate was run on javascript? Who knew?! - Jason Baker
(3) By the way, that code was either swiped from or the developer folks at RBC are really into Stargate. Go there and View Source. - Michael Todd
+1 for Stargate - bedwyr
Now we know why Chrome's V8 javascript engine is so fast...Google stole it from the Ancients. - David Murdoch
@Michael Todd. how did you find that?!?!?!?! - David Murdoch
@David Murdoch It's been a while, but I think I did a search for some of the text on Google, then did a view source on some of the results. - Michael Todd
[+13] [2009-07-15 13:33:42] Justin Scott

The hand-waving interface in Minority Report. Not that it's unrealistic (it's the future), but that it's impractical.

Saves time in the gym! - configurator
(13) Has anyone considered either how strong your upper body will become, or how tired your arms will get with such a stupid UI? We could become a nation of top heavy computer users. Instead of being so pear shaped... Hey maybe it is not so stupid after all! - geoffc
No need to imagine: one word: 'touchscreens'. Another two words: 'gorilla arms'. - Adriano Varoli Piazza
(28) Imagine the pain of writing an app by waving your hands. "I see your bug here. You did a right-to-left forward swoop when you should've done a side-to-side shimmy-shake." - T Pops
You should tell that to the xbox guys working on project Natal ... - Bruce McLeod
(3) On the other hand, all programmers will have bodies like dancers! - Martin Beckett
(9) What's so unrealistic here? It's basically just a giant iPhone. - Kip
iPhone: short finger movements (like typing). MR: full arm movements from the shoulder down. - Jared Updike
I don't have to hold my hands/arms above my head for hours on end to use my iPhone, so they're nothing alike. - Justin Scott
Orchestra conductors will be in high demand in the future. And you thought they were kidding when people started telling you 10 years ago that you could major in music if you wanted a technology job. - rob
You're getting that wrong. Users will get into good shape, programmers will still just sit in front a keyboard. Nice. Either you're good looking or a programmer… - Georg
Do not agree, if you recall, that "interface" was only for that program, they have futuristic keyboards in the desk (Cruise have a modded one in his desktop) - Eduardo Molteni
"Your resumé is great and qualifications are superb. However, we are afraid you do not have the upper body strength required for this job." - David Murdoch
[+12] [2009-08-19 01:19:21] benPearce

In Madagascar, the penguins break into the ships computer by jumping up and down on the keyboard with their flippers.

Actually I think this is probably quite realistic and pure genius.

Ha, is there anything realistic in that movie?? :P - alex
Monkeys, Hamlet. - Paul Nathan
(1) The difference here is that Madagascar and Madagascar 2 are intentionally funny, not accidentally, painfully funny. - bill weaver
[+11] [2009-07-15 13:43:27] Patrick Harrington

The Net - if I remember correctly, hitting the Escape button and/or clicking on a rogue pixel would unleash a devastating virus

+1 for a prime example of the OP. -1 for reminding all of us about that horrible virus of a movie. ;) Aww heck, I'll take back the -1. - GalacticCowboy
Don'[t forget the IP number where one of the octets was in the 300s. And no, this cannot be justified as equivalent to 555-XXXX phone numbers, because if that were the objective one need only use a network 10 or 192.168 address. - chaos
(2) you're not familiar with the Mac virii of the day? that could replicate across disks because to OS would read the hidden desktop file on the disk, where the code was, and then copy it to the other disks' desktops? - warren
Maybe they were just using IE...? - DannySmurf
(2) For the time, when computer software was far too trusting for its own good, I don't think The Net was that terrible of a depiction. They used realistic interfaces and told the story of what might happen if a highly trusted security firm were secretly using that false trust to gain access to systems. It's something that could potentially happen in todays world, although not necessarily in that broad of a sense. (Hell, the real issue for the hackers is that every single government agency has their own unique system-- that's a LOT of systems to reverse engineer the protocol to.) - Nicholas Flynt
Oh Wolf-3D, how I miss you. Games are just too difficult nowadays. - David Murdoch
[+11] [2009-07-15 16:34:55] chaos

I'm also really enamored of electromagnetic pulses as they appear in the mass media — friendly, fluffy little EMPs that just make all the computers take a little nap for 15 minutes or so, and then everything's fine.

