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A Sentimental Favorite
ReelCheese9 September 2006
THE WIZARD is a sentimental favorite for anyone who raced home after school to turn on their gray and black Nintendo Entertainment Systems. For this set, born in the late '70s and early '80s, the excitement in the air was palpable when previews for the film appeared on TV. It not only combined our two favorite entertainment vehicles -- Nintendo and movies -- but also provided a thrilling sneak preview of the year's most anticipated game, Super Mario Bros. 3. NES geeks (of course they weren't geeks back then... Nintendo was cool) thought they'd died and gone to eight-bit heaven.

When we finally got mom and dad to take us to the theater or pick up the video, THE WIZARD was every bit as good as we'd hoped. Critics almost universally panned it as a 90-minute Nintendo commercial, but young viewers were enthralled. (Besides... a 90-minute Nintendo commercial wasn't exactly an awful thing!). The film combined very human storytelling with hardy laughs and wide-eyed exhilaration. It gave us playground catchphrases (Lucas with "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad" and Jimmy with "Calli-forn-ya... Calli-forn-ya!") Sure the highlight was all the cool video game-related stuff, but video games were a big part of our lives, one that our parents just didn't understand. The people who made this movie, whatever their intentions, did.

Most eight- or nine- or ten-year-olds who caught THE WIZARD upon release would give it two big thumbs up, if not the Oscar for Best Picture of All-Time. Of course we're not eight or nine or ten anymore, and THE WIZARD, in hindsight, is not actually a cinematic masterpiece. But nor is it the sort of mindless junk that stuffy critics would have us believe. The film is actually a sweet, harmless cross-country adventure. It has laughs (who could forget Haley's scream of "He touched my breast!" to ward off the hapless Putnam?) and emotion (Jimmy's reflections of his late sister are undeniably heartbreaking). And the video game competition finale holds up surprisingly well even with the novelty of the Super Mario Bros. 3 footage long worn off.

Beyond that, THE WIZARD carries deeper meanings that children can pick up on. Jimmy, the autistic video game prodigy, demonstrates that all of us, regardless of our limitations, possess marvelous gifts. Putnam, the cold-hearted family services worker trying to take Jimmy away, helps illustrate that families are what matter. And the villainous Lucas is an example of how we should treat our enemies: with dignity and by letting our actions speak louder than our words, as Jimmy does. Okay, it's not exactly Nietzsche, but it's not total fluff, either.

