Sunday, October 26, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (2014)

Originally intended to be a 50-minute vlog, but due to technical issues that involved Vegas crapping out on , I scrapped the original vlog and tossed together a quick shorter vlog - that's assuming you think a thirty-plus minute vlog "quick" and "short." So, for those wondering about my thoughts on this thing, what follows after the break is the complete script of the original fifty minute vlog, with some minor edits here and there to fix some (but not all) typos and formatting bits. This is probably the most definitive take I can give on a movie.

Alright, because exactly ONE person demanded it... and he shall remain completely and utterly anonymous... so if something is said here that may potentially offend you, blame that guy... or gal. Anyway, a couple quick warnings. First, there might be spoilage. Maybe minor, maybe major. But if you're wary about spoilers, viewer beware. Also, not much of a review, actually. This is more of a rambling session and quite possibly as a result, we'll be here for a while. So hope you're not too busy for the next several minutes because I've got a lot to say... so with that out of the way, let's talk the Angry Video Game Nerd movie.

So, with that out of the way, let's talk Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie. And for those who have checked out the Update video I posted some time ago, it included towards the tail end of the video a quick summation of my initial impressions of the film.

"Basically, my head hurts. Better luck next time."

So you might already have some idea as to my impressions of the overall film... even though I didn't say a whole lot... if anything at all. And it probably would be for the best if I didn't say anything, because there's a strange mentality among the fanbase of any property, but especially those of a popular internet franchise, that if you were to say anything negative, even if there's no malevolence behind it, even if it was a mild criticism, people would flip their shit. And it has happened way more often than anyone is willing to admit.

But you just get to a point where you feel an imperative need to get out there and say your piece, regardless of whatever consequences and reactions it might garner. When it came to decipher my thoughts on this Nerd movie... it wasn't easy. Because it's easy to throw a quick something up saying "My head hurts. That's supposed to be funny. Laugh, you fools. Laugh. Why aren't you laughing?" But in my case, there is a merit of truth to it. Because my head did hurt. It hurt so bad that I had to stop thirty minutes into the movie because it just rubbed me the wrong way... but it took a few tries but I eventually made it through the whole runtime... as laborious and as soul-crushing as it has been to do so.

And I just want to get it out there; if you're a hardcore AVGN fan, you've probably already saw this movie and loved it. And if you haven't seen it, you'll probably like it... but then again, maybe not. I know, checking some of the reviews on the iMDB page for that movie, reaction has been lukewarm. Some people liked it. Some people didn't... and unfortunately, I have to throw my hat in the latter camp. I'll spare you the mystery and ambiguiouty; Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie is a bad movie. And not in a "so bad it's good" kind of way, but rather the "This [Movie] Is Fucking Horrible, It's Fucking Horrible" kind of way.

To get a proper context as to where I'm coming from here, the first time I came across the Angry Nintendo Nerd as it was known at the time was back in 2006 when a message board I was lurking had a link to this YouTube video in which some guy was playing the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I gave it a watch, got a couple chuckles at watching this 30-something play an old game, cussing about, and act like an idiot, and when it was over, the first thought that came to mind and sticks with me to this very day was, "Good damn, this guy's a fucking moron."

But as I found more of his stuff and I eventually learned this was more of an act than anything, I actually kinda thought "These aren't too bad. Some of it's funny even." And I started following that series, from its initial YouTube outing through the move to Gametrailers and have followed it consistently for better or worse. In fact, out of the initial wave of angry reviewer types, the Nerd series is one that I still check out for new episodes, even if I feel that the past couple years have been dwelling in mediocrity or sometimes worse than that.

Somewhere along the way, though, I decided to check out some of Rolfe's short films that he had done for college and things of that nature, which were mostly through his website,, which was a different beast from what you got now. And as much as I'd get a chuckle or two out of the Nerd stuff, it was his other stuff that brought about the realization that this guy could be going places. To this day, I enjoyed the likes of The Deader The Better, Cinemaphobia, his 48-Hour short films, the couple montages he made on a trip to Europe somewhere that he made, The Dragon In My Dreams piece (which I thought was a touching piece where he revisited a childhood memory), even the career retrospective Cinemassacre 200 was a nice overview of his filmography and how he went about making his little movies... you know, stuff that, while the subject matter or the genre wasn't something I'd normally be interested in, were at least good enough that I was able to enjoy and say "Yeah, this kid's got something." And the overall body of work, whether it'd the short films or his Monster Madness movie reviews or his touring of landscapes that appeared in big movies and things of that nature, had piqued my interest enough in the individual, who I always considered to be more of a film buff than a gamer because when he talks about movies, I'm more into it than I am when he's raging about video games, that I'd want to see how he'd put together a full-on movie if he ever got the chance because I truly believed (and kinda still do) that this James Rolfe person could do some amazing stuff.

And after seeing this thing, I'm still waiting.