As opposed to, say, every circuit finer than a toaster heating element being slagged.

[+10] [2009-07-16 21:38:06] CrimsoИ

I think the way Die Hard 4 used technology looked pretty bogus to me.

"I told you to never touch my hard drive man!" - d03boy
LOL. yeah. seriously. you know, cuz stuff physically moves when you give it programming. - CrimsoИ
(14) Die hard 4 was bogus with general physics... - Console
(1) Its so true, but I still really enjoyed the movie. - phsr
[+10] [2009-08-18 19:55:59] gbarry

In "War Games", the big launch-missiles security code was cracked--one digit at a time.

Not only that, but WOPR had useless lights that blinked at a 3 Hertz rate - as though that was the CPU clock speed! - Mike
(2) If only that was limited to a single movie... - cobbal
(6) The good part of War Games was that it showed actual war dialing, which was the prime way to access systems until the Internets became popular. - dlux
Actually, I remember reading something once that mentioned how such a thing actually was once possible. I think it had something to do with setting up the password to be tried on a memory boundary or something, and then checking for a page fault. Or was it a segfault? I forget.. but basically if the original password was stored in cleartext, and the password checking routine used something like strncmp, it would be possible to tell how far along it got before faulting. - user23307
Hell, wardialing's still popular, it's just done with IP numbers now. - chaos
[+9] [2009-08-16 23:38:52] alex

Well this isn't a movie - but a TV show.

On Bones [1], there was an episode where they were recovering JPEG files off a partially destroyed USB drive. When they tried to open a JPEG - it was all noise and only a strip off an image visible. When the lady magically did something, the whole image started to fade in behind the noise. As she worked her magic, the image became more opaque until they could see the JPEG!


@Luke! Haha, I love that comic! - alex
[+9] [2009-07-15 13:34:34] hmemcpy

Firewall [1] - a horrible movie starring Harrison Ford as a "security expert".


(1) At the time I saw the movie, I was working for an IT security training company, doing a lot of internal security policy and standards, and guffawed through the whole movie. Drove my wife nuts, but even she (non-technical) knew most of it was bunk. - jtimberman
[+9] [2009-07-15 13:34:39] Stefan Thyberg

Lawnmower man. [1]


I stare at my computer far too long in a day, and I still cant make things move with my mind. - KFro
Yes, LM is surely one of the worst movies of all time, even without singling it out for the tech aspects. - timday
[+7] [2009-07-16 21:27:11] Damien

Ok Not an actual film but a parody script one:

There is a heavy silence as they search for a solution. Finally BRUCE’s face lights up with equal parts brilliance and insanity.

BRUCE: We Hack the Internet

ALFRED: Hack the Internet?

BRUCE: Yes, Hack the Internet.

GENERAL: No One’s ever hacked the Internet before.

BRUCE: Well, there’s a first for everything

GENERAL: But which one of the internets do we hack?

BRUCE: All of them

From here [1]


(2) Here's a paraphrased version: - Avery Payne
[+6] [2009-07-27 04:06:51] dbr

All of them. 

(4) Check out "Untraceable" - maybe the only movie I've ever seen that centered around computers and the Internet that at least got the jargon and the technological limits right. - CMPalmer
(1) Pure pwnage was pretty accurate in its portrayl of PC's. Except for the scene where the masterer is playing 8 games at once. - Jonno_FTW
[+6] [2009-07-15 16:53:31] chaos

Some kind of all time award has to belong to the non-existence of Norton Antivirus: Alien Mothership Edition.

