Christian – The Wizard
As a child, few things were more important than anything involving candy, a certain vertically incline plumber, or Nintendo. In 1989, a full length movie was made solely to introduce the world to one of the greatest video games of all time, involving at least two of the three criteria required to keep a child’s attention, and a still-young Fred Savage. What could go wrong with anything involving Super Mario Bros. 3 and some quality Savage screen time?
If you’ve ever seen The Wizard, you know exactly what did go wrong, and it has nothing to do with how awesome Mario is. Despite being a feature length commercial glorifying how amazing Nintendo is (or once was), the plot was overly thick with drama and featured two sidekicks that personified the absolute worst qualities a human could ever have. Jimmy (AKA The Wizard) is a young boy thrown in an asylum for being depressed after his twin sister dies. After spending years muttering “California,” his brother Corey (Fred Savage!) breaks him out and takes him there in hopes of helping. So far, everything’s a little far fetched, but Corey isn’t a scourge of a brother.
Suspension of disbelief can only carry so much, however, and any pretense of being OK with everything is thrown out the window when Haley gets thrown into the mix. A young girl trying to get home, she instead abandons that and tells the brothers about a video game tournament going on in California. She then proceeds to hustle them for most of the prize money for simply telling them about the tournament. Corey eventually agrees with the idea, and the two older children use Jimmy’s video game skills to win a ton of money.
Do these two not remember that there is an emotionally shattered boy traveling with them? The trio is already in danger since they’re being pursued by a bounty hunter, Corey’s father and older brother, all of whom are way too excited to find these brats. But they ignore the danger for the rush of cash, video games, and probably some of that sweet, Californian heroin. What started as a slightly heartwarming story is now two older kids pressuring a damaged boy into playing video games for their gain.
Moral ambiguity aside, though, getting a glimpse of a Power Glove and Super Mario Bros. 3 was totally worth dealing with conniving swindlers for an hour or so.
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