And I say that not to be a "hater" or whatever knee-jerk excuse the loyalists might autofire on a whim so they can keep their heads buried in the sand to maintain the sad illusion that their idol is infallible - this sort of fan, sadly, exists with anything - but rather I say that because when I see some of the stuff that Rolfe has pulled with far less money and potentially fewer resources and I enjoy that stuff because they're well done and then I see this movie that had garnered a 300,000+ budget through the crowdfunding and other means and I end up having to struggle through this thing because it's depressingly bad that it made me nauseous, I have to seriously question whether this is the same guy who I thought had a bright future as an aspiring independent filmmaker and could be going places. And in some sense, I find it rather unfortunate that this is going to be an overly negative overview of the thing because, well, an Angry Video Game Nerd movie, with the right idea and the right execution... there's potential there. There's some merit to the idea, especially if you want to expand the brand and add some level of development for the Nerd character.

Teaser poster for the movie.
"Tease" is the right word here.

I look at the teaser poster for the movie, which is sort of this dark horror-ish almost completely monochrome image and I get the sense that, just looking at the poster, the movie may very well be a horror-themed dark comedy kind of thing, which could've worked well enough for the Nerd... and possibly could've been the better movie because Rolfe, I find, is at his best when he's doing the more atmospheric stuff. The aforementioned short films are examples of this, but even two specific Board James episodes on Mr. Bucket and Dream Phone respectively are more recent examples of Rolfe in his element. Something that I almost wished he applied to the Nerd series instead of following the crowd with the more sketch-based throw-shit-on-screen and see what happens approach that a lot of these "angry reviewer" types seem to be doing.

Out of all the sketch-based Nerd showings throughout the years, the two I felt was the best of these were the two Halloween episodes in 2007. That would be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween for Atari episodes. There's an overall plot; Nerd goes to a yard, pays a bit too much money for a couple games, reviews one game, gets ambushed by an insane fan, and... so on and so forth. Then you get to the second video, where the Nerd has to go babysit, but before he does, let's play a bad game with nothing but a cheap-o label... I don't want to say a whole lot, but those episodes had a fairly basic plot and while it doesn't do much to really expand the Nerd character, he was put in situations that, for a brief moment, I was almost genuinely concerned about what was going to happen with the character. I'd have to say that I was more intrigued by Jimmie Jim Slug in this episode than I was the movie sidekick whom we've never seen before and is apparently someone who worked with the Nerd for ages now... but all that aside, when it came to the narrative-based Nerd videos, those are the two I still watch every so often and get some enjoyment out of because they're well done and entertaining and they make me wonder how something like this would've looked and felt if it were expanded into a full-on movie with a notably bigger budget. Even the Christmas episodes from that same year were pretty exceptional and he had less to work there.

In that regard, I'd have no problem with an Angry Nerd movie... I just have a problem with THIS Angry Nerd movie. By which I mean many problems.

Again, it's going to be unfortunate that this is dwelling mostly on the negative... but there are some positives to be found in Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie. The first and foremost being that it looks like a movie. It's not really saying a whole lot, I'm sure, but when you're charging people money to see your movie, it's important that it looks like a movie and not a cheap-o YouTube video with lots of shitty green screen and subpar production. And this does indeed look like a movie, with actual outdoor locations, practical indoor sets, some decent cinematography, a cast of caricatures and extras played by many different actors as opposed to the same three or four, and some fairly decent practical effects, especially in regards to the various creature models used here.

And that's another strong aspect of this film; the fact that they went out of their way to create this physical puppets and monster costumes rather than go the cheap-o CGI route that would end up looking fake. And given the budget, these are actually pretty well done for the most part. I thought the sequence with the giant Deathmothics, or whatever it's called, was actually well done for the most part - aside from the shitty green-screening of fleeing crowds - but the actual monster sequences themselves were very well done and were reminiscent of an older kaiju-type film where you'd see a monster rampage through landscapes and wrecking havoc and all that stuff. That was my favorite part of the movie actually and for a brief instance, felt like I was watching a completely different movie that I wish there was more of instead of... Uh, couple other creature models looked pretty good. The alien, I thought, looked enough like the extraterrestrial, but different enough to not ensue a lawsuit. I liked the look of the main military villain, Colonel Dark Onwards, basically a guy in a portable tank and the habit of getting his limbs dismembered over the course of the movie gave off a sort Mutoid Man vibe from Smash TV... which I assume was the idea.

Beyond that, the game sequences were alright, even if they don't do a good job of approximating ancient video game hardware - too much color, I think, and too fluid animations - but they did a fair enough of recreating the Eee Tee video game and the one CG segment was adequate, not amazing, but it's a indie film so I won't give them too much flak in that regard. I thought the score by Bear McCreary was functional; your typical orchestral stuff with occasional chiptunes tossed in for good measure. I liked the end credits theme best - perhaps the best incarnation of the Angry Video Game Nerd theme, second only to Kyle Justin's raw acoustic Angry Nintendo Nerd theme - thought that was a good piece. The rest of it was alright, nothing special, really. And there's a number of callbacks to the Nerd series, whether it'd be recycled gags or recycled lines or re-enactments of past Nerd moments, and if you're a fan, you'll be able to recognize these just fine. Some work, some don't, and... that's it, really.