(2) Even better, to the idea that a human could understand an alien's computer system well enough to connect (awfully convenient if they use FTP) and to design a program that exploits their security flaws. I imagine you'd need years of help from anthropologists to even be able to type with their letters. - GorillaSandwich
Did they have USBs? Or just a bunch of parallel ports? - Vili
(1) I'm sure they speak Basic, just like everybody else. ;-) - Nathaniel
(1) No, the virus upload scene in Independence Day is TOTALLY believable. They used a Mac and everyone knows that you can do absolutely ANYTHING with a Mac. They are magical! - irrational John
[+6] [2010-02-16 15:40:37] Joe Taylor

Any crime program where the facial recognition software cycles through all the faces in the database to the side of the correct image until it finally makes a match. As if any program would waste CPU cycles displaying incorrect matches.

Any File download sequence in any film. The hero always seems to be able to download 500TB of data, onto a USB drive, in under a minute and always about 2 seconds before the old security guard / bad guy enters the room. (Die Hard 4 for example)

[+4] [2010-01-30 08:28:26] Snark

This article Hollywood's Computers: Telling A Story In A Flash [1] describes why the computer interfaces in movies look like video games. Great description of the work of Mark Coleran.

alt text


+1 for the interesting article ;-) - Diskilla
[+4] [2009-09-02 19:56:58] Kyralessa

How could Mission Impossible (the movie) not be listed here? I remember well how they'd send an e-mail, and the screen would show a little envelope tipping over and zooming away.

(2) I'd love for Outlook to tip and zoom away when I send an email :) - warren
(3) ...yeah, and then for it to never come back. :P - Kyralessa
[+4] [2009-10-18 16:17:49] knweiss

I've watched James Bond: Goldeneye [1] a 2nd time yesterday. The hacker stereotype was almost unbearable (even more so with his insane German synchronization voice). Apart from that: This 1995 movie looked above-average antiquated with all the big CRTs and references to 500MB hdisks and 14.4 modems. IMHO the much older (pre PC-era) James Bond movies with Sean Connery are better in this respect.

Memo to all directors: Don't show contemporary technology (and don't let the protagonists talk about it) if you want to produce a timeless classic!


[+4] [2009-07-15 14:15:56] theycallmemorty

I can't believe nobody has mentioned the spining security cube [1] they had to hack through in Swordfish [2].


[+4] [2009-07-15 13:43:50] Lasse V. Karlsen

The one I remember the most is the one in The Net [1] where a virus ate the computer screen content.

I also remember a similar case in another movie where a helicopter took off outside the house, and the "good guys" inside it made it crash by moving a chess piece infected with a virus from the house computer to the "helicopter computer". I'm fuzzy on the details but it was something like that.

Also, you got the ftp session with the alien mothership in Independency day where they uploaded a virus. That's just classic.

Who knew that aliens ran windows. No wonder they're not here yet, or that they are grumpy when they arrive.


In Independance Day, I guess they created a virus for alien computers, after studying the ship they had. Which doesn't seem that much more realistic, though. - Manu
[+3] [2009-07-26 23:39:42] staticsan

I was going to say you're missing out on a lot of answers by saying movies, but people are still mentioning TV series, anyway.

One of the worst I've seen was in The Pretender. For some dubious reason I don't really recall, those at The Centre had to find out what a wierd large number meant. The nerdy character suddenly turned to his computer and typed something random, something too busy for a TV camera popped up on his screen and he turned back and said his line. Trouble was, the window that opened was an xterm window and a unix directory listing... ouch.

Kind of a shame they did this, actually, as The Pretender was most of the time quite a good show.

I liked The Pretender. Kinda like Quantum Leap, except he wasn't jumping into other people - warren
[+3] [2009-11-20 13:36:53] Jonno_FTW

Zoolander [1]

When examining the computer (an eMac) with the incriminating evidence:

The files are "in" the computer?

