Are you a MOVIE BUFF? Do you think you know a lot about
MOVIES? Well, then, Movie Buff is the party accessory for you!
What is it? Movie Buff is a fast-paced, open-ended, very clever trivia card
game for “folks who love spouting movie lines and film facts.” It’s tag line is
“Finally!—a place for all that useless knowledge!”
During the course of the game, players
create “Takes” that consist of a movie title, actor(s) in the movie, role(s) in
the same film, and even applicable quote(s). “Strategy” cards can be thrown to
manipulate the play of the game. Because the game relies on players’ own store
of trivia knowledge, the same game can never be played twice. No expansion
Recently, Cinema Retro correspondent and reviewer RAYMOND BENSON encountered
JUSTIN PURVIS, the creator/designer of Movie
Buff, at Chicago’s Flashback Weekend. He sat down with Justin to find out a
little more about Movie Buff.
RETRO: How did Movie
Buff come about? What’s the origin
JUSTIN: Honestly, I feel
like I've been working on Movie Buff my entire life. Ever since I was old
enough to start watching movies, I have had this connection with films and the
actors in them. And movies became a huge part of my life when I was fourteen,
and I was diagnosed with a rare degenerative eye disease that began to slowly
steal my eyesight, leaving me with less than 10% of my vision remaining today.
But when I was diagnosed, I had no idea how long I would be able to see, so I
dove into the escapism of movies, and found that I had a knack for remembering
useless knowledge, like actors in small roles in movies and lines of dialogue
after only watching a movie once. My brother and I would even have
conversations and movie quotes around my parents and they would sit there
quizzically looking at us as if we were speaking a foreign language.
As I grew older, my friends and I started playing different games
to try and stump one another; one was a game that we just called "the
movie game," where I would name an actor and then the next person would
have to name a movie that that actor was in and then the next person had to
name a different actor in that same movie and then the next person had to name
a different movie that the second actor was in, continually moving from a movie
to actor to movie until one of us was stumped and couldn't figure out another
movie or another actor without repeating them. And then in the 90s the game 6° of Kevin Bacon became extremely
popular where any actor can be connected to Kevin Bacon within six steps using
the movie they've done, so my brother and I and our friends would play games
where instead of naming an actor we connect to Kevin Bacon, you name any two
actors, and we would connect them in six steps or less, seeing who can connect
them either the fastest, or in the shortest amount of connections, or in the
most obscure ways.
And coming from a military family, we traveled around a lot. Every
time we would move, we met new friends and found that they were playing this
game that I thought I had invented. And they always had different kinds of
spins on it, anything from the ability to go obscure once in a while, or if you
did something, you could reverse it back on the other person. That got me
thinking about ways that we could create a unifying game that everyone could
play and share their love of films without being snobbish about it, or not
being as snobbish about it. Which prompted me to take this verbal game
that I had been playing most of my life and turning it into a physical game
with more strict rules to cement the game's idea, but also provide the ability
to play strategies to help you overcome obstacles that show up eventually.
Around 2005 or so, I had finally decided that I was going to try
make a prototype of this game and I went online to a "create your own
cards" website and bought the software and the card stock, creating my
very first prototype of what I was calling Movie
Buff at the time, On Set! I went
and got some generic images from the Internet and put them on these cards and
used them, play testing it with friends or with students that I would teach. I
used to teach Improv in Washington DC, and after the classes or the shows we'd
go out for drinks and I would break out the game and we'd play it.
Slowly over that time, in between full-time jobs, full-time life,
and full-time hobbies, I kept chipping away at the idea, putting it aside
whenever something "more important " came along. It wasn't until 2014
when my wife became pregnant with our first child that I realized I had to get
a real job, or make this game a reality. It was after a long conversation with
my wife, Corrie, that I sat back down to re-write out the entire rules and make
sure all the cards I had were the right ones for the game. We then launched
into starting a Kickstarter campaign and reaching out for help in finding a
print house and graphic designer, as well as making sure all of our legal
obligations were met in protecting the game. And then, nine months after our
successful campaign ended in August 2014, I had the very first printing of Movie Buff in my hands. We immediately
began selling it up and down the East Coast at conventions and festivals, as
well as in local comic and game shops. Never being afraid of a challenge, I
even approached non-gaming stores. I'm proud to say that you can even find Movie Buff in the occasional hardware
store and RV sales buildings. Because, let's face it, everyone can benefit from
RETRO: Are there plans to try and sell it to a bigger
JUSTIN: Absolutely! Every
convention we go to, we make new connections with people and we find out new
ways to spread the word about Movie Buff.
And we have been introduced to many people who are connected with game
companies/distributors. We are currently in conversations with a few companies
and are very excited about the prospects of this upcoming year. Of course, we
will let people know any good news we hear from these companies once we lock
down something with them.
On a potential side note, one of the ways we have really felt like
we have made headway is with the celebrities at the conventions we attend. For
those who have seen us at conventions, you know that we have a fun spread set
out, we make fresh popcorn to give out to people, we have a candy dish filled
with goodies, and when we are less busy, I try to make my rounds to the
celebrity tables to offer them popcorn and candy, since they don't always get a
chance to leave and get a meal until the end of the day. And at a lot of these
conventions, after a weekend of plying the celebs with chocolates and popcorn,
they usually ask me about two things - 'what's the deal with the cane?' (I am
legally blind, so I usually have my cane out when I am delivering candy, just so
people don't think I’m a jerk if I bump into them) and 'what is Movie Buff?' (which I then tell them
briefly about and, on many occasions, has resulted in them buying a copy from
me). So there is a small group of celebrities who have become as in love with
the game as we are, which we couldn't be happier about.
