Have you guys see the trailers for that new Jake Gyllenhaal movie titled Source Code? Groansworthy, isn’t it? I mean, not the trailer, the title. Although the trailer doesn’t look that hot either. People are trying to tell me it is made by the same folks that made Moon which was brilliant, but… I just don’t know. It looks too much like a summer pulp flick for my tastes, though maybe it is just shoddy marketing trailer aimed at the anti-intellectual neanderthals that are apparently the target demographic for every movie ever these days.
I wanted to talk about the title though, and how I think it is the worst movie title I have ever seen. I’m serious. I previously held that “The Attack of the Clones” was the worst one just because how clumsy it was. Especially since George Lucas could have easily opted to call it “Clone Wars”. Source Code however is bad just because how abysmally stupid it is. I just can’t help but groan every time I see it. But you know what is the worst part? No one knows why I’m groaning.
Granted, I did not expect the god damned techno-muggles that I meet and greet in meat-space to get this. I learned long time ago never to expect anything from them. Good people, most of them, but they seem to be mentally are stuck in some alternate reality where technology does not shape every aspect of their life. I just assume they are “Charlies” and remind myself to speak slowly, and not to use big words. But then I went on the internet, and half the people there were like “who cares, I’m not a programmer HERP DERP DERP”.
God damn it, how do you get on the internet and not know what source code is. Oh wait, never mind. It’s in that nursery rhyme:
Remember, remember, Eternal September… Intelligence and reason was lost.
Anyways, this is sort of why I decided that it is up to me to enlighten the washed and unwashed masses about this movie title. So the rest of this post will be me, trying to talk down to cybermuggles trying to make them understand where I’m coming from. Please bear with me (grizzly, but you can do polar if that’s your preference) as I switch into luser linguistic mode:
oh hai i wanted to tell u bout this movie titel source code cause lol its like stupil lol alot of u don t kno but i will xplain it real simple like
u may think that source code be only for they nerd with they thik glasses but if u…
Ok, fuck it. I can’t do it. I’ll just write normally and hope they understand. I will also attempt to use logic, which is pretty much a lost cause. Lusers don’t know about logic. But maybe I can amuse some regular readers in the process.
I guess the key to understand why the movie title is stupid, is understand what exactly is source code. In layman’s terms, it’s basically what programmers write to create software. So if you are a software developer, you probably go to work in the morning, sit in your cubicle, open a text editor such as vi…. Wait no.. What is a text editor that a clueless person would use? Oh, I know: Notepad. So you open Notepad and start typing in commands – like pages, upon pages of that stuff. It’s all text, and it does not do anything at all yet. You can copy and paste it into email, post it on a website, etc… It is text, and nothing but text.
That’s source code. Textual list of commands that will tell the machine what to do. But on it’s own the source code does nothing. You usually have to run it through a special program known as a compiler, in order to transform it into a usable application. Think of the compiler as a black box that makes magic happen: you feed text on one end and an application comes out on the other side. Then you sell that application or upload it to the interwebs for people to download, and you keep the source code somewhere safe (safest place is the internet of course – let other people back it up for you) in case you want to modify it and release an updated version of the app later.
Now in this movie, Source Code seems to be a name of some super-advanced and magical computer simulation system. They upload Jake Gyllenhaal into it, and he can re-experience some catastrophic train accident Groundhog Day style. Which makes absolutely no sense, considering the fact that source code is just text. How do you upload someone into a text file? How does a text file do anything?
It seems that the creators of this movie just grabbed a random expression from the computer jargon and decided to use it in their movie. But they didn’t bother looking up what it meant so they just made stuff up.
How about this: imagine that instead of calling it “Source Code” they instead titled the movie “Excel Spreadsheet” or “Email Attachment”. Everyone knows what these things are, right? If you don’t, please raise your hand so that the snipers on the roof can identify you and remove you from the gene pool. Thank you for your cooperation, and have a nice day.
The point is that excel spreadsheet or email attachment is just a thing. It’s just an electronic file, that contains some data but it does not do anything by itself. That data may be useful to someone, and it may model something abstract (like payroll information, or a business plan) but it does not do anything. It does not process information, and you cannot upload someone’s mind into it.
If you saw a movie titled “Email Attachment” you would probably think that it was about some important attachment, right? Someone attaches some crazy document into an email, it leaks out to the internet an now that person is in trouble. Something like that, right? That’s exactly what I thought when I saw the title. I thought it would be about programmers – potentially about someone stealing some very secret source code or something. I did not expect it to be the Groundhog Day loop movie at all.
Sure, you can name your super-secret computer system whatever you want. You can name it Bob or Daisy, or Pet Hamster. But why give it a generic name for a specific type of electronic file. Even if you liked the term “source code” you could have shortened it a bit and still be fine. “Source” by itself for example sounds great – it ambiguous, has some technology annotations but there is more to it. Same with “Code” – you could probably get away with that too. But put the two of them together and suddenly your title sucks.
That’s why I think this title is stupid, and so should you, now that I explained it. If you still don’t get it, please raise your hand right now so that the snipers on the rooftops can… Well, you know the drill.