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Trivia / Hackers

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  • Billing Displacement: While a main character, Angelina Jolie's name didn't appear on the cover until after she'd become famous from other roles. She is, however, a prominent character.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $20 million. Box office, $7,563,728. It was panned by critics for its dumb plot and its unconvincing portrayal of hackers. It still became a Cult Classic.
  • Dawson Casting: Although they were all playing high school students, Jonny Lee Miller was 23 at the time of filming, Angelina Jolie was 20 and Matthew Lillard was 25. Only Jesse Bradford really fit the bill, being 16 at the time.
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  • Fake American: Jonny Lee Miller as Dade.
  • Romance on the Set: Leads Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie got married after the movie's release, but divorced a few years later.
  • Technology Marches On: The film is rooted in mid '90s technology:
    • The characters are in awe of Kate's new, super-fast 28.8b modem. It's got an Active Matrix display too (haven't seen one of them on a LCD in, what, 20 years?). And a P6 chip - triple the speed of the Pentium!
    • Phone Phreaking is significantly featured. This stopped being possible with the change to digital phone switches in the late 90s.
    • The main characters talking very highly of the RISC architecture. The CISC vs RISC "battle" was mostly a marketing thing with some underlying technical meaning. It petered out in the late 90s, as RISC actually "won", but no one cared, and it became meaningless anyway. (FYI: virtually all chips are now RISC, though it often gets disguised under a layer of microcode).
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    • Dade uses a "lunchpail" style luggable computer. That's old tech by even 1990s standards; the lunchpail format was the very first "portable" computer style from the early 1980s. It was replaced by the now-ubiquitous clamshell laptop design by 1990. At least the Plague had the decency to mail Dade a clamshell laptop later in the film...if for dubious reasons.
    • The "battle of the tapes" scene — nowadays tape is pretty much unknown and they'd be fighting over digital files.
    • For those in the know, Cereal Killer's collection of "Crayola" books are all completely obsolete. Several are classics, but archaic. Good basic theory, yes, practical applications anymore, no.
    • Many of the display dialogs are Macintosh System 7. Last release version: 1997.
    • Heck, look at the plethora of public pay phones. Seen any one of those in two decades? (Hint: they were almost completely removed in the 2000s, though NYC has almost a quarter of the remaining total nowdays).
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    • Pagers. 'nuff said.
    • 3.5" Floppy disks!
    • Crashing 1,507 computers in a day is no longer that impressive.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: This film (albeit with some unrealism that itself is a product of movie writers not really understanding what it is they're trying to tell a story about) portrays hackers at a time when they were a subculture, not well-understood by the broader populace as computers were not yet as ubiquitous as they are today (the Internet as we know it today was in its infancy, as well). As such, things like the importance placed on the "Hacker Manifesto", as an example, are products of the era when hackers felt themselves to be set apart from broader society in echoes of the 'generation gap' of the 1960s:
    "We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals."
  • What Could Have Been:

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