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The Memory Card .48: 'That's the magic flute!'

2:00 PM on 12.18.2008 // Chad Concelmo

This week’s Memory Card is a little different. For the first time ever this feature is going to focus on a memorable moment from a videogame movie rather than an actual videogame itself.

Before you all rack your brains trying to think of even one memorable moment from a videogame movie, be advised that this week’s pick is not necessarily memorable for it being good. In fact, this moment actually still infuriates me to this day. It is a ludicrous sequence and, honestly, one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen in my entire life.

But, still, it’s pretty darn unforgettable.

The year was 1989. The movie? The Wizard.

Hit the jump to witness what is quite possibly the most annoying scene in the history of cinema.

The Set-Up

While I won’t say exactly how old I was when The Wizard came out, let’s just say I was old enough to see it in the theater, but young enough to not realize THE MOVIE IS NOTHING MORE THAN A COMMERCIAL FOR SUPER MARIO BROS. 3! Regardless of its intentions, though, I am happy The Wizard found a place in my life (even if it is for all the wrong reasons).

For anyone that doesn’t know (and, really, if you don’t know about this movie you need to click here right now). The Wizard tells the story of a ... er ... special boy named Jimmy who is a “wizard” at videogames.

After his parents get a divorce, Jimmy -- who developed a serious mental disorder ever since his twin sister drowned when he was very young -- is put in an institution to help him cope with his troubling feelings.

Since it is, I guess, a wise idea, Jimmy’s rascal of a brother Corey (played by the timeless Fred Savage) decides to break him out of the institution and take him on a road trip to California -- the state that Jimmy constantly repeats over and over again in the first part of the movie.

Along the way, the two troublemakers meet a sassy girl named Haley (played by real-life rock star Jenny Lewis). Now, I don’t really know how I can explain Haley. She is a girl -- that part is obvious. But her personality? Huh, let’s see. Haley’s personality is, kind of … oh, I know: SHE IS THE MOST ANNOYING HUMAN BEING THAT HAS EVER LIVED!

Not to criticize Ms. Lewis, but the character of Haley is awful. Not only is she a know-it-all, she is bossy and flat-out mean to the Jimmy and Corey: the two people that offer to help her out!

You see, Haley sees how amazing Jimmy is at videogames while they are at a local arcade and the gaming prodigy takes on a cocky boy named Lucas. Because of his talent, Haley suggests the three of them head to California so Jimmy can compete in the Nintendo World Videogame Championships in Los Angeles. The prize is $50,000 and Haley wants half for helping them get there. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but why would they give this girl half the money? Weren’t they going to California already? And, really? $25,000? God, she is awful.

After a long journey involving some awkward romance, a completely out-of-place bounty hunter chase, and many other questionable choices (at one point Haley accuses said bounty hunter of trying to rape her), the trio finally makes it to Universal Studios Hollywood, home of the big tournament.

It is during this tournament when the next Memory Card moment occurs: “That’s the magic flute!”

The Moment

The first round of the Nintendo World Videogame Championship involves a quick play-through of the game Ninja Gaiden. Even though there are some obvious errors in the way the game is portrayed it’s not that big of a deal. A couple small mistakes won’t ruin the big, final scene, right?

Once the preliminaries are complete, to no one’s surprise, the three finalists are Jimmy, Lucas, and … wait, who is that random girl?

The lights in the tournament go down as the overdramatic host stands before the contestants.

Suddenly, the host reveals that the final game will be something that nobody has ever played before (this is very important): the mystical Super Mario Bros. 3!

Whispers and gasps dance throughout the excited crowd in the massive arena.

With almost no time to prepare, the host throws his hands in the air and the game begins!

Right away all three contestants are neck and neck as they make their way through World 1-1.

Heading into the next world, though, tragedy strikes (more gasps!)! Jimmy dies and has to start all over again!

Okay, now here is where things get pretty gosh darned ridiculous.

Out of nowhere, Corey (Fred Savage) tells Haley that if Jimmy can find the warp he will pull ahead and would then have a chance to win.

Um, you know about this “warp” how, Corey?

Cut back to Jimmy playing the game. He has entered the first castle now and just grabbed the leaf power-up, turning Mario into a raccoon. Then, somehow, Jimmy flies Mario to the left of a specific castle wall and finds the door to the secret treasure room.

Here, he opens the chest and grabs the warp whistle that will shoot him ahead of his competitors.

Once he grabs the whistle, Haley yells the now classic line:

“That’s the magic flute! Use it! Use it! It opens the warp!”



So, of course, Jimmy uses this “magic flute,” warps ahead, and wins the game at the last possible second! Yay!

After being crowned the champion, Jimmy’s parents randomly appear, take him to visit his dead twin’s favorite landmark, and everyone lives happily ever after!

You can watch the ridiculously amazing scene right here:

The Impact

I’m not going to lie: when I first saw The Wizard in the theater I loved it. Of course, just like most of the videogame nerds of the world, I probably loved it because I got to see footage of Super Mario Bros. 3. Whatever the reason, I liked the movie a lot.

Looking back, though … actually, do I really need to say anything? It is quite obvious in hindsight how absolutely ridiculous this entire scene is.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

First off, don’t even get me started on the scoring system they use while the contestants play Super Mario Bros. 3. So, are they getting points for killing enemies? No, it looks like they get points based on how far they get in the game. Okay. No, wait, Lucas just matched a mushroom and got another huge bonus for getting two extra lives! What the heck?! How does the scoring make any sense whatsoever?!

And why, when Haley yells “Get the star, Jimmy!” do her and Corey cheer when he gets a flower. And, even then, what would a star have mattered? Would that random symbol really have meant more points? And, oh my gosh, how would anyone even know how many points anything is worth in the game?! There was no explanation of any sorts beforehand!

Man, the questions go on and on.

All of this leads up to the key moment, though -- a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life (no matter how hard I try).

Jimmy finding the secret room in the castle is unbelievable enough, but, maybe, maybe in some crazy Wizard world I can see this boy’s genius somehow pointing him in the direction of the hidden area. Very unlikely, but I will give the movie the benefit of the doubt.

But in no circumstance would Haley know what the heck the “magic flute” did.

Seriously.

This is the first time any human being on the planet has ever seen Super Mario Bros. 3 and this random girl -- who can’t play videogames at all herself -- somehow figures out that the random flute-looking item can be used to warp you to a different level.

Seriously.

Wow. This is the first time I have ever facepalmed while writing a Memory Card. It’s a historic day.

You’re right; maybe I am getting too worked up over this one random scene in this random movie. But, come on, it bothers you a little as well. You may not want to admit it, but you are annoyed with Haley screaming that line just as much as me, aren’t you?

No? Fine. Maybe it is just me.

Regardless of my strange, apparently deep-rooted issues with The Wizard, I still love the movie to death. It is harmless, goofy fun, obviously memorable (see: this entire article), a blast to make fun of while watching, and, I have to admit: the ending at the dinosaur monument actually makes me cry a little.

Or maybe a lot.

Man, The Wizard really f*cked me up.

The Memory Card Save Files

.01 - .20 (Season 1)
.21 - .40 (Season 2)
.41: The tadpole prince (Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars)
.42: Pyramid Head! (Silent Hill 2)
.43: Waiting for Shadow (Final Fantasy VI)
.44: Solid vs. Liquid (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
.45: The birth of the cutscene (Ninja Gaiden)
.46: Insult swordfighting (The Secret of Monkey Island)
.47: A castle stuck in time (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)



Chad Concelmo,
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