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Holy crap in a sack of butts, I had totally forgotten how terrible Johnny Mnemonic was. I mean, I remembered that it was bad, but having not seen it since I was 14, I did not specifically remember that nearly every line was was both written and delivered with equal parts inappropriate intensity and laughable incoherence . And William Gibson actually wrote the screenplay! Aren’t we supposed to like him? I actually find it quite fitting that the first time I saw Johnny… just Johnny, it was on laser disc. A movie about a future that looks like a past that never was on a format of future past that never caught on and totally sucked balls. To be fair, I’m pretty sure I loved it when I was 14 (loved the concept of laser disc too), but after years of reflection and re-evaluation I realized what a colossal cyber-turd it was.

The one thing I appreciate of Keanu Colonic is how accurately it portrayed what 90’s youth expected the future to be like, and just how inaccurate that prediction was. It’s a sort of beautiful symmetry of wrongness. We don’t use clunky V.R. goggles to surf a 3D cyberscape, and we aren’t so addicted to technology that it… [sorry, had to check Twitter] that it… something something. I also appreciate that Ice-T’s character’s name was J-Bone. I like to think that he had a clause in his contracts back then which stated he would only go by “hard sounding” single syllable word + letter of the alphabet combinations. He might have portrayed a car jacker named D-Rock, a crooked undercover cop named Cuff-P or a cellist pimp named F-Hole.

“So get your VCRs ready, ’cause we got what you need.”

COMMENTERS: Feel free to share your memories of Johhny Mnemonic or any other “Future that never was” type of 80’s or 90’s movie. What were you hoping WOULD come to pass from these movies and what are you glad NEVER caught on? Alternately, give me a premise and character name for another Ice-T role using the “word-letter” rules.

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  1. I don't care what anyone says. I want a laser garrotte wire/ whip and a super-genius dolphin hacking sidekick. Also, if Apple made it, you know people would put a hard drive in their head.

    • The only thing that bugged me at the time about that laser garrotte wire/ whip thing was, what would happen if the cap came off in a moment of "personal intimacy"?

      I mean the Yakuza may have had no trouble sacrificing a finger, but one laser garrotte wire/ whip accident later and he's peeing "girl-style" for the rest of his life.

      • Actually, monofilament whips, swords etc. are a fundamental part of Shadowrun, or even some of Star Trek (zhal sta, anyone?)

  2. Also, I'm glad that the future dystopia depicted in Solarbabies has yet to come to pass. A world where rollerblading around the desert with Peter DeLuise is necessary is not a world that I want to live in.

    • I was so happy someone mentioned Solarbabies. It was the first thing that I thought of. Of course, I would love to rollerblade around the desert with Peter Deluise and Adrian Pasdar, and I'm sure there are plenty of guys out there mourning the loss of a rollerblading future with Jami Gertz! =)

  3. Wanna know my memories?

    My best friend's dad was one of the special effects artists on that god-awful movie.

    He did the dolphin (he might have done other things, but I do remember for SURE he did that dolphin)

    I made the mistake once of looking at some of his work and correcting the anatomy. Actually I think I more basically said loudly that it didn't look right and pointed out how wrong it was in my hamfisted socially inept way.
    (Not for the excessively shitty dolphin, he had a maquette out of a very poorly done velociraptor, Jurassic Park style, only way, way worse in ever conceivable way.)

    I was never invited back to their house again.

  4. I loved it especially the 300 gigabytes of memory for the courrier but it was enormous at the time so I won't mock it much I am still fond of the principles behind the movie and I am a fan of William Gibson of course Hollywood could have done a better job but when I see what's on the screen nowadays I think this movie still stand up but maybe it is just my youth tainted glasses talking.

  5. I'm still pissed that we didn't get ANYTHING in "2001" by 2001. Sure, Siri is HAL's sister, just a decade late and without a space mission to screw up, just individual iPhone owners. But PanAm is now a '60s nostalgiaTV show? I was hoping the space suits used outside the ISS would have those 'frog heads', but NO-O-O-O.

    We are still clearly on track to the future of "Idocracy", and slowly catching up to "1984" (I'm betting we'll get there about 32 years late), but otherwise the track record of movies predicting the future is dismal.

    I did check the Wikipedia "list of dystopian films"… and saw that someone had slipped in: "Top Cat (2011), [Spanish-language Mexican-produced] feature film adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera 1961 cartoon of the same name". then again, if we live in a world where the 2011 version of Top Cat is made in Mexico, that's plenty dystopian.

    • We may not have the space planes as yet or a decent space station or even a lunar base but we do have a number of things now that were imagined then.

      Long time in coming – Picture phone – web based phones and the latest iPhone aps make this possible.
      Touch screen video control panels – these were already being used by the military in 2001 and on some commercial systems.
      Flat Panel displays – nuff said.
      A touch pad computer / reader – already existed partially in 2001 but we now have a variety of such devices available.
      German, French, and Chinese satellites – plus a few other contributors to the space junk up there.
      Computers that can read lips.

      I can't think of any others right now but I know there are more ….

  6. So is it bad that I bought this flick with real American money? And that I actually watch it every now and then? But it was "what's-her-name" from Starship Troopers.

  7. I'm thankful that slobbery dog-style canines have not become fashionable body modifications. I can't remember if that was in the craptastic movie, or just the excellent book.

    I'm surprised nobody has panned Dolph Lundgren's performance as the whack-job preacher-assassin-terminator. I'm glad those guys haven't been invented.

    • Are you sure about that last bit? We have some pretty wacky, sometimes violent religious types running around these days.

    • You should check his characters quotes on IMDB. All of his lines go something like "COME TO JESUS!" or "JESUS TIME!"

