As we have previously mentioned, hilarious things happen when writers try to write characters who are smarter than themselves. For instance, I don't doubt that some research goes into writing the medical jargon on House, but we all know that at some point they fake it. And that's fine, because what percentage of the audience is composed of not only doctors, but genius doctors? It's probably not even half.
But that's why it's so baffling when Hollywood fucks up every scene involving computers or video games. They not only get everything wrong, but give us the most insulting bullshit imaginable on details it would have taken two minutes to Google. So we wind up with scenes like this ...
(Note: Credit goes to the tech savvy gang at the NeoGAF forums for hunting down many of these clips, and countless others).
Let's assume you know absolutely nothing about computers. Let's say you've never even touched one, but only know them based on what others have relayed to you second-hand. You would still find this scene impossibly stupid.
So it's the navy cop show NCIS, and they're under a hacker attack!
The hot goth chick starts hammering away at her keyboard as dozens of windows erupt on her screen, looking like she's trying to close all of the porn popups before her mom walks in and catches her.
"Be out in a minute, mom! I'm just ... combing my hair!"
Another agent enters the lab, and something so stupid happens that I can't even understand how the actors didn't put a stop to it in mid-shoot: Both people start feverishly typing on the same keyboard.
Man, that hacker was so good, he beat BOTH of us!
One character takes all of the letters from G to the left. And the other from H to the right. I'm guessing that they just worked so well together that he just knew when she needed him to hit the A; and she just felt it when he needed to hit Enter? Who got the space bar? As fast as they were hammering that keyboard, it would have had the same exact effect if one of them had just started slamming their entire palm across it and screaming like a frightened chimp.
Man, we are off to a fucking horrible start here -- what can we expect from an industry that doesn't understand how keyboards work despite using them on a daily basis to type the scripts?
The 1995, Hackers starred a young Angelina Jolie in a period of her career when it was clearly between this movie and porn. Ironically, the porn parody version of Hackers probably handled the technical details of hacking with the exact same level of accuracy:
We're going to skip right past the fact that they depict all hackers as ultra-cool, vinyl wearing leaders of a cutting edge subculture because that's a stylistic choice on the part of the director. Yes, hackers wear sunglasses while they're hacking. Fine. It's a movie.
So when we get to the hacking scenes, we're treated to a flyover shot of a Tron city, with information appearing in the form of CGI buildings. It's kind of a neat, artsy way to visualize the hacking that doesn't just force us to look at Linux command lines for the duration of a montage.
But then you realize that this isn't just the filmmaker's artistic representation of the idea of hacking ... it's actually on the person's monitor, and this is in fact the act of hacking. This is the actual user interface of the system they're trying to get into.
Wait, what the fuck are you typing?
We're expected to believe that searching for a file in this system involves flying a camera through a virtual city until we find our target: a room filled with mathematical equations chaotically swarming over a background of fire.
It's why most hackers are prone to seizures.
I'm not sure which is more hilarious: imagining the IT staff of this organization who labors around the clock to dress up their server's folders in a 1980s music video, or thinking about the everyday staff of that organization who has to go careening through this system every time they need to bring up that month's payroll spreadsheet.
Ah, who am I kidding? I will pay good money to anyone in the comments who can teach me how to set up my computer so that the act of navigating my C drive looks exactly like that.
But at least that movie only made their hacking "like" a video game. 1997's Masterminds boasted a scene in which the hacking actually was a video game, complete with a first person shooter setup and... a joystick.
So this "hack" is executed by the kid navigating his character around a cartoon castle, complete with animated gates, hallways, torches and scary video game skeletons:
It really is an impenetrable fortress of a system -- after the program recognized the hacker as "an illegal intruder," it says it's only going to allow him two minutes to find the "valid entrance."
Instead of, you know, killing his connection or something.
To be fair, the system does try to track the hacker's location. Unfortunately, the system also informs the hacker of this, and notifies him of their progress in doing it.
Then it throws all the tracing and blocking out the window when the hacker finds the "valid entrance" inside the two minute time limit. Really, every firewall should respect the idea of fair competition and bow to anyone who bests it.
... but turning you in would be dishonoring your victory. Well played.
As we're about to find out, absolutely no one is worse with this subject than network cop shows. Let us present this NCIS clip that is medically proven to make you stupider:
So a guy enters a girl's living room, looks at her monitor and asks, "Is that a 12-core?"
Now, we're not going to get technical with this because none of us here at Cracked are qualified enough to give a shit, but we're not going to let it slide that he just made an educated guess about the size of her processor by glancing at her fucking desktop wallpaper.
"Is that a 12-core? Wait, why did you photoshop that title onto World of Warcaft's login screen?"
But the real "go fuck yourself" message to every gamer watching is when they start talking about her holding "the high score in virtually every massively multiplayer online role-playing game."
The high score. You know, because these newfangled "online role-playing games" the kids are talking about are basically Pac-Man, right? And it wasn't enough to say she had the high score in one MMORPG, oh no. She holds the high score in virtually all of them. In a world where becoming even an average player in one game takes the same amount of time as a full-time job.
The thing is, I can almost understand the ridiculous portrayal of hacking earlier -- most people haven't hacked a computer. But there aren't many places you can go in America where someone in the room hasn't played an MMORPG. If you're confused, fucking ask somebody, Mr. TV Writer. Because unless you're performing your cop show live in the cafeteria of a nursing home, lots of your viewers are going to know you pulled a whole scene straight out of your ass.