RETRO:Tell us about future updates or spin-offs.
JUSTIN: We have some great
games in the Buff Family coming your way soon! For December 2016, we are
debuting TWO new games. Or, rather, one new game and one Director's Cut!
First we are going to have Movie
Buff - Director's Cut!, which will have three new Trivia Cards to add to
the already amazing game. Also debuting will be the second game in our Buff
family, TV Buff. As we have discovered
through our travails in the convention world, we have a pretty unique game
mechanic and it lends itself to some awesome spin-offs. Much like Fluxx, or Monopoly, you can use the same game dynamic and take it in a whole
new direction. TV Buff will use your
own “useless knowledge” of TV shows and make you the Big Shot of the Boob-tube!
After that, we will be debuting Music Buff in Summer 2017, and following that more additions to the
Buff Family will include Comic Book Buff,
Video Game Buff, History Buff, Sports Buff,
and many others, that will allow every single person who has been told that
they have “useless knowledge”' a venue to prove it is worth something
anyone ever said you remind them of Paul Rudd?
JUSTIN: Yes, they have. And
every single time they do, I have one thing to tell them - Totes Magotes,
Joben. I am very glad to hear it, since he is an incredibly handsome man and
quite funny to boot! In fact, when the movie I Love You, Man first came out, I sat down and watched it with my
girlfriend at the time, and when it was over, she turned to me and said, "This
is like watching a home movie of you."
Check out the Movie Buff website to watch other demo videos, find out where
Justin Purvis will be demonstrating the game near you, and how to order the
game, t-shirts, caps, and other useless ephemera to go with Movie Buff. The game itself sells for
only $25.00 plus shipping.
defines “mockumentary” as a portmanteau (a linguistic blending of two words) of
the words mock and documentary. Essentially, it’s a phony,
comic documentary. Woody Allen didn’t invent this sub-genre of the comedy
motion picture, but he delivered two of its more successful examples—his very
first directorial feature, Take the Money
and Run (1969), and Zelig, released
in 1983. The latter can safely be counted as among the writer/director/actor’s best
movies—and seeing that to date he has directed forty-six titles (and that’s not
counting pictures he wrote but didn’t direct), that’s saying a lot.
Zelig, which takes place
in the late 1920s to the early 30s,is
the story of Leonard Zelig (Allen), a “chameleon man,” a nobody who
inexplicably assumes the physical and aural characteristics of whoever he’s
with. If he’s around scientists, he begins to speak the lingo and carry himself
in an academic, erudite fashion; if he’s associating with Chinese folks, he turns
Chinese, facial features included; and if he’s around African-Americans, his
skin darkens. No one can figure out why this marvel occurs.
he knows it, Zelig becomes an international personality. The newsreels “of the
day” are full of him as he rubs elbows with the contemporary rich and famous like
F. Scott Fitzgerald or Jack Dempsey or even Adolf Hitler (all of whom appear in
some way in the remarkable footage on display in this picture). As it was the
“jazz age,” Leonard Zelig’s strange ability is celebrated in popular songs,
dance crazes (everybody is “Doing the Chameleon”!), and merchandise befitting
the lizard-like misfit.
and his cinematographer, Gordon Willis (who was nominated for an Academy Award
for the first time, unbelievably, for Zelig
after acting as DP for such titles as The
Godfather, The Godfather Part II,
All the President’s Men, Annie Hall, and Manhattan, among many others) painstakingly inserted Woody Allen
into frames of black and white still photographs and old newsreels—Forrest Gump-style, but without the
benefit of CGI—to accomplish the amazing visual treatment for Zelig. The look of the film is simply
remarkable, and totally believable, even more so than in Gump.
color footage features 1983-era intellectual luminaries, such as Susan Sontag,
Saul Bellow, and Irving Howe, providing “interviews” and commenting on the
Leonard Zelig phenomenon as if it had really occurred.
only other star of note besides Allen is Mia Farrow, who plays a psychiatrist
who attempts to treat the “chameleon man.” Of course, Zelig and his doctor fall
in love—it wouldn’t be a Woody Allen romantic comedy without the romance. It’s
interesting to note that Allen actually started filming Zelig after Stardust Memories
(1980) and it was the first of twelve films he made with Farrow. However,
the visual effects took so much longer to achieve after principle photography
was shot, that Allen wrote, directed, and released A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) before Zelig was completed.
by Patrick Horgan, a British actor with a voice that sounds astonishingly like
one of those war-era documentarians, Zelig
is a top-notch, sophisticated, and very funny comedy that is brilliantly photographed and directed.
It was well-received at the time, and it launched Allen into a very successful
run of several financially and critically-acclaimed pictures in the mid-1980s.
And, as with all of the writer/director’s films, it helps if the audience knows
a little bit about history, art, and literature—Woody Allen’s movies, then and
now, are intended for a cultured crowd.
Time’s Blu-ray edition looks terrific—and you can’t complain about the
artifacts and blemishes in the images because these were all intentional to
make the old newsreel footage that much more believable. The disk comes with an
isolated score track (and the “original” 20s-era music, adapted by Dick Hyman,
is hilarious and dead-on), and the theatrical trailer. A collector's booklet with extensive liner notes by Julie Kirgo about the making of the film is also included.
too, will be singing along with “You May Be Six People, But I Love You.” Limited
to only 3000 copies, Zelig is a
must-grab for Woody Allen fans.