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Around the World in 80s Movies Podcast

Electric Dreams (1984) | Steve Barron

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A San Francisco-based architect named Miles Harding buys a new computer to help him stay organized and on schedule, as well as to assist in the design of a brick that will hold a building together through an earthquake. Realizing that it has the potential to streamline everything in his life, Miles uses it to control everything in his apartment, providing a security system, making his coffee, and turning on and off his lights. Miles wants to give it more power, tapping it into a major information source to download as much as it can take. Unfortunately, when the computer overheats, Miles pours champagne into the computer's circuits, causing it to malfunction in a strange way. It begins to think on its own, without directive – a self-aware being that shows an interest in music, humanity, and what it is like to feel love.

Miles's new upstairs neighbor is a beautiful concert cellist named Madeline Robistat. One day while practicing a concert piece on the cello, Madeline hears music from downstairs accompanying her.  Madeline assumes this musician must be Miles, making her want to get to know him better. Miles also develops a crush on Madeline, but he's so romantically inexperienced, he turns to his sentient computer to help out. However, the computer learns about love and then also begins to fall for her. This kicks off a battle of wills, as the device meant to organize Miles's life is set to destroy it for getting in the way of its desire to achieve love.

Starring Lenny von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen. Directed by Steve Barron.

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