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File:1992 - The Lawnmower Man small 1882.jpg
"I am God here!"
Jobe Smith

A 1992 movie starring Pierce Brosnan and Jeff Fahey. It was directed by Brett Leonard. Brosnan plays Dr. Lawrence Angelo, who works for Virtual Space Industries developing a intellect-enhancing program known as Project 5, which increases the intelligence of chimpanzees using drugs and virtual reality.

One of the chimps goes on a rampage with a gun through the lab, which causes Angelo to leave and start a new life elsewhere. He soon meets Jobe Smith (played by Jeff Fahey), a mentally handicapped lawnmower man, whose guardian is an abusive priest named Father McKeen. Jobe is also friends with Peter, Angelo's neighbors' young son.

Angelo decides he would like to continue his studies of intelligence enhancement, but without needing to apply it for military purposes. He realizes that he needs a human subject, and that Jobe would be the perfect candidate.

Angelo convinces Jobe to be the subject of his experiments, telling him it will make him smarter. Within a short time, Jobe's intelligence begins to show an increase, and Angelo takes Jobe to his lab to continue the experiments there.

Soon Jobe notices that he can manipulate objects with his mind, as well as hear the thoughts of others. The project director, under guidance of The Shop, replaces Angelo's new medication with the original Project 5 aggression drugs.

Jobe's powers and intelligence continue to grow, and he soon takes it upon himself to punish those who wronged him. First he burns Father McKeen to death, followed by torturing a gas station owner named Jake by forcing his brain to be continuously chopped to bits by a lawnmower man with a lawnmower for a mouth [1]. Jobe finishes his revenge by killing Peter's abusive father, by literally mowing him down with a lawnmower. Then he uses his powers to convince the police that the murders were only "bizarre accidents".

Jobe then decides it's time for him ascend to the final level of human evolution, by becoming pure energy within the VSI computer system at the lab. After his ascension, he plans to exit the computer and escape into every system in the world, where his first act will be to make every telephone in the world ring in unison.

The Shop sends a team to capture Jobe, but are quickly defeated by Jobe's immense powers. Jobe returns to the lab, killing the guards along the way before entering the VSI mainframe. Once inside, he finds himself unable to leave, as Angelo has disabled all the connections.

Angelo returns to the lab with Peter and his mother, and heads into the building to plant bombs. Angelo then joins Jobe in the virtual world and argues with him; an angry Jobe overpowers and crucifies him, then enters his mind and finds out about the bombs.

Jobe tries to defuse the bombs, but discovers without his body, he can no longer manipulate objects in the physical world. At that moment, Peter runs into the building. Jobe, still caring about Peter, releases Angelo, and the two run out of the building as it blows up all around them. Seconds before the mainframe can be destroyed, Jobe finds a hidden exit and escapes the computer.

As the film ends, Angelo, Peter, and Peter's mother are all back home, as Angelo contemplates Jobe's death. Suddenly, Angelo's phone begins to ring, followed by another, and another. We cut to see different cities across the globe, as every phone begins to ring at once.

Basically, think Flowers for Algernon meets certian plot elements that you'd later see in Serial Experiments Lain, and you're somewhere on the right track.

The CGI, which was quite impressive at the time, hasn't aged well. Especially Jobe's Digital Avatar, which sometimes enters Uncanny Valley. Then again, the avatar isn't supposed to be photorealistic: it's the self-made A God Am I image of an abused mental-defective who just got superhuman powers from untested military psychotropic drugs. Bizarreness is to be expected.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Peter's father. Father McKeen could fit this trope as well.
  • A God Am I: The original title of the movie was Cyber God, before it was combined with the Stephen King short story, The Lawnmower Man.
  • Anti-Hero: Arguably, Jobe himself.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Phones ringing at the end means Jobe wins...
  • Cyberspace
  • Cyberpunk
  • Digital Avatar
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Lawnmower Man's desired outcome. First the telephone network, then the world!
  • Dumb Is Good: ...and smart is bad
  • Everything Is Online: When Jobe escapes into cyberspace he gains control over every phone in the world.
  • Freak-Out: Jobe after Terry, one of the few people who was ever nice to him, is accidentally killed by guards targeting him.
  • Holographic Terminal: When in cyberspace.
  • In Name Only: This film and Stephen King's original short story are both called The Lawnmower Man, and that's about it. You might think the identical titles are just a coincidence, but apparently not- several promotional posters referred to the film as Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man, at least until the author took legal action (see below).
    • Stephen King actually sued to distance himself from the film. The court actually explicitly forbade New Line Cinema from using Stephen King's name in conjunction with the film and required them to pay him 2.5 million dollars in damages. Not content with the ruling, New Line actually attempted to stealth market the film under the name "Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man" in several major cities. New Line Cinemas was found to be in contempt of court and had to pay King $10,000 per day until they removed his name from all associated product.
      • Strangely enough, King did like the film. It just wasn't his story, which led to the suit.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Jobe and Marnie's sex scene, which unfortunately turns into Mind Rape.
  • Mind Rape: Besides the Jobe and Marnie virtual sex scene that leaves her catatonic when it turns into rape due to Jobe's loss of control over his powers, there is also the scene when Jobe, who's now both more in control of his growing powers and becoming more villainous, psychically unleashes a "Lawnmower Man" inside the head of a bully, purposely rendering him catatonic as well.
  • Psychic Powers
  • Time Bomb: Dr. Angelo had fifteen minutes to escape from the building before it blew up. Plenty of time, but then he went to talk to God Mode Jobe...
  • Title Drop
  • Tron Lines: Jobe gets a pretty Tron like outfit once he starts killing people in the real world.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Could be argued this is what happened to Jobe.
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