On a purely technical level, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie is a decent production and there was clearly a lot of effort in making this as good looking a film as they could with what they have available and I'm able to at least appreciate the production aspect of the project, whether it'd be going outdoors or using actual model work. And, if nothing else, it at least looks like a movie and that's fine. However, when it comes to the writing, the acting, the story, the plot, the tone, and the flow, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie falls flat on its ass.

In the broadest sense, the plot of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie goes something like this; The Nerd has fans, the fans want the Nerd to review ET, the Nerd doesn't want to review ET for some unexplained fear that makes him a complete pussy in my book, the Nerd decides to find and uncover the Atari landfill where all the ET cartridges are buried, presumably aliens are involved, the Nerd ends up saving the world in some fashion, and he eventually reviews ET in less-than-stellar fashion.

Now, if you're somehow upset that I've just spoiled the whole movie, well 1) spoiler warning and 2) I figured out that whole plot long before the first trailer even hit. So, to see the plot play out the way it did, I was like "Yeah, just as thought." Because it seemed like a pretty lazy way of approaching this particular subject matter and part of me was holding out hope that Rolfe would actually do something different with the idea instead of what seemed so blatantly obvious... but then again, I look at the 100th episode of the webseries with the Robotic Operating Buddy and I get the reminder that even James Rolfe isn't above taking the lazy route when it comes to plotting around the beaten trail.

So the plot played out more or less as I expected in the broadest sense, leaving only the details and circumstances to be filled in... so basically, there's this company called Cockburn Entertainment - yeah, the names don't get any better - but anyway, they quickly go through the backstory of E.T... er, Eee Tee because licensing and shit, even though it's the same thing, but they go through backstory and this leads to them wanting to put out an Eee Tee 2 that plays worse than before and they want the Nerd to review and then people will want to play it. I would say that it sounds like a pretty bad idea to have a popular internet personality endorse a shitty product, but after the success of that stupid Cheetahmen 2 thing that the Nerd also endorsed a couple years earlier, they figured it'd be worth a shot, so you can't fault the logic there.

By the way, that Cheetahmen 2 thing isn't a plot point. It's a real thing that happened. Because people are stupid.

From there, we get an opening montage of the Nerd "reviewing" a bunch of games, intercut with a bunch of fans praising him, worshiping the ground he walks on, tickling his pickle, as it were... sort of hammering in the popularity of the Nerd. In fact, if there is one thing this movie does extremely well, it's rubbing in the fact that the Nerd is very popular, everybody loves him to the point where they will buy anything with his name (or spit) on it, and is god's gift to gaming. In fact, the popularity of the Nerd is a major plotpoint because why does the Nerd go on an adventure to find the Eee Tee landfill? So he could save the fans from believing what he believes is an obvious hoax... because there is no Eee Tee landfill, he says... and from there, we learn of a connection between the Eee Tee game and Area 51 and aliens are involved and then a monster wrecks havoc on the planet and then the Nerd does something to save the world and then he "reviews" Eee Tee 2 and, as an afterthought, he reviews the original Eee Tee while the end credits roll... funny how there is no mention of the two Eee Tee games that graced the Game Boy line of handheld units. Guess they couldn't get around that... but I digress.

Okay, so that's the general plot of the movie. I've skipped details because I don't want to give away the whole thing; just the barebones of the deal. So now, it's time to Derp The Nerd.

So your main cast of characters in this Angry Video Game Nerd movie is, well, Nerd... that's his name. Nerd. Or in the case of this guy, Herb... but yeah, his name is Nerd... yeah, cue the horn.  

Alright, so because this is a movie of significant length, there's a need to introduce new characters. So, the Nerd now has a sidekick named Cooper, who is apparently his manager or something like that. all he really does in the movie is beg Nerd to review Eee Tee or bitch about his mom or stuff. He fills the kid sidekick role nicely, I guess. Rather forgettable, but otherwise not annoying, strangely enough... certainly never to the point of wanting to kick him into the perpetual hell of horrible supporting characters. I've heard some concerns wondering why Mike Matei isn't playing the sidekick and I've got to admit that I too was surprised that Matei didn't have a bigger role in this movie other than a rather forgettable cameo appearance - although personally, I would've preferred NERD being paired up with Kyle Justin, because Kyle Justin's a more interesting character than Mike Matei - but I suppose they needed an actual actor to fill the role of the sidekick... a pity they couldn't find an actual actor to fill the role of the Nerd, but I digress.

So they're joined by Mandi, the Cockburn executive who wants the Nerd to review their new Eee Tee 2 game... I thought the Nerd only did "old" games; what the fuck, man? Can't even keep consistency with your own character...

