Hollywood Looks at Video Games, Volume 7


RESIDENT EVIL (2002)*(Milla Jovovich, Eric Mabius) A genetics lab has a security breach and a virus is deliberately unleashed upon mankind. The lab is owned by a mega-corporation that is so powerful (Enron?) that they can get away with anything. The area is immediately sealed shut and every employee is either gassed or drowned to avoid the spread and allow for decontamination. A team of commandos is sent out to assess the damage and most of the movie is a tedious search and destroy mission. All employees and even the animals have turned into a population of zombies. The best way to destroy them is to shoot them in the head. Like vampires, if you are bitten you eventually wind up on their team. If that wasn’t enough, the commandos have to face a not so user-friendly computer that handles security. Sounds familiar. Also there is a hallway with a laser beam that acts like a giant meat slicer and makes for some of the grossest scenes. Also thrown in is a time limit of one hour before lockdown. I wish that applied to the whole movie!! As bad as it was, it still opened in second place having been frozen out by ICE AGE.

eXistenZ (1999) ** (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Willem DaFoe) – This sci-fi thriller opens with the beta launch of a new video game (eXistenZ), by the “world’s greatest game designer”, Allegra Geller. To play her interactive virtual reality game you need multiple players, each fitted with a “bioport”. This is an input device surgically implanted at the base of your spine that allows you to download the game via a “game pod’. The game pod is also your controller and is composed of living matter and connected via umbilical cords. Still sound like a cool game? The plot thickens with assassination attempts on the life of Geller. Who is trying to do her in? A rival game company? A misguided user? The marketing rep who is supposed to be a bodyguard. When is the game not a game? Watch for the surprise ending. A future cult movie perhaps.

BIG (1988) ***1/2 (Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins) – The movie opens with Tom at a computer console playing a text adventure. He gets killed, but later on in the film, advances. At a carnival Tom walks past Pac-Man, Defender, Solar Quest and other arcade games. When he checks out two dealers while looking for a Zoltar machine, there is a Ms. Pac-Man, Pole Position II, Spy Hunter, and some cocktail game. Tom takes delivery of a pinball machine off a truck that has three other arcade machines on it. At the Sea Point Park in NY, there is an Outrun and one other machine that looked familiar.

CLOCKERS (1995) ** (Harvey Keitel, Mekhi Phifer, John Turturro). This is a street savvy Spike Lee movie centered on the death of a drug dealer. There are a number of scenes where this young kid is playing a VR game called Gangsta with  special glasses. This is allegedly a Sega game, but it looks contrived. AVirtua Fighter machine is in Rodney’s Place and can be seen just before he gets busted.

GROSSE POINTE BLANK (1997) **1/2 (John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin). Cusack is a professional hit man in town for his high school reunion. When he re-enters a convenience store, the clerk is busy playing a Doom II machine. He is so preoccupied with the game (he also has a headset on) that he doesn’t even hear the real gun battle going on between Cusack and a rival hit man. The rival plants a bomb in the microwave and exits through the front door while still firing away. Cusack sees the bomb and has to drag the clerk away from his Doom II game before the whole building blows up.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1985) no * (Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle) - Stephen King film in which machines take over the world. In the game room of a truck stop, a black dude gets zapped by a short-circuiting Solar Quest machine. There is a Time Pilot ’84 not far away.

NO SMALL AFFAIR (1984) ** (Demi Moore, John Cryer, Meg Tilly). There is a Star Wars, Pole Position II and one other machine in the school cafeteria. Meg can been seen playing Ms. Pac-Man on the wharf. She is also seen in an Atari Adventure arcade at the airport. I was able to make out two Q*bertmachines.  

THE ACCUSED (1988) *** (Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis). The game room of the bar where the infamous gang bang takes place contains several arcade machines. Street Football, Lock N’ Chase among them. When the assistant DA comes to check out the crime scene she sees that “KEN” got a high score on the date of the incident. That coupled with the fact that witnesses said they saw a college kid playing that game when the rape was going on, and a college yearbook, enabled her to find the key state’s witness.


THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION (1984) ** (Peter Weller, John Lithgow). Lithgow, as a mad scientist manages to short circuit a Buckaroo Banzai arcade machine (mock-up) on his way out of the insane asylum.

AIRPLANE II:THE SEQUEL (1982)**1/2 (Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, William Shatner) Young lad sneaks onto the console of an air traffic controller and plays the screen like a video game, until he crashes a plane. Oh, well Game over. 

THE BAD NEWS BEARS (1976) *** (Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal). The is an arcade scene, but since this was 1976 only one unidentified driving video game can be seen. The rest are all pinball machines.

BETTER OFF DEAD (1985) **1/2 (John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby) There is a Punch Out and some others in a supermarket. There is aRobotron:2084 and something else in the dining room of the burger joint.

BIG BULLY (1996) *1/2 (Rick Moranis, Tom Arnold) – When Rick comes in out of the rain, his kid is sitting on the sofa playing something on Game Boy.

BLOODSPORT (1987) ** (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Leah Ayres) – The “Muscles from Brussels” challenges a guy to Karate Champ, and wins of course.