THE WIZARD is not the greatest movie of all-time. It's probably not even a great movie. But it is a special period piece, a reminder of a simpler time when our only worry in the world was passing math and knocking off goombas. It will forever hold a special place in the hearts of many.
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You got 50,000 on Double Dragon?!?
mattdvs8 August 2001
If you were born between the years 1974 and 1984 and were as obsessed as most of us were about Nintendo games, you will enjoy this movie. Yes, the plot is predictable and cheesy and the writing leaves a lot to be desired, but I guarantee if you fall into the above group, you will enjoy regressing back to 1989 where having "all 97 games," and "the power glove (it's so bad...)" were major status symbols. If you don't fall into this group, or couldn't really care less about old video games, then you should probably pass on this film. But for the rest of us, (I used to watch the commercial for this film just to get a glimpse at Super Mario Bros. 3) watch it and enjoy it time after time.
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Lucas Barton, American Anti-Hero
frenzy6173 February 2003
This movie explores the depths of human emotions. It incorporates dramatic struggles ranging from a family being ripped apart because of a divorce (all too common in this work-a-day society), and a complex friendship being stretched to the limit because of the legendary California Videogame Championship. Corey and Jimmy are half-brothers. Jimmy has a dead twin sister. Mom has a new boyfriend. Dad owns a landscaping business. Throw in Christian Slater as a bad-ass older brother, a love triangle with three 13 year olds, the power-glove, and the song "Send Me and Angel" by Real Life and you have 1 intense peice of cinema. Watch out for cameos by the black dude from Batteries Not Included*, a guy with the same voice as Dicky Barrett, and Las Vegas. I've seen this movie over 3 times, and I still get chills when Corey and Jimmy have to sleep in Goblin Valley. Damn.
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i love the power glove. it's my mommie.
jessejace18 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Somewhere along the line, someone realized that it's nigh impossible to make a good movie based on a video game. So instead, they made a movie about the entire Nintendo Entertainment System, thereby capturing all the feel-good nostalgia associated with its hundreds of titles, but without crippling handicaps such as an unfeasible plot or Jean-Claude VanDamme as Colonel William F. Guile. Thus was born The Wizard...a shameless consumerist repackaging of The Who's Tommy, adjusted for a new audience and coming at you in full-on buddy film fashion. Fred Savage explodes onto the screen as a curly-haired dork with highly articulate eyebrows. He's caught between his divorced parents in a custody battle over his autistic, obsessive-compulsive, equinophobic, dyslexic, colorblind kid brother Jimmy. Realizing that being in the custody of one or more of his parents will most certainly kill Jimmy (and that Jimmy has the superhuman ability to reach level 3 on Double Dragon), Fred Savage does the right thing and whisks his kid brother off to exploit his virtuosic video game playing ability for cash and prizes worth well over $130. Along the way they meet Haley, who's totally hot if you're 12. Haley misleads Fred and Jimmy on many occasions, notably one scene where renegade truckers steal their entire video game pilgrimage budget and presumably, molest them. Still, they stick to their guns (or should I say, their Nintendo LIGHT GUNS, for use with Duck Hunt), even managing to outsmart the enigmatic Lucas, a rebellious young boy who apparently lives alone in the desert like Mohammed. Only this messiah has a Nintendo POWER GLOVE, buy yours today! Lucas complicates the story, creating a sordid love triangle between himself, Fred Savage and Haley. He taunts Jimmy ruthlessly ("We wouldn't want you to...WHIZ on yourself.") and, despite having devoted his life to Nintendo games and thus presumably having no friends, a crowd of prepubescent disciples follow him at all times. His secret to success is the Nintendo Power Glove, which is, in Lucas's own words, "so bad." But as most of us know, the truth is that the Nintendo Power Glove was "totally gay." It only did what you wanted it to do when you were punching your friend in the face with it to vent your frustration about its lack of response. The protagonists' path is beset by peril on all sides. There are teenage white trash hoodlums who exist solely for the purpose of stealing Jimmy's hat and saying lines like "What is this kid, some sort of cyborg?" There are fat salesmen who talk like Foghorn Leghorn, unable to believe that a scrawny kid is better than they are at Contra. And don't get me started on the creepy bald guy hired by Fred's mom to bring the kids back home, dead or alive. His name is Putnam and repeatedly touches Haley's breasts. Meanwhile, Beau Bridges plays Nintendo like my dad, yanking the controller this way and that. Every time Beau Bridges and Christian Slater run into Putnam, a redneck banjo riff kicks in and the whole movie starts to sound like a Menard's commercial while the adversaries engage in automobile/ gardening tool combat. Saved from certain molestation by a grotesque man-child named Spanky, their adventure climaxes when they play Ninja Gaiden with a scary gravel-voiced MC (who also seems to be a child molester) and nearly get eaten by a fake King Kong at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS THEMEPARK, now open! By the way, Jimmy knows the exact location of the Warp Whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3 prior to the game's release because he reads Nintendo Power Magazine. Jimmy gets the warp whistle and uses it to reach World 4 (yes, "Giant World") and Lucas looks on helplessly as his empire of Power Gloves comes crashing down around him. Spackled with golden dialogue, this movie is a subculture in its own right. But while many people quote Lucas's "it's so bad," or Haley's "he touched my breast," for me it doesn't get any better than when Christian Slater says, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
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Love Nintendo, and (sorry) love this movie
EddieMink3 September 2002
The fond memories I had of this flick from my youth were not disappointed when I finally caught up with it again recently.

Its simply a great kids adventure. Many claimed at the time that it was little more than a rather enormous advert for Nintendo, and it is. But they bothered to make a decent movie out of it as well. I remember how excited I was at the prospect of Super Mario Bros 3, and this movie plays up to those expectations very entertainingly.

If you love videogames, the film is a fascinating cultural artifact. If you are a youngster, you should thoroughly enjoy a very well maintained adventure, with surprisingly few flaws.

