I hope all had a lovely Thanksgiving break last week. I know I did. That was, until the weekend when I had one of those embarrassing incidents at the check out line of the supermarket. No, I wasn’t pantsed by Hilda the bag lady that lives in aisle five. Fool me twice, shame on me!
There I was, attempting to purchase an Ace Bandage because I’m clumsy and twisted my ankle by walking and my credit card was declined. (I still feel the condescending gaze of the cashier’s judgmental eyes!) Seriously though, if you’ve ever been in such a predicament, you’ll understand the initial shock and then subsequent embarrassment upon this type of rejection. Well, it turns out that some asshat apparently acquired my Visa debit card information through a card skimming device from one of the many establishments I use said card. After initially processing the annoying event that is suddenly having no money and it being a holiday weekend when all banks are closed, I was reminded of the trailer for the upcoming film Identity Theft.
I will say, I’m not really wow’d by the preview for the film. However, being that this is now my FOURTH bout with identity theft, I will go see it when it comes out. More importantly, though, this incident got me thinking about other films that tackle the subject matter of identity theft (or pretending to be someone else). So, you lucky readers get a treat! That’s right, I’ve compiled a list. How exciting! Settle down, Hilda!
Let’s get into it, shall we?
10. The Net
In one of her earlier films, Sandra Bullock plays computer expert Angela Bennett. She’s a recluse obsessed with technology. Her life soon changes when she’s sent a program with a crazy glitch for her to “de-bug” She soon finds out some vital government information on the disk. Then shit gets cuhrayzay! Her life becomes a nightmare, her records get erased and she is given a new identity of some chick with a criminal record. Sure, the film came out in 1995 and the technology here is laughably dated. But The Net is still quite entertaining.
9. The Jackal
Okay, so there’s this Russian mobster dude named Terek Murad and he has declared war on the Russian militia and FBI over the shooting of his brother. He hires evil John McClane aka “The Jackal” to murder the FBI Director. Apparently no one can identify this Jackal character except for Declan Mulqueen, an imprisoned IRA sniper. So, guess who gets released from prison to help the government catch The Last Boy Scout?
In my opinion, the only real reason to watch this film is to see all the different disguises Bruce Willis gets to wear. Well that, and seeing Jack Black get his arm blown off is kinda cool too.
8. Mrs Doubtfire
Out of work father Daniel Hilliard (Robin Williams) suddenly finds himself divorced and without custody of his kids. So to solve this problem, he disguises himself as an old Scottish nanny to get hired by his ex-wife and be closer to his kids.
In 1993, Daniel Hillard did a funny and cute thing. In 2012, Daniel Hillard would probably be featured on the Megan’s Law website. I blame 9/11.
7. In The Line Of Fire
Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is a rather successful agent working for the current President Of The United States. However, he can’t shake the guilt of not being able to save President Kennedy back in the 60’s. Enter batshit crazy assassin who calls himself “Booth” (John Malkovich). What starts as weird phone calls to Frank, soon escalates to threats and attempts to assassinate The President. Frank then has to step up and redeem himself from his past and stop the President from being killed.
In The Line Of Fire is a great film, the highlight being John Malkovich’s performance as Mitch Leary aka “Booth”. His disguises here and commitment to character is top notch. The man should’ve won The Oscar that year.
6. Ocean’s 11
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) just got out of prison and he wants to score the biggest heist in history. He brings together an eleven member team up to the challenge. Their target? The Bellagio, The Mirage and The MGM Grand. All Las Vegas casinos owned by douchebag Terry Benedict. The goal: $150 Million Dollars.
Sure, I could have mentioned any of the films from The Ocean’s Trilogy but I went with the first. Why? Because Carl Reiner, that’s why. His performance as Saul Bloom, and more specifically the scene of him disguised as “The High Roller” is just the best thing, dammit!
FBI Special Agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) is on the hunt for a biological weapon that was planted somewhere in Los Angeles by insane criminal mastermind Castor Troy (Nic Cage). Archer is no stranger to Troy and has tracked him for the last 8 years. Alas, he’s found a new tactic: Archer must “borrow” Troy’s face…literally! What he didn’t expect, though, was Troy one upping Archer by taking his face! Yeah yeah, confusing I know.
Gattaca Corp. is an aerospace firm that exists in the not so distant future. Liberal eugenics is now a reality. In this future world, society can analyze your DNA and thusly determine where you belong in life. Vincent (Ethan Hawke) was born with a congenital heart condition which disqualifies him from the status he yearns for as well as space flight (I’d just watch Space Camp, dammit!). Instead, Vincent finds a way to game the system by taking on the identity of one Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law).
If you’ve never seen Gattaca, you should. It’s like a precursor to Fringe. Or something.
3. The Mission Impossible Franchise
Okay. I couldn’t ultimately pick one example here. If you really are not familiar with ANY of the Mission Impossible films or the TV show, then you probably don’t know how to use the internet and are currently not reading this. The use of disguises abound in these films. And if you’ve never seen any of the films, I say go watch Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol. It’s fun.
2. The Talented Mr Ripley
It’s the 1950s and lowly bathroom attendant Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) borrows a Princeton jacket to play piano at a garden party. Who knew this would lead Mr. Ripley to meet a wealthy father to recent Princeton graduate Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law)? Soon, he’s offered $1,000 by the man to travel to Italy and convince his son to return home. But once in Italy, Ripley becomes fixated on Dickie and Marge (Gwenyth Paltrow), immersing himself in their lifestyle and quickly develops stalker tendencies. Aside from being a fantastic liar, Tom also excels at impersonations and forgery, which leads to some rather creepy and dark turns in this fantastic film.
Oh yeah, and the soundtrack is pretty great too.
1. Catch Me If You Can
It’s the 1960s and high school student Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) idolizes his father, who’s in a bunch of trouble with the IRS. Upon his parents’ separation, Frank skips off to Manhattan with a mere $25, vowing to fix his father’s money issues so his parents can get back together. A few years later, Abagnale Jr. is tracked down by The Feds in France. He’s extradited and thrown in prison for passing off more than $4,000,000 in bad checks. Through those nutty few years, he posed as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor and an attorney. All around Catch Me If You Can is a great film with great performances and is based on a crazy true story of one guy running from his own identity by making a bunch of fake ones up and almost getting away with it.
Well there you have it, folks. Now, I know I’ve probably missed a bunch of films tackling the subject of identity theft here. Well that’s where you come in! If I’ve missed a movie that simply HAS to be in this list, I want you to let me know in the comments below. Except you, Hilda! No one’s talking to you!
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