BOOMERANG (1992) ** (Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Robin Givens) There are a few arcade games in the back of the pool hall, but they are too out of focus to be identified.

BUSTIN’ LOOSE (1981) *** (Richard Pryor, Cicely Tyson). Richard Pryor gets sucked into driving a busload of problem kids cross-country. A few of them escape to the nearest arcade where they are caught playing Sprint 2.

CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2000) **1/2 (Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu). When Drew falls naked through the window, she lands in the backyard of a house where she finds two kids who are playing some game on a Playstation.

THE CROW (1994)*** (Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson)- Based on the dark comic. Some out of control hoods vandalize an arcade, hard to make out the details. One of the hoods walks into a convenience store past two arcade games??

DAWN OF THE DEAD (1976) ***1/2 (David Enge, Ken Foree). Zombies are loose in a shopping mall. A group of the living manage to take some time off from fighting the undead to play a few video games: Qwak! (duck hunt), F-1 (racing), Night Driver, Gun Fight and some other shooter. Sprint 2 is in the background.

DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR (2000) no stars (Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott). The climactic scene take place in Captain Stu’s Space-A-Rama arcade. Several games are shown, but not in close-up. I was able to make out a Tekken3, Daytona USA2, House Of The Dead, and some bowling game.

ELECTRIC DREAMS (1984) **1/2 (Lenny Von Dohlen, Virginia Madsen). There is a nostalgic look at an old Imagic display in the computer store. The focus of the story is about a computer that becomes jealous of a nerd’s love life and causes chaos. It plays its own twisted versions of Pong, Boxing and Pac-Man at times.

FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986) **1/2 (Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara). Principal Ruck thinks he has caught a truant Ferris playing Karate Champ in a restaurant.

FOOTLOOSE (1984) ** (Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow)– There is some dude dancing at an arcade machine in the hamburger joint. There is another scene with two of the girls at a diner where workmen are busy unloading and loading arcade machines.

THE GLASS HOUSE (2001) ** (Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane) – Foster parents try to win over two orphans with video games and other gifts. The boy got a bunch of PS1 & N64 games like Pokemon Snap and Ape Escape. He can be seen later on playing some cartoon adventure, a motocross game and something on Game Boy.

THE GOONIES (1985) **1/2 (Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman). There is a police chase near the beginning of the movie. They fly past an arcade that has what looks like a Cliffhanger game (by the cabinet) and a Track & Field upright. Later on, some kids find a treasure map in an attic. One of the kids remarks, “1632? What is that, a date or sumthin’?” Mouth (Feldman) answers sarcastically, “No, it’s your top score on Pole Position”. Roloff DeJeu notes that the DVD has a few out-takes, one of which shows an I, Robot machine by Atari.

GREMLINS (1984) ** (Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton). When the Gremlins swarm all over the local pub, one of them takes up a game of Star Wars. An earlier shot shows that there are at least two coin-ops present. One may be Air Force Liberator. In the boy’s bedroom the Gremlins can be seen playing a Coleco Donkey Kong mini-arcade tabletop.

THE GRIFTERS (1990) *** (John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, Annette Bening). Cusack gets punched out by a bartender and staggers out past a Ms. Pac-Man machine. 

HIGH SCHOOL HIGH (1996) ** (Jon Lovitz, Tia Carrere)- Jon Lovitz unknowingly accepts a teaching position in an inner city school that is very tough. How tough is it? It is so tough that the teacher’s lounge has two arcade machines – “Homeroom Homicide” and “Classroom Carnage”. Totally bogus games.

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS (1992)*** (Nicolas Cage, James Caan, Sarah Jessica Parker) - Cage gets into an argument with Parker in a casino arcade, after he tells her that he lost her in a poker game. There is an Atari sit-down driving game, a Race Drivin’(Atari) cockpit, a Time Traveler (Sega) holographic console and a lot of others.  In an early scene, a kid is playing with a Game Boy in the schoolyard. Worth checking out the “Flying Elvises”.

HOUSE ARREST (1996) **1/2 (Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Pollak). The kid’s room has a SNES console and even cooler still, the outside hallway has aCentipede upright. Nintendo is mentioned by name once.

JAWS 2 (1978) ** (Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary). The sheriff’s kids are playing a Pong game on the TV. There is a scene in a teenage type bar where the camera pans across two arcade machines: Death Race (Exidy) and Dominos (Atari).

JINXED! (1982) ** (Bette Midler, Ken Wahl, Rip Torn). There is an employee lounge with some arcade machines outside the casino boss’ office.

KOYAANISQATSI (1983) **** (Documentary). Views of American life and landscapes set to music and a lot of time-lapse photography. Video games are represented by: Turbo, Ms.Pac-Man, Q*Bert, Popeye, Donkey Kong(?), Defender, Stargate & Robotron:2084. The title is a Hopi Indian term meaning ‘Life Out Of Balance’.

MAGNOLIA (1999) *** (Tom Cruise, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Henry Gibson) - You can just about make out the marquee of a Frogger machine in back of Macy & Gibson, who are sitting and bullshitting at a bar.

