Two years ago, on the 25th anniversary, someone tagged him. So Beau Bridges tweeted along.
“I’m so happy to have been a part of #thewizard” he replied in a thread of kudos and congrats from gamers who know way more than he does about the 1989 cult classic that critics panned as little more than a 90-minute Nintendo commercial.
For instance, when I told him that Seattle’s recent Pax West gaming festival featured a life-size replica of the iconic Video Armageddon stage seen in the film’s climax, I’m not sure he knew what I was talking about.
He remembers his young co-stars—Fred Savage, Christian Slater, that Jenny Lewis—and how wonderfully well-adjusted they were.
Beyond that, it’s mostly blank.
“I had a lot of fun with that but it’s hard for me to remember very much about that show,” says Bridges, who played the father of titular Wizard, a.k.a. Jimmy Woods. “In fact, I want to see it because I have a lot of people coming up to me commenting on that show and I can’t remember much about it.”
A lot of those comments are about his manic playing style.
Despite Jimmy’s miraculous mastery of then still un-released Super Mario Bros. 3, and Lucas Barton’s perfect, Power Glove’d grasp on every freaking game in the Nintendo universe, the real, unsung wizard in The Wizard may have been played by Bridges himself.
In mere hours his character goes from never having heard of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to securing the scroll weapon. His fingers attack the NES controller faster than your hyperactive best friend trying to punch Contra’s legendary cheat code in time.
It was comic overacting by a man who’d obviously never even trampled a goomba. Or was it?
“Um… yeah, I probably was,” Bridges replied when asked if he was actually on the verge of beating Mega Turtle, and not just in the script.
Plenty of intrepid movie mistake spotters on YouTube would disagree, but regardless of whether he really did storm the 6th palace of Hyrule while waiting for his truck to get fixed, Bridges apparently wasn’t a total gaming noob.
“I got into it more back in the day when it was first happening than I do now. They’re pretty sophisticated now.”
Bridges, who currently stars Showtime’s Masters of Sex and Netflix’s amazing Bloodline, cut his gaming teeth on Pong and an unspecified space shooter (likely Galaga or Space Invaders) that had “the little guys coming down.”
But his best 8-bit memory is of flying around on an ostrich in Joust.
“That was my favorite,” he says. “The one with the goose that laid the egg.”
Speaking of Bloodline and movies actors don’t even remember acting in, here’s my story on John Leguizamo and Barbara Hershey sitting in a tree.