Movie Review: Zero Charisma

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

(Originally posted on Google Plus)

Summary: Napoleon Dynamite meets Bad Lieutenant.

Longer Review:

So clearly this is a film about a group of RPG’s created by people who know RPG’s. The film focuses on game-master Scott who lives with his grandma and runs a weekly Dungeons & Dragons-like game of his own creation. He’s been running his home-brew game for 2 years with an iron fist badgering his players with his obsessiveness as to the importance of storytelling and eschewing more commercialized products and CRPGs which don’t have the same soul. Real-life changes forces one of his regular PC’s out, which forces him to include a new PC into the group which comes in the form of semi-hipster Miles. Mile’s easy charm coincides with other life-events which begins a spiral of misfortune mostly of Scott’s own creation.

So, did I like it?
I have to say, this film was uncomfortable to watch at points. Aside from the Miles character, the “gamer-as-nerd” stereotype is firmly reinforced. Scott is an asshole and while we see some of the backstory via his mother’s abandonment which gives some glimpses as to how he got there… ultimately he’s still an asshole. In fact there are relatively few likeable characters in this film. That said, they are all people we, as gamers, have met and know.

I suppose one would have to consider this film a “black comedy”; there are funny elements that are interspersed within the chaos, and I have to applaud the filmmakers for Scott staying true to character–so often you might see this character go through an epiphany and start to become The Good Guy who Gets The Girl… not so much here. And while there was not too much focus on the RPG’ing elements of the film–the film was about Scott’s descent and his obsession with the RPG is merely a tool for how he gets there–the parts that are shown are done with an attention to detail which would please any gamer. The two scenes I found most interesting is when Mile’s girlfriend Kendra tries to do “palm reading” on Scott and his conflict with the semi-intimacy, and a second scene in a game store where Greg Goran–get it… GG…the “Father of the Modern RPG” comes and gives a presentation to gamer’s he’s so heavily influenced.

“Greg, I’m a small independent game designer trying to get my game published but having problems, what are your suggestions?”
“Write better games.”

So should you see it?
Probably. It’s about gaming, it’s a small independent film and we should all do more to support small independent films. It does have some funny moments. Drop the dice for an evening and get out and see a movie 🙂