Joysticks (1983) Movie Review Part 5.

When last we left the arcade crew, Patsy’s dad Joseph was embarrassed by the manager of the arcade and two topless girls. He has sworn to shut the arcade down. The best way to do that is of course to have his two weak henchmen infiltrate the video arcade in costume in order to find out their secrets.

Of course.

Arnie dresses like a stoned out hippie but Max chooses to become Maxine. They clearly have no idea what they’re doing, are horribly inept, and the entire scene is a cover song of Bugs Bunny in drag. King Vidiot reappears and falls madly in lust with Max (Maxine). He has no clue of Max’s true identity but this is an era where the male Pac-Man was made into a woman, Ms., with the crafty addition of a bow. Arnie and Max get a lay of the land and decide that tonight they will steal all of the video games out of the arcade, thus putting them out of business. Eugene happens to overhear this nefarious plot. King Vidiot pines for Maxine some more. His punk girl entourage seem sympathetic and not jealous. More multi player action I guess.

Eugene tells the crew the henchmen’s plan and from here the most absurd scene in the movie happens. In a movie full of “what in the hell” moments this one goes above and beyond. There are two scenes taking place simultaneously, and the film switches between the two. But I feel for this write up they need to be looked at independently up until their collective conclusions.

In one adventure, Eugene and McDorfus are going to break into Joseph’s house to find some sort of incriminating evidence against him. Meanwhile the rest of the crew is going to thwart the hijacking of the game machines.

At the arcade, Arnie and Max pull up with a van and start to load every single game inside. Now, physics is no longer at play. Nor time. Because there are far more machines shown inside than what would fit in a van. Plus to unplug, load up, lift it inside the van, load up the next. That is way too much work for two guys and a couple of hours.

Putting reality aside, while Arnie and Max are loading the van, the Arcade heroes sneak to the front of the van and empty the gas. A simple but effective counter measure. The van is now loaded up, and of course does not start. Arnie and Max have a talk about the high cost of gasoline but accept that they need to go get enough to start the van. While the henchmen are walking to the nearest station the video game ‘vengers bring all of the games back into the arcade. While there are more of them, this still seems like an ordeal that would take way too long. Arnie and Max return with fuel and take off with their plunder. While this isn’t their usual vehicle I would still think the lack of hundreds of pounds of video game cabinet weight would be noticeable in their drive. I’d be wrong about that. Mission accomplished and the arcade crew decide to throw a midnight pajama party in celebration. All tokens on the house!

Meanwhile, is the most over the top scene in the movie. This is the moment where I said screw it this is more than a quick review. This movie deserves some time, some showcase. Eugene and McDorfus go to Joseph’s house. They intend to find some dirt on him so maybe he backs off the arcade. They climb up a ladder into a window while Joseph is gone. Everything goes awry. The ladder falls. The two of them are stuck inside the house and they are face to sleeping face with Joseph’s wife. His neglected, lonely, over drugged wife. Guess Joseph hasn’t been playing games with anyone in recent memory.

McDorfus being that jerk friend we all have tosses Eugene on top of Joseph’s wife/Patsy’s mom. Mrs. Rutter (Morgan Lofting) in a doped up haze begins groping Eugene, thinking it’s Joseph. “It’s been so long!” Eugene struggles to free himself from her pill popping strength but is helpless. At this moment Joseph comes to bed. McDorfus hides in the closet like a fat E.T. Somehow he goes unnoticed. Even more unbelivable, Eugene is not noticed in the bed. Mrs. Rutter is pawing at Eugene, who flails, Joseph thinks Eugene is his wife touching him and informs his wife to roll over and take more pills. Well, at least they got one child out of the marriage. McDorfus sees his opportunity to leave.

McDorfus ditches him and leaves the room. But not before, the longest fart possibly ever on film. His announcement of leaving. It’s longer than the beans scene in Blazing Saddles. If one page of script equals one minute on film this must have been a quick way to pad the script. Page 37, fart. Page 38, gas continues. Page 39, and yet there’s more. Surely this must mean game over right? No! Because Joseph blames this sound on his wife. Must be a side effect of all the medication.

So we have this awkward grouping of three in bed and the only possible help turns stinky tail and runs. But no, McDorfus to the rescue! He rings the doorbell at 2 AM. Joseph leaves the bed, still not noticing Eugene right next to him, and goes downstairs to figure out what’s happening. McDorfus gives a speech at the front door about being saved and cleverly uses the speech to give directions to Eugene. “If you want to be saved you can be right now. YOU can LEAVE. Right NOW. While I’m talking on the porch and distracting EVERYONE!” I actually started laughing pretty good at this part and thought it was a great set up.

“Eugene and … Mommy?!”

Eugene leaves the bedroom and tries to sneak down the hallway. At this moment Patsy opens her door and sees him exiting her mother’s room. Eugene freezes and walks backwards back into the bedroom. Patsy stares confused, “Eugene and Mommy?” Not the last time in this movie the poor girl will be confused.

Eugene chooses to climb out a window instead. McDorfus is still giving his speech but by this point Patsy is at her father’s side. McDorfus is reaching the apex of his speech when a foot appears above him. You see, Eugene in all of his intelligence climbed out the window right above the porch and is exiting the house he broke into by falling down from the second floor right in front of the people who live in the house. It is a spectacular fail. As Joseph is about to unleash all of his anger, the van pulls up. The two stories have collided!

Arnie and Max roll up and loudly announce they stole all of the games. Eugene, McDorfus, and Patsy hear this and Joseph has now lost his upper hand of anger. As he opens up the van and discovers his henchmen have been hoodwinked the heroic trio takes off in celebration. His little daughter is going out in the middle of the night in her pajamas to spend time with two guys that just broke into his house and celebrate with the rest of the group that just made him look like a fool.

I feel there’s a high price, or multiple tokens, to pay.

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