MovieChat Forums > Contact (1997) Discussion > Why is everybody in this movie stupid?

Why is everybody in this movie stupid?


I had to stop watching after Foster had to explain prime numbers to an adult.

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That was at least partly a device for explaining it to the viewers of the film.

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Because AUDIENCE is stupid, and needs exposition.

I wish movies were made that didn't underestimate the audience's intelligence, and didn't need any stupid exposition like that.

Anyway, my question is, HOW MANY PHONE LINES does that friggin' Ellie have?

First she's using a modem to receive a picture, then someone calls her, while she's still using the modem (the modem didn't seem to hang up). THEN, someone sends her a fax, WHILE SHE IS ON THE PHONE.

She has at least THREE phone lines, but for what?

Why would a hag like that have _THREE_ phone lines? Sure, it's handy to have a dedicated phone line for a fax, and another for a modem, but come on; this was 1997 (possibly slightly earlier in the movie), and phone lines were pretty expensive back then. You wouldn't get them unless you ABSOLUTELY needed them, and not always even then.

A woman like that certainly wouldn't have (or have time to) had three friggin' phone lines JUST for the tiny convenience bonus of being able to be on the phone while using the fax machine and modem!

No, she would do like the rest of us did back then; use ONE phone line for it all. Unless she really needed a separate line for the fax machine (a fax machine isn't something you use all the time anyway - and a FAXModem existed back then, which means, you could actually use your modem to receive and send faxes!), she would have a certain time, when she'd keep her phone line clear for the fax machine - then she would just use the modem and telephone separately - whenever she needed to talk, she would log off from the internet, and when she needed to use the internet, she wouldn't be using the phone.

By the way, why do women have such fragile egos that they need to be PRAISED in every single movie? "Clever girl!" <- this type of remarks are peppered everywhere in movies. I never see men complimented that way. Even Neo in The Matrix (the most powerful man in the world, a SUPERman!) was never told he's somehow clever or interesting human being, or anything. He was just told that he's the one.

But women are constantly praised. I don't get it. Aren't we supposed to be equal?

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By the way, why do women have such fragile egos that they need to be PRAISED in every single movie? "Clever girl!" <- this type of remarks are peppered everywhere in movies. I never see men complimented that way. Even Neo in The Matrix (the most powerful man in the world, a SUPERman!) was never told he's somehow clever or interesting human being, or anything. He was just told that he's the one.

But women are constantly praised. I don't get it. Aren't we supposed to be equal?


Keep in mind that the original novel and then the screenplay were written by men, so their depiction of women doesn't have anything to do with how actual women think or behave.

But who says the line "clever girl"? I'm remembering it as Drumlin, who constantly undercuts Arroway, taking credit for her discoveries and cutting her off every time she speaks to the President's council and other groups. Did you not notice that? I think this was done intentionally not just because it actually happens, but to set up Arroway's personality.

So, how could you watch this movie and miss all of the misogyny, and be left with the sense that women are constantly being praised? If I'm right that Drumlin spoke the line, he wasn't actually praising her, he was infantilizing her.

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Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"--Pres. Merkin Muffley

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Who says "Clever girl"? Well, aside from big game hunter Robert Muldoon (played by Bob Peck) in 1993's 'Jurassic Park' to the velociraptor he's stalking, I seem to recall S.R. Haddon saying this to Ellie sometime around the time he's showing her the ETs' hidden message in his flying limo. Although I could be wrong about that. It's been awhile since I've watched this great science movie.

BTW, I love your sig. One of my all-time favorite movie lines.

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Clever girl is ok imo. Same as saying - smart man or smart boy or something like that.

Just an expression lauding their intellect.

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When Hadden said "Clever Girl" he was doing a Hannibal Lecter impersonation. There might have been something about someone saying that to Jodi Foster in another movie. It's very common for filmmakers to include things like that, and it wasn't difficult to pick up on.

Now you know why they think audiences are stupid.

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You have to remember that her house/room is at the VLA, a dedicated government funded research facility, and, as such, likely had T1(or digital signal 1) type or faster telecommunications access.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Signal_1

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see

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The audience is stupid. I'd be willing to bet that less than 25% of the American movie-going public would know what a prime number is.

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That and because they refused to believe Ellie word... purely of the fact that THEY BUILT THE FRIGGIN WORMHOLE MACHINE... it's clearly not man designed. It was messing with gravity... just for the peace of my mind i'll assume everyone believed it even though it seemed like not. The 18 hour static recorded in a few seconds of that device falling is a proof in itself but thats ignored is the damn machine itself... which is ridiculous.

The increase in human knowledge is the cause of the decline of religions.

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Dr. Sagan was not stupid.

He was ahead of his time...

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She wasn't explaining prime numbers to an adult, she was explaining it to a politician. Politicians are among the dumbest people in human history and routinely need the simplest of things explained to them. See: climate change for proof.

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Hadden fooled the entire worlds governments into forking over $1/2 trillion for nothing! Pretty stupid isn't it? Stupid that those governments never figured out that Hadden owned virtually every contractor used to build that machine. Hadden managed to give the entire world the middle finger salute.

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You would be surprised at how many adults don't know what prime numbers are.

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I think she was being sarcastic. Like implying that these people are stupid that she has to explain it like they were five.

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To me it wasn't so much she was being sarcastic as she was being condescending. I felt throughout the whole movie she was very rude and condescending to people. It made it hard to feel bad for her during the times when negative things were happening to her and made her unlikable. When she mentioned prime numbers and the guy said "I don't get it." To me he wasn't saying he doesn't get prime numbers, but that he didn't get where she was going with it. Hence the looks all three of them gave her after her unnecessary explanation. They all have a look of "are you serious right now?"

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Scientists and atheists DO believe people who believe in God are delusional, and with that discard anything they may have to say about experiencing "something real" when it comes to God, as Dr. Arroway said of her experiences. When she was asked to prove love (which cannot be proven as it is not something concrete), she could not. She brought back no proof of her journey, and was easily discredited (save the 18 hours of static she recorded). She found no proof of God because of her unbelief. But God does say there is proof, and He tells us to prove Him. And he offers proof. Just because she was ignorant of that does not mean proof doesn't exist.

As for prime numbers...well...many people may not remember that that is and the significance of it. The movie was not meant to appeal only to scientists and mathematicians, or people who like math and remember that. I will wager many people don't remember for long after graduating high school when required math is done unless they utilize that in some way. If you are not a Historian, how much do you remember? They explained something to the audience because when the technical is explained, it lends plausibility with the audience. Remember, this is entertainment, not a course. They want the audience along for the ride. You want them to put aside belief in what is NOT available and have you go along with them saying alien contact IS available.

What I felt was stupid was Dr. Arroway getting all tearful just thinking about "being all alone" in the great universe. Why, I sobbed about that every night! I kept thinking there is not one person watching this movie who feels all alone because they have not made alien contact. Dumb. No one feels alone for a stupid reason like that. Except her. And really, it was because she was all alone in the earth.

The contradiction in her speech about if there isn't other intelligent life in the rest of the universe, then it is a waste of space, sounds like "someone is wasting it" (hint: God), since life doesn't spring forth due to an abundance of space. Her logic alone would indicate God is wasting the universe. Space of itself cannot be wasted just because no other intelligent life exists out there. So a good reason to argue the existence of God (the chances of one mutation after the next coming up with something as incredible as the human ear alone, let alone all of life on planet earth, would be more like numbers we are unaware of (who knows what comes after trillions to one)?

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