In a recent post, a blogger at Joystiq mentioned the game that was featured in the movie Grandma’s Boy. He also shared his opinion of the movie by calling it, “freakishly awful.” This drew an overwhelming response from readers who adore Grandma’s Boy. Since I have only a handful of fans to alienate, I will now go on record as agreeing with Joystiq.
This may seem a bit elitist, but before I tell you how terrible Grandma’s Boy is, I need to mention I saw the movie with three other people and touch on our credentials. Most people who insist the movie isn’t a pile of shit argue that those who dislike it are either non-gamers or have never used illegal drugs. It’s true that none of us were smoking anything while we watched, but we were drinking. On to our qualifications: We have varying degrees of gaming knowledge, ranging from very little to very well-informed. We have varying amounts of illicit substance experience, ranging from none to “how are you still alive?” And we all have at least bachelors degrees.
Here are some of the movies one or all of us enjoy: Dumb and Dumber, anything Mel Brooks, anything Woody Allen, Beavis and Butthead, anything Monty Python, Anchorman, the Jerk, the Pink Panthers, anything by Christopher Guest, the Naked Gun, Airplane, Big Lebowski, 40 Year Old Virgin, National Lampoons Vacation, Austin Powers, Waynes World, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Super Troopers, Wet Hot American Summer, anything Neil Simon, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison and a million others.
I apologize for all that. There’s no way to win a battle of opinions, but I still want to circumvent any attempts at writing off my hatred for Grandma’s Boy. The audience I saw the movie with knows games, knows drugs, we like stupid and smart comedies and are educated. All this being said: god-fucking-damn-is-Grandma’s-Boy-a-terrible-piece-of-shit-movie. Should I assume the people who enjoy it are also keeping Saturday Night Live on the air?
My theory on why Grandma’s Boy is well liked by gamers is one I’ve been working on for a while. The focus of my research used to be on answering the question of why so many people love Penny Arcade because I have always found that comic to be significantly more popular than it should be. Conveniently, I found that there is a parallel between the insipid movie and mediocre comic (besides my being wrong about both and an arrogant ass).
Gamers, like other demographics, love to have their egos stroked. They love specialized attention and can’t get enough inside references that only they understand. The feeling essentially stems from an infantile desire to feel special and unique like a god damned snowflake. Indeed, some of us play certain types of games and some don’t, but before we articulate these differences do they really matter or even exist? There may well be a large number of people who adore staring at the moon, but until this practice is defined and separated from other practices through language, we cannot differentiate ourselves from them or join them. Thus, Penny Arcade and Grandma’s Boy are actually crucial in creating the identity of the gamer. The problem is that we are so thrilled that someone is talking to and about us, and only us, that we have relaxed our standards of quality.
This is all to say that Grandma’s Boy is the antichrist. Plus, it was written by a lobotomized non-gamer. Lines like “The texture mapping is very Miyamoto” may impress gamers who spend a lot of time thinking about how awesome gaming culture is but gamers who actually know about video games will immediately realize that the line, like the entire movie, is an inaccurate, vacuous attempt at gaining credibility.
I may not like Penny Arcade very much but there is no denying its authenticity. But should gamers embrace a counterfeit like Grandma’s Boy as a mirror which creates and defines our identity? It’s likely that schisms over multiple issues do indeed exist between different groups of gamers. By identifying a category of gamers who do not look for accuracy or talent in their entertainment, I hope I just created a group that craves those very same things. Damn, this Foucault is tricky.