Monday, January 18, 2016

The Nintendo Film Festival on Rifftrax

This took me a long time to write because I've been distracted by movie awards, really weird football games, and mostly uncut episodes of Johnny Carson now available on TV.
When Rifftrax offers occasional discounts, I consider doing interesting double-features. For example, matching Fists of Fury with Miami Connection or possibly Death Promise is an interesting night of bad martial arts movies. I recently saw the good Star Wars movies over a weekend to test drive the new Rifftrax app, too. Once they let people download the mp3 riffs they already have, the sky's the limit.

This review is about what I call the Nintendo Film Festival. It's made of two movies, The Wizard, aka an infomercial for Nintendo products especially Super Mario 3, and Super Mario Brothers, also known as Bob  Hoskins and Dennis Hopper's Living Nightmare.

I had heard of The Wizard when it was released in 1989, mainly commercials for it. They played up the fact that Fred Savage was the star because this was during his heyday on The Wonder Years. The story, though, is about a kid named Jimmy, who is determined to walk to "California" for some reason. This reminded me of the early scenes of Nebraska, where Bruce Dern was also determined to walk to claim a fake Publishers' Clearing House prize.
Anyway, he's traumatized from losing his sister when she drowned in a river. He's placed in a home in Utah because his mom and stepdad can't handle him. Fred plays Corey, his brother, who's living with his dad and brother. Since they seem to don't care about Jimmy, Corey frees Jimmy and they head to California. They meet up with some sassy girl named Haley (Jenny Lewis), and they discover there's a big video game contest in L-A. Since Jimmy apparently is a "wizard" in video games, they hope to enter him.
While Jimmy's dad heads out to find him, mom has a bounty hunter looking for him. He seems to have a lot of bad luck, and is also doing it for the money.

This is also one long ad for Nintendo, including slogans that would never had worked in real commercials. For example, there's a kid who has the Power Glove, and he loves it because it's so bad. There's also Jimmy's dad and brother occasionally getting sucked into the Nintendo video game system. This is supposed to show video games are for all ages.

It all ends with the big contest with Jimmy being one of the finalists. Then we see why he wanted to go to California. It's a poignant scene, and makes his family, except for Corey, look bad.

Time for riffs:

The cops grab Jimmy for walking to California
This is the first arrest for little Anton Chigurh.

Haley asking what's Jimmy's problem
Stuck playing Teller to Fred Savage's Penn

Dad and Nick (Jimmy's brother) are at a mechanic
Christian Slater even plays video games sarcastically.

Kids wind up sleeping in an abandoned truck
You mean Optimus Prime's Bed and Breakfast?

The bounty hunter grabs Nick
When's Little Monsters coming out?

There's also riffs on Gwyneth Paltrow, Wacky Races, Point Break, Weird Al, Frasier,  Supertramp, "Stand Your Ground" and even Gleaming the Cube.

The other movie is Super Mario Brothers, also known as "What The F Was I Thinking, starring Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo". The only thing the game and this movie has in common is the fact there are plumbers. Aside from that, anything goes.

The deal is someone drops off a dinosaur egg outside of a church, and a girl hatches. She's Daisy (Samantha Mathis), who later grows up to be an NYU student who finds very strange bones. She corsses path with the Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi. While that's going on, some girls in Brooklyn have been kidnapped by two dopes who are actually trying to find Daisy. They work for Koopa, played by Hopper, who wants to merge his world with ours. At this point, you'll wonder why they couldn't think of a better way to turn a Nintendo game into a movie.
If nothing else, former as-seen-on-MTV artist Mojo Nixon is there for exposition and an attempt at a comeback that didn't pan out.

Riff time:

Koopa's henchmen grab the wrong girl again
This is exactly how Rudy Giuliani got his second and third wives.

The brothers find themselves in Koopa's city
It looks like they pulled an old Total Recall set out of the dumpster.

Koopa's secretary goes to get Daisy, who finally gets captured
Mr,. Cruise needs a new fake wife....

Koopa tells Daisy "ready to help me destroy humankind?"
Kanye's wedding vows.

There's also riffs on The Blues Brothers, Roger Rabbit, Jesse Ventura, Delta Airlines, John Mayer, and the media company formerly known as Clear Channel.

Both of these movies are available at

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