Ten Ways The iPhone Has Already Killed The Classic Movie
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
It's handy, glossy, multi-functional...and has to be carefully written out of nearly every modern film in order for a plot to get going. Here are ten Hollywood classics that wouldn't have survived the advent of iPhone and its chums...
There’s no doubt the iPhone has changed the world we live in. Now that people can carry everything from a satnav to an encyclopaedia to a vocoder in their pockets, all housed in that smooth little rectangle with the Apple on the back, everything must be just a little better, right?
Wrong. The iPhone has already killed off a huge amount of great movie plots, and must be stopped. The case for the prosecution begins…
Victim: The Blues Brothers (1980)
Killed by: Social networking tools
A cult film for all the right reasons (imminent death of its star/endlessly quotable dialogue/cameo by James Brown), The Blues Brothers is nominally a story of redemption. The titular brothers must ‘get the band back together’ and put on a lucrative fundraising concert to raise enough money to save the orphanage they grew up in.
Back in 1980, this meant getting in the car and driving round to whatever various small-time gigs the band members had found themselves, before convincing them to rejoin the band. After which, to publicise the gig, they strapped a megaphone to their car and drove up and down the beach, letting the cool kids know the Place to Be.
2010 would have seen a much shorter movie. Elwood gets out his (all-black) iPhone and tracks down the band members through their artists’ pages on MySpace. To publicise the gig he gets onto Facebook. Job done, and the first two acts of the movie are now completely unnecessary: Aretha doesn’t tell us to Think, Ray doesn’t shake his tail feather and the State of Illinois saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in broken police cars.
Victim: Memento (2001)
Killed by: The cameraphone
Ironically, a very memorable movie. Protagonist Leonard has anterograde amnesia, after a head injury which leaves him unable to form new memories. With a busy daily schedule that requires him to hunt down and kill his late wife’s murderer, this causes problems. How can he remember the clues, facts, names and events of his crusade?
Leonard takes the decision to write down all this information in the one place he won’t forget: all over his body. Tattoos cover his skin, helping him piece together the important details such as licence plate numbers, suspects’ names, and of course the fact that ‘JOHN G RAPED AND KILLED MY WIFE’. It’s not every lead character that wears their motivation on their sleeve quite so obviously.
But what if he had his iPhone on him? The built-in camera, complete with date/time stamps, geo-tagging and uploads to Flickr or Facebook, would mean no more costly trips to the tattoo parlour. Providing Leonard could remember where his iPhone was (and I’ve never met an owner who let it more than 6 feet away from their pocket, amnesiac or not), he could continue on his homicidal quest without a torso that looks like a serial killer’s doodle-pad. Handy for him and whoever’s following his photo uploads on Flickr, but a little less dramatic and visually arresting as a movie.
Victim: The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Killed by: GPS/Maps
Now to a movie that looks as if it could have been shot on an iPhone. The low-budget chiller that took the world by storm at the end of the 20th century is based around a concept that is becoming more and more alien to the current generation: getting lost.
Remember getting lost? It’s what used to happen when you went somewhere you didn’t already know. You could do it almost anywhere. Someone even made a TV show about it.
But as we forge our way into the 21st century the concept of getting lost is becoming as relevant as having somewhere to park your Penny Farthing – it’s a problem people used to worry about that doesn’t really affect you any more. Sure, you might see someone in a movie scanning their environment and trying to figure out where the hell they are, but in real life all it now takes is to reach into the pocket and fire up the Maps app. You can tag the location of your car, your campsite and the Blair Witch, and never run into one when you’re looking for the other. Unless you throw your iPhone in a stream, of course. And depending on which insurance package you went for, that’s probably not the best idea.
Victim: Saw (2004)
Killed by: YouTube
Here’s a movie franchise that repeatedly asks the following question in a number of different ways: how do you escape this trap? The first film’s grisly scenario featured two men, locked in chains, with a life-or-death deadline to meet as the clock ticks down. If only they had the keys to those locks…
…or their iPhone. Not only because whiling away a day in the company of a blood-soaked corpse and a panicking stranger is so much more agreeable with a bit of music to listen to (some smooth jazz to take the edge off, perhaps, or some Razorlight to help you welcome the cold embrace of death), but because of YouTube.
The open-access video library is a vast font of knowledge as well as a collection of music videos, celebrity interviews and video mashups of Kermit the Frog vs. Hitler. And while Wikipedia might tell you what to do, its YouTube that shows you how to do it.
The first Saw movie runs to 103 minutes. ‘How to pick a lock’ on YouTube (1.5 million views) is two and a half minutes long. Even if you slow Saw’s end credits right down to a crawl, trying to fill 100 extra minutes of a story that’s over before it begins sounds like real torture.
Victim: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Killed by: Twitter
Ahh, the simple pleasures of teenage life. Bunking off school, hitting the big city, going to a gallery, performing huge song and dance numbers on your own parade float. Times, I’m sure, we all remember fondly.
Back when I was a teenager it was perfectly possible to pull a sickie, as long as your parents worked away from the house. With the long weekday stretched ahead of you and no school, it was totally feasible to enjoy life to the full, as long as you didn’t bump into anyone from your school or family.
The title character of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off knows this well, and enjoys his day off as much as we enjoyed watching it. His schoolmates, believing him to be seriously ill, end up launching a ‘Save Ferris’ campaign, much to his big sister’s annoyance.
But could this happen today? Of course not. Can you imagine today’s popular, charismatic iPhone-wielding 17-year-old having the type of day Ferris had and not tweeting about it constantly?
