Back in the early 90s, an emerging technology known as ‘the internet’ began to creep out of the fringes and towards the mainstream. There was much speculation at the time around how our newly connected world might look – and naturally it wasn’t long before Hollywood started to get in on the action.
The Net is one of two movies released in 1995 that explicitly tried to reckon with the new frontier of online technology – we’ll get to the other one next week. The film stars Sandra Bullock – then a rising star after scoring back-to-back smash hits with Speed and While You Were Sleeping – as a lonely but brilliant computer programmer named Angela Bennett who stumbles into a global conspiracy theory run by a team of villainous cyber-hackers.
The film is, naturally, pure schlock, but fun in way these ridiculous 90s thrillers often are. All of the 90s tech-thriller cliche’s are present and correct in The Net, and it’s kind of fascinating to see where Hollywood of the early 90s got the direction of online technology very, very wrong, and where they got things kind of right. An early scene features Sandra ordering a pizza online, which is accurate in spirit, if hilariously off-base in detail.
Always an engaging, grounding presence, Bullock is the perfect actress to sell this kind of thing, delicately under-selling some of the more ridiculous dialogue and managing to work in an impressive amount of cardio for a movie primarily based in front of a variety of computer screens.
On this week’s episode, we break down some of our favourite The Net moments and brainstorm some drinking games – including dramatisation of boring computer stuff, unrealistic 90s frame rates and of course anything involving a floppy disc. We also check in with our listeners for their reactions to the film and pitch some sequel ideas to imagine what Sandra might have gotten up to once the WiFi era kicked in…
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Next week, we stick around the 1995 cyber-sphere for an altogether trendier and wackier take on the internet phenomenon. Until then, happy listening and remember – only press the escape key if you want to delete the entire internet.