*taptaptaptap* “I’m In.”
Hollywood movies don’t always nail their representations of the internet. A lot of the time, the screenplays integrate painful text talk, and special effects make up platforms that no one’s ever heard of. You can’t help but imagine a lot of very old people around a writer’s table, trying desperately to relate to the youths. But sometimes, the internet is discussed with some nuance, or used as an interesting plot device to explore an otherwise deeply human story. So, lol, come along with us, rofl, as we break down their best attempts. XD.
Not Okay (2022)
This Zoey Deutch flick is hot off of Hulu’s grill, and is a semi-dark satire/drama about influencer culture. It follows Danni, a (bad) aspiring writer, who’s hankering for a bit more attention. She lies about attending a writer’s retreat to Paris, and fakes the trip by editing photos on her Instagram feed. However, terrorist attacks break out around her fake locations, and Danni continues to lie herself to fame. Not Okay seems to interrogate the value systems of social media platforms, as well as critique the commodifying nature of the booming industry. Quinn Shepherd, the young director of the film, has a fresh, interesting insight to share throughout the film. While it feels like an up-to-date take on the internet, the themes and character arc are eternally interesting.
The Social Network (2010)
With its cast of generic white men who also happen to be portraying real-life generic white men (genius edition), The Social Network slots nicely into the historical drama genre. There’s backstabbing, there’s swindling, there’s an unrootable (in both senses of the word) main character. You get really invested in the whole “Facebook origin story” even though you know what actually terrible human beings they all are. Sorry, CompSci students, watching Jesse Eisenberg play a Silicon Valley nerd isn’t gonna make you a billionaire. But you’re getting a masterclass in how to play a real cunt—and that’s worth any Harvard course.
It’s likely no film like Searching will come out ever again, because it executes its representation so well. The entire film takes place on computer and phone screens, and it’s used so inventively that it never gets old. It’s also carried by John Cho’s performance, who takes the basic webcam shot to a whole other level.
Okay, so Twilight isn’t strictly an internet movie, but it’s got a memorable internet scene. First off, Bella doesn’t use an incognito tab to research vampires… if Edward’s watching you sleep, he’s definitely checking your search history babe. She also slams her index fingers against the trackpad so hard it’s like she’s trying to break it. Apparently, she’s also got the steadiest hands of all of humanity too, as her mouse hovers across the screen like she’s a robot. However, it’s great to see someone with enthusiasm for the research process I guess—that’s long gone for us.
Slender Man (2018)
Never has a film fumbled the bag more than Slender Man. I mean, it had the potential to make a shitload of money—take a widely known character, insert it into a basic horror plot, find some semi-talented actors, and merchandise the fuck out of it. Unfortunately, the writers, who may have never accessed the YouTubes, have tried to shame teen girls for their internet use for no reason. They create an evil online cult that loves a bit of Slendy, and it adds more confusion to a completely incoherent film.
The Social Dilemma (2020)
Despite their best intentions, the creators aren’t really remaking the wheel here. Sure, all the “OMG, is that really why I got that Satisfyer Pro ad right after I googled ‘How to not have bad sex with my boyfriend?’” realisations you have while watching the film are fun. But we’re addicted to our Facebooks—so what? The Social Dilemma isn’t alarmist (or entertaining) enough to keep you from scrolling on Instagram after the 40-minute mark.
The Emoji Movie (2017)
It’s cooked in concept, and even more cooked in execution. An emoji tries to overcome… its ability to make more than one face? And it travels to the source code to do it? It’s like Toy Story if Toy Story was really, really bad.