It may sound pretentious, but for what it is, it is near flawless. Go figure!
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What can I say? This was My Childhood
TheOliveBranch12 January 2009
Well, not really. My life story doesn't resemble that of the characters in any way except for our collective love of video games. That said:

I watched this movie so many damn times as a kid it'll make your head spin. What can I say about this movie that you don't already know yourself? Fred Savage. Beau Bridges. Christian Slater. The chick from Rilo Kiley. Spanky.

And then Jimmy brings it all home.

First of all, I want to say that whatever pills the video game contest host was on, I want me some of that. Two, they should bring back the Powerglove. And three, road trip movies will never, ever die.

From Double Dragon to Ninja Gaiden or the nostalgic dinosaur park in the middle of no where, this movie will always remain a classic for me.

"Gimme, gimme, gimme...Jimmy...Woods!!!"
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A Commercial Classic
TrippDigital25 February 2005
A touching drama about a young boy's quest to help his autistic younger brother and a troubled young girl they meet along the way running from her own demons.....

Okay, so it's mostly just a 90 minute commercial for Super Mario Brothers 3, but it's also a great road movie with plenty of classic 80's quotable material ("I love the Power Glove. It's so bad."). It has a good soundtrack as well.

I think if a person sees the film for the first time nowadays they might not enjoy it as much as those who saw the film growing up and enjoy that oh so good feeling of nostalgia.
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That deaf dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean Mario3
zer0oskul25 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It's Tommy, but in non musical sense. The story follows a little boy who, like Tommy, is non associative to sound or picture and can beat the toughest arcade games of his day without batting an eyelash.

Depression brought on by the tragic loss of his twin sister, Jennifer, and his family's refusal to discuss the situation leads seven-year-old Jimmy Woods to hide deeper and deeper inside himself. Searching for answers he concludes that if he can only return to the place on Earth where he was happiest, where the best time in his life occurred, he will be able to truly be happy again. Lunch pail in hand and nothing but his own intuition to guide him the young boy sets off on a trip to California. We can only imagine the horrors that have filled Jimmy's life with his preadolescent confusion and dis-understanding of the reality of things around him. His wanting to just hear the words that it's all right. Jimmy is fascinated with patterns and observing the narrowing toward the peak of a pyramid watching a pattern shorten, in essence move faster. Similar, in an analog sense, to the ascending difficulty in repeating patterns of the motions of video game characters on a television screen.

Corey Woods, Jimmy's older half brother, through their father, loves his brother. He wants no harm or fear to ever enter Jimmy's life and wants only for his sibling to live happily in the company of family and friends. Corey, coincidentally, decides to run away to California with Jimmy to keep him out of a home for the mentally disabled.

Haley is the know it all, "all grown up" kid who tries her damnedest to hold the world together. Wants to prove to her father that she's got it together. Her mother, who got lost in an addiction to gambling and unspecified drugs, left her father. Haley wants to prove to herself as much as to her father that she's got it together. So much so that she can travel cross country alone at twelve, so much so that she can gamble against nothing and come out on the very top.

Sam Woods fills in most of the comic relief as he and his eldest son, Nick, spend the movie in a race and chase against the children's bounty hunter, a snyde ass-bag of a fellow, real easy character to hate, called Putnam. Putnam was hired by Sam's ex-wife and Jimmy's mother, Christine, and her new husband, Mr. Bateman, to track down the runaway children. He sees Jimmy and Corey as a meal ticket and he refuses to let anything get between him and his money. He has several encounters with Sam and Nick on his hunt and tries to stop them every step of the way with as many underhanded schemes as he can come up with from slashing Sam's tires to selling Sam's truck to a chop-shop. He is representation of all seven mortal sins and, while Sam is nowhere near a perfect person, it is easy to cheer him on every time he gets a step ahead of, or attacks, Mister Putnam. Through the film, Sam and Nick get to play several video games and come to a sort of understanding of one another that they hadn't had since Jennifer was alive, a sort of comradery that ought to exist between every son and father but is so rare.

Lucas is the reigning video game champion and has a thug crew who hang onto him because he is as close as they will ever get to anything worthwhile as Lucas hangs onto the video games in the same manner. Lucas is not necessarily an evil character and at the end there is a sense of humbling within him as he does come to realize slightly that winning isn't everything and losing won't kill you.

