A Movie A Day #186: Joysticks (1983, directed by Greydon Clark)

It’s Porky’s in an arcade!

Every gamer knows how accurate this is.

Jeff Bailey (Scott McGinnis) is the manager of the hottest (and only) arcade in town.  His grandfather owns the place and Jeff is everyone’s friend but he does not play any of the games.  When he was younger, he was caught getting it on with his girlfriend in an arcade.  She was sent out of town and Jeff was left so traumatized that he swore he would never touch another joystick.  However, he may have to go back on his pledge because the local evil businessman (Joe Don Baker) is determined to take over the arcade and he has recruited King Vidiot (Jon Gries) to help him do it.  In between Jeff getting laid and King Vidiot scheming, there are all the usual teen sex comedy hijinks.  Just like in real life, the arcade is perpetually full of hot, single girls wearing bikinis.  A hot dog gets stuck between a pair of breasts.   Pacman is played by a topless video game groupie.  Inevitably it all leads to a training montage and a showdown between Jeff and King Vidiot, with whoever gets the highest score at Super Pacman winning control of the arcade.

King Vidiot was the height of 80s fashion.

Joysticks is as dumb as it sounds but it is also a lot of fun, especially if you want to see what life was like before everyone had internet access and their own home gaming console.  The movie is full of classic games, from Pac-Man to Satan’s Hollow.  The best thing about the arcade is that the final video game duel is played with giant, floor-mounted joysticks.  I’m not sure they would work well in real life but they look extremely cool.

Check out those joysticks!

For those wondering, at no point does Joe Don Baker play Pacman during Joysticks.  If he had, the end result would have been a classic for all time.

Grab that joystick, Joe Don. You know you want to.

Joysticks?  I wonder if that title was supposed to have a double meaning.

Arcade Life, 1983

Music Video of the Day: The Ballroom Blitz by Sweet (1973, dir. ???)

I am a few years behind when it comes to recent films. I’m still working through 2015 at the moment. As a result, I only watched Suicide Squad (2016) recently. I don’t like to watch short films made with footage edited from a feature film–trailers. Therefore, when I watched the movie, I was expecting this song to be in it since I had at least heard of a connection between the two. No such luck. Instead I got what felt like random musical choices with the exception of Paranoid by Black Sabbath since it was on the same album as Iron Man. That’s something that I doubt many people picked up on or cared if they did.

Anyhow, I was guessing at the date for this video because while it did get a European release in 1973, it didn’t get a release in the US till 1975–according to Wikipedia. Then I found the video again, also on Sweet’s official channel, but as it was played on the German show Disco on October, 27th 1973. That’s why I went with 1973 for the video.

It’s a stage performance video. It is one of the better ones I’ve seen. I think they did a good job editing it to match the fast-pace of the song. That’s all I can say about the video itself.

As for the song, it was inspired by an incident in January of 1973 in Kilmarnock, Scotland at Grand Hall where the band had to flee the stage under a barrage of bottles being thrown at them by the audience.

As for where you know it from, it’s probably either the Suicide Squad trailer, Dancing With The Stars, or Wayne’s World (1992). Wayne’s World is what introduced me to this song. It wasn’t until around 2007 that I found out they did other songs too. I’ll get to some of those another day.