The Internship and Hollywood’s strange relationship with computers….
Earlier this year, the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson-powered comedy The Internship, which told the story of two down on their luck salesmen who try to reinvent themselves and earn a job at Google, was released into cinemas and it tumbles on to DVD on Monday (November 11).
The film opened to decidedly mixed reviews, with some calling it just a feature length advert for Google while others applauded the film’s light-hearted attempt to show the struggle of a generation who feel like technology has run away from them.
Although in some ways a standard bro-com, one thing The Internship did slightly differently was it embraced Google wholeheartedly. Over the last 30 years, Hollywood has treated the computerisation of society with suspicion and disdain and it’s produced some great films, which broadly break down into four categories:
Let’s start with War Games, the wonderful teen film shot during the cold war. Starring a young Matthew Broderick, the movie follows a young hacker who almost starts World War III between Russia and the US, but thinks he’s playing a computer game the whole time. Naturally it’s horribly dated in technological terms, but it’s still very sweet and worth watching.
On the same tip, but a little further advanced, is 1995 thriller Hackers, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller as part of a team of super hackers for hire. You won’t recognise much of what’s supposed to be cutting edge equipment, but it still remains a lean, tense thriller.
The Extremely Paranoid...
One of the earliest films to chronicle identity theft was The Net, starring Sandra Bullock and bad guy for hire Jeremy Northam. Although some of the computers look like they belong in a museum, Northam’s sinister performance is actually still pretty chilling.
Around the same time came AntiTrust, which fared less well at the box office. Starring a fledgling Ryan Phillipe and Rachael Leigh Cook, this thriller followed the murderous of activities of a tech CEO played by Tim Robbins. It’s overblown in parts, but quite engaging too.
That’s not to say you can’t have fun while being paranoid. Look at Tron and it’s follow-up Tron:Legacy. Both are hugely fun, spectacular sci-fi romps with amazing soundtracks. They’re still built around the idea that someone could get kidnapped by a computer game mind….
The Downright Scary…
Beyond paranoid and actually decidedly psychotic is 1977’s Demon Seed. This horror-chiller embraces dystopia wholeheartedly and tells the story of a super computer which kidnaps and impregnates a woman. It’s not a masterpiece, but still holds up pretty well as a nasty, nuts and bolts horror flick.
There’s also straight to DVD action dust-up Hardwired, which sees Val Kilmer and Cuba Gooding Jnr starring. In this low-budget offering, Gooding Jnr’s character Luke does a deal with the Hope Corporation to save himself from a brain tumour by implanting a chip into his brain. Unfortunately the chip is programmed to constantly send advertisements until either a person buys the products or they go insane. Nasty stuff.
The Very Silly But Really Fun…
One of the best 80s teen films, Weird Science deserves a category all of it’s own. Two high-school losers/computer geniuses genetically engineer their perfect woman and hilarity ensues. Like all of John Hughes’ 80s teen films, it’s wickedly funny and stands the test of the time completely.
The Internship is released on DVD on Monday (November 11).