Some movies are absolute classics, regardless of when they were made and released. It wouldn’t matter when we came across them, we’d still love them all the same. However, there are a ton of movies that simply wouldn’t work if they were made right now. The entire reason for that is because we have the Internet. The Internet, while it makes our lives easier in many ways, takes classic movies and completely renders them non-existent. That might be a bad thing for cinema going forward, but that’s not the conversation we’re having today.
Here are twelve movies that are classics, but that wouldn’t have gone down how they did if they had the Internet. Sure, the characters might be happier with the Internet, but it would make for some pretty boring cinema.
Jaws is probably the movie that codified the summer blockbuster as a thing in modern culture. It has all the trappings of what makes big summer movies notable: a lot of action and a lot of money at the box office. However, this movie would not have been a thing at all if any of the characters had been able to use the Internet.
Think about it. Sure, great white sharks are scary looking, and I wouldn’t want to have one circling me while I’m minding my own business swimming, but they’re not especially hard to kill. They’re kind of dumb, to be honest. Even if Richard Dreyfuss and Company failed to kill the great white the first time, if they’d had the Internet, they could have just taken the question to Reddit or Twitter, and some shark hunter would have provided the answer for them. Even if that failed, the beach-goers could have simply done a Google search when the bodies started turning up, and there would have been some blogger there documenting the experience and warning people to stay away.
Actually, as soon as the mayor tried to cover everything up, the Internet would have smelled conspiracy and there would have been at least ten memes about it by the end of the day.
Psycho is a classic for good reason: it pushed the envelope for what was acceptable in mainstream cinema, it’s the inspiration for three sequels and a TV show, among other things, and it was even considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress! That’s nothing to sneeze at. However, if we’d had the Internet in 1960, we wouldn’t have this movie, or any of the material that was directly and indirectly inspired by it.
For one, Marion wouldn’t have been at that hotel: she would have simply gotten an AirBnB. For another, if she hadn’t done that, she would have Googled the Bates Motel and gotten all of the reports about the other women disappearing, and the news story about Norman Bates murdering his mother and her boyfriend, and she would have driven right on by. She’d probably have gotten arrested for embezzling all that money, but she wouldn’t be dead, now would she?
Even if Marion hadn’t done those things and had ended up going to the sketchy motel anyway, Lila wouldn’t have had to go all the way down there to confront Marion’s boyfriend. She would have simply put up a passive aggressive status update about it, or she would have Direct Messaged him on Twitter or Instagram. They certainly wouldn’t have needed to actually go to the sheriff to find out Mrs. Bates had been dead for a decade, either. The Internet would have provided all of that information.
10. 127 Hours
127 Hours, the movie where we watch James Franco get himself trapped in the wilderness and chops off his own arm, would never have worked if he’d had access to the Internet. Google Earth is watching basically everything right now, so all James Franco’s character would have really had to do is wait for a friend or family member to notice that he was missing in some way, which in the age of social media can take less than a day, and they would have tracked his cell phone to where he was. All James Franco would have had to do was sit tight, make sure he didn’t drink all his water, and hope the snakes didn’t find him first. He might have even been able to keep his arm!
9. Phone Booth
The reason why Phone Booth no longer works in the age of the Internet should be obvious for two reasons. One, phone booths hardly ever work anymore. Two, everyone has cell phones, so it’s not like people would be using phone booths at all. On top of that, there are some people who won’t answer a phone call or a text if it’s from a number they haven’t seen before, let alone if it looks suspicious. If we had the Internet, not only would Colin Farrell not have answered the phone, he would have Googled the phone number to find out exactly where the call was coming from, and Kiefer Sutherland’s reveal wouldn’t have been quite as shocking.
8. The Ring
The Ring is a really creepy movie about a videotape that kills the viewer seven days after you watch it. A lot of the drama hinges on the videotape itself, and who watched what copy of it, which absolutely wouldn’t be a thing if Naomi Watts had had the Internet to work with. Let’s be real here: some kids have never operated a VCR before. There are kids being born right now that have never seen a videotape before. Everything is DVDs, streaming and Blu-Ray now. If there’s the chance of a cursed VHS somewhere, chances are someone would have had it converted and uploaded it to YouTube before anyone had a chance to actually watch the original tape. There would have been memes all over the Internet, and the legend of Samara and the cursed videotape wouldn’t have been a thing at all. The tape wouldn’t kill anybody since the video itself would be a copy, and it’s not like Samara, as creepy as she is, could crawl out of every cell phone screen. They’re simply too small.
That point aside, let’s say the video was still cursed even after being copied. Let’s say the video was put on Netflix for millions to watch. All you’d have to do to avoid the curse after that would be to take out your SIM card and throw it and your phone in the nearest body of water. Sure, a lot more phones would get broken, but at least you wouldn’t be dead.
