My Movies: Sneakers

There are a handful of movies that I can watch any time or all the time. I realized that they’re the ones that have shaped my sense of humor, my personality, and my pop cultural references. As I realize and appreciate them for what they are, I’ll babble about them here.

Sneakers stuck with me for two reasons. One, it was a great geek movie — white-hat hackers searching for a black box that can slice through any crypto in the world. It was also the first movie I ever reviewed. I remember being in Ithaca with a big pad of paper, writing very large notes in the dark. That, too, was unbreakable code.

The characters are broad but not stereotypes; with actors like Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley, and Sidney Poitier leading the way (not to mention a pre-Battlestar Galactica Mary McDonnell and a still-alive River Phoenix), the performances are subtle. It helps that the plausibly geeky script is by Lawrence Lasker (the co-writer for WarGames) and the whole film has a very human feel thanks to Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams).  Also, there’s a big audio angle to it, and it takes place in the Bay Area. The movie holds up; I still think this is wildly underappreciated, especially when I hear friends speak warmly of dreck like Hackers.

My wireless network is called Setec Astronomy.

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