Later he throws the TV off a ledge in front of a crowd to show them the "files"


I believe that was plotted ignorance rather than bad writing. - Larry Smithmier
[+3] [2009-12-12 06:28:03] geek


The invalid IPv4 address is the most retarded thing I ever saw in a movie.

[+3] [2009-08-25 01:11:29] Matthew Lock

Weird Science [1]. They create a real woman (who has magical powers no less) from a computer somehow.


(10) You're just bitter because you can't do that with your computer :-) - David Spillett
[+3] [2010-02-16 14:26:03] alex

Just watched Gamer [1]. Oh dear.


[+3] [2010-02-16 15:51:23] Gnoupi

Any magical "image enhancing".

Because with the good algorithm, you can interpolate just everything which was on the scene, or as reflection in the eye of the killer.

( complementary video [1], compilation of "enhance" moments, from serials and movies)


[+2] [2010-04-25 00:28:16] Claudiu

EureKa [1] tv-show is full of "hyper" computers that could launch all rockets in the world simultaneously :))


(1) Eureka is great! You forgot Sara, the house computer. - geoffc
You just have to love Sara and don´t forget to mention Fargo... clumsy but lovely Fargo ^^ - Diskilla
[+2] [2009-08-19 00:51:29] hasen j

All movies where the ultimate-password of some ultra-genius boss/criminal is the name of his love or something silly like that.

For instance, Detective Conan movie 10

Youtube Clip [1] @ ~ 8:10


[+2] [2009-08-24 23:55:56] phsr

24, especially this season, when they cracked blowfish because they had the backdoor that the creator had left.

[+2] [2009-12-02 02:15:49] Lokal

I watched "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs" with the kids; I have to say that the computer codes the main character typed looked more realistic than most hollywood blockbusters.

I know, kind of an "anti-answer" but hey, I noticed.

(1) There actually is a question somewhere "Most realistic depiction of computers in a movie"… - alex
[+2] [2009-10-27 23:43:38] DisgruntledGoat

The first half of Prison Break Season 4, where they use a special device that wirelessly steals data from any electrical device within a yard's radius.

[+2] [2009-07-26 23:16:05] Matias Nino

In the movie "The Net", which deals with hackers and elite cyber terrorists:


(15) As an Mac-using elite cyber terrorist, I don't know what your point is. - Paul Tomblin
(4) @Paul, I believe that they were running System 9 in that movie. Be afraid. Be very afraid. - Avery Payne
(1) if they were running System 9 then.. that'd be teh hot ness. Since the movie came out before System 8 :) - warren
It was called MacOS by then. - jason404
[+2] [2009-07-16 16:52:22] Mike Sickler

Superman 3!

(1) how so? stealing fractions of cents in an accounting program is perfectly plausible - warren
(1) No! It's the computer that turns people into robots, steals electricity from the power lines, etc. - Mike Sickler
[+1] [2009-07-15 14:24:13] configurator

Freakazoid [1], while not a movie but a cartoon, is my favorite. There's a bug in a certain piece of hardware that if someone types in the string "@[=g3,8d]\&fbb=-q]/hk%fg" (quotes included), and presses backspace, he turns into Freakazoid!


(4) Am I the only one who thinks that looks quite a bit like Befunge code? - Ben Blank
Yeah, from what I remember it was a new CPU he was excited to install or something. Some magical hardware there. - T Pops
(4) At least Freakazoid is meant to be silly and/or ironic. - Michael Todd
[+1] [2009-08-18 23:30:51] community_owned

Terminal Error: Sentient computer program killed by a virus written on a game boy color

Haha! He should of used a Game Boy Advance! - alex
[+1] [2009-07-22 14:00:33] Martin Beckett

Office space, when the printer says 'PC Load Letter' -
But they are in the US so the printer would be loaded with letter anyway, you get this error in europe when you try and print a US formatted document to a printer loaded with A4.

