Video Games in Movies

During a recent review of the contents of a couple old USB drives that I had forgotten that I stashed away, I found a handful of articles that I had written for a gaming site that went defunct. Since I hate for words to sit unread (even those in incoherent, rambly sentences), I decided I might as well share them here. Here’s one from around January 2013 in which I mused over some depictions of games and gamers  on the big screen.


It’s widely accepted among gamers and movie-goers that movies based on video games are never quite as good as the games themselves.  But movies that contain references to video games…well, some of those aren’t that great as well; but many of them are perfectly enjoyable.  These references range from large (Tron – the entire movie) to small (remember the NES Advantage controller from Ghostbusters 2?) to everything in between.  While it’s unfortunate that Hollywood often invokes typical “gamer” stereotypes (as “they” do with just about any group “they” don’t fully understand), these references are testament to the fact that video games are an integral part of our culture.  I love it when games, consoles, or gamers get in a little bit of screen time, so here are a few of my favorite video game references in movies.


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Movies for the Comedic Side of Halloween

The following post originally appeared on Geek Force Network, October 18, 2013.


Every year round this time, as people ring in the spooky days surrounding Halloween with a good horror flick or two, I prepare to watch my own small cache of movies to celebrate the season. While I don’t mind horror movies, they aren’t movies that I regularly seek out. Also I’m not much into being visually terrified, so if I’m going to watch something scary, I’d rather it tend towards comedic or campy horror — the kind of stuff that’s not nightmare-inducing, but rather sends me off to dreamland with giggles and a smile. With that in mind, here’s five movies that I have queued up and ready to watch as the air chills and nighttime spirits come out to play.

P. S. Minor spoilers for older movies ahead, possibly.

*****

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The Rocky Horror Remake: Some Thoughts

Well, that whole schedule change thing didn’t last very long, did it? Um…okay…you got me. But it’s my blog, and I can break it if I want. Also, surely you didn’t think I couldn’t NOT say something about The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again??

The beautiful people.
The beautiful people. (© Fox Broadcasting, 2016)

By the look on your face I can tell you’re confused. I can allay your confusion with the following sentences. I’m a huge fan of The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show.  I’ve seen the movie, participated in it at midnight screenings, and seen the stage version. I own a copy of the movie and its script, and I know the songs by heart. It’s one of my all-time favorite musicals.

That pretty much clears things up, no? Moving on then.

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Dashing off some words about Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Seeing as how I used to be something of a serious Star Wars fanatic, I figured I owed it to posterity to say at least something about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which I finally saw this past weekend. As if the world didn’t know, it’s now out on Blu-Ray. I don’t have much of an excuse for not seeing it in the theatres, but it seemed like every time we planned to go, something else came up. And then, eventually it was like, eh, we’ll wait till it comes out on Blu-Ray. And here we are.

star-wars-force-awakens-blu-ray-cover

Since my thoughts remain incoherent and in snippet form, I’ll just be doing this bullet-point style. It’s early. I don’t know where my coffee is. And I have, like, a million non-Star Wars things to do today, so off we go!

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ATB’s Top 25 Animated Movies: (4) Aladdin

All month long, the wonderful people behind At The Buzzer have been counting down their favorite animated movies. In order to create such a stellar and fun list, they called upon a few associates to help, and I was more than pleased to heed to call. This post here talks all about number 4 on the list, Aladdin, which is a “must” when discussing animated movies, but later today will be revealed the number one animated movie of all time ever in the history of ever! What will it be? Stay tuned to ATB to find out! And while there, be sure to check out the top 25 and honorable mentions!

Objection Network

Our top 25 animated movies list heads down the final stretch, the five best films ever made. This quintet separated itself from the pack with a ton of support from multiple members of the panel. Tomorrow: #3.

4) Aladdin (7 votes, 314 points)

Shaun: It’s weird how highly I regard this movie, considering much of the second part I don’t like. Everything in the beginning? Stellar. Great characters are introduced, the villain is menacing, the stakes are real, and the hero is humble, charming, and relatable….

….until he turns into a douche in act 2. Now, I get it. Anyone with the nearly limitless power that is three genie wishes would probably be a little changed. And it’s not like act 2 doesn’t have its great moments with a flying carpet, or that Aladdin doesn’t redeem himself. It just portrays the character in a way I don’t care for, and…

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Jem and the Holograms: The Movie, the Sadness, the Why Bother?

As I was typing what was supposed to be this evening’s post about a nice blog award that I recently received (my belated thanks and such will be made known in two weeks time!), my Twitter sidebar began lighting up with news of the release of the first trailer for Jem and the Holograms (The Movie). My initial spike in “Oh, cool!” curiosity was quick doused by reading comments about the trailer that ranged from quiet disappointment to utter rage. Hoping against hope, I checked out the trailer myself and…yep. A super sad “for fuck’s sake…” was the only thing that came to mind.

[I was thinking of posting the trailer here, but I just can’t. So here’s the link to it. If you want to save yourself two and a half precious minutes, think of every “coming of age” movie you’ve ever seen and set it to shit pop, and there’s the remade Jem and the Holograms.]

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No whips, witnesses, or Wookies here

As most of the world knows by now, Harrison Ford was in a plane crash late last week. He’s “on the mend” according to recent reports, which is great to hear. … Not that I know him personally, but I am a decently unoblivious fan of his movies. With that in mind, here’s an article I wrote for Geek Force Network (originally posted on May 17, 2013) about a few of my favorite Harrison Ford movies that didn’t involve the things he’s best known for — treasure hunting, space battles, futuristic crime-fighting, Amish drama, or dealing with one-armed men. 


What Lies Beneath still
© DreamWorks Pictures (2000)

I’m not just a Harrison Ford fan; I’m a Harrison Ford apologist.

K-19?
He was a pretty decent as Russian guy, da? I mean, he was stuck in a sub, after all. It’s not like you can make a great movie in a submar–…huh? The what about Red October?  Oh.

Sabrina?
He wasn’t so bad. Anybody looks good opposite Greg Kinnear.

Crystal Skull??
Yeah, it was awful, but it was totally fun seeing Ford and Allen back together. And yes, I have the movie on Blu-Ray. You wanna fight about it?

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The ebb and flow of my Star Wars fandom

Outside of video games, Star Wars has probably been the next most constant obsession in my life. After seeing Return of the Jedi in the theatre way back when, I was hooked. But as with any love, its intensity has waxed and waned between extended moments of high praise and low disapproval. With another Star Wars movie now on the way, and with things about it looking very promising, I’m slowly coming out of one of those low periods, and I find myself once again embracing everything that makes Star Wars so wonderful. And there was no better place for this inner monologue than Geek Force Network.

Geek Force Network

Image by Flickr user Manuel SagraImage by Flickr user Manuel Sagra

In the last Full Force, we discussed fandom and what it means to be a fan.  It’s an interesting topic and one that’s been on my mind recently with two major Star Wars announcements arriving through the pipeline: that future Star Wars movies will (mostly) disregard the current expanded universe, and the reveal of Episode VII’s cast that includes the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.

For the bulk of my years up through the turn of the millennium, I was a Star Wars fan. The first movie I ever saw in a movie theatre was Return of the Jedi, and it instantly hooked me. For years, Star Wars-related gifts were staples at birthdays and Christmases. When the movies appeared on TV, I had to watch them, without question. In time I had practically memorized original trilogy, from scenery to…

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