Anyway, when we first see here, she looks like a modest company executive underling type person. But then, in an attempt to fit in, she dresses like a girl nerd gamer thing. And I'm like... "Why?" Is it to try and fit in? Not really working because the Nerd doesn't trust her 'cause she's a girl or something? And some kind of potential love interest because we've got to have one of those or something... meh. I don't care...

Look, I gotta bring this up, because it is part of the reason why I wasn't really into this movie, albeit nowhere near as big as an issue as a couple other bits, but it is something of a nagging thing and part of the reason why I didn't care. Part of it had to do with the premise and the story and the journey and the plot... that's all one thing, more or less. When word broke out that the focus of Nerd: The Movie was about E.T. on the 2600 and the landfill, well, first I nonchalantly thought to myself "This is how it's going to play out." And when the plot did more or less play out like that, I tried to find something that would give me a reason to care about what was happening in this movie. Like I said before, I'd liked the part with the monster; I thought that was well done. But in order to get to that part, there was the matter of sitting through an hour and a half of uninteresting, stock characters doing nothing more than fulfilling a role in a story that I had no real interest and waiting for the movie to give me some reason to care about what's going on in hopeless futility.

It was like the new Godzilla movie; when it came to the monster fights and even some of the teases, those were well done, fun to watch even with the serious tonality, very enjoyable, and a thrill, but to get to those exciting bits, you had to sit through long stretches of uninteresting backstory and dull, boring characters... and I simply didn't care. That's the same feeling I got here, although nowhere as big a disappointment because my expectations weren't high to begin. I mean, "oh noes, it's another thing about E.T. and the landfill. Just what the world needed was two more hours of beating a dead horse." And when it was said that the tone was going similar to episodes like Crazy Castle or the ROB episode, I dreaded the final product because I thought the ROB episode, at least, was absolute shit. Fortunately, the movie wasn't as painful an experience... not saying much, however.

I feel the predictable nature of the plot may have been something that dimmed my interest, especially when it played out as I expected to and nothing was really done to swerve or surprise me into thinking otherwise. Even with the blanks filled in, I wasn't really sold on the idea. I also feel that once that excavation of the landfill took place a few months ago, as part of a documentary for Xbox One, this was a movie dated on arrival. Even with the alternate reality card being played here, THAT event is still fresh in my mind and it's enough to take the mystery, the intrigue, the wonder, of what they might find on the site (if they found anything at all) out of the movie because I know what's there... and that's nobody's fault, really. Poor timing and all, but even with that caveat out of the picture, the journey itself was pretty dull. It was predictable. It was the classic example of "all the best bits were spoiled in the trailers" and the rest of it was not so much. On a technical level, it was fine. But when it came to the story, I wasn't feeling it.

Although, if I can be a bit of a dick for a moment, I had to look this up for posterity's sake and well, I feel it needs to be brought up. See, the Nerd and friends are going to Roswell, New Mexico, which is where they think the landfill is... In actuality, the landfill is located in Alamagordo, New Mexico. Alamagordo and Roswell are not exactly next door neighbors. So not only the Nerd a pussy for not reviewing a game that everyone else has touched, but he's also a bit of a moron because he went in the wrong direction. And they wonder why Col. Mutoid Man is pissed. And thus, we bring in... another fail horn.

Part of the reason why I felt the journey fell flat was, well, characters, such as they are... see, that's the thing about a good story, whether you're making a high-budget blockbuster or a low-budget mockbuster or a no-budget schlockbuster or whatever; you need interesting characters to carry that story along and Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie fails to provide that on any level. None of these characters were interesting; they were just there, fulfilling a role in a story that I had no real interest in, with about as much life and personality as an idle pebble, and at no point did the movie make any effort in giving me a reason to care about what happens to any of these people.

These are all stock characters that are there to fill a universe that is never going to seen again. I mean, you figure if it makes another of these movies for whatever ungodly reason, these folks aren't coming back. So, almost instantly, you've got a set of supporting characters that were created for the sole purpose of filling up a world for the Nerd to interact with and there's no discernible reason to care about these characters. You've got the token kid sidekick who tries to be annoying but comes off as someone "pretending" to be annoying and only doing a fair job of it half the time. The other half, you just don't care. You've got a female executive of what I'm assuming is a big company who attempts to fit in and is there for the sole purpose of being the "girl" on this adventure. And of course, again, spoiler, the two side characters introduced in the movie hook up at the end and the Nerd is stuck with Eee Tee... again, yawn.

So, we've got Time Winters playing a scientist who created the E.T. carts, because they're made from an alien metal and thus is your connection between the games and aliens... I'd like to say that this Dr. Zandor character is at the very least somewhat of an interesting fellow - which isn't aiming high - but for playing the role of a stock crazy scientist obsessed with aliens, Winters does a fair enough job with what he's given. His crazed appearance and aura - like a crazy person - almost manages to get me to buy into the whole thing. ALMOST.

