Like a million other boys I grew up playing video games. I cannot begin to fathom how many countless hours (and quarters) I spent walking to the local convenience store to play the new stand-up arcade game, or at home after school and on weekends (and all summer long) plugged into whatever game I was addicted to at the moment. I’m old enough to remember Pong, though they are fuzzy memories, and cut my teeth on Pac-Man, Asteroids, Centipede, and the like – first on the arcade versions and then on my Atari 2600. Later I fell in love with the Nintendo console and eventually the Super Nintendo. The graphics were terrible compared to today’s ultra-realistic games, but they were fun and I loved them.
Somewhere after the SNES, I outgrew game playing. Or rather they outgrew me. When the controllers got more buttons than I have fingers and the first-person graphics made me nauseous, I gave up. I still play the occasional casual game and I do enjoy the odd nostalgic twirl with an emmulator, but I don’t spend nearly the time or energy I once did on them. Actually these days I’m often amazed at how much time I did spend playing them. Some of those games were incredibly time consuming and monotonous. I can remember lighting fire to every single tree in the original Legand of Zelda and bombing every possible stone in the odd chance that they might conceal something. That must have taken me days – weeks even – to complete and yet there I did it just to be the very best I could be. I can’t imagine being that exacting these days.
For Wreck-It Ralph, I was cautiously optimistic. I loved the retro look of the characters and the old-school-gaming plotline. It was John C. Reilley though, that gave me pause. I think he is a tremendous actor and he’s given some outstanding performances over the years, but he’s also starred in a few too many low-brain comedies and so I just can’t count on him to deliver intelligent laughs. But since its release I’ve heard nothing but good things about the film, and the arcade nostalgia love has done nothing but grown on me and so that’s why I’m naming it my Pick of the Week.
Extras include a featurette on the making of the movie, a short film entitled Paperman, deleted scenes, and some video game commercials.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
The Bay: For someone who claims to be a horror fan I’ve seen very few of the found footage subgenre, mostly because none of them look very good at all. The Bay lands directly in that genre but is directed by Barry Levinson, who is known for his staid dramas than anything resembling horror. That makes it worth a good look in my opinion, and here’s the opinion of Sentry Gordon S. Miller.
Lay the Favorite: I’d not heard of this Bruce Willis/Catherine Zeta Jones gambling picture, but director Stephen Frears is always worth checking out so it gets a mention here.
College: Because one can never go wrong with Buster Keaton.