A delirious guilty pleasure, Sneakers is about as probable as me parting the Red Sea -- and just as fun. I mean, can you imagine: Redford, Poitier, Strathairn, Aykroyd, Phoenix, McDonnell, Kingsley -- all in one film? You'd expect at least six Oscars just on names alone. No such luck here, but this latter-day WarGames is an all-out riot.
With the enormous selection of crummy techno-paranoia movies on video shelves these days (The Net, Virtuosity, and Hackers are among more recent titles), the discriminating viewer will eschew a flashy cover or a big star and rent one of the classics. Not only was WarGames the first film to tap into fears about the dangers of technology at the hands of mad geniuses, but it's easily the best as well. It's also the movie that put Broderick and Sheedy on cinema's map, and the picture was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1983, including one for Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker's brilliant screenplay. At the time, WarGames also sparked an almost inconceivable interest in computer hacking among our juvenile intelligencia (I was one of them), and the movie's effect on Hollywood and the American consciousness can still be seen today. While these days, Microsoft is a more frightening reality than lone hacker-types, the resonant phrase "Shall we play a game?" still retain its power.