In celebration of this momentous occasion, I’m republishing below some reflections I had on tumblr comparing The Net and Hackers, which will also be celebrating its twentieth anniversary later this year on September 15th.


For those looking for 1995’s opinion on the internet, look no further than Hackers and The Net! I remember both of these movies as being influential in my eventual computer addiction, although my family wouldn’t get its first computer until 1996 and the internet until 1998. The Net probably has played a bigger role, since I kind of have a thing for Sandra Bullock and I’ve hidden a Pi symbol in about half of all my personal websites.

Some observations

  • Both of these movie’s plots revolve around viruses copied to floppy disks
  • Hackers seems incredibly dated now due to their fawning over “2800 kbps modems” and “crispy” screens with “millions” of colors
  • The things in The Net that were meant to make Sandra Bullock’s character look like a techno freak (ordering a pizza online, booking a flight online, etc) are so commonplace now as to be meaningless. Were those things even possible in 1995? (Google tells me  as of 1994 you could order Electronic Pizza on the Internet Pizza Server)
  • Neither movie really portrays anything near a realistic representation of what interacting with a computer is like, but I think The Net’s random typing of characters into dialog boxes feels more suspenseful than flying through black and green cybertowers while pounding techno music plays
  • The Net begins with the under secretary of defense, an ultra conservative homophobe, killing himself because he’s been diagnosed with HIV (Though it’s later revealed that his diagnosis was hacked into in some computer system and changed, making way for the government’s purchase of the Gatekeeper security system)
  • Hackers begins with an 8 year old being arrested by the FBI
  • One of the driving forces in Hackers is a bet between z3r0_c00l and Angelina Jolie about who’s a more 1337 h4xx0r. Loser has to wear a dress on their date.
  • One of the driving forces in The Net is Sandra Bullock hiding from men, then agreeing to see men, only to have them try to kill her or else be killed
  • Zero Cool “[c]rashed fifteen hundred and seven computers in one day[.] Biggest crash in history, front page New York Times August 10th, 1988.”
  • Sandra Bullock kills a man by unbuckling his seatbelt and crashing the car he’s driving. She kills the movie’s main villain by hitting him with a fire extinguisher and knocking him off a catwalk.
  • Zero Kewl hacks his school’s sprinkler system, causing all the students to get wet
  • Sandra Bullock hacks her employer’s office fire alarm system, causing everyone to leave the building
  • Angelina Jolie in Hackers runs to z3ro_c00l, begging for his help in Hacking teh Gibson
  • After hearing a Pierce Brosnan rip-off order a Gibson on the beach in Mexico, Sandra Bullock decides she, too, will have the Gibson
  • The climatic scene of The Net involves Sandra Bullock’s character running through an AIDS Memorial March and a computer convention in San Francisco
  • The climatic scene of Hackers involves some teenagers with their laptops plugged into payphones at Grand Central Station in New York
  • The Net’s happy ending is Sandra Bullock wearing a dress while her mother with Alzheimer’s plants flowers in her garden
  • Hackers’s happy ending is two teenagers having sex in a pool

Memorable Quotes on Internet Privacy

“Just think about it. Our whole world is sitting there on a computer. It’s in the computer, everything: your, your DMV records, your, your social security, your credit cards, your medical records. It’s all right there. Everyone is stored in there. It’s like this little electronic shadow on each and everyone of us, just, just begging for someone to screw with, and you know what? They’ve done it to me, and you know what? They’re gonna do it to you.” -Sandra Bullock, The Net

“FYI man, alright. You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That’s a typo. Orwell is here now. He’s livin’ large. We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless!” Cereal Killer (Matthew Lillard), Hackers

Memorable Quotes on Women’s Lib

“Butch, beautiful, brilliant, Captain America meets Albert Schweitzer. Spends all day dashing into fray while making world safe for democracy; at night playing Bach cantatas while curing cancer.” -Sandra Bullock describing what she looks for in a man

“‘God gave men brains larger than dogs so they wouldn’t hump women’s legs at cocktail parties.’ – Ruth Libby.” -Angelina Jolie, Hackers

“Where I can hook up my modem?” -Sandra Bullock, The Net

”Never send a boy to do a woman’s job.“ -Angelina Jolie, Hackers

Dade Murphy: You look good in a dress.
Kate Libby: You would have looked better.

The Net
Jack: Computers are your life, aren’t they?
Angela: Yes. The perfect hiding place.

On Sex

“IceMan: No one leaves the house anymore. No one has sex. The Net is ultimate condom.” –The Net

“I hope you don’t screw like you type.” -Angelina Jolie, Hackers

“I’m surprised you didn’t kill me then fuck me!” -Sandra Bullock, The Net

“Type ‘cookie’, you idiot.” -The Plague, Hackers

Special thank you to the quotes sections of The Net and Hackers on IMDB

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