Encyclopedia Hearsay | Hackers

The Encyclopedia Hearsay was founded on four principles: misinformation, rumours, half-remembered conversations, and outright lies. Anyone can contribute, so long as articles are written with no research whatsoever. If you are citing The Land Before Time as a source, or abusing footnotes like David Foster Wallace, you are on the right track.

Hackers is a movie that came out in the mid-nineties. It is so representative of the mid-nineties that it couldn’t have possibly come out at any other time. It is a time capsule that will undoubtedly inspire thousands of Buzzfeed and Cracked articles when it turns 20 next year(1). The reason it’s so fondly remembered is because a bunch of people who were in it went on to become super famous(2). Sadly, Hackers was the high watermark for the rest of the cast. Matthew Lillard, God bless him, never quite reached the heights of fame that white-guy-dreadlocks and leather trench coats could provide. Penn Jillette was also in this movie, inexplicably. Anyways, the main stars are the non-Cumberbatch television Sherlock and Angelina Jolie. Hackers is just about as nineties as you can get. If Keith Flint and JNCO jeans fucked while a Furby watched, the result would be Hackers(3).

Basically, Sherlock was a child prodigy hacker who hacked into the New York Stock Exchange, because, obviously. After causing a small market crash, “Zero Cool” was arrested and prevented from touching a computer or touch-tone phone until he was 18. Immediately upon turning 18, he hacks into a TV station so that it plays Outer Limits, raising the nineties quotient to “Step-by-Step” levels. Anyways, by this point, Sherlock starts going by “Acid Burn,” to distance himself from his scofflaw past. He catches the attention of all the local hackers, who obviously go to his high school. All the hackers have sweet code names, except for Jesse Bradford who is too young to know that he needs an alias. Nonetheless, Jolie, Lillard, Sherlock, and two ethnics round out the group(4). After Jesse Bradford gets busted, the group has to rally behind him and clear his name. This is where Penn Jillette, Fisher Stevens(5), and Bunk from The Wire come in. Fisher Stevens is The Plague, a middle-aged, skateboarding(6) consultant who provides cyber security for huge corporations. Blah blah blah, he’s skimming off the top, almost gets found out, does get found out, then tries to frame the hacker kids. Penn Jillette, I think, is the guy he’s stealing from and Bunk is the FBI agent who ultimately catches him with help from the hacker gang. Somewhere in the meantime there is a rollerblading montage that I think is through a mall(7). 

Basically, the movie ends with hackers all over the world helping bust The Plague, the hackerettes all going free, and Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie swimming in a rooftop pool(8). Fun fact, they got married after this movie wrapped, creating the most nineties marriage of all time. I’m pretty sure Blossom officiated the ceremony, and their cake was made of Dunkeroos.


1. “The 12 Things That Hackers Got Right” is already in draft form on some Upworthy writer’s Macbook.
2. From the top of my head I count two Oscar winners in the cast. Maybe three? Did Felicity Huffman win for Transamerica?
3. A main plot point is when Sherlock beats Jolie’s high score in Wipeout. Fluke may or may not have been playing during this scene.
4. Setting up a group with a Latino dude, a black guy, Fuggo Lillard, and two attractive white people really makes it obvious who’s going to end up hooking up.
5. Oscar winner #2!
6. Stevens’ skateboarding intro scene is the phoniest of balonies.
7. Nine. Tees.
8. Angelina Jolie in this scene was very integral to my development as a 10-year-old boy.

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