I like the look of Dark Onwards, the main villain - again, has that sort of Mutoid Man inspiration - but other than that, his character was stock military bad guy that liked to scream and bark orders and appear menacing and all he really does is lose his arms. McButter's the stock henchwoman who's just there. The Gamestop manager... I'm sorry, Gamecops manager, was stock swearing, slobby, disgusting, stock character... I don't care... Black Nerd Andre shows up for exposition, I don't care... Doug Walker makes a cameo and screams, my ears are bleeding...

Even the Nerd is given very little character development here; his reasoning for not want to review E.T. is flimsy at best and, well, for someone who's called the Angry Video Game Nerd, he doesn't seem all that angry. Hell, he's barely EYE-RATE. He comes off more as irritating, whiny, derpy, and prone to forcing facials because that's expected of him. Beyond that... why the fuck should I care about this guy aside from the fact that he's popular and everyone loves him? That's his defining characteristic; that's the only thing that I got out of that character. Three years of writing the script, you'd figure you'd give the guy some kind of interesting backstory, give non-fans a reason to care about this fucking guy, but all we get is, he gets angry, well irritated at playing bad games, he's very popular, and he's... the worst part about this movie.

The one constant in the movie - the one thing that is almost always apparent throughout the course of the movie - is the popularity of the Nerd. The movie LOVES to hammer in the point that the Nerd is a guy who "angry reviews" bad games, is extremely popular, and is god's gift to gaming. At one point, when he's talking with that Zandor fellow, he is referred to as not just as a gamer, but THE GAMER.

Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy... You had to get your share of Mary Sue in there, didn't you?

On a sidenote, this past weekend, I got to meet up with one of my buddies over coffee and we were talking about the movie. He hated the movie with a passion; for all the faults I may bring up, he'll bring up. But he points to this moment in particular as the breaking point, where he just threw his arms up and said "Fuck this movie." I had to remind him that this bit was also featured in one of the trailers and his response remained the same. "Fuck This Movie."

Now, my reaction was less severe; it merely resulted in a headdesk. Nonetheless, it brings up the other thing that just put off to the movie; the unabashed vanity and ego-stroking that is prevalent throughout the movie. Look, it's okay to MAKE LIGHT OF THE GUY'S POPULARITY, but do it in a way that it doesn't feel obnoxious. That opening montage at the beginning illustrating his fame? That's fine. Andre buying a shit game because the Nerd spit on it? Pushing it. The crowd gathering in the store begging him to review Eee Tee? Too much. The bar scene? And you've lost me. Every so often, we get the reminder that this guy is popular and I'm like "ENOUGH ALREADY! WE GET IT! YOUSE IS VERY POPULAR! HEIH MEIN FUHRER AROLFE NERD! NOW FUCK OFF AND GET ON WITH THE MOVIE." If the paper-thin plot didn't grab me, the narcissism on display sure as hell made jump off. The movie is absolutely SHAMELESS in shoving the popularity down our throats.

And that's the one thing I got most out of this movie. You can argue that this is a homage to the old B-movies and cheeseball flicks of yore and I get what they're trying to go for... well, actually, no, I don't, and apparently neither does this movie because it just tosses everything in there. It starts off with a serious depiction of Atari's failings, then it becomes a nerd retrospective, then it becomes a "comedy" film, then it's a zombie film, then it's a road trip, then it's a car chase, then it's science ficiton, then it's... [Insert a shot of The Bores Screaming And Getting An Aneurysm]

Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie tries to be a Jack Of All Trades and ends up being a Master of None. I'm sorry, I forgot what I was talking about, I should use a more appropriate wording. Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie tries to be a Jack Of All Trades and ends up being a Master of FUCK ALL. I get the feel that the script that was written had about 30 minutes worth of story - and I'm probably be generous in that regard - so they tossed in all this other crap in there to pad out the run time. Yes, I enjoyed the monster bits, but did it really need to be here? The zombie sequence in the amusement park... did that need to be here?

I'm sure Rolfe had the time of his life making this and I'm sure he was thrilled to have free reign over what he could put in this movie, but at the same time, I think he might've benefited from someone on the outside who could come in and maybe pull back the reigns a bit. Add a little more focus towards a specific direction rather than go all over the place. Even some of the worst B-movies have some semblance of focus towards a specific direction. The whole movie was unfocused, unsure of where it wanted to go; is it a look at the history of Atari, is it a look into the Nerd's background, is it a zombie movie, is it... what is it? It goes all over the place, tries to do too many things, be so many things, and it just ends up being conflicted. It doesn't know what it wants to be.

