The Wizard (Todd Holland, 1989)

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CSM126
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The Wizard (Todd Holland, 1989)

#1 Post by CSM126 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:53 am

I notice that this forum seems to be caught up in talks of the greatest movies of the 80's, but I have to mention The Wizard, one of the greatest cult classics of the Eighties...perhaps the greatest. Every single second of it is utterly preposterous, often to a hilarious, "so bad it's good" degree, and yet it also has a genuine sweetness and nostalgia to it. When I watch it, my laughs are at it's expense, but the mile-wide smile on my face by the time the end credits roll is of genuine love. It's in the way the movie makes me feel like a kid again: the way The Wizard holds Nintendo up as an object of wonderment and awe and undying love is just so true to the way my gamepad-clutching, grubby eight-year old self looked at the world: Nintendo was the only thing that mattered.

What's shocking is that I have no memory of seeing this movie as a kid, except a brief little glimmer of the Video Armageddon finale on a Nickelodeon showing in 1992 or so. It wasn't until I went on a kick watching awful video game movies (Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros., etc) last year that I stumbled upon The Wizard and saw it all the way through - and I discovered a real gem. It's quickly become one of my go-to DVDs on rainy days or lazy weekends.

Now I know there have to be some other twenty- or thirty-somethings 'round these parts who love this movie. Perhaps not as much as I do (I sometimes I fear I may be obsessive), but I certainly believe that The Wizard's passionate cult following includes some members of the Criterion-loving cineaste segment of the world.
Last edited by CSM126 on Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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King Prendergast
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Re: The Wizard (1989, Todd Holland)

#2 Post by King Prendergast » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:06 pm

"I love the power glove. It's so bad."

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Antoine Doinel
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#3 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:09 pm

I definitely saw The Wizard at least a half dozen times when I was a kid. Essentially a ninety minute ad for Nintendo (not to mention the wet dream reveal of the Power Glove), it's still surprisingly charming in it's own way. It's sort of a Rain Man for nerds.

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#4 Post by zombeaner » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:28 pm

I remember seeing this in the theater when it came out. I didn't even have a Nintendo at that time but I had friends who did and it was the coolest thing EVER.

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Darth Lavender
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Re: The Wizard (Todd Holland, 1989)

#5 Post by Darth Lavender » Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:09 am

CSM126 wrote:What's shocking is that I have no memory of seeing this movie as a kid, except a brief little glimmer of the Video Armageddon finale on a Nickelodeon showing in 1992 or so. It wasn't until I went on a kick watching awful video game movies (Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros., etc) last year that I stumbled upon The Wizard and saw it all the way through - and I discovered a real gem. It's quickly become one of my go-to DVDs on rainy days or lazy weekends.
A lot of my own favourite 'nostalghia' type movies are like that. "Hellraiser II," probably tops the list. Even though it's NC17 rated horror, it's so much a product of its time, and has such a typical 80s kids transported to a fantasy world story, that it really works on a nostalghia level.

I can probably compile a whole list of films like that (partly because I was rarely allowed to watch even a moderate PG at that age, and partly because when it comes to early teen nostalghia I pretty much refused to consider watching anything remotely akin to children's viewing (didn't even read Lord of the Rings until much later)

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#6 Post by Joe Buck » Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:27 pm

I saw it in the theater, never saw it again. Would like to. I remember it was cool to see Super Mario 3 for first time. When that game came out, I was one of the first in my area to get it. For some reason none of the stoers had it, but I got it mad early at Duane's Toyland downtown. I played that thing day and night and proudly found all the warp whistles myself. I had it solved in no time. when the Nintendo Power Guide Book came out, I picked it up, and was pleased to see that there was very little I overlooked. I kept sending my high scores to Nintendo power but they never printed them. The original NES was the last game system I ever owned, mercifully.

...and that's when I went into male prostitution. Yeeeeee-hoooooo!

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#7 Post by GoldenPilgrim » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:27 pm

Ahh Yes, a true gem. How else would I have known how to find that first warp whistle?

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CSM126
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#8 Post by CSM126 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:17 am

GoldenPilgrim wrote:Ahh Yes, a true gem. How else would I have known how to find that first warp whistle?
Or, for that matter, that the star was so much better than any other power up.

"Watch the mushrooms!"

"Get the star, Jimmy. THE STAR!!!"

Good stuff. Shameless, but so good.

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#9 Post by myrnaloyisdope » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:33 pm

That first warp is so non-intuitive, I don't see how you could find it on your own.

But Jimmy was autistic, and we all know how adept the autistic are at video games.

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I love that we have a thread for this film

#10 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:15 am

The Wizard is remarkably like Rain Man, except I didn't hate it. I somehow never saw this as a kid, but man this movie is something else. So earnest and unironic in its dorky outlook and insistence on the second-hand excitement of other people playing video games. For a transparent Nintendo ad (and Universal Studios too, I guess), it's remarkably good-spirited and un-cynical. As far as childrens' entertainment goes, I'd rank it somewhere in the middle, but it has a lot of smaller pleasures, such as seeing an excitable Beau Bridges enthusiastically play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or, as CSM126 quotes above, Jenny Lewis not-so-helpfully yelling out game-play tips in the last fifteen minutes after the film wraps up her narrative function yet still has to give her something to do. Also I'm reasonably certain if I'd seen this as a kid I would have thought the fact that Fred Savage and Lewis got to disembark off the Universal Studio tour in the middle of the King Kong tram was a million times cooler than any video gamery. Man, forget when I was younger, I want to do that now.

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Re: The Wizard (Todd Holland, 1989)

#11 Post by dx23 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:24 pm

There were some really awful movie/commercials in the 80's (I'm looking at you Mac and Me), but The Wizard wasn't one of them. It was a really charming film and the cast perfectly shows an enthusiasm for something that was really kid friendly. As you said domino, it's really earnest and un-cynical and that's why it is remembered with so much nostalgia by the people who grew up in the 80's. I think it was also one of the reasons it was on top of the Amazon customer's wish list of most wanted DVD releases. The movie also served as a perfect tool to understand the Nintendo craze that ran in the mid to late 80s.

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Re: The Wizard (Todd Holland, 1989)

#12 Post by domino harvey » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:31 pm


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