Other than that Office Space is an excellent documentary

(9) HP printers (used to) say "PC Load Letter" when they're out of paper or misfeed. - Paul Tomblin
(8) In that case then the whole of Office Space is a documentary - Martin Beckett
yep - pretty much it is :( - warren
(2) Obligatory Wikipedia link: - CesarB
[+1] [2009-12-12 04:17:32] Eduardo Molteni

The SuperDetective goes to security office of the building:

SuperDetective: Do you have the tapes of yesterday?
CluelessGuard: Yes
SuperDetective: Show me the parking
CluelessGuard: (immediately) Here.
SuperDetective: Jump to 2:13 pm
CluelessGuard: (immediately) Here.
SuperDetective: ummm, I can't see the plate of the killer clearly. 
CluelessGuard: No problem, I will run this program that takes a very 
               low quality and dark video and magnify and enhances it 
               out of the blue.
CluelessGuard: (inmediately) there's the plate. Anything else?

[+1] [2009-10-18 14:02:37] alex

You could say Deja Vu. However, the program they used ended up not being a computer at all. Still, there explanations were funny.

[+1] [2010-02-16 16:08:34] Milner

I'll go for a slightly different take, and that is computer use in the movie TITLE. "You've Got Mail", for whatever you think of it as a movie, always reminds me (horridly) of AOL. Every time I see mention of that movie, I hear that damned voice in my head, loud enough to drown out all the others...

[+1] [2010-02-21 19:20:59] Jamie Keeling

Every use of a computer in CSI.

Zooming in on a pretty poor CCTV, rotating around an angle and zooming in further to see a fingerprint.

[+1] [2010-04-24 23:50:29] hangy

Ghost in the Machine [1] - The killer transfers his mind to the computer when he dies in an accident and continues killing by using the internet. Yet, he controls mechanical switches and stuff that surely was not connected to the internet back then (probably not even nowadays), like the electrical cover of a swimming pool.


What above a hands drier that shoots flame? :P Well it has been about 10 years since I've watched it... - alex
[0] [2010-06-22 23:49:13] Heidi

am wondering what program was on the screen in Mission Impossible (the movie). Was it supposed to be netscape?

[0] [2009-08-24 23:11:51] alex

This answer is kind of the opposite, and answering the rare question "What media portrays computers correctly?"

Well I was watching Dexter [1] last night and all the computer screens seemed quite believable - perhaps it was only the episode I was watching, but bravo to them!


I love how in dexter whenever the kids are playing halo or some other modern FPS, the sound effects are still 16 bit bleeps and boops. - Dean
[0] [2009-11-20 13:17:39] ianfuture

UK TV series Spooks. I snort with laughter while my Wife watches it and she goes "What!!?"

Last series the guy hacked into an enemy satellite in about 10 seconds..all with a lovely fancy GUI...bwah ha ha ha

[0] [2009-07-19 22:38:50] Christian

They aren't cluless about technolgy but rather most geeks are cluless about Hollywood.

They don't use 3D graphics because they think it's realistic but because it's more exicting for the viewers.

Michael Crichton, who wrote the book for Jurassic Park, explains [1] very well how scientists fail to understand media. The same argument also goes for other geeks like programmers.


Who likes these types of movies? Geeks. - d03boy
-1 for explaining away the problem. if i could i'd give you another for linking to a Crichton piece. - quack quixote
[0] [2009-08-17 04:19:02] bk1e

The virtual reality sequences in Hideaway [1] come to mind, especially considering that the Dean R. Koontz novel that it was based on had nothing to do with virtual reality.


Similarly, the virtual reality movie Lawnmower Man was based on a Stephen King story written in the mid-70's that had nothing to do with computers at all. - Graeme Perrow
[-2] [2009-10-18 16:38:07] Benoit

TRON [1] anybody?
The guy is transformed into a program then becomes a human again. How can this be realistic?


File this one under "Fantasy". :-) - staticsan
(1) What? TRON isn't real? - bill weaver