Along their journey, the kids are helped by various people in parts of society that most would try to shy away from, truckers and gamblers and lesbian bikers, to be specific. The story also shows that even if you think you know who you are getting a ride from, you should beware because greed can make even the seemingly nicest person into a monster.

The story is simple, yet worthwhile three kids go across the country to do something that they had never thought to do before, it recommends that real adventure should coexist with electronic diversion if you're going to have electronic diversion; and it also shows us that there is a time and a place for everything. It shows kids that if they are ever in trouble with a stranger, it is always a good idea to scream. In the end, Jimmy is more social but still has a long way to go before anyone might consider him "normal"; but it shows definite progress in his character.

Even though the situation is ridiculous in parts, it is still touching and fun. This is a great family film, which can make the family video game machine be more than just a toy.

I highly recommend it regardless of your age or family status.
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Video Game Groms!
Pepper Anne17 March 2004
The Wizard is one of the best 80s movies for kids or teens. It's got it all--an excellent and hilarious story, great music, excellent actors, and above all--that little 80s console of long hours of entertainment known as The Nintendo.

The Wizard was made to feul sales for Nintendo in promoting it's newest video game, Super Mario Brothers 3, which I understand to be the company's best selling game of all time (and with good reason). The story involves three kids, struggling for independence from their messed up family life. Fred Savage plays Cory, who's father and brother tend to change the subject of the uncomfortable fact that his half-brother Jimmy is going to be put in a foster home. Not if Cory can help it. He and Jimmy go Shanghai for California, the land of possibility. Along the way, they meet Haley, a hot shot young girl who's father is a truck driver and mother is a gambling addict. On her way to Reno, she discovers that Jimmy is a video game wizard (like the Pinball Wizard). With the Video Game Armaggeddon just weeks away, Haley comes up with the idea that the three kids should pool their resources, go to California, compete, and split the cash.

It may seem like an easy goal--heading from Utah to California on a skateboard and a couple of bucks, hustling video game hacks along the way. But meanwhile, a crazy bounty hunter kind of guy has been hired to bring Jimmy (and only Jimmy) back home. He's similarly in a competition--against Corey's father, who needs to get to the kids first before the crazy bounty hunter does.

This movie has it all. You get to see some the greatest Nintendo games (Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) The Adventures of Zelda, Excite Bike, and Rad Racer) in addition to other Nintendo accessories such as The Power Glove ("I love the Power Glove, it's so bad.") It's so effective in selling Nintendo nostalgia (though it wasn't quite nostalgia when the movie was made), that it will make you want to pull out the old console--or emulator--and have a crack or two at some games again.

Additionally, you have an excellent cast of actors involved in a hilarious cat-and-mouse chase, with the most laughs coming from the traveling dispute of the bounty hunter and Corey's dad (Beau Bridges). Plus, how can you go wrong with an early Fred Savage, Jennifer "Rilo Kiley" Lewis, and Christian Slater movie? You can't. It's packed to the brim with excellent features that if you're in love with the 80s, you're sure to enjoy.
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Great Movie, Better Cast
The_Wiz13 July 2001
This movie first aired in 1989, when Fred Savage was boy wonder and on top of the world and when Jenny Lewis was every young girl's dream. A lot of people say this movie was a commercial for Nintendo but really it wasn' was a movie for everyone that has a lost a loved one, for people who have been traumatized, and for people all around the world. The movie shows us that anyone can achieve their goal if they only believe.
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LOVED this as a kid
wwjd1983ad22 April 2003
Being 6 when this movie came out, ALREADY obsessed with Nintendo, I wanted to see this movie so bad when it came out. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it in the theater. But I saw it on video and checked it out like 20 times seriously. Watching it today it seems a little hokey, but still it brings me back to the days when video games were user friendly and fun.
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A great movie to remind you of being a kid.
all_about_rolling_rock19 January 2002
I grew up with this movie, and i never get tired of it, even now.Watching it reminds me of the good ol' days as a kid growing up in the 80's. The plot seems a little out of left field but under the right circumstances could probably happen.

Great performances are given by Fred Savage as Corey, Christian Slater as Nick the typical teenage older brother and Beau Bridges as Sam the good hearted father(reminds me alot of my father).

