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Top 10 Movies about Video Games

No, this list isn’t movie remakes of video games or movies inspired by video games. This list is about movies where video games are a major part of the plot of the movie. So no Doom, Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider. Sorry, I’ll save that for another list, or three.

10. The Last Starfighter (1984)

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Too young to recall this one? That’s okay, I watched it so you don’t have to. Our main hero here is amazing at video games and beats the game called The Last Starfighter only to find out it was just a test and he’s transported to another planet to help them defend an attack on their home. Thank you, IMDB, for reminding me of the plot. I did enjoy this movie, 30 years ago. I wonder if it’s due for a reboot? I’d be down for that!

9. Wargames (1983)

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This movie almost didn’t make my list. Why? I didn’t remember it very well. So I watched the trailer and OH YEAH. Now, it isn’t as video game related as most of the movies on this list. The initial intention is that he is trying to hack into a video game company to play their games early on and ends up hacking into the government and nearly starts World War 3, thinking he is merely playing a video game. Actually, the computer thinks it is a game. It’s an interesting one, to say the least, and isn’t a bad movie at all.

8. Tron (1982)

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This list can’t exist without mentioning Tron, a movie I saw once a LONG time ago. However, without it would we have video game inspired movies? The world will never know. A game designer is sucked into the very world he created. Funny how the original calls him a hacker, but in Tron: Legacy he is called a virtual world designer. Oh, how the times have changed.

7.  The Wizard (1989)

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The only thing terrible in this movie is the Power Glove. No, seriously, it was TERRIBLE. A young boy (not pictured because why would there be a usable gif of the main character when we have this jerk to look at) is a savant at video games. So, what is the natural thing to do? Ditch your parents and go cross country to join THE gaming tournament. Kids, DO NOT try this at home.

6. Brainscan (1994)

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I nearly forgot about this movie. The only reason I remembered it was because, in my research, I came across the anthology Nightmares (1983). A movie about being sucked into a game. This stirred my preteen crush for Edward Furlong and BOOM I remembered this horror movie. A young teen wants to show a new game to his school’s video game club (crap do I feel old) and murder ensues!

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

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I will admit to 3 things: 1) I needed to consult with Vanri on this. It is a movie based on a comic and features a lot of video game like things, but does it fit this list? She said yes. 2) I like the soundtrack for this movie WAY more than I like the actual movie. 3) I rewatch this movie only for Brandon Routh. 4) HE’S THE BEST LOOKING SUPERMAN, FITE ME. (I know, that’s 4 things, give me a break).

Anyway, if you’ve been living under a rock, Scott Pilgrim is a horrible leading man (Haaaave you met Ted?) who does stupid stuff because he’s got a boner for Ramona. The best parts are the fights with the Evil Exes (“I’m BI-FURIOUS”) and the amazing cameos that you spot throughout the movie. Also, Beck put together amazing songs that I listen to often. Is there really any more to know? #TeamKnives

4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

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Wreck-It Ralph is an adorable movie filled with lessons, video games, great characters, and mayhem. I happen to love it. It’s all about poor Ralph, who is treated poorly for being the ‘villain’ while not being a bad guy. He goes off to find people who will truly appreciate him. You know what, just go watch the movie. You don’t need to read this. If you’ve seen it, you know what a great movie it is and if you haven’t, you are missing out.

3. Ready Player One (2018)

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I haven’t seen the movie yet or read the book. Now stop booing and understand I was busy and broke at the time and with great movies coming out every 5 SECONDS. I MEAN COME ON, GIVE US A BREAK. I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the movie but we cannot deny how PACKED it is with video game references, virtual reality, and pop culture. I mean, I’ve only seen the trailer and I know. Look, that is Tracer from Overwatch running next to Chun-Li from Street Fighter. It’s on my list, I promise I’ll watch it soon.

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. – IMDB

2. Gamer (2009)

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Actually a great movie, I enjoyed it. I also don’t sit down and pick apart movies, was I entertained? Yup! Good movie. Now the initial premise is pretty easy and previously seen before. Prisoners can get out early if they win the game but is our main character really guilty of his crimes? The spin? The prisoners are controlled by a gamer. They are merely playable characters in a very deadly game. 300 wins? You go free and as the team closes in and gains popularity, things begin to go awry.

1. Stay Alive (2006)

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THIS IS MY MOVIE! Oh my October, do I love this movie. This movie even spurred several projects that, years later, I am still working on. I love this movie. An alpha tester got his hands on a new type of game and all hell breaks loose. Die in the game, you die in real life. It’s amazing, I love it. Is it the greatest movie ever made? Hell no. But it’s a great movie. There are some curious changes to the story of Elizabeth Bathory that are questionable, but the overall movie is amazing. I’ll still never get over several things that happened and I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I love it and if you love horror, you should check it out.

Is there a movie I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Ready Player One

Review: Ready Player One

ready coverReady Player One is the highly anticipated movie based on the book of the same title by Ernest Cline. It is a love letter by Cline to many aspects of nerd culture. By creating a futuristic world of destitution where the only prospect of bettering yourself is through a virtual world Cline is able to incorporate many of his favorite things.

