Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

HAWK TALK – Hack the Planet

This would usually be a skip week, but the world is still being a jerk, so we made you a bonus, entirely unedited, and almost entirely off-topic episode. This time, in honor of the 1995 film’s 1337-week anniversary, we talked about the finest movie about technology ever made, Hackers.


Topics, roughly:

  • Hackers
  • Mister The Plague
  • What David Bowie and Angelina Jolie have in common
  • Razor & Blade
  • The glory of Matthew Lillard
  • Counterculture
  • Queer (sub)text
  • Focal characters
  • Jay’s sequel pitch

In retrospect, we should have talked way more about Phreak, played amazingly by Renoly Santiago. Sorry, Renoly! That’s what we get for doing Hawk Talk without our usual outlines.

9 comments

    1. As I understand it, most payphones had already been changed so that wouldn’t work by the time the movie came out. I could be mistaken though.

  1. I’m so glad you guys love this movie too!

    Fun fact I’ve learned: In the scene where the hacker tv show explains how to hack a payphone by recording the sound of the coins, this ACTUALLY WORKED when the movie came out! It may be the only real hacking in the entire movie 🙂

  2. The other hacking movie I remember was Antitrust, which was about the genius computer whiz kid getting hired by a Bill Gates type and finding out his nefarious schemes. Includes his friends accusing him of selling out by going out to work for the big tech corporations. And all the stereotypes of “cool” tech company campuses like Google.

  3. Hackers is one of those movies where you either buy into the fantasy or you’re going to have a terrible time. I learned a long time ago not to watch it with people who are really serious about technology.

    Some thoughts about the movie:

    This film was loaded with 1984 references. Such as Cereal Killers real name being Emmanuel Goldstein.

    This is an odd film in that, despite being rooted in counter culture, the corporation is not the bad guy. This definitely falls on The Plague and his corporate sponsor (I don’t remember her name). His worm program steals tiny amounts of money from dollar the company makes. The DaVinci Virus was set off to frame the hackers for the theft.

    The movie basically starts on Dade Murphy’s 18th birthday (he’s a senior in highschool).

    The movie, to me, feels very much like it could be an X-Men movie. A found family who are feared and misunderstood fighting to, ultimately, save the world from an ecological disaster.

    At the end of Miles’s favorite scene Crash Override gives brief chase before standing, looking defeated in the midst of steam and shadows. His silhouette looks like a great super hero pose.

    I loved watching Matthew Lillard (Cereal Killer) and Laurence Mason (Lord Nikon) play off each other.

    And a last thought, I was extremely disappointed when I got Wipeout for the PlayStation 1 and it didn’t play anything like the version in the movie.

    1. I was wrong, one more comment! I don’t remember hearing it in the podcast but Wargames is the first hacking movie I remember seeing. Along with Superman 3, though the less said about that one, the better.

    2. The Gibson they’re hacking is named after William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, one of the cyberpunk classics. The handles Zero Cool and Crash Override remind me of his other books Count Zero (which was also a hacker character’s handle), and Mona Lisa Overdrive.

      This Hawk Talk inspired me to go looking for Hackers on streaming (don’t think I have a copy on disc), but seems it’s only on Cinemax right now. Doh!

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