View Full Version : Come up with a movie idea involving the internet that would be entertaining

04-02-2005, 09:03 AM
As everyone should know, most movies that include computers or theinternet as a central theme tend to completely balls it up by not understanding how to use them accurately, instead making up all this pseudo-tech-head bullshit in an attempt to jazz it up a bit and make it seem somehow cool.

The Matrix is the closest I can think of that took it to an entertaining level that worked well as a movie, but that wasn't really about the actual internet in any way, and was pretty much entirely cyberpunk science fiction.

So what I'd like to know is if it's possible to write a contemporary movie that will involve the net or computers in a very central and major way that would work, and is entertaining enough to sustain the average moviegoer's attention and be a success. When I say contemporary I mean modern day 2005, no fantasy, science fiction, or James Bond level extremes. I will accept, at the most, Bourne Identity level extremes.

What are your ideas?

04-02-2005, 09:06 AM
The problem is that reality isn't all that exciting. If it were we wouldn't have any need for movies. Making a movie about the the net as used in everyday life would put any non-techie into a coma, and a few techies too.

04-02-2005, 09:17 AM
Er. I wasn't suggesting the movie should be made from the point of view of a webcam.

If people can't apply some imagination to this simple premise, then the world has no hope.

The Mad Hermit
04-02-2005, 11:48 AM
The movie plot would have to use the net, but the events have to be in real life, unless you want to get into fiction, and that isn't the premise here.

We're sitting on one of the possibilities here: Our protagonist is a member of a message board that's very popular, and we begin with a discussion about meeting with other board members at a party. When all the characters are introsuced, it becomes apparent that someone who was supposed to appear has disappeared- and the group decides to track them down. The net use could be summed up in conversations, or a "search" could be shown from a multiple screen perspective where the message board is used to try to find the lost person.

It seems that the Internet use would be boring as hell if shown like reality: people hunched over keyboards, chuckling to themselves occasionally. Any information would either require a closeup of a computer screen or exposition by a character.

Johnny L.A.
04-02-2005, 11:56 AM
Slight hijack.

Suppose a bunch of people answer this thread, and GuanoLad uses one person's idea or combines the ideas of several people to write his script. Who would get the story credit? If GuanoLad claimed the story credit, would those people be angry? (He would have written the script, but the idea(s) would have come from the input here.)

Suppose the script was actually made into a film, and it sold well. Would people whose ideas he used be entitled to a share of the profits? (I think this is 'no', since any input would be freely given without a contract.) Would The Chicago Reader have any claim?

And yes, I'm asking because I have a character idea and I may want help coming up with a story that uses him. ;)

ITR champion
04-02-2005, 01:57 PM
Well, the obvious idea is to have a website that provides prophecies which starts coming true. For instance:

So-and-so will be murdered on this particular day.

There will be an earthquake in a certain country next month.

The stock market will crash tomorrow.


As the content of the prophecies becomes more and more important, people become increasingly desperate to track down whoever is making the website and find out their motives.

04-02-2005, 08:34 PM
Slight hijack.

Suppose a bunch of people answer this thread, and GuanoLad uses one person's idea or combines the ideas of several people to write his script. Who would get the story credit?
I reckon it'd be down to the Producer of said film to decide, if it became a note of contention, on who would get credit. Any writer would get ideas or help from friends and colleagues when writing a script, and most of those people do not get credits unless they actually physically write something used in the final film, and this would be no different I think.

Not that I'm fishing for actual movie ideas that would get made, this is really in reaction to the fallacious way the internet is portrayed in all films (apart from a few lines of dialogue like "I looked him up on the net" or "He runs a racist website").

I thought of an idea myself, based on that kid who committed suicide live during an IRC chat, or whatever it was. I'm sure a fuller storyline could be fleshed out around that premise.

I wonder if people would go see a film when all the characters are realistically geeky. Probably they would if it was played as a comedy, as long as it wasn't too broad.

Scott Plaid
04-02-2005, 10:58 PM
This could turn real bad, real easy but:
It can be Hoitchcock style, person-mistaken-for-a-spy film. Have a lot of the expozation take place in chat room. Represent the conversation as people, wearing bizare costume sitting in a blank room, or animate it, a la' HERE. (http://elgoonishshive.com/d/20050330.html)

04-02-2005, 11:24 PM
Check out The Scene (http://www.welcometothescene.com/) for a movie thats almost entirely internet based.

