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Joysticks (MVD Rewind Collection) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Joysticks (MVD Rewind Collection) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: MVD Rewind Collection
    Released on: May 7th, 2024.
    Director: Greydon Clark
    Cast: Joe Don Baker, Leif Green, Scott McGinnis, Jim Greenfeaf, Jon Gries
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From Amazon

    Joysticks – Movie Review:

    Produced and directed by Greydon Clark, the same man who gave us Wacko! and The Uninvited, comes 1983’s Joysticks, a goofy teen sex comedy centered around what was, at the time, the hottest destination in town – the video arcade! Though they may be a rarity these days, they were everywhere back in the early eighties and according to some more conservative members of society, often times a hotbed of juvenile delinquency and immoral behavior.

    At the center of the story is a young man named Eugene (Leif Green) arrives for his first day on the day at the aptly titled ‘The Video Arcade’ without any pants on. It’s a hard life Eugene lives but he’ll soon be working alongside dreamy Jeff (Scott McGuinnis) and the stereotypical goofy fat guy from most eighties comedies, this time embodied by Dorus (Jim Greenleaf), who is just as addicted to video games as he is to hot dogs.

    How did Eugene wind up pants-less? Well, he got conned by two local hotties - Alva (Kym Malin) and Lola (Kym Malin) into playing a game of ‘strip video’ – he lost, and now he and his fellow employees thirst for revenge. There’s more going on than just this, however, as a man known only as scary punker guy King Vidiot (Jon Gries) and his troupe of all girl, punk rock video game junkies are set to take over the arcade! When snooty business tycoon Joseph Rutter (Jon Don Baker) shows up looking for his pretty daughter, Valley Girl type Patsy (Corinne Bohrer), and sees all of the insanity going on, he makes some calls to some powerful friends and soon finds himself on a quest to have ‘The Video Arcade’ shutdown permanently! Before it’s all over, there’s going to be a video game tournament for the ages with the future of the arcade hanging in the balance – and some naked ladies thrown in for good measure.

    Every bit as dumb as it sounds, Joysticks is padded and full of filler that does its best to make up for the fact that the story is one giant cliché (you could easily swap out the arcade for a community center and the video game competition for a breakdancing competition if you were so inclined) but as bad as the movie is, and it’s pretty bad, those of us who grew up in the eighties are sure to get a powerful nostalgia rush for this. As a comedy, Joysticks is passable but never great. There are some fun gags and genuinely humorous moments but much of the movie and its humor is based on predictable jokes and clichéd characters. But nostalgia is a powerful drug, and there’s just something about the mix of vintage video games, Valley Girl accents, punk rockers that look like that time your little sister decided to be ‘punk’ for Halloween one time (or maybe it was just my little sister).

    The performances are all over the place. Baker plays his part well, while Bohrer, as cute as she is, is annoying – but that’s probably part of the point. Green is a reasonably likeable lead while McGuinnis and Greenleaf are hammy, but hammy is part of the appeal of a movie like this so it’s hard to get mad at them for it. Jon Gries’ take on punk video game weirdo King Vidioit is amusing.

    Joysticks – Blu-ray Review:

    Joysticks arrives on a 25GB Blu-ray from MVD Rewind Collection presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.78.1 widescreen, taken from a 2k scan conducted in 2015 of 35mm elements. Despite the fact that the scan used is almost a decade old, picture quality is pretty good. Colors look really strong here, the garish arcade games and decorations really popping, while skin tones look nice and natural. Black levels are solid and detail is quite good throughout. The image is very clean, showing only the occasional spot of print damage and retaining natural grain but showing no problems with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts.

    The 16-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono track, in the film’s native English, sounds fine. Dialogue is easy to understand and follow and the score, including the film’s ridiculous theme song, sounds pretty solid. No problems to note with any hiss or distortion. Optional English subtitles are also provided.

    Extras start off with a fan commentary featuring MVD Rewind Collection's Eric D. Wilkinson, Cereal at Midnight host Heath Holland and Diabolik DVD's Jesse Nelson. These guys are having a good time going over the movie, talking about the soundtrack, thoughts on the acting in the film, how different things were in the eighties, thoughts on some of the sight gags in the picture, whether or not the games shown in the movie exist in real life, some of the questionable logic in the picture, how the movie compares to other similar eighties comedies made around the same time and plenty more.

    The disc also includes an audio commentary with Director Greydon Clark, carried over from the older DVD release. He talks about the era in which the movie was made, working on a low budget, the rushed three week shooting schedule, shooting everything in Los Angeles, why he likes the movie, what it was like working with some of the bigger cast members like Leif Green and Joe Don Baker, shooting certain scenes without permits, the arcade set, some of the games on display in the background, how the distributor responded to the movie after it was finished, how well the movie did with a test audience and more. There's some dead air here and there but when he's engaged he's quite interesting to listen to.

    An eighteen minute interview with Director Greydon Clark covers a lot of the same information as the commentary but he also talks about how the success of his earlier comedy Wacko! led to the making of this movie, where some of the ideas for the movie came from, how successful the movie was, thoughts on the cast and on Baker specifically, shooting in Los Angeles and more.

    “Coin Slots” is a faux trailer short written and directed by Newt Wallen that runs three minutes and is a fake promo for a Joysticks-esque comedy that doesn't exist.

    The disc also includes trailers for Ski Patrol, Hardware Wars, Dirty Laundry and Hail Caesar as well as some nicely designed animated menus that tie into the movie. This release comes packaged with a slipcover and a mini-poster folded up and tucked away inside the clear keepcase.

    Joysticks - The Final Word:

    Every bit as goofy as it sounds, Joysticks is nevertheless an entertaining relic from the eighties sex comedy craze with some memorable characters, fun performances and loads of nostalgic charm sure to affect those of us of a certain age. The Blu-ray edition from the MVD Rewind Collection looks and sounds pretty solid and it features some fun decent extra features as well. Recommended, especially to 80’s kids.



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Joysticks screen caps!

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    • Jason C
      #1
      Jason C
      Senior Member
      Jason C commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome work with the screenshots! What a great shot of Becky LeBeau with a hotdog in her cleavage. Gotta love an arcade with a mud wrestling pit. And that goes double when Lynda Wiesmeier in it. I adore that girl.

      I love the gratuitous nudity and arcade nostaglia in this film. I'm so happy this film exists.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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