When we last saw the joystick jockeys the town board had finally had enough of the arcade shenanigans and it is time for a hearing! There is no more intense movie moment than a hearing. You know it’s going to be intense because “there’s trouble in River City.” I’m not kidding. This line is actually spoken. Apparently Joysticks takes place in the same River City with notorious pool tables. Billiards, boy bands, and Q*bert. Nothing but trouble.
This tete a tete in front of the town board is one of the biggest examples of padding and stretching things out ever witnessed in a movie. First the town nurse gets up to tell the dangers of video games. Everything out of her mouth is a thinly veiled masturbation joke. All parties laugh. The writers of this scene clearly love Mel Brooks but aren’t pulling it off to the same level of quality.
Both parties paint a picture of the arcade. Joseph first describes the den of sin. Torture, pagan imagery, sacrifice, and the topless sorority girls from earlier. No video games though. Which is odd because the video game industry could have been hit by the Satanic Panic just as hard as comics and rock music but it never reached that levels. Probably because E.T. and Atari glut took them out first.
Jefferson responds with his own picture of the arcade. Full of priests and nuns and puppies and babies. McDorfus is having a theological discussion with his pastor. “remember the words of the apostle Paul: he who smelt it first dealt it first.” I must have missed mass that day. Jefferson then calls up his star witness, Patsy. She puts on her full Valley Girl accent back when it was still cute and not an over done trope. She defends the arcade, the friendship, the whole lifestyle. It’s the most impassioned speech from a valley girl this side of Clueless.
Then they set up a projector screen. Are they going to play video games in front of the town board to show its all good fun? No! They’re going to project the picture of Joseph with the two topless girls on a giant screen for the whole town to see. This humiliates Joseph and he knows he’s defeated. Does nothing for the girls though. I mean they just had a picture they didn’t consent to take now showcased in front of their town. That’s a #MeToo lawsuit waiting to happen. Must have gotten their permission in a deleted scene off camera.
The River City town council decides that as long as there are no crimes being committed the arcade can stay open. Joseph as to be expected warns Jefferson this isn’t over.
Is he going to frame them for crimes? Hire people to commit crimes on the property? No because Eugene steps in and challenges Joseph to a video game. Each side chooses a champion. Winner take all.
There are 20 minutes left in the movie.