Hindsight is 20/20, especially when discussing movies that deal with bleeding-edge technology, so it takes a year or ten to determine what films prove relevant versus the ones that just seem to be terrible. Well, we don’t have the luxury of hindsight (yet) for very recent films, but that won’t stop us from making fun of older films that got the technology all wrong, misapplied it, or are just too cheesy to let of the hook, even if their technological assumptions aren’t so bad.
There are a number of technological films that have stood the test of time (Sneakers, The Matrix), but they’re few and far between. For the most part, these films are relatively thoughtless cash-ins on the zeitgeist, as you’ll see from the entrants on this list.
In Masterminds, kids are hacking into secure networks. (I promise the reason behind their hacking doesn’t warrant mentioning.) The entirety of this film treats hacking like a game or contest, a playful nuisance that companies don’t take seriously.
Case in point: This clip, which shows that the network has found an illegal intruder in its network. Rather than terminating the connection with the hacker, the system inexplicably gives him two minutes to find a valid entry into the server. Because hackers deserve a second chance immediately after being caught.
And though the site does try to track the location of the hacker, it kindly informs the hacker of this fact as well. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but these types of movies rarely do.
Didn’t you know that most computer experts look like Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie? They totally do. Also, it wouldn’t be a cliché hacker movie (it’s called Hackers, after all) if the characters didn’t use handles like Acid Burn, The Plague, The Phantom Phreak, and Cereal Killer. Hot stuff.
While there are many unbelievable moments in the film that subscribes to the adage “Hackers can do anything at all, because everything is tied to computers,” what takes the cake is the last hack in the film. While relaxing on a building rooftop, the hackers look out at the Manhattan skyline and see the words “crash and burn” spelled out in building windows. That’s a pretty silly use of time and energy. Also, it’s completely f*cking impossible.