ME, MYSELF & IRENE (2000) ** (Jim Carrey, Renee Zellweger). Jim is sitting on the sofa watching Gomer Pyle on TV with “his” kids. There is a Coleco Super Action controller on the shelf above the TV.

MR. MOM (1984) **1/2 (Michael Keaton, Terri Garr) While Keaton is playing poker, his kids are in another room playing something on an Atari 5200.

NEXT OF KIN (1989) *1/2 (Patrick Swayze, Liam Neeson, Helen Hunt) There is definitely a Pac-Man and maybe a Donkey Kong in the warehouse lunchroom. Also a video poker machine gets shot up. I couldn’t make out the arcade game in the scene in the black bar game because it was so out of focus.

OVER THE TOP (1987) *1/2 (Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia). Sly’s kid arm wrestles a bully on top of a pinball machine. There are two Nintendo arcaders on either side, one of them is Mario Bros.

PARENTHOOD (1989) ** (Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen). Contains a scene where father and son are bonding over a game of Bad Dudes. Other games(?) are present.

PIRANHA (1978) *1/2 (Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies). Heather is killing time at the airport by playing Shark Jaws by Atari.

PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBLLES (1987) **1/2 (John Candy, Steve Martin) - Right next to where Steve Martin is making a phone call in the bus terminal is a Galaga machine and another one that I couldn’t make identify.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987) **1/2 (Cary Elwes, Fred Savage, Robin Wright). The movie opens with Fred Savage playing some baseball game on the TV in his bedroom. Can’t tell exactly which game, but definitely Nintendo era.

PSYCHO II (1983) **1/2 (Anthony Perkins, Meg Tilly, Vera Miles). Norman Bates is released from the insane asylum and gets a job in the kitchen of a diner. He is a little too busy to take advance of the Battlezone and Ms.Pac-Man machines in the dining area.

REVENGE OF THE NERDS (1984) ** (Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, John Goodman) Wormser is playing Spacemaster X-7 on the b/w TV in the gym. At first glance it looks like Reactor. In the house scene, when they get the invite from the Tri-Lambdas, he is playing another video game that is too far away to identify.

ROBOCOP 2 (1990) *1/2 (Peter Weller, Nancy Allen)- Robocop gets into a fight in an arcade. I was able to make out: Bad Dudes, Midnight Resistance, &Sly Spy.

ROMEO MUST DIE (2000) **1/2 (Jet Li, Aaliyah) – Two black mobsters are playing a football game on a PlayStation until they are interrupted by their boss.

RUNNING SCARED (1986) **1/2 (Billy Crystal, Gregory Hines) – A cop buddy movie. There is a full size Battlezone in Billy’s apartment. Hard to see but there are side views of Tempest and Centipede in the front of the tattoo parlor.

SPECIES (1995)**1/2 (Natasha Henstridge, Ben Kingsley, Marg Helgenberger). The alien creature in humanoid form escapes from the lab. Hops a freight train. Jumps off, then walks past Centipede and Missile Command in the train station.

STUART LITTLE 2 (2002) *** (Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki). The stepbrother and his friend are playing a PS2 Soccer game when they are interrupted by Stuart’s first solo flight.

SUPERMAN IV: The Quest for Peace 1987) ** (Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Mariel Hemingway) Criminal mastermind Lex Luthor, has at least one arcade machine(?) in his office.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) ** (Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas). The hideout of the local bad boys has a NARC machine, some basketball game and others.

THE TERMINATOR (1984) ***1/2 (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton). There is a very quick glimpse of an arcade near the entrance of the Tiki Motel. Only one arcade game (??) is actually noticeable.

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983) ****(Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson. You will have to sit through almost this entire tearjerker movie to reach the point where MacLaine picks up her keys in the hotel lobby. She then strolls past   Donkey King Junior, Wizard of Wor, Pac-Man, Defenderand Asteroids.

THE THING (1984) *1/2 (Kurt Russell, Wilfred Brimley, Richard Dysart) – An Asteroids Deluxe unused in the rec room of the Antarctic research station.

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) *** (Rob Riener, Michael McKean) – When the band is shown on their tour bus, the keyboard player is playing a space shooter on the computer.

TERMINAL VELOCITY (1994) *** Charlie Sheen, Natassja Kinski, James Gandolfini. Gandolfini (the future Tony Soprano) and is interrogating Sheen in the office of the skydiving school. A Turbo arcade is visible as he hits the Coke machine.

TWILIGHT ZONE-THE MOVIE (1983) **1/2 (Dan Aykroyd, Vic Morrow, John Lithgow). Series of short stories based on the TV series. In one episode, a school teacher runs across (literally) a young boy vigorously playing Tempest in a diner.

VERY BAD THINGS (1998) ** (Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Stern). Slater gets in a game of Mortal Kombat while the minivan is getting washed.

WAYNE’S WORLD (1992) ** (Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe)- Pong, Pac-Man and Ms.Pac-Man are mentioned. There are also some funny bits with the sleazy arcade owner who is sponsoring WW.

THANKS to: Craig Maloney for possibly identifying the arcade games on the second floor of the firehouse in GHOSTBUSTERS. Craig was able to determine that they are most likely Star Castle and Missile Command.


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