And because there's no sense of identity throughout the film, the only thing that is constant throughout the film, that aims to be a tribute or homage to B-movies of old, but lacks the charm of those old - there's going to be the argument that this was intentionally made to be a bad movie, with the intent of it being "so bad it's good." Here's the thing; if you make a bad movie with the intent of making a bad movie, then you've made a bad movie. That doesn't automatically make it good. It makes it suck. If the idea Rolfe was going for was to try and make it a "so bad it's good" kind of thing, it shows an unfortunate level of ignorance on his part. You cannot make something "so bad it's good." "So bad it's good" doesn't work that way. "So bad it's good" isn't something you can manufacture; it just happens. It's organic. It's subjective. Every one has their own idea of what makes something "so bad it's good." It isn't just something you can get out of a handbook or anything. It just happens.

Nobody, in their right mind, intends to make a bad movie - unless they're fucking idiots - they always try to make the best movie they could with what they have at their disposal. While I can sort of see Rolfe trying to ape the low-budget style and there's hints of that intent shining through, it really doesn't work. Shitty greenscreening is never going to replicate true rearview projectile; it's always going to be shitty greenscreening and even then, there're ways of making shitty greenscreening look less shitty. Purposely shitty robot costumes might seem cute upon first viewing, but then the cuteness wears off and you're stuck with shitty robot costumes. The closest you get to nailing that B-movie feel is with the model work for the planes and creatures and they're fairly well done, but even then... that could've been its own movie. There's no coherency, no flow, no nothing. It's just bits of different movies compressed into two hours and that's supposed to be one movie...

But all of that is overshadowed by the realization that this feels less like a tribute to those kinds of B-level cheeseball movies with lots of references that will garner a couple cheap laughs from those who will laugh at anything and rather feels more like a pandering, self-indulging, self-fallating, masturbatory, ego-stroking fanwank of a vanity project PRETENDING to be a tribute to those kinds of B-level cheeseball movies; the kind of movie that makes no effort in trying to get the outsider invested in the film other than constantly hammering in the point that "This guy is fucking awesome! Everyone loves him and so should you." That, in itself, is the absolute pinnacle of LAZY characterization if there ever was one. I want to believe that this wasn't the intended message, but ultimately, it's the one stand-out aspect of the movie that I got out of it.

Hell, even the depiction of the fanbase threw me off a bit, essentially lumped into the kind of rabid, pudding-brained, irrational, idiotic fanatics that worship the ground he walks on. The kind that would essentially accept everything he does as golden and groundbreaking and amazing even when it really isn't... the kind that really does exist and are no doubting writing nasty comments while watching this... That's how he see you folks. You could argue it's parody, but I think there's a hint of truth in there. And it's unfortunate because I know there are Nerd fans that are  intelligent, competent people, and you don't see that here. You only see the subservient fanbase that accepts his word as gospel, which reflects real life somewaht but not entirely. Is this supposed to be a comedy movie or is it a propaganda film? I wonder... I wonder...

Now the acting is rather meh... presumably due to the writing, because I'm sure the cast did the best they could with what's available, but even so, it's still pretty meh. The sidekick is rather meh. The Cockburn exec is also meh. Time Winters' crazy truther thing is alright, Steven Mendel does the best stock villain performance he could, but it just all comes off as lame and forgettable and again, if the acting comes off as lifeless, why should I care about the characters? Ultimately, though, the worst acting performance in the movie comes from the one who just so happens to be playing the title character and that's James Rolfe. And you're thinking, "How can that be? He's played that character for years. He IS that character! How can you say he's the worst actor?"

Because as someone who has been following that franchise in some form or another since 2006, I can honestly tell you that... and this goes back to my first exposure in 2006 when I watched that first video and thought it was a real deal, because it took me a while to register that it was an act and the reason that was the case was because, yeah, those early videos were not great from either a review standpoint or a production standpoint, but what they did have was authenticity and believability. What made those Angry Nintendo Nerd slash Angry Video Game Nerd videos work wasn't necessarily him reviewing bad games or interacting with a Nerd clone dressed as different people; it was his reacting to some of these older games of questionable quality because they were reminders of the kind of frustrations that we would experience playing some of these games. Trying to land the plane in Top Gun was a pain in the ass, figuring out what to do in Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a pain in the ass, trying to play Spider-Man: Return Of The Sinister Six was a pain in the ass, trying to get the Atari 5200 to work properly... is apparently a pain in the ass; I never had a 5200, I went to 7800... and then I went Nintendo and never looked back for a long time until recent years.

But in essence, it was watching this guy react in anger to playing these games and putting up with the frustrations brought about that made them great stuff even today. Even with his real-life shyness and raw delivery, Rolfe's performance had a genuine element to it that made it easy to buy into. It was believable, it was relateable, it was authentic, and it's the one element that made the difference between a good caustic reviewer like a UrinatingTree or Armake21 and a wannabe jumping on the bandwagon like a Gamedude or NC17Productions. Had nothing to do with how loud or obnoxious you can be or how many analogies involving the digestive system you could make up. It was that genuine element that made it believable and memorable.

