Every time a movie features a hacker, that character is touted as being the world's uberest of all uber hackers. While certain films try to maintain some semblance of reality when it comes to portraying their leet haxors, other movies beg you to completely suspend your disbelief -- arming their geeky geniuses with an array of outlandish talents and tools of the trade. I don't have a particularly nerdy background in computers, so I'm ok with letting this kind of film take me where it wants to -- but there are some instances where the ridiculous segues into the absurd.

Hackers embody some of the worst stereotypes (desperation and mountain dew come to mind) -- all filtered through Hollywood's movie-magic machine (which is the only place on Earth where anyone would buy someone like Ryan Phillippe as a computer wizard ... ), making it clear that most screenwriters have only a rudimentary understanding of computer culture. Well, thank goodness for that, because it means we can now talk about seven of the most horribly hilarious "hackers" ever to grace the big screen.


Hacker: Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman)

Oh Stanley. You're an embittered, elite hacker (rated by Hacker Magazine even!) who gets caught, tossed in prison for a few years and upon release you're told that you're forbidden to touch a computer again. Not only that but your daughter has been taken away by your porny wife and you would do anything to get her back. So what do you do to ensure this happens? You work for a smarmy anti-terrorist terrorist with a bad haircut who tests you by using one of his arsenal of skanks to give you a blow job while you try to hack a computer with a gun to your head. You're also easily swayed by Halle Berry's breasts and her various references to ball bearings. Yep, this ridiculous techno-thriller just reeks of nerdy sexual frustration (don't they all in some way though?). There's also lots of pseudo pensive encryption/decrypting chatter and the word algorithm is misspelled as "Algorhythm".

Independence Day

Hacker: David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum)

So, an alien race invades Earth and Jeff Goldblum creates a virus from his PowerBook (the amount of Apple product on display in this film is out of control) that disables the mothership computer. Which is more ridiculous: that the centuries old alien technology wasn't able to figure out how to thwart a virus in all that time, or that they want you to believe that the alien (being the key word here) mothership is Mac compatible? Hey Jeff Goldblum, why don't you just write virus code on paper and hope to infect a real computer.

Johnny Mnemonic

Hacker: Jones (a dolphin)

It's a shame that a decent William Gibson story was turned into such a terrible movie. Keanu Reeves is a data courier who takes on a gig transporting data from Beijing but the upload is too much for his head and hilarity ensues -- mainly because the idea that Keanu Reeves could possibly have too much information stored in his brain is laughable. In one scene, Johnny is rescued by Molly, who tries to help him clear his head by taking him to an amusement park where he meets Jones, a navy dolphin who has been transformed into a jacked up cyborg who hacks into Johnny's brain. The best reason to watch this movie is to debate who is the better actor -- a heroin-addicted dolphin or Dolph Lundgren who plays a cyborg priest.


Hacker: Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming)

I love Alan Cumming but he's really annoying in Goldeneye as the nefarious Russian programmer, Boris. He says things like, "I am invincible!" and is a habitual pen clicker. All our suffering is rewarded, however, when Grishenko is drenched in liquid nitrogen and becomes frozen in the most awkward position ever. It's almost funnier than the idea that Alan Cumming was cast as a horny straight guy.

Jurassic Park

Hacker: Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight)

Newman is an obnoxious computer hacker and quite the disgruntled one too. He is bribed for a lousy million to deliver frozen dinosaur embryos to InGen's rival. In order to do so he shuts down the park's security system which in turn lets the humungoid T-Rex free -- oops. When the chief engineer (Samuel L. Jackson) tries to break into Nedry's computer to bring the system back online, all his attempts are denied and the computer next to him suddenly comes to life with an animated pic of Nedry saying "Uh uh uh! You didn't say the magic word!"

Weird Science

Hackers: Garry Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Iian Mitchell-Smith)

Sure the reason why two nerdy high school kids hack into a government computer are pretty genius (Kelly LeBrock is a total babe in that movie), but the method which the friends use to create a living, breathing woman of their dreams is totally ridiculous. Not only do they wear bras strapped to their heads, but there's a mock voodoo doll, candles and lots of chanting. It's like occult hacking 101. It's hard to find a 1985 John Hughes film where computers were still shrouded in mystery anything but charming.


Hacker: Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford)

Harrison Ford stars as a security expert who works for a bank, but becomes the victim of an embezzlement scheme that could cost him his family. The film takes itself seriously enough, until we arrive at the scene where he hooks his daughter's iPod up to a scanner, tapes it to a computer screen and then expects us to believe it's taking pictures of bank record accounts. He tops that off with the line, "10000 songs, 10000 accounts, it won't know the difference."
categories Cinematical