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InRealLife (2013)
  • Director:
    Beeban Kidron
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Beeban Kidron
  • Cast:
    Ryan,Ben,Sherry Turkle
  • Time:
    1h 30min
  • Year:
InRealLife asks what exactly is the internet and what is it doing to our children? Taking us on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the world of Silicon Valley, filmmaker Beeban Kidron suggests that rather than the promise of free and open connectivity, young people are increasingly ensnared in a commercial world. Beguiling and glittering on the outside, it can be alienating and addictive. Quietly building its case, InRealLife asks if we can afford to stand by while our children, trapped in their 24/7 connectivity, are being outsourced to the net?
Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Ryan - Himself
Ben Ben - Himself
Sherry Turkle Sherry Turkle - Herself - Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nicholas Negroponte Nicholas Negroponte - Himself - Founder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab
Norman Doidge Norman Doidge - Himself - Psychiatrist
Nicholas Carr Nicholas Carr - Himself - Author of 'The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains'
David Hall David Hall - Himself - Commercial and Strategy Manager, TelecityGroup
Maggie Jackson Maggie Jackson - Herself - Author of 'Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age'
Page Page - Herself - 15 Years
Luis von Ahn Luis von Ahn - Himself - Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
Andrew Blum Andrew Blum - Himself - Author of 'Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet'
Danah Boyd Danah Boyd - Herself - Researcher, Microsoft
Jimmy Wales Jimmy Wales - Himself - Co-Founder, Wikipedia
Tobin Tobin - Himself - 19 Years
Patrick Bellanca Patrick Bellanca - Himself - Lead Producer and Designer, EA Sports

InRealLife (2013)
The title and short description of this documentary sounded promising, but it already fell flat in the first few minutes where it actually tries to give itself the moral high point with an artsy intro which is completely free of information and rather just wastes time.

It then wastes over 10 minutes to interview some teenage boys about why they like porn. The answer of course is a given: because of the depicted sex. D'uh! Who would have thought that?? Only the majority of people have watched porn, online or not, so everybody but the most removed from reality already know the answer to this waste of time.

There's a lot of filler in between scenes that doesn't serve any purpose other than probably to set a mood which goes beyond me. A feeble attempt follows to explain to us how the internet came into existence. In the same sentence it's being explained that the heads behind it didn't foresee the role of porn, giving them somehow a negative slant. This kind of allows to reconstruct the question the interviewer asked, but which is not audible in the documentary: "Did the people behind the internet ever consider this could be used for porn?" Oh how very relevant... The same question could be asked regarding VHS-tapes, DVDs or Blurays, but what does that have to do with the supposed porn problem?

Shortly after, the interviewer is standing in front of a server center and has someone explaining to us that there are data cables in the earth that transmit all the data - even very sensitive data - through it. No really...Who would have thunk that... She then asks the server guy: "I thought the internet was in a cloud?" That was 15 minutes in. At that point I decided to stop this sorry excuse for a documentary. Not being able to ask valid questions in 15 minutes or not giving at least a shred of valid information is one thing, but trying to be so high and mighty to lecture people on the dangers of the internet, yet not being able to tell cloud services from the internet is where I draw the line.

It became painfully obvious that the people behind this movie have no clue about the subject matter. This will be obvious to anyone who has ever used the internet for more than sending emails. Don't waste your time on this.
"{VERY LARGE NUMBER} of {BENIGN EVENTS} occur..." *pause* "every day."

What does this statement leave you with? What's the take home message? There isn't. There isn't, except, well - except for the movie going experience, the emotional impact of everything that involves delivering the above information. Except for the low ominous hum the editor imposed upon the above slide to make it all seems so staggeringly scary.

And it's just the above. Over and over again. Experts mention something is good but also really bad and get cut off before they get to actually explaining, cut off to scary pictures of blinking server lights in a dark room; presumably, because "the bad" doesn't actually sound as bad as the director's alarmist perspective would have you believe... I wonder how many of these were just not as convinced of the bad as the director expected them to, or simply sounded nuts the more they went on? Or, you know, just antiquated fossils who don't fit anymore into the modern world so blatantly that it's just absurd to let them finish their sentences in a timely manner. So let's leave on a high note - "THE INTERNET IS BAD BE-".

Other than experts, the egregious offenses in editing also go against supported or simply active users of these technologies. For example - the interview with Tuboscus. So you interview him. Many blatantly edited out of context sentences later, he meets his fans. One of the fans gets hurt on a spike on a fence, there's some blood, she's lying on the floor. Cut back to Tuboscus saying how much fun it was. Obviously, the editor was telling us this Tuboscus fella from YouTube is killing our kids!!!11 Another scene involved a dropout. Everything in the editing was crying - this young man who dropped out of Oxford because he played too much Halo. Cut to senior game developer saying he loves how kids play games and how many games he sells. The subtext of the editing skims the part where the kid admits he would've just watched TV or read books instead; after all, persecuting those pastimes is SOO last century.

