Monday, April 20, 2009

what rocks? (the wizard)

the wizard
(a seminal 1.5 star 80's flick)
why it rocks: it's basically "Rain Man...for kids" but with an absurdly superflous amount of nintendo gaming involved. need i say more, or can we simply hand out the retroactive oscars and move on to the afterparty already? but in all honesty, if there were an oscar for "best kids movie that actually kind of captures what it's like to be a kid and also plays out every child's backofthemind fantasy" than this film would most likely be a shoe-in. clearly we need more creative awards (as well as skillful engravers who could fit that all onto the nude, golden plaques).

why else is rocks:
because there was not a single kid in 1989 who saw this movie and didn't instantly desire to switch lives with fred savage. consider the premise: a 10 year old smartass (played by Sir Savage) rescues his semi-autistic half-brother from a nuthouse and then the two of them travel the country, hustling the seedy video game underbelly of america. this premise is accompanied by several splintered storylines that could only be described as "various hijinx." such hijinx include traveling by skateboard, traveling in the back of a hostess truck, traveling with a snappy, dazzling redhead runaway who decides they will go to LA and win the "video armageddon" (consequently receiving fifty grand), financing their mission by playing craps in vegas and eluding a curmudgeonly child bounty hunter. and those are just the "best of the hijinx," there are several more including christian slater as the older brother who can inexplicably fix video games even though this talent has no bearing or recurrence in the film and a young, babyfaced, ponytailed Tobey Maguire as a speechless goon (photo to your above-right).

seriously, what's the deal with it rocking:
if charlie, from charlie and the choclate factory, retired from the novelty candy racket and got into film, i strongly believe this is the sort of film he would be making. as stated above in the form of a fake-oscar award, this movie feels heavily like it was made for kids, by kids. and i think that's ultimately what killed it, murdered in the form of 1.5 stars, allegations of merely being a "90 minute advertisement for nintentendo" and no dvd release. there are a ton of "problems" with this movie: potholes in the plot, bland dialogue undeveloped and often archetypical characters, etc. but i don't believe these are problems at all, there are trademarks of seeing a story, a world, through a child. to prove this point further is the biggest "flaw" in the movie which is the general "unrealism" of it, personified by numerous occasions where the runaways interact with adults who don't even question this traveling trio. any adult would wonder where the hell are their parents, what's going on here, but in this movie adults never beg that question and that's sort of what makes it beautiful. kids don't think about how adults think about kids. kids are just kids and the world revolves around them. i don't intend to be "that guy" who supports unrealistic elements of movies, but i think when taken as a whole, this film is consistently unrealistic in signficant ways which serves to provide the story with a raw, exhilerating, poignant feel.

[author's note: i feel compelled, both to myself, and to you dear readers, to reveal that the snappy, dazzling redhead turned out to be my first crush. i'm certainly aware that this milestone must account, in some large way, for my affection for this film. what i'm saying is that clearly i am biased, and it's this bias that i wish to explain and inflict onto you because the truth is that biases can be a wonderful thing. it has also come to the author's attention, as of aproximately 10:56 am, that my first crush's name is Jenny Lewis and that this childstar was the lead singer of the band Rilo Kiley and apparently has an indelibly incredible voice. i must admit, though, that i am slightly bummed by this news. i had secretly hoped she was down on her luck and just waiting for an overly wordy writer to sweep her away. damn.]

before/after photo of my eventual wife (a.k.a. hands off):


  1. my parents wouldn't buy me a power glove. it caused me to hate them. that hate just never stopped.

  2. i don't think anyone's parents would get them a power glove. who actually had them besides the one really spoiled kid everyone loathed?

    ps- my favorite aspect of the wizard is the father-son duo of christian slater and beau bridges. they need to do a buddy cop flick.