‘ZOMG AM AT BASEBALL GAME NOT IN SKOOL LIK U LOOSERS LOL!’ @abefroman
Plus, by the time his day off had ended the Save Ferris campaign would have gone viral: a Facebook shrine, a Justgiving page, celebrity involvement and coverage on hard-up-for-stories 24-hour news channels. By the time he made it back to school the next day the sympathy fatigue and backlash would have already started, which in the case of real-life Ferris, Matthew Broderick, didn’t actually happen until ten years later with Godzilla.
Victim: Romeo and Juliet (1996)
Killed by: Text/SMS
Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers was memorably brought to the screen in 1996 as a modernised adaptation, set in ‘Verona Beach’. While the dialogue stayed true to the original, the costume and production design rooted the story in a stylised late 20th century setting.
The young lovers are divided by loyalties to their warring families and so must keep their love secret. In 2010 that would mean only one thing: constant texting.
What teenager in love can resist the allure of casual flirtation in 144 characters or less? Although, of course, Shakespeare’s verbose way with words might mean an unlimited text package would be the way to go: you don’t want to be watching the character-count while trying to make woo.
‘Rmeo, rmeo, were4art thow rmeo?’
Most importantly, though, modern iPhone etiquette dictates that if you’re going to fake your own suicide it’s a good idea to let your husband know by at least dropping him a text. These days, just because you’re grounded by your folks doesn’t mean you can’t still get in touch. So instead of one of the world’s greatest tragedies we end up with two smug teenagers pulling a prank on their parents, experimenting with coma-inducing drugs and no doubt cheekily sexting from their balconies.
Victim: Back To The Future (1985)
Killed by: iTunes
A movie that inspired a generation to take up long-lasting love affairs with skateboarding, electric guitars and Michael J Fox, as well as a somewhat less permanent affection for Huey Lewis & The News, Back To The Future’s charm lay in the juxtaposition of 1950s and 1980s America. How we laughed at the naiveté and values of small town 50s Americana, viewed through our MTV and Pacman-addled 80s eyes.
The biggest chuckles came when lead character Marty brought a little of his ‘futuristic’ thinking to the table: inventing the skateboard to outrun the goons, using Van Halen tapes as a torture method, and of course tapping out an 80s hair rock solo on electric guitar at the school dance for the finale.
Marty only gets on stage with the band because the regular guitarist gets injured. With no guitarist, how can the dance go ahead? What will the kids dance to?
Plug in the iPhone, of course. With thousands of tracks stored on the little buggers the whole ‘let’s do the show right here and save the party’ plot goes right out the window. Remember The Beatles jamming in a train carriage in A Hard Day’s Night? Well cherish that memory, because these days they’d be more likely to be each staring out the window, listening to Finnish Deathcore and Norwegian Wood through tiny white earbuds.
Victim: Jaws (1975)
Killed by: 3G internet
Need a bigger boat? Stop complaining and order one online!
A 27-foot Macwestern Sailboat is currently going for £9950 on eBay. What are you waiting for?
Using the eBay app, you can just imagine the tension as the auction nears its inevitable conclusion! Duuuuum-dum! Duuuuum-dum!! Dumdum-dumdum-dumdum-dumdum-duh-nah-naaaaaaaaah!
Damn, outbid by Brodybunch75 at the last minute…
Victim: The Graduate (1967)
Killed by: Phone
At the end of the 1967 Dustin Hoffman classic the title character Ben must race to the church where the focus of his obsession is marrying another man, all to the strains of Simon & Garfunkel. He drives as fast as he can, gets lost, runs out of gas and ends up running to the church.
That’s great, Ben, but do you know what I do when I desperately need to contact someone? I phone them up. If she really likes you I’m sure you can talk her round over the phone. She’s obviously not that interested in your looks, so your gift of gab is probably what attracted her in the first place.
Plus you might want to get the iFlorist app and get some flowers sent to smooth things over. And if you feel you absolutely have to do it in person, try using an app like PetrolPrices Pro to make sure you don’t run out of petrol at key dramatic points in the narrative, college boy…
Victim: Scarface (1983)
Killed by: The App Store
Antihero Tony Montana’s climb up the slippery pole of organised crime begins with a coke deal that rapidly turns sour. Meeting representatives of a Colombian cartel in a seedy Miami motel, Tony and his buddy grow suspicious when the Colombians are slow to show them the money. What follows is another tough day at the office for the wannabe drug kingpin, involving chainsaws in shower stalls and a broad-daylight shootout in the middle of Ocean Drive.
What Tony clearly needed was the Paypal app. Never again do we need to see the clichéd shot of the briefcase full of dollars: the mundane reality of everyday money transfer is anything but visual. Tap tap tap – your transfer is complete. Bad news for cinema, but there are some perks for Tony and his ilk.
For one thing, it is much harder to steal money that doesn’t physically exist. So if you’re buying a mountain of Colombian coke from a man with a revving chainsaw, you can rest a little easier that at least your purchase is protected. Plus, the feedback system could prove really useful – if you’re selling to someone with under 80% positive feedback, better bring a bullet-proof vest and a little friend.
What do you think? Are we being too harsh on the little box ‘o tricks? Are there other plots you foresee being ruined forever by the iPhone, or would it just improve them? Would Ghostbusters have been funnier if Venkman had the iFart app? Would Scarface have been improved by a Scarface Soundboard? Let us know below…
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