Cline’s world takes place in the year 2045. The real world is low on natural resources and space. People live in cramped trailers stacked on top of each other. There aren’t many jobs available forcing most people use the online world, The OASIS, to acquire any kind of currency. Upon his death one of the creators and the owner of The OASIS, James Halliday, declared a contest to see who would become his successor. A series of three “Easter Eggs” have been hidden in The OASIS for those who can find and win them. The winner of all three will gain control of The OASIS and all of Halliday’s assets. People called “gunters” search for the eggs. Some through the corporate sponsorship of IOI, others in clans and a few search independently.

One of those few is a teenage boy named Wade Watts. He has nothing. Well nothing other than a love of games, everything from the 1980s and an obsession with finding Halliday’s clues. Using the gamertag of “Parzival” Wade emersess himself in all things Halliday and plays his way through The OASIS.

The movie did differ from the book. I do not want to go into too much detail and spoil the movie. What I will say is that I liked most of the changes. In fact, it is one of the few circumstances where I preferred the movie to the book.

I really enjoyed the movie. I loved the pace, which was much faster than the book. The graphics were amazing. Ready Player One is such a joy to watch. The transitions from the gritty life of the real world to the vibrance of The OASIS alone make the movie worthwhile.

The soundtrack was full of fun tracks that fit the storyline. I felt other members of the audience around me moving to the music. 

I would highly recommend going to see Ready Player One. If you haven’t read the book you will still enjoy the movie. The book version has so much more of the lore if you want a more indepth look at the world that Cline wrote.

Always keep sparkling!  

 

Top 10 Geeky Movies For When The World Is Ending And It’s Time To Start The Revolution

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Top 10 Geeky Movies For When The World Is Ending And It’s Time To Start The Revolution

Stories are powerful.

They are some of the most important things there are.  They teach us who we are, who we can be, and how to live our lives.  For many of us in the United States, the end of 2016 has been a time of profound suffering, and when we are suffering, stories can lift us up, bring us comfort, and strengthen us.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve found movies to be particularly helpful.  With that being said, I present “Top 10 Geeky Movies For When The World Is Ending And It’s Time To Start The Revolution.”

Full disclosure: my husband and I mainly watch two types of movies: children’s cartoons and franchise action flicks, so that’s what I’m going to be drawing on for this list (“Franchise action flicks?” said my husband. “That’s a pretty fancy way of saying ‘Marvel.’”  “Ah,” I said, “but we also saw Ghostbusters. That’s not Marvel.”)  And, while we’ve been spending our pre-apocalypse playing a fun game called “Give All Our Money To The Disney Corporation”  – they produced six of the ten movies on this list – Disney didn’t give me anything for writing this post other than sweet, sweet movies and movie-related merchandise.

Anyway, to paraphrase Jillian Holtzman, grown-up movies are for dudes.

10. Inside Out

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Inside Out is an amazing movie to watch at pretty much any time, but at its surface it doesn’t have much to do with the apocalypse or the revolution.  What it is about is processing difficult emotions.  I’ve been having a lot of those lately: anger, sadness, fear.  You probably have too.  Inside Out helps us name them and accept them.  It’s good to watch any time you’re going through something difficult; I must have watched it about a dozen times in 2016.  It helps.

 

 

 

9. The World’s End

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Shaun Of The Dead would have been a great pick, and I’m giving it an honorable mention, but I believe The World’s End is the strongest of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto movies in terms of theme, writing, and overall quality.  Besides: the name kind of says it all.

Spoilers:

The World’s End is about a group of friends who return to their home town to discover that their friends and family are being replaced by alien ‘blanks.’  They spend the rest of the movie fighting ‘blanks’ in some seriously badass action sequences and eventually defeat the aliens through sheer stubbornness.  “It’s no use arguing with you,” says the alien speaker before buggering off and leaving the humans to their own, dubious devices.  Also, the world ends.  But our main characters survive (more or less) and build new lives in the epilogue.  The world’s end is, for some, a new beginning.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger

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There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Nazi-fighting superhero movie for when your country’s being taken over by neo-Nazis IRL.  Furthermore, Steve’s personal journey is one many of us can relate to.  He starts the film with little going for him other than courage and self-sacrifice, but grows into a true hero.  He stays true to his principles even when he becomes powerful, even when he feels like an impostor.  Captain Steve Rogers is someone we should all aspire to be like.  He reminds us what America’s true values look like, and what they don’t.

Speaking of TFA…

 

7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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No Star Wars movie would be out of place on this list (well, maybe the Ewok movies but they shouldn’t count).  Their themes of resistance and rebellion against fascist autocracy are particularly resonant today.

Spoilers:

I chose TFA in particular for some of the same reasons I chose The World’s End.  Coruscant is destroyed, but it’s not the end of the movie (seriously, what is it with JJ Abrams and blowing up beloved planets?).  Han Solo dies, and it’s not the end of the movie.  Finn and Rey both had horrible childhoods that could have made them callous and bitter, but instead they join a generations-long fight for freedom and justice.  This is especially resonant in Finn’s case, as a former Storm Trooper.  The movie is a reminder that we can survive tragedy and that each of us has the capacity to become a hero.  Plus, I think that all of us have a Kylo Ren somewhere in our friends or family.

