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If movie scenes with ultra-fast typing make you shake your head, here are 15 terrible tech films guaranteed to make you wince.
Computer analyst Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) gets herself into trouble when she stumbles on some files she shouldn’t have seen. All it takes to access them, though, is clicking a little icon and pressing CTRL + SHIFT. The cyber baddies change her identity. And there are floppy discs everywhere.
Pre-Matrix, Keanu Reeves played a courier of sorts with a data storage device implanted in his head. Conflict surrounds his character carrying too much data (more than his 80 GB capacity). He has to stay alive and he has to get it out before it causes brain damage. Or something.
In this 2008 thriller, an intelligence-gathering supercomputer at the Department of Defense controls everything from traffic lights to power lines. When it goes rogue, Shia LeBeouf is forced — by the computer, mind you — into an absurd plot to blow up the State of the Union address.
According to Roger Ebert, “this film contains not a single plausible moment after the opening sequence.”
Ryan Phillippe stars as a programmer who goes to work for Tim Robbins’ software company. Robbins turns out to be a bad guy. Evil plots ensue involving a satellite network.
International terrorism. Super encryption. John Travolta. In this 2001 movie, Hugh Jackman plays a hacker whose best-known hacking scene is equal parts preposterous and NSFW.
This movie hinges on the joke that no one knows what the cloud is, and thereby it’s possible to upload a file — say, a rather compromising video — and have it go viral instantly.
The Fifth Estate
“The Fifth Estate gives us an obsessive-compulsive messiah with a taste of martyrdom, and full-screen cascades of computer code in place of a coherent plot,” wrote Joe Morgenstern in his review for the Wall Street Journal.
There’s no shortage of lazy tech cliches in this oft-patronizing movie.
In this truly terrible 1984 Michael Crichton thriller, Tom Selleck plays a cop from the near future investigating a plot to create an army of killer robots. Clues quickly point to a mad scientist, played by rocker Gene Simmons.
While not a full on tech movie, per se, Independence Day earns its spot on the list for Jeff Goldblum’s performance hacking into an alien spacecraft’s computer system and downloading a virus in a matter of seconds. Since it was 1996, it’s a lucky thing Goldblum didn’t have to open a Word file on that Mac. Humans might have been doomed otherwise.
When a co-worker tries to frame him for problems at a CD-ROM factory, Tom (Michael Douglas) uses a virtual reality machine to access the files containing the truth… just as one would do in 1994.
In this truly terrible 2002 ripoff of The Ring, all those who log on to the movie’s titular website suffer a mysterious death within 48 hours. That’s because the website is haunted by a revenge-seeking ghost.
USA Today’s Claudia Puig called it “the cinematic equivalent of spam in your e-mail inbox.”
The Lawnmower Man
Prolonged exposure to virtual reality (and, well, drugs) results in telepathic abilities and high levels of aggression in this 1992 movie about a scientist who experiments on a mentally disabled gardener. Stephen King, whose short story the movie was based on, actually sued to have his name taken off the project.