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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘HACKERS – Crash and Burn’


Hackers is the 1990s personified. From its aesthetic to its central narrative, everything in it screams the decade that it’s rooted in. This is both a good and a bad thing. In terms of nostalgia, there is certainly plenty. 

And like most high school films of its era, it features a young, attractive cast of up and comers — Johnny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, and Matthew Lillard, to name a few.  

The trouble is: None of it is relatable or compelling. There is a diverse set of characters, but they aren’t particularly deep. The script just doesn’t flesh them out. Aside from being anti-authority, a staple of teenage movies, there isn’t much else known about them. They like hacking, rollerblading, and smoking; a lot of bones are burned through — sometimes two at a time. Admittedly, two of these things were once actually cool.

It has also never been interesting to watch people type furiously. They did try and stylize this effect, using three-dimensional models to simulate the interworking of a computer, but, alas, it is still just people hurriedly smacking keys that for some reason echo.

Lord Nikon (Mason), Crash Override (Miller), Acid Burn (Jolie), and Cereal Killer (Lillard) in Hackers

That lack of depth is why the movie probably flopped, earning just $7.5 million on a budget of $20 million. Its poor performance is somewhat surprising, though. It had the elements to be a hit — mainly those mentioned above — like the hip cast and the thematic use of computers to stick it to the man.

And, if you’re a child of the 90s, it is sort of fun as a time capsule piece. As silly as all the computer elements may seem now, it’s hilarious to reflect on how things used to be.

So sit back, splice into a Rewired IPA from Red Hare Brewing, and lace up those rollerblades! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and special guest Mayor McCheese are hacking into the Gibson to take down an egomaniacal corporate security stooge who hangs out with a magician!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Unfortunately for Hackers, its presentation of groundbreaking technology is quite dated; but does that make it any less enjoyable? (00:00)
  • The Mess with the Best, Die Like the Rest Trivia Challenge – I challenge the crew to trivia centered around the movie. (1:03:58)
  • Recommendations – Next up: We do what all teens of the 90s did and head to our local shopping mall to hang out and have mindless conversations about all sorts of inconsequential topics. It’s Mallrats! (1:11:46)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—how the film’s production took over a local high school and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotifyAcastTuneIn, and iHeartRadio!

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Thomas L. Kelly

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