Three precocious scamps team-up on a journey across the Western US to get little Jimmy, a misdiagnosed kid with a heart of gold, to the ultimate video-game tournament, Video Game Armageddon. Plus Christian Slater and Beau Bridges share a hotel room. Is this movie TOO sexy?
The Wizard falls into our "bad movie debunked" category of films - wherein the film has been raked over the coals by critics yet, we can't understand why. Sure it's got some sub-par technical work with some over-exposed shots, mediocre compositions and spotty focus. Sure it's clear that someone did a bad job with the editing scissors and sure it's likely that person with the scissors did the best they could because they shot 2.5 hours worth for a damn kids movie. But really those quibbles pale next to the content.
We love movies that have kid's on a cross-America road-trip adventure, all while growing up a little along the way and this manages to execute those items pretty damn well. The group of three are a lot of fun to watch, there's solid chemistry between Freddy Savage, Jenny Lewis and Luke Edwards. Most of the time, films like these have groan-inducing scenes with the kids, trying to placate the kids watching at home, but this never suffers from any "men in ties interpreting what kids think is funny" happening.
Lastly, this film ends with the ol pulling on the heartstrings trick and again, usually this type of movie fails horrendously at that moment. What The Wizard does best is have you follow these kids across the West only to fall in-love with them at the last scene. It also doesn't shy away from the problems that kids (and really adults) suffer from and instead makes them part of the characters in a way that draws the viewer even closer to them.
While it's got its issues, The Wizard is way-underrated and is truly one of the best kids movies to come out of the 80's. We would love to see a return to this approach in cinema - flawed kids having grand adventures.
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