But as time went on and the Nerd became more of a caricature, some of that believability and authenticity was lost. The videos got a bit slicker, there was more emphasis on giving proper reviews, the videos were generally longer, and sometimes he'd look at more than one game. He'd even look at some accessories and peripherals. Not too bad, but then there was a shift in the Nerd's depiction. Suddenly, the natural, subtle delivery were replaced with a more artificial delivery. The anger was toned down, almost to the point where it seemed like the Nerd came off more as whiny and derpy than he did angry. He'd shout more often. There was more mugging to the camera, more focus on trying to come up with analogies associated with flatulence and gastronomical deficiencies that I guess are supposed to be funny and elicit laughter, but ends up eliciting crickets. It eventually got to a point where the Nerd became a shallow parody of his original self; one with faux anger and derpy facial expressions that feel forced, phony, and fake. Hell, Kenny The NC17 Guy comes off as more angry than the Nerd of today.

And yet as shallow and phony Rolfe's portrayal of the Nerd happens to be in recent years, that somehow took dip when it came to making the jump from webseries to movie and never has this been more evident than the opening montage, which feature re-enactments of older Nerd moments intercut with the usual fanwanking from fans (some of which are played by actual Internet talent such as the Retroware people and a couple others). For some, it's a nice callback to older episodes, but to me, it's just a harsh reminder of how far Rolfe's performance has fallen over the years, with re-enactments that feel half-assed.

Beyond subpar re-enactments of old Nerd episodes for a montage, when it comes to the rest of the movie, Nerd has no likeable qualities. There will be times where he's arrogant, whiny, derpy, irritated, or just a blank state, but at no instance does Rolfe give me any reason why I should care about the Nerd and his misadventures. Sad that for all the care and effort that Rolfe would put in the technical aspects of the movie, his performance in this movie that has been a dream of his would be so underwhelming, so shallow, so... lifeless. Rarely has there been an instance where I would watch a movie featuring a protagonist that gives me nothing to invest in the story. Like I stated before, the only constant characteristic with Nerd is his ego-boosting popularity... but that's not an endearing character trait and, unless you are a fan, not enough of a reason to get behind this guy.

Any good protagonist, no matter how gruff or crass or impudent they may be on the outside, has some quality that makes them redeemable or relatable and it's that quality that gives the audience a reason to care. The Nerd has none. There is no one time where I'd see a spark of likability in that character, not one moment where I'd want to cheer him on. And at no point, does Rolfe give me a reason to do so in either the performance or writing or the directing. He's a mildly irritated nerd that plays bad games and he's popular. Who gives a shit? Does that automatically make me care about what happens to this guy in the course of the story? Absolutely not. But that's all he's got, so... he had a chance to expand the Nerd character and explore the character a bit deeper and he never took it... it's a shame, really, because it was a chance to break from the mold and offer a new angle at that gimmick and... sorry, does not compute.

But perhaps most criminal of all, more than anything... let's forget about the lackluster plot, the paper-thin characterizations, the unabashed narcissism on display here, the lack of motivation or reason for the newbie viewer to CARE ONE IOTA about anything that's going on on screen, the mediocre acting, the unlikeable protagonist... let's forget all that. When you get right down to it, the worst crime that a supposed comedy film could possibly commit is not be funny. And that is the single biggest issue with Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie that stands tall above all else; it is not funny. I'll go one better; it was downright BORING.

Some of the references (I refuse to call them jokes) are lifted from older Nerd episodes and they're not quite funny the second time around when delivered in a completely phoned-in fashion. In fact, a good chunk of references to past Nerd videos could be found from some well-known tropes to somewhat lesser known tropes; an example being one death scene aping another death scene from an equally horrible movie that might make fans happy that they got the reference, but even then, that's not being funny. That's just throwing a reference and if you don't get the reference, you're just like "The fuck was that?" Hell, I even got that reference and I was like "Meh. Really?" That wasn't being funny or clever, that was just lame. It's almost as if the movie is purposely doing this callbacks to older Nerd videos so that I'm influenced to watching older Nerd videos and getting a laugh from those. And what few new jokes are there... I don't know to be honest with you, I can't remember any, nothing retained here.

Like I said before, the only part that I really found myself enjoying were the brief snippets with the Deathmorphics because they did a nice job of recreating that old kaiju-movie feeling and I wouldn't mind seeing more of that, but the rest of the movie was just sleep-inducing.

So, after what seems like a fucking eternity of rambling my ass off, it's safe to say that I didn't care for Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie. The production side and the technical bits, for the most part, were solid, but the story wasn't good, the characters were lacking, the egotism and vanity overshadowed almost everything about the movie, and if there was something funny in the movie - whether it's a funny skit or a funny joke or even something I can mock - if I got at least ONE chuckle, all of that would be less frowned upon, shall we say? But instead, I had to struggle through this thing. First viewing, rented the movie, couldn't last 30 minutes, if that. I had a friend burn me a DVD with the movie so I could watch it on my own leisure. I didn't ask, but he got it. I left it at that.

