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Sunday, 26 July 2020

Burl reviews Joysticks! (1983)

Beep, beep, boop, it’s Burl, here to review a comedy about video games! Ha ha, totally awesome video games, as the theme song repeatedly, maddeningly insists! And I have to admit, many of the cabinet games seen in this movie are indeed totally awesome! The picture itself, however, is not! Of course I’m talking about Joysticks!
This photoplay comes from Greydon Clark, the auteur behind such entertainments as Satan’s Cheerleaders, Without Warning, and that one about the mutant cat! Here he’s in Teen Sex Comedy mode, chronicling the arrival of a glasses nerd, named Eugene of course, who comes to work at a video arcade called Video Arcade! It’s run by a perpetually smirking featherhair played by Scott McGinnis of Secret Admirer, and its most devoted patron is a portly, flatulent fellow played by Jim Greenleaf, who greatly resembles the portly, flatulent fellow in Cheerleader Camp, but whom we know from his portrayal of Ox in Evilspeak, Blatz in Pigs vs. Freaks, and Fat Solowitz in Gorp!
Video Arcade is a popular place, but there are forces gathering in opposition to it! On the one hand we have King Vidiot, played by Jon Gries from Number One With A Bullet, a faux-punk with a posse of gals who beep and boop and robot-walk like Twiki himself! On the other we have an uptight businessman played by the marvelous Joe Don Baker from The Pack and Fletch and The Living Daylights, whose daughter loves to visit Video Arcade and play all the games it has to offer! Ha ha, I always love to find Joe Don playing a bad guy in a movie, because he so often seems to be having the time of his life, especially in pictures like Getting Even! He’s a little stiff here, especially when King Vidiot is crawling all over him, but he’s still our Joe Don!
Once Joe Don and King Vidiot have joined forces, it comes down to a video game challenge: giant Pac-Man, which the featherhair is unable to play without sweating due to a romantic trauma he suffered! But Dorfus, Video Arcade's best player, has been kidnapped by Joe Don’s idiot henchmen! Bound and gagged, Dorfus can only fart for help! His plea is heard, and he is rescued by a sexual admirer! He makes it back to Video Arcade, ready to jump in and grab the oversized joysticks, but our noble featherhair contends that he must overcome his debilitating debility! Ha ha, I don’t think it will be giving away anything to tell you that indeed he does, and wins the day for Video Arcade!
Of course everything going on in this picture is very dumb and artlessly captured, and there are entirely too many Pac-Man scene transitions! Some of the acting is better than you’d think, though - the tightpants in the lead, who also played “Mr. Adventure” in Star Trek III, don’t forget, is almost at the smirky level of someone like Tim Matheson! Gries fully commits to his role of King Vidiot, and also it’s nice to see a movie starring both Leif Green and Jim Greenleaf! These are small compensations though, nearly microscopic, and I give Joysticks just one and a half little tiny motorcycles!

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