F-balls And Yuengling For Everyone! The Angry Video Game Nerd Is Making A Movie
James Rolfe is the Angry Video Game Nerd, a man who knows how to define a niche. His eponymous online videos have featured on YouTube, ScrewAttack, GameTrailers, Opie & Anthony and Cinemassacre, and for eight years anyone who ever wanted to watch a man get extremely angry while screaming about old video games knew exactly where to go.
And a lot of people did. The series is the textbook — no, the wiki entry — for online viral success. Initially made as a laugh for a few friends, the early videos became YouTube sensations and spawned over a hundred episodes, millions of hits, multiple DVDs, and now the the impossible dream of most online video makers: a full feature film.
It’s another victory for crowd funding. Rolfe asked his fans for $75,000 and quickly quadrupled that goal, then earned some more. And while the movie isn’t expected until 2013, the trailer is out already.
A video game fan who makes movies making a video game fan movie? If this movie was any more perfect for The Player, I’d be filming it. Here are my initial thoughts:
1. Excellent Twist
Early announcements said the plot would feature Atari's infamous 1982 E.T. release, a game so unpopular that the company is generally believed to have buried millions of the unsold cartridges in the New Mexico desert — not far from Area 51 it turns out — and covered them over in concrete. This made me wince at first because it’s the single most overused “Did you know?” fact recycled by every single gamer who’s just discovered the Internet. But I'm not wincing anymore because that’s the Angry Video Game Nerd’s reaction too! The plot of the movie is that he’s annoyed by all the amateurs repeating the same story over and over again, so he decides to dig into New Mexico himself to prove them wrong
2. High Production Values
Say the phrase “YouTube gamer” and most people will stare blankly at you. But those who understand will imagine heavy breathing, non-existent editing, and the word “Ummm” taking up 50 percent of the audio. But this trailer shows off serious skill with special effects, makeup, multiple characters and camera angles, and a general feeling that this isn’t just some idiot with a camcorder shouting “Let’s make a movie!”
This is no surprise for anyone who’s seen his series. It’s always been elevated above the hordes of wannabe-whiners-with-a-webcam by the immense effort put into production. Rolfe's video-game reviews feature special effects, the best props any retro nerd could ever dream of, costumes, cut scenes, animation, even outdoor trips with a van and a shovel (back when he covered E.T. as an episode.)
3. More Than You’d Expect (In Good and Bad Ways)
The trailer makes it clear that this is more than just a guy shouting about video games — explicitly, extendedly, painfully clear. Rolfe really wants to make a movie, which is great, but the trailer probably shouldn’t have shown us the entire thing. We’ve got an intro, an explanation, a misunderstanding with the military, the interior of Area 51, the existence of aliens and even the triumphant scene where the nerd uses his video gaming skills to save an extraterrestrial in an unidentified flying object.
This leaves the nagging question: Why the hell do we still need to see the movie? That trailer could have ended far earlier and been far more effective because trailers are supposed to whet your appetite for a movie, not present the entire plot. Unless, of course, the movie turns out to have another twist. Real video-game piloting means you learn learn to fly by crashing until you get it right. Perhaps the plot thickens every time Rolfe re-spawns.
Newcomers to Rolfe's oeuvre might be surprised when, at the very end of the trailer, the Nerd violently vomits on a woman in oversized glasses. A lot.
The scene will make perfect sense to established fans, however. Painfully prolonged gross-out humor is a trademark of the online series. Huge chunks of Rolfe's video game reviews sound like a sailor with Tourette Syndrome drowning in a sewage plant. His reviews of Bugs Bunny games are especially scatological in ways that I won't elaborate upon since you've just seen a picture of someone losing his soup.
It might seem strange for Rolfe to abruptly engage in gross-out toilet humor after such impressive editing work, props, and special effects, but that just means the Nerd is being true to the work that brought him this far.
Think about it. Rolfe has turned a YouTube account and an interest in ancient Nintendo Entertainment System cartridges into a full feature film. That’s damn near amazing. And it's something I'll be seeing the second it comes out.
Luke McKinney loves the real world, but only because it has movies and video games in it. He responds to every tweet.
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