Alright, I think it's time I let you all in on something a little shocking. I was never that big into RPGs. (Role playing games, not rocket propelled grenades, which, sadly, Dan can attest my love for after seeing Miami Vice). And yet, I know so many of my friends who love them, and play them still, to this day. And I attended a fair amount of gaming nights in high school (and middle school, back when Alex Meyer was still around, and had the cool basement). I remember these evenings vividly. And while that's part of the charm involved with "Gamers", luckily it's not all the film relies on.
Gamers is a new indie film written and directed by Christopher Folino that chronicles an evening of gamers, still playing every Saturday night 13 years since high school has ended, as they are about 12 hours away from breaking the all time record for consecutive play. The gamers in the film play Demons, Nymphs, and Dragons (DND, get it? ) and have been doing so every night since high school. They are comprised of Kevin (Kevin Sherwood), Gordon (Kevin Kirkpatrick), Paul (Scott Allen Rinker), Fernando (Joe Nieves), and Reese (Dave Hanson), all geeks and gamers who occasionally take the game a little too far. Each has a dead end type job, and most live with their parents still. All but Fernando, who became a gamer simply because he sucks at soccer. (Or as they call it everywhere else in the world and in the pizza parlor I used to work at, football).
Gamers is done in mockumentary fashion, which I had started to grow tired of, but in this film it works quite well. While showing our heroes in their jobs/lives, the style allows for moments of improv that are far funnier than they should be. (I'm a particular fan of Kevin's job as a man who sings songs with your child's name in them. If there is justice in the world, "Wake Up Dick" will become a song that sweeps across the myspacers' ringtones). In fact, what Gamers does best are these moments of character, and it mines the humor from them, as opposed to putting nerds in a silly situation. That's one of the prime factors of enjoyability with the film. Although the moments can feel absurd, they are never out of place, and simply there for the purpose of "The joke". (Although, the Dungeon Lord grand robe pushes it a little, but it's too damn funny to really nitpick about). There are a lot of moments in the film that are filled with outright hilarity, crafting a mighty enjoyable time.
Filling out the cast are some familiar faces, such as John Heard and Beverly D'Angelo as Gordon's parents, who are much more cool than he is. The Greatest American Hero himself, William Katt (although I'll always remember him from House, not the doctor show), has a small role as Reese's boss who used to be a hard core gamer until he kicked the dragon and began playing Madden. And Ms. Weird Science herself, Kelly LeBrock, playing the role of hot mom. Far too brief a role, the film could have used more LeBrock. (But the scene she's in is quite good).
What I liked best about the film is that it had heart. You could tell a real love of these characters from Folino and the actors. Situations in the film rarely feel forced, instead having a nice natural flow. These characters would do these things. I must heap praise on the character of Reese, whom my fellow D&D players from High School might call Brock from the sheer amount of abuse Reese has to take from the Dungeon Lord Kevin. (Reese phoning Kevin with death threats for killing off his oldest character are priceless, and it was that scene that sold me on the film.) And how can you not like a movie where one of the main characters, after being told he won a trip Costa Rica, immediately responds "All right! That's where they shot Predator!" ?
I highly recommend Gamers to you. Mainly, to my friends, but to all people who would understand and appreciate the humor and time and love that went into crafting this film. I look forward to what Folino has next in store for all of us. Gamers is definitely one for those who like to look a little deeper to find a good movie. Thankfully it delivers in spades.
Because I'm a whore, I shall pimp out the place you can see Gamers (I'm not sure if it's available on Netflix, and aside from comic cons and festivals, your best bet is to purchase a copy. I know, I know, I'm whoring out, but I only whore out for stuff I believe in. Like Gamers. And Vitamin Water.
Gamers the movie info. Tell them The Dude sent you, so they'll look at you crazy.