I'm one of the few people you'll ever meet who loves the movie The Wizard in a non-ironic way. It's legitimately one of my favorite movies of all time. It's purely based on nostalgia, and I readily acknowledge and admit that. I've written an entire blog about why I love the film so much, and this week I'm counting down my favorite scenes (I couldn't find any clips for a few of the scenes, so I'll post pictures and describe them as best I can).
5. Tobey McGuire
If you pay attention to gaming at all, you probably already knew that the former Spider-Man's first film role was as a nameless lackey to the The Wizard's teenage antagonist, Lucas. Or, maybe you didn't know that, because it's a really obscure thing to know. The reason I love this scene is because it still blows my mind every time I watch it. When I first heard about this, I thought there was no possible way it was true, but when you look at the above picture and watch the scene in action, there's no question that it's him. Despise not the days of small beginnings.
4. Speedo Man
Imagine yourself as a small boy, watching a movie with the kid from The Wonder Years that's all about Nintendo games. Everything is going awesome, and then, oh hey, I can see that girl's underwear OHMYGODOLDMANSPEEDO!
Why did this happen? This old man in a teal speedo couldn't possibly have been a hired actor for the film, which means that the director saw this scene after the shot and thought "That's a keeper." How could the director, the editor, the producer, and everyone else involved in the film's creation let this slip through in post-production? I mean, it's not like it was easy to miss, like a cameraman being seen in a mirror's reflection. That old man is right in the middle of the shot, and you mean to tell me that nobody said anything to him? My only thought is that every take before this one was so bad that the director just said "screw it" and gave it a pass.
3. Arcade Montage
Being a fan of action films and sports films must most certainly mean that I'm a fan of a good, old-fashioned montage, and The Wizard has no shortage of them. In fact, it has the same amount of montages as Rocky IV, which is four. Four montages are in this movie about a traumatized kid who is really good at videogames. But the arcade montage is by far the best, in order to describe it, I'll use an excerpt that I wrote in the previous blog that I linked to above:
That montage reminds me of everything that was great about my childhood. Granted, I never saw a Play Choice 10 machine in my life, and I never went to a glamorous Reno arcade, but looking at footage of Metroid, Mega Man 2 and TMNT, combined with that infectious 80s groove and Rick showing us all how awesome our dream job as Nintendo Hotline receptionists was, I can't think of any combination of images that better encapsulates what the year of 1990 was for me.
2. Cinema's Greatest Heel/It's So Bad
Lucas Barton is the late 80s/early 90s equivalent of that racist, sexist, homophobic slur-slinging 15-year-old that "rapes" me in Call of Duty whenever I get a wild hair up my butt and decide that playing multiplayer would be a good idea (it never is). Also, where are they? Does Lucas live in an abandoned convenient store? That is so...cool! Do Lucas and his gang of street toughs run the territory, hustling fools out of their lunch money by beating them at Rad Racer? But you want to know the real reason I hated Lucas as a kid? It wasn't because he punked out Jimmy, or that he vaguely hit on Haley, or that the actor who played him later went on to become a pedophile, it's because he had 97 games. Seriously, 97? I didn't even know that many videogames existed when I was a kid. I never owned more than, like, five. I'm pretty sure my local rental shop didn't even have 97 titles to choose from. I hate Lucas. I hate him. The 5-year-old Dustin is so jealous of him.
1. The Reveal
Unless you were there, it's really hard to convey just how huge of a deal this was. Yes, they show some footage of Super Mario Bros. 3 in the trailer, and we knew that we were going to have to wait until the finale of the movie before we got to see more, but that didn't negate the excitement of every child that saw this movie. When they finally pull the curtain back and unleash the game, it was seriously one of the most epic events I've ever experienced in my gaming life. And what game is more fitting for such an amazing unveiling than the NES' cream of the crop? Even to this day, this 25 year old game is considered an all-time great. This is something that could only have happened in the age before the internet. If someone were planning to unveil a new game in a feature film, that information would be leaked almost immediately, and the surprise would be ruined.
There you have it, my five favorite moments from one of my favorite movies. There were lots of other scenes that were close to making the cut, but I'm very happy with this list. What are your thoughts on the movie?
Thanks for reading,
Don't forget that you can follow me on Twitter @TheDustinThomas, and you can listen to my videogames podcast on iTunes.