Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks - Video/Arcade/Board Game Movies

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. You can participate, too! All you have to do is pick three movies that fit the week's themes and say a little something about them!

Is it really Thursday again, you guys?

Sorry, it's now been six days since seeing La La Land, and I'm still not over it. I don't know what time it is or what day it is anymore.

Which makes it even harder for this week's Thursday Movie Picks, because we are picking game movies. Whether this means movies based on a pre-existing game, or movies centered around a game, it is unclear, so I will cover as many bases as I can this week! Ready? Let's go!

Clue (Jonathan Lynn, 1985) One of the most delicious comic ensembles of all time gets to take on the iconic board game characters in a cleverly twisted murder mystery. Which is complicated by the fact that the film was released with the gimmick of having three different endings.... just like the game, right? No, not really. So, of course it was a flop in theaters that got resurrected on home video, mostly because of that downright brilliant cast. It's nearly impossible to pick an MVP between Lesley Ann Warren's vampy Miss Scarlett, Eileen Brennan's kooky Mrs. Peacock, and Madeline Kahn's deadpan Mrs. White (just to name the women), but I have to go with Tim Curry's all-out performance as an invented character, the butler Wadsworth, which finds a perfect balance between madcap physical comedy and dry British wit.

Jumanji (Joe Johnston, 1995) This one centers around an invented board game that has some serious juju issues. You see, once you start playing, you MUST finish, and the silly things that would normally move you back a square or lose a turn or whatever become all too real. When young Alan Parrish finds the game buried near a construction site and begins to play with his friend Sarah, after a turn or two, the mysterious crystal ball in the center of the board reads: "In the jungle you must wait, until the dice read five or eight," and thus gets sucked into the board game. Sarah, understandably, freaks out, and the game gets buried for twenty-five years... until young siblings Judy and Peter play the game and release Alan from his jungle prison. Which is a good thing, because they're going to need his know-how to survive as the game starts taking over their idyllic New Hampshire town. This is a fun family adventure from a time when such films were taken seriously as entertainment for the WHOLE family - it doesn't try to be hip or cool or snarky, just to provide everyone with a good thrill ride. Which it succeeds at wonderfully. The visual effects have held up pretty well, too.

Silent Hill (Christophe Gans, 2006) And lastly, one based on a video game. Rose is worried about her young daughter, Sharon, who has problems with sleepwalking. She decides to take her to the town of Silent Hill, WV, which Sharon keeps repeating the name of over and over. But upon reaching the town, they get into a car accident and Sharon disappears. Rose has to find her, and in so doing, unlock the mystery of what the town of Silent Hill is and why Sharon feels such a connection to it. Let me make one thing clear: This is NOT a good movie. Not by a longshot. Approximately nothing in it makes any sense, it's insanely overblown, and none of the performing styles ever really meld. BUT, it does boast an absolutely tremendous performance from the terminally underappreciated Radha Mitchell, as well as some of the most sublime surreal imagery I've ever seen in a mainstream movie. Plus, a deliciously campy scene-stealing turn from Alice Krige as the leader of the town cult. Silent Hill may be a failure, but it is at the very least an incredibly interesting one - one that I'm quite fascinated by. Just.... enter at your own risk.

13 comments:

  1. I also chose Silent Hill. I really liked it though, it's definitely not a good movie like you said, but it was very creepy.

    Jumanji will be popular today.

    Jealous you already saw La La Land lol

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    1. Silent Hill is SO creepy. I'm kind of obsessed with it even though it's not good.

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  2. CLUE!!! Love that movie and we match! Tim Curry is brilliant but my MVP (I agree it's tough to chose since all the performers really dive in to the spirit of the film) has got to be Madeline Kahn ("Flames on the side of my face") I did see it in the theatre when it was new but only once though they did encourage you too go to see all three endings. The theatres advertised which one they had so you wouldn't make the mistake of seeing the same ending twice. It was a fun idea but as you mentioned it didn't work out in a successful run.

    Just saw Jumanji this past year after decades of hearing people tell me how much they loved it. I liked it well enough but don't see myself seeking it out again.

    I've heard nothing but horrendous things about Silent Hill and since I neither knew anything about the game nor did it look interesting to me I've never considered watching, thanks for verifying my impression.

    Gosh this was a tough one and after Clue I floundered around finally picking something which was absolutely one of the worst movies I'd ever seen and then having to stretch way back to a movie that fit but was a TV film but that I remembered liking.

    Battleship (2012)-What lunkhead came up with the script for this exercise in inanity? Obviously written by someone who has never played the board game which is all about strategy and should have led to a film along the lines of “They Were Expendable” or “The Cruel Sea”. What the hell are aliens and extraterrestrial flying objects doing in a movie called Battleship? Really quite stupid.

    Clue (1985)-It’s a dark and stormy night when Mr. Boddy welcomes six guests-Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn) and Col. Mustard (Martin Mull)-who he has been blackmailing. They’re a colorful lot in more ways than their names and when Mr. Boddy is murdered they set about trying to figure out which one of them did it while the bodies pile up. The best board game adaptation out there, not a high bar admittedly but this is a fun film with Madeline Kahn an absolute scream as Mrs. White.

    Mazes & Monsters (1982)-Five college friends all are devout Mazes & Monster players. To have more freedom in their play they move the board game to a local cavern where one of them, Robbie Wheeling (Tom Hanks), begins to slip away from reality and into the fantasy of the game. This TV event movie was Hanks first lead, based on a Rona Jaffe bestseller which itself was based on actual events.

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    1. UGH Battleship. WHY?!?!? SO AWFUL.

      J'ADORE Madeline Kahn in Clue, she's probably my runner-up MVP.

      I haven't heard of this Mazes & Monsters thing, but it sounds interesting!

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  3. I picked Clue too and love that movie. I also enjoyed Jumanji...quite funny and I would love to actually play this game. I have no desire to se the last film.

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    1. lol NOTHING could get me to play Jumanji. WAY too dangerous.

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  4. Wow. Clue is everywhere this week. I need to get on it since I haven't seen it. Sounds like I'm the only one. I did like Silent Hill and Jumanji.

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    1. Oh you DEFINITELY need to see Clue ASAP.

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  5. Cluedo is more popular than I thought. Great movie and agreed the cast is awesome.

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    1. I will never understand why everywhere else it's called Cluedo but in the US it's called Clue.

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    2. Curious too since you mentioned, so I googled it. The game was first made in the UK and it's name: Cluedo...a play on "clue" and "Ludo"; ludo is Latin for I play and is also apparently the name of a board game popular in the UK but not so much in the US, so they dropped the "do" bit for the American market.

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  6. I also picked Jumanji. It was fun. And I love Clue.

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    1. I LOVED Jumanji when I was a kid. Not so much now, but it still gets me feeling all nostalgic.

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