When it gets down to it The Wizard is a great movie for all ages to enjoy.

5 out of 5 stars.
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I wish people would stop dissing this movie!
Thanos616 May 2000
It doesn't matter whether or not a movie appeals to everyone, just the intended audience.

And let me tell you, as an original member of the intended audience, I loved "The Wizard." I even got one of those little "Pocket Power" promotional giveaways, and I treasure it still.

The movie IS, however, enjoyable for anyone. 10 or so years later, the Video Armageddon scene still glues me to my chair. This probably has to do with me being a Nintendo fan, but who cares?

And there are true, emotional scenes in there. Especially the REAL climax, that occurs after Video Armageddon, when The Wizard gets to "California."

Watch...and enjoy.
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A Great Kid Movie
gracegibson27 January 2005
I saw this movie for the first time a few years ago and I have loved it ever since! I like the message: you can do whatever you aspire to even if you have a disability like Jimmy's. It was nice seeing the Super Mario Brothers III game, even though it's ancient now, but back then I bet it was like Halo 2 today. My favorite character was Haley because she represented what I would like to be: tough, smart, and sophisticated. My favorite part is, of course, the video game competition. The way they treated it in the movie was like it was the Academy Awards! I know I'll never be that good at video games. My only question is if that video games is seemingly Jimmy's only talent, then what is he going to do when he grows up? You can't exactly be a professional video game player! Oh well, it's still a perfect 10 in my eyes!
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this was a good movie!
jaws!8 April 1999
i first saw the wizard back in 1990. i still like it today. to go with the video game plot there is a plot that's bigger than that in this movie.about a kid that almost never talks,and tries to leave on the road a lot.his half brother cares about him more than anybody else does. they both go on a road trip by walking,and sometimes hitching to cali.along the way they pick-up a young teenage girl.that gives them the idea that the kid is good at playing video games,and that they should go to los angeles to enter him in a video game contest if he wins they would'en wanna keep him in a home.the family of the kids brother is after him riding in a truck.also a private investagater hired by the kids mom is also going after him. it is an entertaining movie,and sometimes funny.all in all it's a really fun movie.i give it *** out of ****
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"I'm not kissing any boy!" "A girl maybe?"
DrZoidbfarb26 December 2006
Ah, "The Wizard". A bit of a cult classic highly regarded by video gamers (wheather they've ever actually seen the film or not) if only for one line: "I love the PowerGlove; its so bad!" Lucas's immortal words proved to be more truthful than intended when the PowerGlove was released (after the movie was released) with a high price tag and lackluster abilities. Not only did the 'Glove turn out to be "so bad", but it couldn't actually be used with the game it was in the movie. Essentially, this film is one long commercial for a product that didn't work as advertised. And now with its long-awaited DVD release, "Wizard" (like "Wonka" before it) has long outlasted the product it was created to shill.

That being said, I personally don't think this picture is a bad film. Not by any means. The story is compelling, the acting (particularly the traumatized boy) is above par, the drama is well-executed and not overdone, lending to some very humorous (and intentional) moments, and the message is timeless. In fact, the climax (with just a little suspension of disbelief) will have you eagerly awaiting the outcome whilst all the while rooting for the film's hero to emerge just that.

Don't go in with the highest expectations, but surely don't go in expecting a bad 90-minute commercial.
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Fred Savage... playing with power!
bibowski27 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It seems that whenever I think of Nintendo and their plethora of cool but utterly useless line of accessories over the years (super scope, power pad, and of course the power glove), I think of The Wizard.

This movie had it all, including a never before seen preview of Super Mario Bros 3. While kids these days would either roll around laughing, or scratch their heads in confusion at this film, anyone who grew up during the 80's, and more importantly, played video games during the 80's will, and probably have, enjoyed it.

Now keep in mind I haven't watched the movie in about 5 years (WHERE'S THE DVD??), but I remember it like I watched it yesterday. You can't help but love the kid with the Power Glove sucking hard at Rad Racer while trying to show off. Fred Savage, SOMEHOW knowing where all the warp zones were in Super Mario Bros 3 before even seeing the game, and many other wonderfully cheesy, yet exhilarating moments.

