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Awfully Good: The Net

04.19.2017
100%

Emma Watson and Tom Hanks may learn about the dark side of technology in THE CIRCLE, but nothing compares to the horrors of?

The Net (1995)

Director: Irwin Winkler
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller

A computer programmer has her identity deleted and must use her LEET SKILLZ to get her life back.

Movies centered around technology have a quick-expiring shelf life. At best they can act as an amusing time capsule of culture and society and a reminder of how far we've come. And at worse, as with THE NET, they can already feel trite and outdated by the time they're released.


It's nice to know that males on the Internet haven't changed in 20 years.

Instead of going for something fun and stylized like former Awfully Good candidate HACKERS (also released in 1995), THE NET opts for a more straightforward, lackluster approach. If you watch this movie and it feels like a brainless studio exec heard about the "World Wide Web" and decided to hire the writers of CATWOMAN and TERMINATOR SALVATION to create a generic thriller about it?yes, that is literally exactly what happened.


"Hey baby, is your name Wi Fi? Because I'm feeling a connection."

THE NET has one of the most unbelievable and shoddily-conceived premises of all time. After computer security expert Sandra Bullock discovers an extremely powerful program that can access pretty much any system in the world, she soon finds that her entire identity and every trace of her existence has been erased. (Some guy literally does it from a laptop outside her house.) You may wonder how that's possible, but conveniently, Bullock somehow doesn't know a single person in the entire world. She works from home for a company she's never been to, has no friends, and has never seen any of her neighbors. And she has no family, except for a mother with plot-induced Alzheimer's who can't verify her existence.

Yes, this movie is that dumb.


"Girl, you make my floppy disk turn into a hard drive"

There is a level of enjoyment to THE NET in seeing just how hilariously out-of-date everything is. Bullock's elite hacker setup includes two old CRT monitors and an entire computer dedicated to ordering pizza from Pizza.net. She spends her time playing Wolfenstein 3D and chatting with Cyberbob on "Cyber Chat." (Bullock has all her chats read out loud in creepy robotic voices, and also says everything she types aloud, like all normal computer users.) In the age of dial-up modems, everyone has blazing fast internet speeds wherever they go, including remote Mexican beaches. And the complex and deadly hacking tool at the heart of the film is controlled by simply holding Ctrl+Shift together.


Still better than the Dominos Pizza Tracker.

As a thriller, THE NET also sucks beyond it's time. The action is laughable, with hardly any memorable or exciting sequences throughout. Sandra Bullock tries to escape a deadly encounter via boat, setting up an exciting chase scene, but she quickly runs in to a pile of rocks and capsizes. The same thing happens again later as her character starts a high-speed chase with police, only to immediately drive off the road in to a river. (It's like they couldn't afford any actual action or stunts and had to write around it.) The British bad guy who creepily stalks Bullock would be a formidable foe, but the only thing bizarrely revealed about his character is that as a child he thought he was the cat from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S. Hard to take a villain seriously after that. And who could forget the film's big plot twist, which reveals that the Secretary of Defense was NOT, in fact, infected with HIV!


Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock had a foolproof trick for memorizing her lines.

It may be bugging you how an attractive computer nerd who likes video games and pizza could be single and lonely. Well, when asked why she hasn't met anyone yet, Bullock responds that she's waiting for a man who is:

"Butch, beautiful, brilliant, Captain America meets Albert Schweitzer. Spends all day dashing into the fray while making the world safe for democracy; at night playing Bach cantatas while curing cancer."

Definitely sounds like a realistic character you want to root for.

This may be the first "Best Lines" brought to you by non-human voices.

Pizza romance, giant bunnies and people continually crashing vehicles.

Bullock bares a bikini on the beach.


Still not afraid of online purchases? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Sandra Bullock says whatever she is typing out loud
  • Technology is hilariously out-of-date
  • A mode of transportation crashes
  • Sandra Bullock hates diabetes
Double shot if:
  • Someone clicks π

Thanks to Nick for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: This movie was successful enough that it later spawned a direct-to-video sequel and a TV show spin-off that featured Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jeremy Renner.
Source: JoBlo.com

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2:04PM on 04/19/2017
I remember when this was the talk of the town amongst the middle-school set. I haven't seen it since it came out on video, but yes, I remember it being just as ridiculous and mundane as you describe.
I remember when this was the talk of the town amongst the middle-school set. I haven't seen it since it came out on video, but yes, I remember it being just as ridiculous and mundane as you describe.
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12:50PM on 04/19/2017
I actually like this movie a lot. It's so silly and dated now but looking back then with dial-up model everything seems so possible. Nowadays, not so much but still fun to watch.
I actually like this movie a lot. It's so silly and dated now but looking back then with dial-up model everything seems so possible. Nowadays, not so much but still fun to watch.
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11:49AM on 04/19/2017
"An" computer programmer, eh?
"An" computer programmer, eh?
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12:15PM on 04/19/2017
Removed a word at the last minute and forgot to change. Thanks for pointing it out in a very polite, Canadian way.
Removed a word at the last minute and forgot to change. Thanks for pointing it out in a very polite, Canadian way.
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