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TheDustinThomas avatar 12:31 PM on 02.11.2014  (server time)
The Past: Cory and Haley's Sexual Tension

I'm at a weird age. I'm 28, meaning that I'm getting to the point where I'm becoming much more cynical about the media I consume. I'm old enough to remember original versions of films that are now getting reboots. I'm sure the new RoboCop will be a decent movie, but I've already made up my mind that I hate it and it should die. I'm also too old to be the "cool older guy" to my nieces and nephews. This past weekend, I was with some family and we were discussing Wayne's World, when one of the children asked what we were talking about, we told them we were talking about a movie from the 90s, to which she asked "So it was in black and white?" It was then that I realized that kids these days probably look at me the way that I looked at my parents at that age. They assume I grew up in the stone age.

Even though I'm still at the forefront of gaming, my heart will always be with the original NES. That's not an uncommon thing for a gamer around my age to say, it was likely the first system they played, as it was mine. Playing the NES is the one system I can go back to and still play games that make me feel like a kid again. It's not like that with any other system for me. When I think of the NES, the one game that I find to be synonymous with the system is Super Mario Bros. 3. That may seem like a pretty generic statement to make, and it is, I'm not denying that, but I also can't think about SMB3 without immediately thinking of the cinematic masterpiece that is The Wizard.

I'm being completely un-ironic when I say that The Wizard is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I've legitimately seen that movie more times than I've seen any other. When I'm writing and I want something playing in the background, I put on The Wizard. When I'm cleaning the house and I just want something on the TV, I put on The Wizard. And when I'm bored and just want to watch a movie that I know I like, I put on The Wizard. I probably wind up watching that movie about 15 times a year without even trying. Why do I love this movie so much?

Mora Grissom may have something to do with it...

Well, one reason is because it's a very much a product of its time, and will never be given a Hollywood reboot, so that's good. But think about it, you'll never see another movie like The Wizard again. They don't make entire movies as marketing vehicles for videogames, they didn't do it before The Wizard and they haven't done it since. Sure, we have plenty of documentaries about videogames like Indie Game: The Movie and The King of Kong, and we have the countless films based on game franchises, but The Wizard is in a class all its own. When I watch that movie, I'm instantly whisked away back to 1990.

I remember taping the movie on network television, and as was to be expected with old VHS tapes, it would wear out, causing subsequent viewings to be less than ideal. Certain sections of the film would cut out or be warped, but I still watched that tape incessantly. As a matter of fact, when I watch the DVD version of the film, I still remember exactly where the VHS would mess up, and I point that out to the people that aren't watching it with me. I still remember every part that was edited for television, it actually wasn't until I watched it on DVD for the first time that I saw the scene with Nick (Christian Slater) playing SMB2 at the mechanics garage. I consider that to be the "deleted scene" on the DVD. And don't get me started on the incredible montages this film has. If it weren't for this film, I never would have heard "I Live by the Groove," and my life would be incomplete. Let us watch it together...

This film has 4 montages, the same amount as Rocky IV.

That montage reminds me of everything that was great about my childhood. Granted, I never saw a Play Choice 10 machine in my life, and I never went to a glamorous Reno arcade, but looking at footage of MetroidMega Man 2 and TMNT, combined with that infectious 80s groove and Rick showing us all how awesome our dream job as Nintendo Hotline receptionists is, I can't think of any combination of images that better encapsulates what the year of 1990 was for me.

Then, after an hour of Nintendo footage, surveying the bitter rivalry that pits Sam and Nick versus Putnam, and feeling uncomfortable about the sexual tension between Cory and Haley, we get to the main attraction: The reveal of Super Mario Bros. 3!


That. That, right there. That's the most awesome thing that's ever happened. I don't even know why anyone decided to keep trying. Movies should have just stopped at that point, because The Wizard achieved perfection with that one shot alone.

I'm sure Super Mario Bros. 3 still would have sold ridiculously well even without the film, in fact, I know it would have, it's one of the best games ever made, and it had the word 'Mario' on the box. But for someone like me, who was 4-years-old when he first saw this movie, and wasn't privy to things like Nintendo Power or game release dates, this was the first time that I had heard or seen anything about the game. My brother and I begged our parents nonstop until we finally received the game as a joint birthday gift (our birthdays are only 15 days apart).

Everyone my age loves Mario 3, and most gamers love The Wizard, at least as a weird, campy part of Nintendo's history. But for me, Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Wizard go hand-in-hand. One simply does not exist without the other, and every time I play the game or watch the movie, I'm a kid again.

Naturally, writing anything about The Wizard makes me legally obligated to post this picture at least once.

Thanks for reading.


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