Arnold Winkelried
04-03-2005, 01:18 AM
Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andressen sit down to eat at the Cafeteria at CERN, and debate whether webpages implementing features specific to an individual operating system or web browser are useful or contrary to the spirit of the World-Wide web.

A cameraman circles, pans, zooms etc. on the two dinner guests while the debate grows passionate. We laugh, and cry along with our two protagonists, while the lovingly shot close-ups of potato salad and bratwurst ignite our culinary senses.

Guaranteed arthouse hit.

04-03-2005, 05:32 AM
A man receives e-mail telling him of a product that can lengthen his penis.

He orders the product.

It doesn't work.

The man sets out to locate the spammer and make him PAY!!!!!!!!

04-03-2005, 05:42 AM
Okay, how's THIS for a movie idea! It's fresh, it's new, it's fresh! And new! Never done before! Now, imagine.... if all the soft ware on a Home Personal Computer System were... people! Yeah! And this dude, a Computer Pro Grammer, gets SUCKED IN SOMEHOW! And they play games, yeah, and ride motorcycles, and get chased by primitive computer-generated things with long leg pylons!

And we can cast a guy that will go on to become the lead actor in a popular niche sci-fi TV series!

Think it'll work? I want twenty million.

04-03-2005, 06:24 AM

In the not-to-distant future, all the advanced hardware hooked into and making up the internet causes the system to gain sentience, and possible control over the world's computers.

Paranoia, technophobia, etc. about this discovery lead to strife, fighting, and ultimately the downfall of technological civilization. Twist ending: It turns out that the internet-being not only didn't have any hostile intent, but it was fairly simpleminded and was barely even aware of the presence of the rest of the world.


You might have already seen that story when it was in about nine other different movies over the last 30 years. And it wasn't that good then, either.

04-03-2005, 07:29 AM
There is no internet, at least not in the sense of a network of computers, all the computers connected to the internet go to a single discreet place.

Many of the sites on the internet are not what they seem to be, they don't exist on some random persons computer on the other side of the world, they were put there by "it".

The website you host on your computer may not appear the same to everyone else, instead it may be subtly manipulated.

Something is the puppeteer, and it's pulling everyones strings.

What "it" is and why/how it's doing what it's doing determines whether this is a technothriller, horror, or science fiction story

04-03-2005, 11:29 AM
Well... good movies (generally) are about people, so maybe something that has as a plot or thematic point, the different ways people use the internet to relate to each other, or the way they interact with the internet as a part of their surroudings.

One thing that jumps to mind is a story from 'salmon of doubt' about the pop machine on the web. Apparently, at some university, in the early days of the networking revolution, a bright computer guy would often leave the lab to get a favorite beverage from a particular pop machine, and started to grow frustrated at how often he'd make the trip only to find that it was out of his variety.

The guy started to think "hey... there's a microchip in the pop machine, and there's network cable running through the wall behind it." Somehow, apparently, he worked out an interface to connect the pop machine to the network, so that he could log onto the machine from the lab and see if it had any of his flavor or not. Because the building's network was online, people from all the world could log onto the pop machine the same way, and it became some sort of odd cult favorite phenomenon to log onto the pop machine... it could tell you not just how many there were of each kind of pop, but the temperature, maybe how much money was in the collection bin (I'm not sure of that part.)

There was also a more active element to the interface, that if enough money had been dropped into the coin slot, someone who had logged on through the network could make a selection and drop a bottle of pop down into the hopper. (Which I guess would mean you needed to be careful about how long it took you, after inserting your money, to pick what drink you wanted, or someone online might pick for you.) Eventually, I think people were even intentionally putting money into the machine just so that someone online could drop a bottle if they felt like it.

There's probably enough material there for a comedic short subject film, if someone wanted to make it.

04-03-2005, 12:41 PM
Check out The Scene (http://www.welcometothescene.com/) for a movie thats almost entirely internet based.

I was going to mention this one. It's about a fella who's into file sharing and must make some ethical decisions. The main screen has his desktop where you can see his activities on the computer, using IM's, IRC, etc. In one of the upper corners they have a side shot of him on the computer where you can see him typing, using his phone, etc. I thought it was pretty innovative and it to me captured a modern computer based plot, including things that a computer geek, such as myself, can recognize.