7. Home Alone
Home Alone absolutely would not have been a thing if they’d had the Internet. For one, there are apps that can tell you exactly where your kid, or at least your kid’s phone, is at all times. For another, since we all know that Kevin would have a cell phone and access to the Internet, he absolutely would have been posting everything that was going on, including the takedown of the Wet Bandits. Not only would they know exactly what he was doing, they’d be able to contact him and see how things were going. They might even be able to FaceTime him to make sure he didn’t burn the house down. If Kevin had had the Internet, he probably wouldn’t have made all of that trouble at all, since he’d be too busy binge-watching anime and playing games on Steam.
We can even take this one a step further: since everyone there would have a cell phone, they’d all have alarm clocks. That would mean everybody would have woken up on time, and the movie literally wouldn’t have been made. On top of that, even if they had left without him, he would have just shot them a text saying that he was left behind, and they could have taken it from there. It did not need to be that dramatic, and it certainly would not have happened twice, let alone again to a completely different kid.
6. The Silence Of The Lambs
Jodie Foster could have absolutely used the Internet to find Buffalo Bill. She would have discovered everything about him that much faster had she had that technology. It wouldn’t have been so hard to find everything out about him that way. On top of that, she would have been able to catch Hannibal Lecter at that airport in Bimini. She would have needed a court order to be able to track that phone call she got after she graduated, but she would have been able to do it, which is the important thing. A lot of movies about fighting crime that came before the time of the Internet might not have gone down the way they had if they’d had the Internet, actually. This movie is basically standing in for all of those movies that could also make this list.
5. The Talented Mr. Ripley
This is one of those movies where the entire premise falls apart with the Internet. All Dickie’s dad would have had to do is put Ripley’s name through Google. Failing that, chances are if Ripley had actually gone to school with his son, they’d be Facebook friends. Not only would his dad not have been keeping an eye out for his son’s school friends in real life when he could simply look on social media, Dickie would have known from social media that Matt Damon looks nothing like Jude Law. Regardless of how well Matt Damon was able to get involved in his life, he’s not that talented.
4. The Breakfast Club
Who doesn’t love The Breakfast Club? Sadly, this is another one of those movies that might not have happened if the Brat Pack had had the Internet. Five teenagers in completely different social circles, left alone in a room for hours with nothing to do? They’d be on their social networking sites faster than the teacher could leave the room. Sure, they might end up getting each other’s Instagram accounts at the end of the day, and maybe they’d talk a little bit, but they might not have had the cathartic conversations that they’d had throughout the movie if they’d been focused on beating the next Candy Crush level.
That’s actually kind of a sad thought, but a happier thought is that if the kids had actually put down their phones and had the same conversations, and the day ended with them writing the same letter, they might have had those conversations with the Internet in mind. Regardless of labels or social standing, the Internet affects us all in different ways, and that would have been evident in the movie.
For one, if Jack Nicholson had had the Internet, it would not have taken him the whole movie to figure out that John Huston is the guy he’s looking for. For another, he would have done a quick search and found out that Diane Ladd actually wasn’t Faye Dunaway, and he wouldn’t have been surprised by that little revelation. The whole movie is about water rights and shady developers, which the Internet would have latched onto really quickly. There would have been Twitter campaigns and memes circulating throughout social media, which would have eliminated the need for a private detective in the first place. Without Jack Nicholson, there wouldn’t have been a Chinatown.
2. Play Misty For Me
This movie would barely have gotten off the ground if Clint Eastwood had had the Internet and modern technology. Think about it: Jessica Walter would never have gotten the chance to call Clint Eastwood creepily asking him to play “Misty” over and over again, because Clint Eastwood would have been smart and put her on the no-call list, which was not an option in 1971, when the movie was made. That would have been good for Eastwood’s character, but very bad for his future directorial career, since this was the movie that jump-started this part of his career. If not for this movie, we might not have had the rest of his directorial filmography, and that would be disappointing.
1. Romeo + Juliet
No matter how you feel about Baz Luhrmann’s later films, you probably have to agree that Romeo + Juliet is a great movie, and it really is. It modernizes one of the most famous Shakespearian plays while still keeping the original dialogue, which is no small feat. However, the movie was modernized for its 1990s audience, not today’s audience of Internet users. Sure, it was cool to see the swords and knives turn into guns for this movie, but imagine how useful it would have been for poor Romeo if he’d known that Juliet was faking? A lot would have been different if Friar Lawrence had simply shot Romeo a DM or a text saying “hey bro, Juliet’s faking her death to save your marriage, don’t worry about her” when everything was happening with her. That way, we would have gotten a lot less dramatics in the crypt, and Romeo wouldn’t have offed himself with seconds before Juliet woke up. Sure, that would have made for a very anticlimactic tragedy, but it would have kept everyone alive. Also, with the Internet, Mercutio’s fabulousness would have been immortalized on YouTube, and he probably wouldn’t have died, either. Now that’s the real tragedy.