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Thursday, August 28, 2014

'Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie' DVD & VOD: In Search of "E.T." The Video Game


On the surface (pun intended), the Cinemassacre production of "Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie" (which hits VOD platforms on September 2 2014 and comes out on DVD in November 2014) seems to be an overly long version of a hilarious web series of the same name. This initial reaction evokes painful memories of films, such as "It's Pat" and "A Night at the Roxbury," based on popular SNL characters.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the spoiler-laden "Nerd" trailer demonstrates all of the wonderful intentional cheesiness of the film and shows how it can seem that it all is a bit much.

Doing minimal homework reveals that "Nerd" is simply too cool for many of us to get; candor requires admitting giving up on this nearly two-hour movie after roughly an hour and finishing it the next day. Reading one short relevant news article in the interval brought everything into perspective in a manner that enhanced the enjoyment of the film.

Signs of love related to the project are that an online fundraising campaign by fans of the web series covered the production costs of the film and a small army of VFX artists volunteered their services to making the movie.

The awesome concept that the titular malcontent, expertly played by character creator (and film writer/director) James Rolfe, uploads hilarious 15-minute stream-of-consciousness thoughts regarding video games is easily comprehensible. Further, those of us who feel compelled to share our pop culture views can relate to the pleasure that Rolfe derives from ranting about games that particularly irk him.

This is akin to hatred associated with the rare despicable DVD release, such as the "Stargate Infinity: The Complete Series" set. "Infinity" is the only one of 1,000s of sets purchased over roughly eight years that has evoked a strong desire to return it because it is that unwatchable.

Further, Rolfe is a master at expressing himself in a fall-on-the-floor manner. This relates to the segments in the film that involve his profanity-laden rants often being along the lines of declaring that finding a gnat on Bigfoot's scrotum is easier than achieving an objective in a reviewed game.

The plot in the film involves a video game company that plans to release a sequel to the real-life 1982 Atari "E.T." video game, which is considered a monumental flop, wanting to recruit Nerd to review the new product. The warped marketing thinking is that Nerd giving the sequel a negative review will actually boost sales because gamers will want to see if it is actually that bad.

Personal verification of that theory relates to purchasing the DVD of the film "Child Bride" in response to Kevin Murphy of the "Mystery Science 3000" (MST 3K) '90s cable series commenting in an interview that "Bride" was too tasteless to feature on MST 3K. Murphy also correctly indicates that his comment will prompt Misties to buy "Bride."

Learning of the new game triggers PTSD in Nerd, who has horrible memories of the original. This also relates to one of the best lines in this purposefully bare bones film; Nerd comments on waking up from a nightmare that even his dream sequences are low budget.

In typical film-based-on-a-television concept, the campaign to get Nerd to review the new game sends him, his sidekick, and a video game executive, on a search for a rumored New Mexico desert  in which a large quantity of the original "E.T." cartridges are buried.

This quest leads to a plethora of stereotypes. The video game rep. becomes a love interest for Nerd, a crazed military officer pursues our gang, and the group meets an eccentric recluse with information that is very relevant to their mission.

A real-life April 2014 news article covers the unearthing of a large quantity of cartridges of the original "E.T." game and confirms the lore in the film that Atari rushed production of the game to have it available for the 1982 Christmas shopping season. This article further verifies the other background information in the film regarding the game.

The 45 minutes watched after the extended intermission regarding watching the film essentially is the grand finale to a fireworks display. Rolfe and his team keep throwing mismatched stock footage, middle-school production killer robots, toy models, and every other z-movie cliche at the audience to awesome effect. This all ends with a closing credits segment that should satisfy every existing Nerd fan and make one out of the rest of us.

All of this makes "Nerd" akin to a comic adventure of a descendant of Jimmy Hoffa having wacky misadventures while on his way to dig up the body of that legendary figure in order to collect an inheritance or otherwise profit.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Nerd" is encouraged to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.