Monthly Archives: November 2008

Sneakers (1992) Movie Guide

Sneakers (1992) Movie Poster

Sneakers (1992) Movie Poster

As a graduate school requirement, my wife and I were given the option to create a detailed movie guide. After much time and effort, we have achieved the following movie guide for the 1992 movie, Sneakers starring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, Mary McDonnell, and Ben Kingsley.

Introduction

The activities in this guide align with the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS). Focus areas are in computers, information skills, and technology literacy. This study guide is intended for grades 9 – 12, but can be used with other grade levels. These activities can be modified as needed by the teacher based on student aptitude and prior knowledge. Sneakers is rated PG-13 for brief sexual references.

This movie guide is 17 pages long and follows Gavriel Salomon’s Interaction of Media and Cognition and Learning (1979) model called AIME, the Amount of Invested Mental Energy. Teachers should follow the AIME strategy when implementing this study guide to maximize the educational learning potential and understanding for students.

Movie Overview

Sneakers is a light-hearted heist movie with plenty of comedy and romance about computers, hacking, ethics, government espionage, security, secrets, cryptography, deception, betrayal, and little black boxes. The characters model critical thinking skills and creative thinking about technology. On an ethical level, it’s an account of how computers have changed our daily lives both for the better and for the worse.

Despite the fact that its debut was back in 1992, Sneakers has aged surprisingly well. The surveillance techniques and other technical aspects that appear in the movie can still be found today nearly two decades later. One wonders how this movie got so much so right so early.

Plot Synopsis

Marty is the leader of an unlikely team of professional computer hackers that hire themselves out to company executives in order to test their company security systems. This happens to be a real job called Sneaking (as opposed to Hacking, Cracking, or Phreaking) hence the title.

Based in San Francisco, the team is contacted by two NSA agents who want them to steal a top-secret black box containing a homemade computer chip capable of breaking any secret code. The team decides to accept the job and eventually acquires the black box.

Once they discover what the chip is capable of doing, they become entanglement in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse between the National Security Agency and organized crime who also want possession of the chip. They end up handing the chip over to the wrong people and must recover it to clear their good names and prevent themselves from going to jail inside the high-stakes world of government espionage.

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Is God Constant and Unchanging?

Ever heard the phrase, “All change is not improvement but all improvement requires change”? I see God wanting to bring about a new creation on planet Earth. I don’t see the current world as the culmination of perfection, so I think there is room for improvement.

I hear people occasionally say that God is constant and unchanging. But is this so? If God is 100% constant to the point that he will not or cannot change, then how do we as Christians explain away Exodus 32:14 (quoted here in context)?

7 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

9 “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ” 14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

“Relented” in verse 14 sounds like a “change” word to me. Moses even violated God’s direct commandment to leave Him alone to accomplish His divine wrath in verse 10, but God does not hold it against him.

There are other nebulous passages too like Abraham’s pseudo-sacrifice of Isaac. God told Abraham to kill his son, but stopped him at the last moment. So I don’t think God is 100% constant and unchanging in every situation. God certainly let Moses sway His opinion of the Israelites – though some bible scholars see this as more of a test of Moses than a reflection of God’s personality. Personally, I fail to understand why it must be one or the other. I think this beautifully illustrates both the character of God and Moses’ love for his people. God brought this out by putting Moses in this situation. Thus, I think it’s clear that God is more complex than a mere description of His being constant or unchanging accurately reflects.

Furthermore, until Jesus’ return, I believe God uses human beings to accomplish His will and it is God’s will that I consider improvement. He in fact chose us to partner with him in transforming and restoring our world for Him and to Him. We can do nothing apart from Him, however, but he does use us. Therefore, until Jesus’ return, we are the vessles of change in our world.