Tag, the film about a group of adults who keep their childhood friendship alive by continuing to play the same childhood game long past everyone else stopped, has a lot to say about the game. We get scenes of strategizing, complex plans being sprung into action, countermeasures being sprung. Our characters explain to us the logistics of keeping the tradition going, and the improbable scheduling that allows them to hang onto it while maintaining mostly functional lives.
Y’all know, maybe waiting for a while before writing a Rampage review was a good call. Stops me from making any embarrassing mistakes. I really liked this flick, y’know. It were pulpy and anonymous in that way that franchiseless action movies (and the Dark Universe) manage to be.
There’s a scene about midway through when Ben Mendelsohn’s, sell out, stuffed shirt, businessman bad guy is laying out his evil plan. After they take control of The Oasis, the virtual reality game that has become the bedrock of society in the ruined and desolate world of the 2040s, they’ll jam it full of advertising. In a cute little note, they throw up graphics reminiscent of crappy, free-to-play mobile games. ‘We estimate’, he says, ‘that we can fill roughly eighty percent of the visual field with ads before the player will have a seizure.
What has the world done to you Lara? I remember paying some of one of the PS1 games as a child, I think it belonged to the boy down the bottom of the garden. It felt good, a game where you were the girl, there’s something to that. You read the history of the design and look at the marketing materials and the cynicism of the ploy is laid pretty bare. I guess the games were good enough and gamers were trash enough that it was just let slide for a neat decade.
So this is what happened to all the tightly constructed thrillers that we used to have twenty years ago. They just became the Funny Movies. Like, since the original Hangover they’ve both been cribbing from the same playbook, except instead of waking up with a cadaver and whatever local mob boss gunning for you, it’s just replaced with a series of spiralling comic hijinks. Game Night even draws up its own convoluted web of organised crime, shadowy masterminds who ain’t all that they seem, hard pressed paranoia. The only thing that makes it a comedy is that it’s about the Funny People.
Here’s what I’m gonna say. The Room is a godawful movie, it deserves its reputation as one of the best of the worst. But I think in it its own muddled incompetent way it speaks to the absurdity of life, the mostly millennial aged fans of the joint are the ones who have grown into adulthood in a world that has lost its form.
The new IT feels eighties. I mean, deliberately so.