The more rationally you observe it the more your realize - any more slant, and this movie would be completely vertical.

It's not all wrong. It's not wrong about Google or Google Analytics. Julian Assange himself is spot on right. But this has NOTHING to do with the rest of the film, which carelessly swings from topic to topic as if it's all one evil tumor on an otherwise perfectly productive and balanced race of individuals. The makers of this movie are either wrong or purposefully misleading about pretty much everything else, demonizing anything and everything from Halo to vlogs on YouTube ruining our kids' future.

Don't agree with me? Try watching 95% of the scenes that are basically slides with factoids with cheerful music instead of ominously humming servers and you've got a commercial for why the internet is awesome. "How to Spot Propaganda 101". No substance, just movie magic.
This is most likely a film that will split the audience down the middle: One group will say: "Yes, this is really a problem". The other will say "Prfff! What's the big deal? We're just surfing the web. So what?". Although I surf the web a lot, I mostly belong to group one, and this film is definitely propaganda about how much negative impact the internet has had on the world today – not only on entire countries but also on individuals. In some ways it's a documentary version of those disaster movies that show what will happen if all our electricity was cut off, etc. – except here the question is: "What would happen if we suddenly didn't have access to the internet?". Many people would simply have nothing to do, at least according to this film, as they are online almost all of their waking hours. Read a book? No, I can read maximum one line (so a website designer said in this film). Or maybe they would finally find something to do if suddenly there was no internet.

The film shows teenagers addicted to pornography, people being kicked out of Harvard for being lazy, people who committed suicide after being bullied online, people who have sex with strangers in order to get their phone back so they can go back online, and companies who do research into how they can make people spend more time on their websites. And, of course, most of these people think there's nothing wrong with what they're doing. For the viewers (or at least me) it was quite easy to spot their problem (for instance: "I play Xbox five hours a day. I was kicked out of Harvard for not handing in my assignments. I don't think those two things are related").

It's definitely not a positive film. Although I have seen the destructive effects the internet has had on my life (along with all its positive effects), this is a propagandistic film and as such not a great pleasure to watch no matter how much I might agree with the message. One major reason for this was simply that it was information overload. There were barely any part in the film where there was nobody talking. Fictional films of course have more scenes with action instead of talking than a documentary, but some air in the narrative here would have done some good. But nevertheless, this was a good, well-made and informative film (although I already knew most of the information they presented). The threat they present is definitely very real but not everybody will enjoy facing this threat or enjoy the way it's presented here.

By the way: If you have problems controlling your internet use, the program called iNet Protector is the solution. You can set how much online time you can have each day and when (for instance only 1 hour access between 5 to 7 pm Monday and Saturday), and it's of course protected by a password (which you should have someone else do, as it's otherwise pointless). It has improved my life. There's also another programme called PC Auto Shutdown that can switch off your computer automatically when you want it to.
This has been on my list of films to see for ages, I missed it at the cinema and couldn't remember the name of it. Which is quite ironic as you won't really remember anything from it once you've seen it.

There's nothing that we don't already know.

The only interesting part is when Julian Assange makes a rare appearance.

And why are all the teenagers they interview boys? Aren't there any teenage girls in the world?

My advice would be don't bother, watch Men, Woman & Children instead.

This is just lazy film making
In this documentary, Carnegie Melon professor Luis Von Ahn tells a story about how his younger software users won't read anything longer than one line of text.

Judging from the moronic reviews made here on this great documentary, we must assume that the reviewers are young and feel quite insulted because the basic premise of this documentary is, that the new generation of internet-addicted youth are basically sheep being led by corporations like google and fakebook to give up their privacy in exchange for socializing online. Obviously this premise goes over the head of attention deficient morons who can barely read a sentence or two and claim in the reviews that there are no teenage women interviewed (i guess she missed the entire segment about the black teen who basically prostituted herself in order to get her cellphone back) or the genius reviewer who talks about the kid who is addicted to gaming, getting thrown out of "Harvard". Hmm.. Harvard is in Massachussets, USA, and the game addict is in England.. Harvard, Oxford, USA, England.. same thing, right? LOL

This documentary, through its many interviews with experts and net addicts, shows clearly how transnational corporations big and small spend millions to manipulate and keep young people addicted to their internet platforms, to commoditize their personal information and sell them products, ranging from games to online porn and apple iphones.

It is easy to see how this new generation of net addicted snowflakes live in a fantasy bubble, never having to worry about the reality of working to make ends meet, spending most of their time living in the safe online world, socializing and playing games. It is no wonder this generation of over-protected youths need "safe spaces" and counseling when things don't go their way, or when they hear someone disagreeing with them, as they have never encountered the real hardships most people have to deal with, in the real world. It is as if these kids are living in a game, where everything is a click away, life is easy and parental supervision is non-existent.

It is disheartening to think these cynical kids are the future of our world, and i can't help to think that humanity is doomed by its own stupidity.