Well as you can see, I’ve redesigned the site again; once again most of the credit goes to by good friend Glenn. He’s provided me with a new banner; all I did was adjust the color scheme. So make sure you go visit his site. Now then, onto part two of our review. When we last left, Cory, Jimmy and Haley’s spirits were lifted by Jimmy’s decision not to give up on playing in Video Armaggedon. Elsewhere, Cory’s father attempts vehicular homicide on Putnam, the bounty hunter hired to bring back the runaways. You know what; it’s easier if you just go read it. Remember, all pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
-We pick up with our trio finally making their way to Reno, Haley’s hometown. It’s portrayed as sort of a redneck version of Las Vegas, and I’m pretty sure that’s not too far off from reality.
– Haley’s plan is to spend three days getting Jimmy good at any game he could possibly encounter at Video Armageddon. It’s a plan that’s going to require a lot of quarters. How are they going to get quarters? By using a friend of Haley’s father, a man named Spanky.
-It seems Haley is somewhat of a savant at Craps, and shouts advice to Spanky, leading to big winnings. This begs the question: Why isn’t she just doing that for a living?
-Spanky of course gets kicked out for gambling with kids, but not before earning $400, of which he gets $10. How generous.
-Next we see a shot of an office full of “Nintendo Gameplay Counselors” Apparently it’s an office full of people who give out tips and tricks for video games. By 1989 standards, it’s the coolest office in the world, every cubicle has a Nintendo in it.
-We get a montage of Jimmy training, while Cory walks around thinking he’s hot shit. Jimmy is of course excelling at every game he touches, even the underwater level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where you have to franticly dry hump bombs to disarm them.
-It’s at this point in the movie that Nintendo really goes for broke with self promotion. We get a montage of Jimmy playing every popular Nintendo game of the day, Megaman, Metroid, Contra, BUY A NINTENDO, Super Mario Brothers 2, Ninja Gaiden, all the classics.
-Elsewhere, Cory’s father and brother again end up at the exact same place as Putnam, though this time Putnam craftily avoids being seen. They run into one of the kids that mugged Cory, Jimmy and Haley earlier, but he doesn’t know where they went. Luckily, everyone’s favorite future sex offender is around to tip them off.
–Putnam has their truck towed, because somehow that’s legal to do, and the pair are stranded for a bit.
-Meanwhile, Cory continues to show how big of an idiot he is, insisting that they spend some of their money on joke toys, because they “Need entertainment”
-Putnam makes it to Reno and starts asking if anyone’s seen the kids. He really shows off how skilled a bounty hunter he is, by asking people on the floor of a casino, because kids are so very plentiful there. I’m pretty sure at one point he asks a transvestite cocktail waitress.
-Putnam finally lucks out and runs into Cory, then violently shakes him while asking where Jimmy is. A passerby, who clearly has no concern for the safety of children, tells him that Jimmy is in the arcade. You know, the place he probably should have looked in first.
-Putnam grabs Jimmy, but before he can carry him off, Haley run up and puts a stop to it by screaming “HE TOUCHED MY BREAST!”
-This prompts the cops to appear from out of nowhere and carry Putnam off, while Jimmy, Haley and Cory escape.
-With no where else to go, they end up at Haley’s house. I say house, but it’s actually a trailer in the middle of no where. Jimmy falls asleep inside, while Haley and Cory have a touching moment on the roof of the trailer. Haley tells of her mom’s gambling problems and how it destroyed her family. Cory replies with “Zelda.”
-Somehow, that line works, and after some violent foreplay, Cory gets himself a kiss.
-We see Putnam calling information to get Haley’s address. Here I thought trailers in the middle of nowhere don’t have addresses, but The Wizard has proved me wrong. The next morning, Putnam apparently breaks into the trailer and abducts Jimmy. This is definitely the kind of guy you want to send out to track your children down.
-Haley asks Cory if Jimmy really had a shot to win Video Armageddon, and Cory says he did, so Haley calls in some help to get Jimmy back. So if he wasn’t good enough to win, she’d just let the strange man take off with him? Her friends turn out to be, surprise surprise, truckers.
