On July 19, 2023

The Movie Diary: First and foremost

 

The internet is quite a place, even though it isn’t really a place at all. Over the years, I’ve watched it morph from a little known tech speciality to a worldwide phenomenon. And while I originally viewed it as the answer to all life’s problems, I now question whether we’d be better off without it. 

I remember visiting the neighbor of a friend when I was 12 or 13 years old. The kid we visited was sort of dorkish, with thick glasses and gigantic ears. I had met him before, during impromptu neighborhood baseball games, and wasn’t impressed. At that age, if you weren’t athletic, I wasn’t interested in hanging around you. 

However, on this occasion, the kid showed us a computer program that he’d written (I was amazed that he even had a computer, forget that he’d figured out a way to control it). I don’t remember what his little piece of software code did, but it was slick enough that my entire opinion of the kid changed. In my mind, he went from a hapless geek to a full-fledged genius in minutes.

After that, I was always curious about computers and their potential. 

For the most part, I was an early adopter during the computer and internet boom. I always kept my ears open to the newest tech trends and when it sounded right, I’d jump in with a mild investment, whether that was a new computer, scanner, or interesting gadget.

I was one of the first people in my friend-group who got the internet at home. I had seen a kid at a party playing around on it and decided I wanted in (this was just before AOL became the “big thing”). My first impression was one of mild disappointment, mostly because of the time spent waiting, which tended to dull the allure of having global information at your fingertips. 

One summer, while at a wedding in Cape Cod, I got invited to a golf outing with several of the groom’s friends, most of whom I didn’t know. I got matched up in my cart with a guy from New York who was loud and boisterous. He was also a bit of a braggart, so he spent most of our time together doing the talking.

At one point, I asked what he did for a job. He replied that he was working for a tech start-up called Google. I nearly laughed out loud—I mean, how could any company survive with a name like Google? When he told me that it was a search engine, I argued that nothing was going to dethrone Web Crawler and that he might want to find another company to work for.

I’ve never forgotten that round of golf and have often wondered if that guy ended up a gazillionaire.

I was also one of the first people I knew who joined Amazon.com, which was in 1997. The first thing I purchased on Amazon was the book, “Wealth Without Risk” by Charles Givens. I bought the book for my wife since she was always worried about money, thinking Mr. Givens’ tips might alleviate some of her financial concerns. 

Prior to that, I was buying CDs from an online retailer called CDNow in 1995. By 1997 that company was worth a billion dollars, but within a couple years they were acquired by Amazon for a fraction of that thanks to the dot-com bust. 

I was definitely one of the first people I knew to buy an Apple iPad. I’d been following the buzz surrounding Apple’s secretive product for over a year and in that time built up major anticipation. Most predictions reported that Apple was going to release some type of tablet device, and given what I knew, I was pretty sure I had to have one.

I shelled out the money as soon as they became available and then flaunted the device to anyone who would listen, claiming that, one day, everyone would own one (I’m pretty sure I was responsible for one or two sales).

Well, this past weekend I had another first: I went to the very first showing of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1.” I went to the first show not because I’m a nutty “Mission Impossible” fan, but because it was raining and I had nothing else to do. 

The latest installment of the Tom Cruise mega-series is more of what you’d expect from the heralded franchise: non-stop action and adventure. “Dead Reckoning Part One” does not disappoint on that front, offering an endless array of death-defying stunts and unlikely tech scenarios.

Of course, the storyline driving the film is a bit contrived, but none of that seems to matter when you’re busy being thrust from one intense moment to the next. 

You gotta hand it to Tom Cruise­—the guy knows how to entertain, and how to take calculated risks. I’m easily bored by this genre of film, but in this case, even I was smitten.

Check this one out if you have 150 minutes to kill and feel like having your adrenaline spiked.

A stimulating “B” for “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” now playing in theaters everywhere.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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