We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
I refuse to sign up for instant messaging for the same reason I won't carry a cell phone: Don't call me, I'll call you. The characters in Jed Weintrob's "On_Line" are on call more or less all the time, living their barren lives in cyberspace, where the members of a suicide Webcam chat are bored, as they wait around for someone to overdose. The film's redeeming feature is that it knows how sad these people are, and finds the correct solution to their problems: They meet in the flesh.
The movie stars Josh Hamilton and Harold Perrineau as John and Moe, roommates who run an online sex site named InterconX. It's a little like the real-life iFriends.com; on screens that display simultaneous cybercams, its members flirt, chat, engage in virtual sex and charge for interaction. So mesmerized is John by this process that he follows, on another screen, a 24-hour live cam where Angel (Liz Owens) lives her life in public view.
This can get to be a way of life. I have a friend who became so obsessed with one woman's Webcam that he kept its window constantly open on his desktop, no doubt getting up in the night to check that she was sleeping well. This is the geek equivalent of looking in on the kids. And at Sundance 1999, I saw "Home Page," a documentary about a pioneering online blogger (as they were not called then) named Justin Hall, whose life seemed to be lived just so he could report on it.
That would also describe John, who keeps his own online journal in which he sighs about the emptiness of his existence and the futility of it all, and whose sex life at one point is reduced to masturbating not into his own sock, which would be pathetic enough, but into his roommate's.