Episode 14: Super Mario Bros.

We’re done playing games this week as we jump into the first video game movie adaptation, 1993’s “Super Mario Bros.”!

Author and returning guest Melissa “Frickin” Olson is back to talk about another ground-breaking film project swallowed by its own ambitions. Mario and Luigi Mario just want to fix pipes and beat the Scapellis, but when Daisy is kidnapped into an alternate version of New York, the Mario Brothers will have to confront a strange new world, an army of devolved monsters, and defeat King Koopa to rescue Daisy and save the world!

In 2019, the “video game movie” is a well-established and often maligned genre But in 1993, the creators of Super Mario Bros. were working without a map (or a strategy guide) and the assemblage of raw talent involved in the production, combined with the creative but inexperienced directors, left us with a transitional fossil of a picture, engrossing in its weirdness and enlightening in its shortcomings. On this episode, we discuss the surprising talent behind the film, the birth pains of video game cinema, how modern genre films “look for the mutants”, recreating the “gameplay loop” in film, Shigeru Miyamoto’s reaction to the movie, the proto-cyberpunk origins of the film, Roger Ebert’s change of heart about video games, and the tangle of screenwriters who tried to hammer out a narrative from an 8-bit Nintendo game.

Plus, we talk about being a cry baby pee pants about horror, the rules of TED talks, William Gibson’s Super Mario Bros., RIP Bike Guy, Noo Yawk dinos, the fantastic Fiona Shaw, the film’s secret Disney status, the “Did That Just Happen” count, the surprisingly good Angry Birds movies, the cast’s nostalgic reactions, and justice for Disney princesses!


Super Mario Bros. Scores
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Metacritic: NA
IMDB: 4.0/10

Follow Melissa on Twitter, check out her website, and watch her TED Talk!

Pre-order the latest book in the Boundary series, Boundary Haunted, out December 3rd!

Watch Super Mario Bros. on Amazon Prime!

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Listen to “Episode 14: Super Mario Bros.” on Spreaker.

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