Scott Plaid
04-03-2005, 01:09 PM
Isnít anyone going to put down any constructive criticism? GuanoLad(post 2), I could easily envision a romantic comedy show from the p.o.v. of a webcam set in someoneís living room. Donít show their dates, just show the reaction.
Johnny L.A.(post 5), I would hope that anyone here would be ethical enough to credit the originator of an idea, despite the fact that creating something takes a lot more work than coming up with an idea. However, this does make me pause on the idea of posting my (non-internet related) movie idea in another thread.
Scott_plaid(post 8) Good idea! :D
Snooooopy(post 11), I could easily immagine Leslie Neilson in the role, though I dought it would be a good movie.
SPOOFE, (post 12) that sound kinda like a film I have seen in the 80s. :dubious: :)

Sorry, but all the others are too high concept or realistic for my tastes. :D

04-03-2005, 01:27 PM
Snooooopy(post 11), I could easily immagine Leslie Neilson in the role, though I dought it would be a good movie.

Go ahead, shatter my dreams!

04-03-2005, 01:48 PM
I'd suggest a story involving "The Master PC" but I know it would never be made.

BE WARNED:If you try to Google "Master PC". All the stories involving "Master PC" are X-rated and involve domination, submission and mind control.

Scott Plaid
04-03-2005, 01:50 PM
When I said it wouldn't make a good movie, I was speaking too strongly. I don't think Hot Shots: Pour Deux was a good film, but it did have an awful lot of laughs.
Imagine a possible beginning for Snooooopy's film:
In most action films, the villains kill off a ton of people, and the hero takes it professionally. However, should something happen to his family, he says, "Now it's personal."
However, imagine Leslie Nielson as a person with a ridiculously huge dick. (cue sigh gags.) Instead of stating what facet of his personality turns him off, see claims his personal regions are too small. A few minor annoyances trouble him, then he orders a penis enhancer from snap mail. Either it doesn't work as advertised, or it never arrives, or something of both. He declares that it's now personal, and decides to take revenge. He goes to the same site and orders some assault weapons. Months pass, he is shown with cobwebs hanging off of him, still waiting for the order, he realizes that it won't arrive, ignores the consumer protection agencies website, and instead goes to his local assault weapon vending machine (literally), to buy weapons, and so start the more-laughs than-duds film Kill sexual performance enhancing Pill manufacturers.

04-03-2005, 04:33 PM
I don't know that it would necessarily translate well to film, but The Cuckoo's Egg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0743411463/qid=1112560120/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-3961150-7643059?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) is a good real-life story involving hackers, the NSA, CIA, FBI, the KGB and one long-haired Berkeely astronomer in the middle of it all.

04-03-2005, 05:18 PM
A high school kid is really into computers right at the dawn of the internet explosion (you even have a shot of him actually putting the phone receiver onto his modem to connect).

THe thing is he loves to play games. Somewhere out there he finds a server that has a lot of really enticing games on it but is highly secure. So he researches the guy that made the software in order to look for a backdoor way to get in.

What he doesn't know is that this computer system is actually the same one that NORAD uses for national defense so when he plays "Global Thermonuclear War" against the computer it looks to everyone in NORAD that a the russians have really launched their nukes at us.

And the fun ensues.

04-03-2005, 05:41 PM
[Sandra Bullock] "My whole life's on the compeeuooooooter!" [/SB]

04-04-2005, 08:05 AM
A documentary about the creation of it. :cool:

04-04-2005, 09:31 AM
New rule: Documentaries don't count.

Actually, as JCorre suggests, a modern remake of War Games would probably be pretty cool, if the computer use was realistic.

Scoundrel Swanswater
04-04-2005, 09:59 AM
How about if we have 2 main characters, one female, one male.
She owns a small bookstore and he runs a big franchise book-store.
They hate each other, but without knowing it they have an on-line romance through their Email.
I think a Meg Ryan and a Tom Hanks would be perfect for the parts.
Now we need to find a good screenwriter.
Somebody suggested Nora Ephram(?) to me, but I don't think she could get away with a story like this.

Scott Plaid
04-04-2005, 10:02 AM
No, (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033045/) let's use some digital inserting trechnology to have Jimmy Stewart be the lead.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.