Joysticks (Collector’s Edition): Blu-Ray Review

Available this week is the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for writer/director Greydon Clark’s 1983 teen comedy, Joysticks, starring Joe Don Baker, Scott McGinnis, Jon Gries and Grease 2’s Leif Green. In 2015 Scorpion Releasing put out a Limited Edition release and only 1000 copies were produced. While both disks were sourced from a 2K master, I never got a chance to screen Scorpion’s disk, so I won’t be able to do a comparison. However, I will say that I love MVD’s Atari 2600 influenced packaging for their disk. As someone who is old enough to have had a 2600 when they were first released, the slipcover art really took me back.

Jefferson Bailey (McGinnis) loves running his family business, a local arcade where all the teenagers hang out. Businessman Joseph Rutter (Baker) thinks the arcade is a hangout for lowlifes and hates that his valley girl daughter Patsy (Corinne Bohrer) is always hanging out there, socializing with what he considers a bad element.  Rutter in determined to shut down the arcade and will even recruit a young punk named King Vidiot (Gries) to cause some problems for Jefferson.

Joysticks was released at a time where local arcades were big business around America. Everyone knew what Pac-Man was and the only version worth playing was in an arcade (we shall not talk about the 2600 version). With video games being the main draw (and sex being the other), it’s not surprising that Clark’s film was a modest success, especially during a time when a sex comedy like Porky’s was a box-office giant that would spawn two sequels. I am surprised we never got a Joysticks 2.

The plot here is paper-thin, pitting teens rebelling against adults by playing video games. We have seen similar stories like this time and time again. However, the arcade setting is quite lively and probably the most interesting thing in Joysticks. The final one-one-one video game battle is fun, though looks kind of silly with the contestants playing with their massive joysticks (no pun intended) in front of a crowd.  The gaming aspect alone definitely sets Joysticks apart of the other 80’s sex comedies.

The 1080p presentation, which was sourced from a 2K restoration delivers a pretty solid picture. I had only see Joysticks on late-night cable and VHS in the past, so this is by far the best the movie has ever looked to me. The arcade itself definitely pops and comes across much more vibrant than it ever did before. As for the audio, we get an LPCM 2.0 Mono track which is serviceable. To be fair, films like Joysticks don’t really need anything more, as even the games the kids were playing in the film were in Mono as well. Dialogue is clear and consistent as well.

We get some cool bonus features here as well. Aside from the Atari inspired slipcover and mini-poster, we also get a new fan commentary, along with some previously released content. If you are a fan of Joysticks, you can order your copy here.

Bonus Materials:

  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Collectible 2-Sided Mini-Poster
  • Reversible Artwork
  • “Coin Slots” – “faux” trailer short written and directed by Newt Wallen and starring Mr. Lobo & Eric D. Wilkinson
  • Interview with Director Greydon Clark
  • Audio Commentary with Director Greydon Clark
  • NEW! Fan commentary featuring MVD Rewind Collection’s Eric D. Wilkinson, Cereal at Midnight host Heath Holland and Diabolik DVD’s Jesse Nelson
  • Audio: LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • 2K scan and restoration in (in 2015) from 35mm film elements and presented in 1080p HD in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
  • Limited Edition Slipcover (First Pressing Only)

By: Marc Ferman