This was a chore to sit through. This wasn't a "so bad it's good" kind of movie. This was a bad movie. It's enough to make the easy-to-please fans happy and there's even some folks who will be able to find something to like about this movie and that's fine. I could only speak for myself and I feel this isn't a good movie. It wasn't funny. It wasn't entertaining. It wasn't even mockable. It was just bad. Jesus christ Vampire Hunter is a much more entertaining movie than this and that had shittier production values and an even smaller budget; about $100,000... CANADIAN. Had a cool concept on paper - the second coming of Jesus Christ and he's fighting vampires? Fuck Yeah, son, I'm game - ends up being pretty lame once Jesus gets a haircut and dresses like a normal folk, sorry if I spoiled the movie for anybody. It's not high art, it's messy, it's low-tech, it's stupid, everyone sounds dubbed over, there's technical snafus, it's mockable, and it's fucking FUN. There's nothing pretentious about Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter; it is a out-and-out cheesball movie and it's a fun time. A pure B-movie experience with a charm to it that the Nerd movie lacked.

But if you want a more apt comparison, then I'll give you one; Ashens And The Quest For The Game Child, another independent film featuring a popular internet presence in Stuart Ashen, otherwise known as failed psychologist and internet cunt Dr. Ashen... his words, not mine. That movie was also crowdfunded and garnered a smaller budget than what the Nerd movie got. Nowhere near as slick of a production, but what it lacked in budget, it made up for in everything else. The story was straightforward and flowed nicely, the various characters such as no-longer-puppet Chef Excellence had some semblance of depth and growth as the movie progressed, Ashen played himself the same way he did in his normal material and it works well within the context of the story, there's a consistent tone and flow to the movie in that the premise of the movie - Ashens on a quest to seek out the Game Child handheld device - is the same all throughout with no sudden shifts in direction, the lighting for the most part was pretty decent, there were some funny bits here and there or at least enough that I got a few laughs out of it, and most of all, it was a genuinely enjoyable and entertaining film that I enjoyed watch. It's not a perfect movie, by any means, but it was competently done, it was well made, there was no notable or obnoxious stroking of the ego to be found here - just the typical Simon Pegg reference - most of all, it was a genuinely fun movie. And one that I watch every so often and would probably get a DVD if it were released in this region.

That is what bugs me about watching this Nerd movie, because for as low as my expectations were, at the very least, I'd expected the movie be on par or even better than Ashen's movie... and it sure as hell wasn't. To call this a tribute to B-movies is somewhat of a stretch and to call this a tribute to console gamers of old is an outright fallacy; if I were to give it a more apt descriptor, I'd call it a higher-budgeted version of a shitty Channel Awesome movie. Because those were pretty bad too. And what's sad about this whole thing is that I know that James Rolfe is capable of much better than this because I've seen him do much better than this in the past and with far less resources. Making a two-hour movie is no small potatoes; it's a costly endeavor both in terms of time and money and if nothing else, I can only applaud James Rolfe getting the movie done and having it shown to theatres before live crowds. As someone who has been following his stuff over the years, nothing I say is intended to bring him down because he deserves all the success he's been getting thus far and I do hope he continues to prosper and that he gets to do another movie in the future.

That having been said, just because I can applaud him for his success in getting the movie done doesn't mean I'm going to sit back and say that this is Rolfe's greatest work because it is far from it. If anything, this makes the widely-panned video game adaptations . This is not a showcase of the talents of James Rolfe the filmmaker; this is the ego-stroking vanity project of James Rolfe the internet celebrity. I mean, to go from the likes of the superb The Deader The Better to the emotionally driven The Dragon In My Dreams to... this... that's a letdown.

So with all that having been said, do I think James Rolfe has a good movie in him? In my mind, there was never any doubt. I thought he had the talent to produce a good movie and even now, I still think he has that talent to produce a great movie. Make no mistake; Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie ain't that movie - not by a fucking long shot - but at the very least, judging by the production apsects, the technical bits, and the fact that the movie was finished and released, he's got the right tools at least. I just think he needs the right idea, the right execution, perhaps someone to manage the money a bit, and perhaps a more refined creative focus. And when that idea for a second movie comes around and it's a good one, then I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

And this concludes my longer than necessary rambling of the Angry Video Game Nerd movie... how in the hell did this last so long? I guess I had more to say than I thought. In any case, I didn't care for it. If you enjoyed it, then more power to you. Different strokes for different folks and all that. In the meantime, there's still that Monster Madness marathon going over at, so that's something worth checking out. And if you've seen the movie and you were bummed out by it, check out some of his older works on his website because the movie is not indicative of what that guy is capable and I genuinely hope that his next movie showcases the filmmaker without the excess baggage or narcissim of the internet celebrity. On that note, I thank you for your indulgence in enduring this near hour-long video log, until next time, take care, and good night... As for me, well...

"Screw this movie. I'm getting a beer and then I'm gonna play Xevious for Atari 7800 with a proper Atari 7800 gamepad."

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