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Movie Review: Gamerz

Gamerz Movie PosterGamerz (spelt with a ‘Z’ to distinguish it from the -much better- The Gamers) is a Scottish indie movie about fantasy role-play gaming (RPGs). I was particularly enthusiastic to see this movie because it’s a British production and I am a British gamer. However it wasn’t what I expected because it isn’t really about gaming, it is a character piece about disparate people from different backgrounds being brought together and the relationships/conflicts which occur between them. The game is a vehicle to bring the characters together.

Gamerz follows Ralph, an extremely isolated young nerd whose parents died in a car crash. He is bullied and downtrodden so escapes into his imagination, creating his own fantasy world in which he is in complete control. When he starts University he takes over the role-play society and becomes Game Master, running an adventure campaign using his own setting and his own rules. The players hang on his every word. Ralph falls for the society’s only female gamer, Marlyn, a sexy Goth who, unfortunately, is as mad as a box of frogs. Also one of the bullys from Ralph’s neighbourhood – the drug-dealing, car-jacking Lennie – wants in on the role-playing action. He, too, is attracted to Marlyn, and soon things start to spin out of Ralph’s control. Will his house of cards come tumbling down?

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My thoughts on ‘School of Saatchi’

School of Saatchi was an interesting reality TV style Art programme by the BBC and gave us a glimpse into the elite ‘Art World’ or ‘World of Contemporary Art’ as I have sometimes heard it called.  It’s nothing like the inclusive world of webcomics and self-representing artists that I enjoy.  It’s a world of Galleries and Collectors, waving a bone tantalisingly at attention-starved artists to see them beg and jump through hoops when ordered.  Ugh!

It was farcical to watch the judges send away the artists who demonstrated good, technical ability and promptly ask the rest to do life drawing!  I felt a mixture of amusement and annoyance in the first episode when the experts/judges started asking what art was.  Frankly they came across as not having a clue (confirming what I’d long suspected).  But ultimately Saatchi – a man of action, not words (or appearances) – decides, so we can ignore them.

On the subject of the ‘king-maker’ he has caught a bit of flack for doing this programme from critics.  They say he’s not as big as he used to be and is trying to revive past glories.  But critics like criticising.  I quite like the way Saatchi covertly looks at the artists’ works and simply chooses what he likes.  He leaves the furory and shit-flinging to everyone else.  Good for him.

I’m not going to recap the show, I’m just going to give my opinion on the final contestants.  I’ll try to be constructive rather than destructive if possible.