A month or so ago, Universal paid a steep multi-million dollar penalty and wiped its ass with their contract with toy manufacturer Hasbro. No sensible human being saw anything great coming from the partnership, which was signed back in 2008 when I was 30 pounds lighter. For years, family-friendly projects like Stretch Armstrong, Ouija, and Monopoly were thrown around with different producers and directors attached – remember Ridley Scott’s Monopoly hurrrr? A few days before Universal washed their hands clean of Hasbro, rival Sony Pictures snatched up Candy Land to use as an Adam Sandler vehicle. Meaning they’re going to make a boatload of money.
The only film actually coming out of the doomed contract is Peter Berg’s Battleship, in which Rihanna and Tim Riggins fight aliens. There’s really no connection to the board game except the battleships and it’s almost certain someone will begrudgingly say “You sunk my battleship” and then immediately feel like a tool. But amidst all the backlash, let us never forget that in 1985 the first and best board game adaptation was released.
Clue is a madcap murder mystery hated by some and loved by many. Critically spat upon in its initial release, it’s since developed a well deserved cult following. Universal was planning on remaking it with Gore Verbinski to direct, but that’s obviously fallen through. Good riddance, I say. The original Clue is super fun and has everything from lo-brow poop jokes to jabs at McCarthyism. It’s worth revisiting if you haven’t in a while. Here’s six reasons why Clue is and will always be the best movie based on a board game.
6. PUNK LEGEND LEE VING
Lee Ving formed the legendary punk band Fear in LA during the mid-70s and racked up some acting credits in Hollywood flicks beginning with Flashdance in 1983. He was cast as Mr. Boddy in Clue, the man who’s supposedly blackmailing all of the guests.
He’s not the strongest actor by any means, but he was cast anyway because of his name: Lee Ving = “Leaving.” As in, Mr. Boddy will be “leaving” soon. If I was Ving, I’m not sure if I would be insulted or honored to be the only actor ever cast because my name is a malapropism.
5. DIFFERENT ENDINGS WERE SHOWN IN DIFFERENT THEATERS
Clue has three different endings, showing how nearly everyone could have been the murderer. The home and televised versions show all three in a row, but when it was released in theaters. Paramount Pictures thought it would bring in more money if they showed a different ending in different theaters. Ads in the newspaper would say which theaters were showing which endings: code named A, B, and C. Can you imagine the stones it took to release a film like that?! A fourth ending was filmed but scrapped because it was considered too grim. In it, Wadsworth (Tim Curry) the Butler kills everyone in his strive for perfection. He’s then mauled by the dobermans outside the house. Brutal!
4. THE GREATEST FINAL LINE OF DIALOGUE IN FILM HISTORY
Michael McKean (Spinal Tap) plays Mr. Green; a skittish employee of the State Department who is being blackmailed because he’s a homosexual. Being gay in the government could cost you your job in the ’50s. In ending “C”, it’s revealed that Mr. Green is actually an FBI agent and has ordered a raid on the house. The other guests are arrested for murder and as they’re being taken away in cuffs, Mr. Green plays it cool in front of his fellow G-men with this classic line: “OK, Chief, take ‘em away. I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife!” Say that loudly every time you leave work and feel like a god, then go home and cry.
3. COLLEEN CAMP’S BREASTS
As the embodiment of the played-out French maid fantasy, Yvette (Colleen Camp) gets killed with the rope in the billiard room. At some point in the film, every one gets a turn to stare into the abyss of her ridiculous cleavage. Except Mr. Green, he only likes dudes. Clue was on TV a lot when I was an adolescent and I’d say that Yvette’s gifts were important in my development as a young man.
2. THERE ARE ACTUAL CLUES IN THE MOVIE
A movie called Clue without clues is like a movie called Battleship without aliens in it. They’re hard to spot the first go round, but through hundreds of repeated viewings and one trip to IMDB, I was able to find some of these hidden clues. For instance, if you look closely at the painting of the butler in the dining room you’ll notice that it looks like Mr. Boddy. This hints at his true identity that’s revealed later on. And watch closely because some characters go missing during key scenes. Where could they be? Oh that’s right, they’re murdering someone!
1. THE AMOUNT OF DETAIL IS PRETTY DAMN IMPRESSIVE
Director Jonathan Lynn and his crew put a lot of rich detail into Clue, the kind of detail that mostly goes unnoticed because we’re too busy staring at Colleen Camp’s breasts. For instance, the color of each characters car corresponds to their playing piece in the board game. The house is laid our pretty much in the same manner as the original Clue game board and in the main hall, the parquet floor resembles the board. Lynn and co-writer John Landis even gave the movie a specific date: Wednesday June 9, 1954. Instead of panning to a calendar or something amateur like that, they reveal the date through the TV in the kitchen, where the cook Mrs. Ho is watching the live-televised Army-McCarthy hearings.
Details like these warrant repeated viewings and enhance the hell out of your viewing experience. So instead of giving Battleship your money, just rewatch Clue.; the first and best board game movie of all time, bub.