-Haley has apparently again spread around the rumor that Putnam touched her breast. Result?
-The kids hitch a ride with a Spanky, who may also be autistic and we finally end up in Los Angeles, at Universal Studios. And it’s wonderful.
-The actual Video Armageddon contest looks like it’s taking place inside the Technodrome.
-It should come as no surprise that Lucas is there and is dominating the competition. He again doesn’t come off even remotely intimidating.
-I’ve got to take a moment to mention the host of Video Armageddon, some sweaty man who shouts a lot and refers to the children as “little beauties” and “little munchkins” and implores them to “get their little bottoms up here!”
-Meanwhile, Putnam arrives at Universal Studios and some poor elderly women are harassed by a mime.
-Back inside, it’s time to announce the three finalists for Video Armageddon. They are:
Some girl with really awful pigtails and car windshields on her face.
-Things are looking up until it’s announced that the three finalist will have to play a brand new game, which Haley is none too happy about. Elsewhere, Putnam is stalked by Frankenstein’s monster.
-He then runs into Jimmy’s mother and douchy 80’s stepfather, who are unhappy with Putnam’s ineptitude. Luckily for them, Lucas is around to be a twat and point out where Jimmy is.
-And so the chase begins. By chase I mean the section of the film that’s actually just a promotional video for Universal Studios, as 90% of it takes place during their Hollywood Back Lot Tour. Spoiler Alert: It’s awesome.
-Of course all this chasing has made Jimmy late for finals of Video Armageddon, and causes the host to freak out.. Meanwhile, Lucas checks out windowface.
-This entire sequence just leads to Jimmy getting a super grand entrance, much to Lucas’ chagrin.
-So what’s this brand new game they’ll be playing in the finals? Only the best platformer of all time and very likely the only reason this movie was even made….SUPER MARIO BROTHERS 3!
-The contest is to see who can get the most points in 10 minutes. I’ve got to say, Super Mario Brothers 3 is a really poor choice for that kind of contest.
-As Jimmy’s playing, the whole family reunites, now thrilled that Jimmy’s competing. Apparently they’re just going to put that whole 9 day chase across 3 states thing behind them.
-All the kids show a surprising amount of ability at a game they’ve never played. I’d say more, but I’m too busy concentrating on just how unattractive that girl with glasses is.
-Of course Jimmy falls behind to build suspense, but then finds a warp whistle and eventually wins the contest, to no one’s surprise.
-Later, on the ride home, Jimmy sees dinosaurs in the distance and starts freaking out, prompting everyone to pull over.
-Turns out Jimmy’s been wanting to go to California because it was his late twin sister’s favorite place, and that’s where he wants to leave her pictures. That’s kind of heart warming.
-And so everyone sets off home, and Jimmy leaves his lunchbox behind at the dinosaur.
-I guess they just take Haley with them, that is never really explained. Also, Jimmy’s mom decides to let him ride home with Corey and his father. Problem being, they’re traveling back from California to Utah in a pick up truck.
And that’s The Wizard. I still love it, even after all these years. It’s not nearly the gratuitous Nintendo promotional vehicle I remembered it being either. Sure it’s bursting with product placement, but it’s no worse than what’s going on in most movies these days. Fred Savage stakes his claim as one of the best child actors of all time. Seriously, his late 80’s run of The Princess Bride, The Wizard and Little Monsters may be second only to Corey Feldman in terms of 80’s kid star greatness. This won’t be the last we see of Savage, as I’ll certainly be covering Little Monsters at some point, but I may call in some backup for that one.
I give The Wizard high marks and I recommend it to anyone who’s feeling a bit nostalgic. I’m not sure why I remember it so vividly when I was only three years old at the time of it’s release, but hey, the classics just stick with you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling the need to go buy every Nintendo related product I can get my hands on, then travel to Universal Studios Hollywood. Farewell!