Total Nerd Johnny Mnemonic Is Decidedly The Most Bananas Science Fiction Movie Of All Time  

Jacob Shelton
61 votes 26 voters 3.0k views 14 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the weirdest part of Johnny Mnemonic that most makes you think it should have been titled Johnny Moronic.

People have long looked to the movies to define what " the future" looks like. No era did this quite so, um, creatively as '90s sci-fi movies. Some films, like The Matrix, served as a philosophical metaphor about how the future was already happening, while other films, like 12 Monkeys, provided a grim look into what could be. Both are more logical and plausible than the incoherent plot, bad effects, and strange ability of Ice-T to project himself onto any television he chooses portrayed in  Johnny Mnemonic.
 
If you’re a fan of science fiction writer William Gibson then you know that the Johnny Mnemonic movie is completely different than the short story it's based on. It has techno-priests, people with robot arms, and a dolphin that can control the Internet. Such a movie is best viewed in the company of friends, perhaps after a few drinks. Watching Keanu Reeves's  Johnny Mnemonic portrayal is fascinating. Obviously he's aiming for something subversive with his performance, but the outcome is more like a piano with one key. Play it soft or play it loud, you still aren't going to hit a different note.
 
Clear your cache and make room in your memory because there are no firewalls for this cyberattack of  Johnny Mnemonic facts.
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The Film Opens With The Opening Crawl To End All Opening Crawls


The Film Opens With The Openin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Johnny Mnemonic Is Decidedly The Most Bananas Science Fiction Movie Of All Time
Photo: Johnny Mnemonic/Sony

Before the audience even meets Keanu Reeves, before they’re thrust into the dystopian world of Johnny Mnemonic, they’re introduced to a multi-paragraph opening crawl. Despite providing audiences with all the information they need to “understand” Johnny Mnemonic, reading the entire thing will only leads to confusion. The crawl is full of phrases like: LoTeks! Corporate overlords! The Yakuza! Hackers! Black Ice! And it’s all meaningless to an audience that hasn't yet watched the film. No one could be blamed for wanting to give up before they began.

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Henry Rollins's Character Is The Clark Kent Of Bad Guys


Henry Rollins's Character ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Johnny Mnemonic Is Decidedly The Most Bananas Science Fiction Movie Of All Time
Photo: Johnny Mnemonic/Sony

Henry Rollins has famously said something to the effect of if someone is going to pay him to do something he’ll do it, so bless him for taking on the roll of Spider, a jacked ex-corporate doctor. He basically only exists to provide exposition for Johnny and Karl Honig. And also run Honig over with a bus.

While Henry Rollins is not a dummy (he writes poetry for goodness sake), he will eternally look like a meathead. So how did the director of Johnny Mnemonic think he could make Rollins look like a doctor? Big ol’ glasses, of course. It’s not Rollins’s best look.

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Johnny Mnemonic Is Three Stupid Movies For The Price Of One


Johnny Mnemonic Is Three Stupi... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Johnny Mnemonic Is Decidedly The Most Bananas Science Fiction Movie Of All Time
Photo: Johnny Mnemonic/Sony

Do you like Hackers, The Matrix, and Total Recall? Then you might, sort of, kind of, like Johnny Mnemonic. It has all of the computer lingo and bad graphics of Hackers, the Keanu Reeves being plugged into things of The Matrix, and the confusing plot line and confusing action of Total Recall. If that makes you think that Johnny Mnemonic is a wildly all over the place movie then you are right, and it’s amazing.

When the movie isn’t trying to be self-important and say something about corporations being evil and how technology is a drug, it’s actually pretty fun, albeit rather dumb. To be fair, anyone who watches Johnny Mnemonic and expects a trenchant critique on technology is probably wearing a dunce cap.

The biggest drag of the movie is that William Gibson, a genuinely great writer who created the cyberpunk genre, and who has anticipated many of our technological breakthroughs, wrote it. Lets give Gibson the benefit of the doubt and blame everything on the film’s director, Robert Longo, who gave us such screen gems as Megadeth’s video for “Peace Sells.”

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Keanu Reeves’s Tour-De-Force Performance


Keanu Reeves’s Tour-De-Force P... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Johnny Mnemonic Is Decidedly The Most Bananas Science Fiction Movie Of All Time
Photo: Johnny Mnemonic/Sony

Keanu Reeves was on an overacting roll throughout the '90s. He whisper-screamed through Point Break, Speed, The Devil’s Advocate, and The Matrix, but in no film was he tasked with freaking out on top of a pile of trash while a sad-eyed model watches.

Reeves brings his special brand of theatrical skill to such lines as “We have ice,” (said when he’s telling a woman that he has ice) and “It’s a fish,” (when he’s looking at what he presumes to be a fish). His performance reaches a fever pitch after Johnny Mnemonic is almost killed by members of the Yakuza - who have been spending the majority of the film trying to cut off his head - and by a techno-priest played by Dolph Lungdren.

Johnny loses it and starts flailing around on top of a pile of trash screaming about how he wants room service, a cold beer, to have his shirts pressed, and a $10,000 a night hooker. It’s a classic Campbellian moment where the hero denies the call to adventure ¾ of the way through the film. No matter how hard he acts, Reeves never sounds like anything other than Keanu Reeves. Simultaneously charismatic and uniform.