Break out your Power Gloves; it’s time for this week’s Movies You Have Not Seen But Should!
It’s time once again for Movies You Have Not Seen But Should. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this classic film, this week we will look at the 1989 adventure dramedy The Wizard. The film stars Fred Savage, Luke Edwards, Christian Slater, Beau Bridges, Jenny Lewis and Tobey Maguire (in his debut role).
Jimmy Woods (played by Edwards) is a boy who lost his twin sister in a drowning accident. This led him to suffer from a mental disorder which leaves him almost totally speechless (except for the word “California”) and withdrawn from nearly everyone. He carries a lunch box around and simply builds stuff out of blocks. His family is divided due to the accident. Jimmy lives with his mother Christine and his stepfather, while his brothers Corey (played by Savage) and Nick (played by Slater) live with their father Sam (played by Bridges). When Jimmy is put into an institution, Corey breaks Jimmy out and they go on the run to California. Christine and the stepfather hire a bounty hunter to find Jimmy and bring him back. At the same time, Sam and Nick are trying to track down the boys as well.
While on the run to California, Corey and Jimmy meet a girl named Haley (played by Lewis) who is travelling back to Reno. Corey and Haley discover that Jimmy has a natural gift for playing video games. Haley tells them about a huge video game tournament in Los Angeles and suggests that they enter. The three hitchhike to L.A. to qualify for the tournament. Corey and Jimmy want to win so that they can show everyone that Jimmy doesn’t need to be institutionalized, while Haley wants to use her share of the $50,000 prize to help pay for a home for her dad. Will they get there? Will the bounty hunter catch them? Will Jimmy become “The Wizard” that Haley has nicknamed him? You’ll have to watch to find out.
The film features many famous Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games from that era. These include Contra, Double Dragon, Mega Man 2, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, R.C. Pro-Am, Rampage, Rad Racer, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Super Mario Bros. 2. It also features footage of Super Mario Bros. 3, which was not available in the United States at that point. The film was released in theaters on December 15, 1989. It grossed over $14 million with only a $6 million budget.
The Wizard is available on DVD and Amazon Instant Streaming. This is a cult classic for those who grew up as children of the 1980s, and it’s a fun trip down memory lane. For those who didn’t grow up during this era, it’s an entertaining way to see some classic retro games. It’s one of those great cult classic nostalgic video game films that you may not have seen, but you should.