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October 10, 1995 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

HOmLLYWOOD
CAM IHAC IT

Movie makers are
taking a byte out
of pop culture
BY JEFF NIESEL
R EMEMBSER 1111 COMPUT1ER NERDS
from Weird Science? How about
the scrawny yct brainy Matthew
Broderick in War Games? In the
not-so-distant past, computer
users appeated on the silver scteen as
socially ioept characters who found
more excitement in the cyhberworid
than the social realm. But now that the
Internet has entered the mainstream,
Hollywood has refashioued the look of
technology, too.
The latest seductive techic sleuths
include Keanu Reeves in Johnny
Mnemonic, Sandra Bullock in The Net,
Fisher Stevens and Lorraine Bracco in
Hackers and Denzel Washington in V'-
enmsity Not exactly your typical nerds.
Take Bullock, for example. After
playing Reeves' gutsy sidekick in Speed,
she ran awaIy with the MTV husker of
popcorn for Most Desirable Female.
In The Net, Miss Most Desirable
plays a computer systems analyst who
inadvertently accesses as classified pro-
gram. It msay he every consputer hack-
er's dream to have someone like Bul-
lock sitting on the other end of the
computer terminal h ut it's nor what
you'd call a slice of life.
Larger than life
"One reason maovis abtout the Internet are so
hot is that ilcespite tim fact that pracctialy
everyone sas Iheard aboor the Intrnet -relatise
ly fres people actually knott very miuchi ahout it,"
says Saot Gloi, a graduate student at the U. of
Pennsylvania.
"The less you knotsalbosut somethintg thsat vou
thitk is cool, the amtre it seemos like moagic," Chloi
says. "Else mootster is always scarier wvlen yttt haventr
yet seets it. Once yotu've seen it, its pretty ttate."
Each techsie fismroffers its owvi high-tech monoi-
ster, wvhich is oftenta representation of technology

h'one awryt. Andcasatitmiost IHollywsood fa re, gtod
guystsanlgle swiths batd custoisasiteithumanity.
Ilii Jfackiirsa girtipsitfIyotuugin-1 i t in
coputrvwhizzes eslciicstscmsvovdIniia IConspiracy.
In Jo/hinny MnetnuocI, Reeccssisms ust owloadiisetserai
msegbits et inifo tliiiv hie rscpoent il tosate po
osily. Washsiniglitsnslays an cv-cop tthoi Iatitles Sit1
f.1, a coiispositceisf seria1 killiris olcavssthes com-
sitter-generated world to beccomscituiteraicie.li
I lie miais lshinisd 6., dreto cirtt
Leoniirts, sits thats'etriles to i t tth le advan-
tagt c n a bit1 eilt if' Itechnio ly is Virtuoity.i
ILeonatrdl ilsitsldirec lois ito iso 1Man/--t a flmi
aboiut vitui eity hasli twat onitnoii naii lly bsed
on a Stcphenscingitshositry .
Afterlihe success itf Lawinmoweri vi iWan, Leoniaurd
read iiiiiisbeii ofiscritls sdealig wsthir i tual reality
aiisdcccdeld on tiith e IssbI'ErtcIerill Ibecauise it
didn'tiieatlieccptc as a giisimicks.
"hemthioliogyif echnoiilogy is crety
cveyst 'sitststim ciinL eardsits. "Wel/call sense ts'
still ctis hage itivsy anid it lhasis'i Iapp~tteedyet.
']'herIsisavelbeen raial1changes init thwaythrie gotv-
ernmuientswortks antahie staythle itedia wstitch Ie
ontlythtiiig ste cans sli is tell5 sties aboutt him tech-
nloltgy msightl chanlge 11111lit v. I'v ecreatedl a cau-
tioniary talecstitVirtuoity."
The final frontier?
Thle fascinations with techsnoulogy isn't test, says
]Michael C arroll, its associate pttofetssor at Hlighslands
U. in New Mexico. As a pop etilture schsolir, Car-
iriii says Anierica has always beeni fascintitedlly' tech-
nsilogyv-frimttishlerailroad expanstiiiiito telerisioni.
ITechie filmss not oly epe~setst .a cotnttiuiginfiati'
aitin withs techioogy bsut also reflect the idetilisgy
ofi the fronttier.
"Whict e iesetycreitedl lie list frotiierss'ith
lie spice programn, it tok lie place ofl'spatial
etpaniothait rhad ssce toa stillswitht Vietnam,"'
Carollsays. "All the 111111ticr'ideoilolgy ws trails-
ptoited into sitter space."
When it becamicldealr tatouitet spice wasnitita
direain wh tlichiesvertytne souls1 pa rticilpate, Cartrtll
suit, Aimer icains shiftedtheliir Iftitttiertiltentitiy to
thec Interniet.
"'ve fouisd imire thsais 3011 articles psillished its
Amiericans imagazinies whsicit refer to sybserspace as a
froittier," Cairroll says. '"Usinsg the Inteitet as a froit'
tier seenss to work btler thsan inter space hecaiuse
eteryonie can ictuailly play this gamle."
Get reel
Bu isitwn Most Desirahle stirs filliisg the roles of
comspsiter hackers, it's not just everyday people who
are playiitgstiths rechsnology on the silver screens. By
cratitng high-tension conspiracies and usinspesial
effects, tecisie filins presetat siouped-sip versions of
computer stiltuire that don't quiite match reality.
Somse FiisdEHollywood's glamorieationi tf the
Internset sriltusre ratiser fir-fetched.
Sieuxo Snake Oi/ author Gliffisrd Stoll, a com-
puter wvhie himself who paused fame hy catchiisg
a ritig of German spies operatinag ons the Initernet,
has heens online since the Internet was ceated.

Yet lie thiisks I-liltisood's niso icci ilmstutgo
1oo1fa ito iiaissd 'siciimlllits o what hs calls acl
..lie Iternsel t tIS'r ttty illIi a St te ittIliltt ,"
Stoillsay's. It's aitontisinthtiu'liiI-iii'tIovodhs
iace ot t." " h
That's estsfari a veteranitoiii "v twhat's lf
after unicoin g cspiiiliagc'. nzythologyv
"hrviiyut1okionuse lIterntcthere is lii
lif'e hesit is cnicasill)lt IS isritual intlet-
ac~tionThs iseeis ci ierscx, o ctesiC ar andc cyicislits, 5 current/
butthr lssaiist a lu lsitoll i us' liii sc'x. 'here's
noi one sitimuchiatsioiliing hiaiis l iilhIOC Oiiiaiiig iites? yef.r 7f
is_ ul' lontfrnicain;ins ite grass. Yv1ca oly
tlk hbu t. u. .Ca.slldoit. I'niI
"Whtliua sca."
Imperonalor tilly wood's oillie irttial
bandwclagoin. (Otly 1ti11eCwill tell if there's ai pot ofi BRFT'r LEONARD,
syb oladi at useensftat hfue celluloidl. 1IRECTlOR OF VIRT'UOSITY"
/i/s'Vi/saygrauaesisttutsaiUioi tiforrt ai
Diego. 1e's atttilly/ tol i'nitser/tie an.teenter-iix
taiiit sodlitoisout tSfituard in

Sandra Bullock gets caught up in the 'net.

Virtually stimulating.

28 U. Nagaairxe "October 1995

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