      • My favorite is when the good guys are driving in their Cyber-Scooby-Doo van and the preacher is walking in the middle of the street and says "HALT, SINNERS!", then they hit him & he goes sailin' !

    • The best bit of Johnny Mneumonix was that the Preacher got burned to a crisp and then they took the piss out of bad-guy-comes-back-for-one-last-scare by having a shot of him moving and it turning out to be him getting winched off the gantry. I found that amusing.

      Plus, there's the Johnny Mneumonic drinking game, of course.


  8. How can I be the first person to mention Hoverboards? When I was a kid, I dreamed of the day where the world was like Hill Valley in 2015.

  9. What I remember most about the film was that it had the same feel as Total Recall. One scene in which the characters got out into an open environment, a futuristic cityscape in the background, and you for a moment got the idea that there was really an entire world out there that the smaller, person to person struggles on-screen, fit into. Then we went back to the (Future!) hotel rooms and (Future!) small, crummy bars, and once again suspected that the 21st Century only consisted of poorly lit, budget sets.

    • I'm thinking of him as an applicance repair man (where all the appliances have built-in computer screens for staring at family photos or checking Gmail [this is a real product at Worst Buy; I saw it in their Xmas catalog]} called D-Falt.

  10. Ok, I remember enjoying Johnny Mnemonic and many other "the future sucks in one or more ways" movies, both bad and good (Salute of the Jugger, Cherry 2000, Strange Days, Cyborg, Terminator, Mad Max series, Highlander, Existenz, Running Man… um that'll do) but I can't think of anything in any of them I wished had happened (or will)! What am I forgetting?!

  11. I was excited about Johnny Mnenomic because I was hoping it would satisfy my real desire for a Neuromancer movie adaptation. I was very disappointed.

    Also, I laughed because a week before I saw it a friend of mine purchased a "RAM Doubler" for his Windows PC, despite the fact that I told him those things don't really work.

      • *Cries* When? WHEN will Hollywood stop trying to assrape perfectly good books? You just know they're going to crap-bomb all over Neuromancer… Can you imagine what they are going to make Wintermute and The Dixie Flatline look like, because they will NEED a visual representation instead of the "ghosts of the past" and "undead RAM voice", respectfully.

  12. I'm just happy nothing from William Gibson's worlds has really come to pass. Cyberpunk makes me angrier than steampunk.

    A Scanner Darkly is scary-real, though. Depressingly scary-real…

  13. Why the hate on VR goggles? The tech just isn't ready yet and we have AR now as well. It was (and probably still is) too bulky to use when it was introduced. Wouldn't you prefer glasses that gave you a high resolution 3D interactive virtual environment overlayed on top of the real world? No more stupid tiny smartphone screens.

    • Sadly for us it is available only at the military level and they still have problems dealing with depth of field and focus planes BUT the technology is "out there".

    • I would prefer cybereyes, but we're still a few decades away from that, like fusion (hot or cold, take your pick).

  14. I watched Strange Days recently. Such an awful 90's attempt at some sort of cyberpunk future, but I still love it. Mainly because Ralph Fiennes is incredibly hot, Angela Bassett is so kickass, and I love to listen to Michael Wincott rasp out words. Whatever happened to that guy anyway?

  15. 2 words ,… Ice Pirates.

    I mean I am all about the flying through space doing the Swashbuckler thing,… but the downside is Water is rare and there are Space Herpes running around ,…..

  16. I watched Johnny Mnemonic back in August in one of the STARZ channels, & it was, from an engineer's view, a laugh riot! Human brains carrying 80GB, when its been dicovered they hold up to 100TB (T as in 'Tera-', or 1000 G's), and the "hacking" interface looks cool, but is kinda impractical. The fact they were still using payphones was hilarious! But the cyborg dolphin and the monitors forming 1 giant screen was both genius and mind-boggling.

    • His brain had the low-grade cyberware, rather than Alpha or Beta. He really should've invested in some chipjacks to get around that problem. Or cultured cyberware.

      • Cultured bioware… Not cyberware. Cultured means it's grown specifically for you, test-tube style. Cyberware is metal and plastic, so not grown.

  17. Yer all bastards and whiners. I have had the misfortune of watching NEW ROSE HOTEL.

    It exists. About half the way through they realized they'd run out of story but still needed forty more minutes of movie, so they just used cutting room scraps to re-tell the entire story in flashbacks. They also lacked the budget to show anything but people sitting around and talking. Not even Christopher Walken could save it.

    • Oh dear Lord, I'm so happy to know that someone else has seen that abomination besides me. I was a huge Gibson fan (still like him now, just not as fan-boy now) and I just had to have that movie. I found it for something like $3 in a discount bin and thought I had hit the jackpot. I ran home and immediately watched it. Two hours later I felt filthy and used. And as a side note, what in the WORLD were Christopher Walken and William Dafoe THINKING when they signed on for that turd? Did they just owe some money and needed a quick paycheck or something?

  18. Huh. I always thought Johnny Mnemonic was pretty cool. If this Philip K Dick guy is supposed to be better though I suppose it couldn't hurt to check him out.

  19. I'm surprised no one mentioned this (and yes, I know I'm way late to the party here) but William Gibson is on record as saying that the movie that hit theaters is not the one that he was involved with. He says that they wrapped shooting, edited the movie and turned it over to the studio. Then the studio, without consulting, chopped it apart and made something different. He's a bit bitter about it from what I understand.

    And I must admit, I totally want to see the Sprawl Trilogy done as movies but only if they can get good directors, good actors, good screenwriters, good budget and minimal to no studio interference. In other words, I'm probably never going to see it. The studio would probably freak because there's really only one character (that I remember) that is in every book and so they'd probably be afraid that there isn't someone for the audience to latch onto for the series.

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