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A Beginner's Guide To The Internet

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A Beginner's Guide To The Internet

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John Turturro, in what could very well be his most challenging and rewarding role to date, stars in the imaginatively titled A Beginner's Guide To The Internet as a former-teacher-turned-aspiring-stand-up-comedian and vocal proponent of the Lycos search engine whose car breaks down in a small Pennsylvania town. Booting up his laptop in the middle of a homey diner, Turturro and his fancy computer are first gazed upon with horror and suspicion by the town's feeble-minded, technophobic residents. Turturro soon wins them over, however, by showing them how they can, among other things, use Lycos—which not so coincidentally produced A Beginner's Guide To The Internet—to look up the website of Blockbuster Video, the tape's distributor. Before you can say "corporate synergy," the simple people of rural Pennsylvania have embraced modern-day technology and are soon extolling the virtues of the Internet with zealous enthusiasm. Essentially a 25-minute Lycos infomercial mixed with some not-very-convincing evangelizing on behalf of the world wide web—with just a tiny smidgen of actual advice on how to use the Internet thrown in—A Beginner's Guide is at least partially redeemed by a bold lead performance by Turturro, who conveys his character's almost transcendental love of the Lycos search engine with subtlety, dignity, and an almost messianic fervor.