6.  Home

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Home got mediocre reviews when it came out, but I still don’t understand why.  It is for sure the best post-apocalyptic kids’ movie since Wall-E, if not even better.  Home is the first movie I watched after I learned the election results.  I watched it with my daughter.  It is the story of a daughter and her mother and the end of the world.

Spoilers:
The end of the world is prologue in Home.  We watch through the eyes of a well-meaning aliens as the humans of Earth are forcibly removed from their homes and transported to ‘Happy Humansville’ (totally not a concentration camp).  The aliens, known as the Boov, have destroyed human civilization without malice or even knowing that what they did was wrong.  As the film progresses, we watch Oh, the Boov voiced by Jim Parsons, befriend Tip, a human girl who has been separated from her mother.  Through knowing her, he slowly begins to realize what effect the Boov invasion has had on her life.  With creativity, empathy, and hope the two change the entire galaxy for the better.

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Much like with Star Wars, all of the Hunger Games movies deserve an honorable mention, but Catching Fire is special to me.  I chose it for this list because it is the beginning of the rebellion.  It is the point in the series where the ‘games’ become more than that: where the players start to look and act beyond the arena in earnest.

Spoilers:

The thing that, for me, makes Catching Fire so powerful right now is the story of people who have been pitted against each other by a system that controls and exploits them coming together to wield their righteous anger against that system.  At the climax, Katniss turns the table on the Panem elite, directing her weapon not at another player, but at the system itself.  In a time when so many of us are focused on levying blame on one another, we need to heed Haymitch’s words and remember who the enemy is.

4. Moana

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Ok, Moana probably seems like a break in the pattern, but bare with me.  The world doesn’t end in Moana (though it comes close), and nobody fights in a revolution.  At its core, though, Moana is a movie about moving beyond one’s comfort zone.  In order to save the world, Moana has to break with tradition and leave the island where her people have resided for a thousand years.  Maui overcomes anxiety and self-doubt, becoming a selfless hero  in the process.  Both characters embody courage, and that type of courage is one thing we desperately need.

The themes and story aren’t the only reasons I chose Moana, though.  Moana is the first movie on this list to come out after the 2016 election rocked our world.  When I saw it for the first time, I was expecting a brief escape from the nightmare around me, but what I got was much more than that.  I got a reminder that, even in the darkness, there is still good in the world.  Moana is the epitome of feminist princess movies; Moana stands on the shoulders of Belle and Jasmine, Mulan and Tiana.  She is both feminine and heroic, and there is no compromise or dichotomy between the two.  There doesn’t need to be.  Moreover, the film features only characters of color, played by actors of color.  That Moana is a major, box office topping motion picture today is evidence that even with everything that’s going on, there are a lot of good people in the world, who can accomplish amazing things when they work together.  It illustrates how far we’ve come as a society.  And that there’s just no telling how far we’ll go (sorry, I had to).

On that note (no pun intended), Moana is also the only musical on this list, and it’s a proven fact that singing makes people feel better(1).  So find the music, learn the lyrics, and rock out.  I sure as hell have and it’s the only thing that keeps me going some days.  Also, since they were composed by the same person, some of the melodies in Moana remind me of Hamilton, which is only not on this list because it is not a movie (yet).

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Without going too deep into spoilers, suffice it to say that for those of us in the USA, this movie has been a little too real as of late.

Spoilers:

…what with the bad guys we thought we got rid of at the end of World War II showing up again, infiltrating the government and messing everything up, not being able to trust anyone, the best friend brainwashed by Russians, leadership acting like nothing’s wrong even though it clearly is, I could go on and on.

Thomas Paine wrote, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman,”(2) leading some critics to posit that the true ‘winter soldier’ of the film is not Barnes, but Rogers, who stands steadfastly for his country even when everything is going to hell.  I’ll say it again: we should all aspire to be like Captain Steve Rogers.  It’s going to be a long winter.

2. Rogue One

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…I assume.  I haven’t actually seen it yet, but from what I hear it’s everything we need right now, and might just be the second best movie ever for starting a rebellion and fighting the evil empire when everything seems hopeless.  There’s only one movie that does it better.

 

 

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

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This film is pure perfection.  It’s got everything.  Apocalypse: check.  Revolution: check.  Baddies that are larger than life but seem a little too real in our current political climate: check and check.  The desolate landscapes that are showcased so beautifully are a perfect mirror for the desolation of my soul following the election, and the characters perfectly express the pain and rage I’ve been feeling and continue to feel.

And yet.  And yet it is still a story of heroes. A story of hard choices in desperate situations, of horror and violence, of unspeakable loss, but, ultimately of defiance, rebellion, and justice.  It teaches us that we are stronger than we know, better than we know, that we can find allies in unexpected places, and that, ultimately, even long after the world has ended, we still have the power to build a better society.

References:

  1. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/singing-happy1.htm
  2. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/175410-these-are-the-times-that-try-men-s-souls-the-summer