One thing I love to do for a good laugh is watch old hacker movies. Nothing gives me more of a chuckle than seeing Hollywood try to make editing code look cool. And, it’s always some young, nerdy, hipster type who’s able to come through at the last second — doing some remedial task that looks awesome as hell — and save the day.
So, as I was thinking about these ridiculous movie scenarios I figured I’d take a minute to write about my top three favorite hacker movies of all time. Ready? Here we go!
NUMBER 1 — The Net:
A ridiculously cheesy movie, The Net does its best to make hacking look both boring and exciting at the same time. Sandra Bullock plays an entrepreneurial hacker who spends her days debunking code and helping others “code-out” their kinks in their faulty programming. Meanwhile, a ruthless villain focuses on her to stop messing with the internet or else she’ll be done.
It’s a pretty basic Hollywood storyline with all the twists and turns you’d expect from a summer blockbuster. But, watching her solve complicated issues with nothing more than an internet connection and a 3.5″ floppy disk, it’s pretty clear that making the mundane look interesting must have been a fun task for those early animators of the 90s.
So, if you’re looking for a fun film with a up-and-coming movie star, check out The Net.
NUMBER 2 — Antitrust:
Okay, here’s the gist. You have a computer genius, played by Ryan Phillippe, who lives with his girlfriend (Claire Forlani), that is seduced by a nerdy coworker (Rachael Leigh Cook), after being recruited by the fearless Tim Robbins just to learn that his code is being used to hack the internet and takeover the world. Crazy, right?
Alright, I’ll admit that this one is actually pretty good. It’s like they told Tim Robbins to pretend to be a mix between a smart Bill Gates and a savvy Steve Jobs and run with it. Combined with murder, intrigue and a series of toss and turns to have you guessing who’s the bad guy, or girl, the entire time.
The beauty about this film is, they seek help from some good old-fashioned TV satellites to help save the day. Pretty smart, Philippe. Pretty smart. Check out the trailer for Antitrust below and give it a watch the next time you’re bored during quarantine.
NUMBER 3 — Hackers:
Yes, Hackers. Angelina Jolie, plus Mathew Lillard, plus Johnny Lee Miller equals an amazingly fun, and funny, hacker movie! These clowns run a muck around Manhattan, on roller blades mind you, hacking into everything like a couple of cowboys in the old west. And to top it off, you also have Fisher Stevens post his role as the fun loving, brown-faced friend of the one and only Johnny 5 in Short Circuit. It’s simply wonderful!
Now, the premise goes that a mastermind (Fisher Stevens) creates a virus to capsize five oil tankers and blames it on these kids. But, through their wit and tenacity, they’re able to unite an entire city of hackers to come together and undermine his master plan. With a lot of early 90s graphics and a decent a sound track, you are immediately brought into a world that comes off as way more glamorous than it is in real life.
Nonetheless, Hackers is a definitely a movie that’s worth the watch if just to laugh at the cheesy, out-dated graphics.
Well, there you have it. Three of my favorite hacking movies of all time. If you agree with my picks, awesome! If not, let me know in the comments below. Would love to hear your thoughts.