If you haven't seen it and are a so called, game fanatic, you owe yourself to watch it. If you have watched it, good for you. You will always remember it.
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Fun Little Flick From My Youth
Dustbowler13 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Geez what a goofy but fun movie. As you may know this is the story of a young kid named Jimmy and his brother Corey trying to get to California. They meet up with Haley and she's comes up with the idea of putting Jimmy in the Nintendo Tournament. So it's basically a road flick for kids. You get to see a lot of the video games you grew up with. But that's not all. There are plenty of funny moments. Beau Bridges going nuts with the shovel on Putnam's car is awesome. Well, pretty much ever scene with Beau, Christain Slater or the guy who plays Putnam are worth watching the movie for. With lines like,"Jimmy watch the mushroom!" and,"AAHH he touched my breast!" I dare you not to chuckle. I mean honestly, how can you hate a movie where you get to see Fred Savage punched-out by a girl?
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i Love this movie
music_iz_life20046 February 2005
1st of all i know all you asses out there want to be cool, so in essence you want to crap on a fairly OK movie and thats fine.....but i know that in order for you all the crap on this movie, you'd have to have seen it numerous times, and you can tell me that you would sit through a completely terrible movie if some part of you didn't like it, bottom line i love this movie now even to this day, not that it was the greatest movie ever made, but it was the greatest movie ever made when i saw it for the first time and thats what counts! Not the fact that if someone knew you like this movie you would lose cool points. damn that. you can keep it this to me will always be one of my favorite movies of all time cause it just that when i saw it the first time in the theaters in 1989. You can say what you want........but you took the time to rate and think about that before you continue to bash.
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This Movie is A Cult Classic.
Legofinger28 June 2003
This Movie is a Cult Classic because it introduced video game junkies to one of the greatest games ever made "Super Mario 3". It also showed the world how much Nintendo would do to edge the competition on the video game market. By exploting ever game they made, introducing us to the POWER GLOVE(piece of Junk), NINTENDO Game Hotline(Thank God for the Internet) and Super Mario 3. I love this movie and so does ever video game lovin geek with a computer I know.
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All-time favorite
jcirri17 November 2000
I saw this movie when it was released in theaters and absolutely loved it. I bought the movie and for a certain amount of time I couldn't stop watching it. I memorized the entire script. This movie has a great storyline that is enjoyable to watch over and over again. The characters are very well developed. The Wizard is unique from any other movie and I highly recommend that any video game fans watch this movie.
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One of my favorite movies.
jsilvert2 October 1999
I can't remember the first time I saw this movie... but I have now seen it about 5 times, all though the last time had to be about 5 years ago.

This is one of my favorite movies. I remember just sitting there when I was younger, and my attention was never lost in it. Thinking back on it now, I realize that the whole movie was just a 2 hour commercial to promote the soon-to-be released Super Nintendo... but I don't care!

It was a great story, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again.
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Good really Good
Spiffy-Tiffy22 November 1998
I thought this movie was great. Luke Edwards was outstanding. Fred Savage and Jenny Lewis were great as well. The whole movie was an amazing look at the mind of a child through video games. It was excellent.
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There is a God and his name is Fred and his brothers name is Ben from that show about the boy who meets a world.
This movie was beyond all expectations one can have for a movie. When one hears about a movie that not only is starring the greatest actor of our generation, but is also of the most serious and awesome subject if video game playing, one knows they are in for a treat. But not in my wildest dreams did I think that it was going to be this good.

The story is a follows. Fred Savage is in a split up family that has many problems. He runs away to the national Nintendo championships with his little brother has emotional problems. What really adds the spice to this already tasty plot is the love interest he meets in the diner. I still cry every time that they have their first kiss on top of the mobile home. One small kiss for Fred, one giant smooch for movie-kind.

So not only are we drawn into the exciting plot of video game tournaments and Fred's love life, but we get a special surprise at the ending. A new game is introduced. I am not going to say the name of it because I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, but it is golden.

Not only was Fred Savage ignored at the Oscars for best actor(he didn't even get nominated), the movie itself also got ripped off(didn't get nominated for best picture). Aside from these historical crimes of the Academy, the movie was well recepted.

Watch and Enjoy!
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