Posted by: Jack | February 13, 2007

Man of the Year

This movie tells the fictional story of Jon Stewart running for, and being elected as, president of the United States. Except rather than ruin any chance of this actually happening in the future by using Jon Stewart as himself they used Robin Williams and gave the character a different name.

So this movie gets going seeming as if its going to have a strong and relevant message to convey about the so called “cookie cutter” politicians, lobbyists, and the democratic process in general. But right when you think the message is going to start coming across, the plot jumps off the track and turns into a troubled romance story dealing with issues of trust. Then they throw in a childish attempt at bashing technology’s role in our lives, claiming that a “glitch” in a new electronic voting system causes the candidate with a last name which contains a pair of letters occuring earliest in the alphabet to be elected regardless of actual votes.

Now I know its not really relevant but having done my share of programming I have to confront this issue. First and foremost, an application which tallies votes is extremely simplistic algorithmically. There is literally no difference between the way such a program operates and tossing a bead in a jar labeled with your chosen candidates name. Any sophistication in a voting application will occur on the side of security and deal with issues such as ensuring one vote per person and having plenty of double-checking to ensure any inaccuracies are discovered. Next problem is that an error such as the one in this movie would be caught in the first few minutes of testing and a mission-critical application like this would be tested by every conceivable method. Even non-programmers can understand how simple this would be. To test the program one would come up with a sample set of votes which you have manually counted and therefore know what the correct outcome should be. Then when the correct outcome does not occur you’ve found an error. Thats it. Most aggrivating of all ridiculous flaws in this “glitch” is the idea that the outcome could be altered based on the candidates name. Like I said before, the program would operate just like throwing a bead in a jar. If each jar is labeled correctly and people throw their beads in their intended jars, yet the bead-counter-manual says that after all votes are cast, beads should be discarded and the winner should be determined based on name, then no election has occurred. This is why any bead-counter-manual would simply say “count the beads”. End tangent.

Continuing with the movie plot, it then meanders aimlessly for about a half hour seemingly lost and grabbing in random directions hoping to snag some sort of wrap-up. But alas, it fails and finishes the movie with a weakly disguised narrative which sort of ties everything together and tries once again to convey a message.

Normally I wouldn’t bother criticizing such a poor movie but I was just so dissappointed that this one could start off on a very real, current and serious subject matter but then just abandon it entirely, making no further attempt to salvage a worthwhile concept.

Rating: 3 out of 10. All 3 points are received for good acting and nothing else.

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Responses

  1. […] post by Read What I’ve Got to Say and software by Elliott Back Posted 12 Feb, 2007 | Categories: […]


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