How Unplugging Can Improve Your Life And Save Humanity, As Told By The Movies

03/06/2014 10:24 am ET | Updated Mar 06, 2014

At this point, we've all come to accept that our relationship with technology -- from our mobile devices to our tablets to our computers -- is of the love/hate variety. We love having the ability to connect easily with anyone at any time, but we hate the idea of being tethered to our devices for sustenance, at the expense of actually living in the moment. Fortunately, we have the National Day of Unplugging to help, urging us to put down our phones, computers and tablets for a 24-hour period, from sundown on Friday, March 7 to sundown on Saturday, March 8, so that we can remember what it's like to live a life -- or at least a full day -- without the constant cold comfort of the online world. If the existence of this Sabbath-style holiday, however, isn't enough to make you reconsider the perils of our over-reliance on technology, these movies just might. Here are eight films that illustrate the benefits of unplugging, from improving your quality of life to saving humanity from a technology-driven apocalypse.

That work email can wait

Prada

Unplugging doesn't necessarily mean you have to throw your phone in the garbage (or in the case of "The Devil Wears Prada," a nearby fountain), but it can act as a helpful reminder that not every email, text, tweet and instant message from the office needs an immediate response, especially if you want to retain your sanity and appreciate, you know, the actual world.

Phones are not better than people...

Her

"Her," Spike Jonze's recent film about a man who falls in love with his operating system (which happens to have the voice of Scarlett Johansson), made techno-love look really appealing ... until it wasn't. One of the film's many lessons: it's flesh-and-blood friends that will be there for you when things get tough, not an iPhone.

...and real adventures are better than virtual ones

Mitty

In "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty is the kind of person who sits in his house and refreshes eHarmony. His profile is lacking because he's never really done anything. Naturally, things pick up when he steps away from the computer and outside of his own head and starts having actual adventures. You don't have to fight off a shark in icy, Icelandic waters to make the most of this year's Day of Unplugging, but there are plenty of other ways to be more present in your life that don't put you at risk of being eaten alive.

Intimacy requires an actual interaction

Don Jon

In Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon," the title character's entire relationship with the opposite sex is defined by the Internet. It isn't until he's forced to face his intimacy issues that Jon is able to step away from the computer, a good lesson for everyone to heed, if only to further the ability of the human race to procreate.

As does family time

This Is 40

Not everyone wants to unplug, as illustrated by Maude Apatow's awesome meltdown in Judd Apatow's "This Is 40." But sometimes the best family moments happen when we put our screens away.

Because if you surrender to the spell of digital distraction...

walle

The Pixar classic "Wall-E" is a movie about a nice robot who's looking for love... until it becomes a movie about what happens to the human race after we become lazy and complacent and allow our bodies and minds to atrophy. This is the cautionary tale that warned us about Google Glass before Google Glass was even a thing.

... things could end up like this:

T2

As James Cameron's "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" showed us, when technology gets angry at people, that's bad for everyone.

Or worse: like this:

the matrix

Ok, slight exaggeration. There's very little chance we'll all end up inside "The Matrix." Just something to think about. Happy National Day of Unplugging!

Matrix

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