Then there's Hackers.
Which, remarkably, has great characters, realistic characters--and I do not at all mean that their hacking is realistic; I'm sure it isn't. Our old standby Roger Ebert contrasts the teenagers in this movie to those in Dangerous Minds, and calls these "much more authentic... they're younger, more intense and vulnerable, and more gawky than hunky."
I love that Dade / Crash Override (Jonny Lee Miller) hacks a TV network just so he can watch The Outer Limits.
As I get pulled into the film and "forget" to write about it, let's look back at its opening weekend. September 15-17, 1995, a couple months after The Net. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar is the #1 movie, which is weird because I don't remember much of anyone coming to see that movie. Clockers at #2 was over at the underground theater. I saw it sometime that weekend, probably Sunday. Dangerous Minds was #3, and we had that one. Hackers was #4. That was over at the underground and I definitely saw that one sometime that weekend as well, Saturday night maybe. Another new movie that weekend was Angus at #8 and I can't remember if I saw that one in the theater or not. I think I did, but there's a chance I didn't see it until it was on video. Another new movie that weekend--that was nowhere near the top ten box office but was, and is, an awesome movie--Mute Witness definitely didn't hit my radar until it was on video.
"We're each our own country," The Plague (Fisher Stevens) tells Crash Override. Unlike Angela in The Net, who despite some computer skills exists very much within the confines of normal, legal society, Crash Override and the other hackers here are something else, fringe members of society, who dress differently, act differently, and don't much exist within the confines of normal.
The way the computer images sometimes project onto the faces of those looking at them in this movie is a little lame, but one in particular I think makes a better point than just a nice visual. The Plague's face projected onto Crash Override's makes a statement about character. These two men are basically the same. One just happens to be older and working for a large corporation. Otherwise, they're both hackers, both standing outside normal. It's like classic superhero storytelling, where the villain is either the opposite of the hero or the villain is basically the same as the hero but with one little tweak to turn him wrong.