AMAZON PRIME — When Rob McCallum heard his childhood friend (and avid original NES lover), Jay Bartlett, admit that he had a dream of owning every NES game ever made–all 678 of them–Rob was struck by inspiration! He would challenge his friend to fulfill this dream, in thirty days, without the aide of the internet, with all of his own money, and he would film it as a documentary! Jay accepted the challenge, and off they were to set upon their sure to be epic, NINTENDO QUEST! What could possibly go wrong?
Okay, so fair warning here… this is going to be less of a review, and more of a rant. Just so I cover all of the proper “movie review” bases, however, I’ll say that the documentary looks good. Everything is clearly visible, easy to follow, and you can hear what everyone is saying. Some effort was put into the production, and for that, I thank them. While some of the editing is a little goofy, and the attempt and interspersing talking head interviews with the main plot of the film–Jay buying old NES games from strangers–is pretty awkward and largely unnecessary. Those interviews felt less like attempting to create context around Jay’s obsession, and more to just fill time and fabricate value where there isn’t any. Nothing new is offered here regarding the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) or why people connected with it. So everything that isn’t Jay buying old games from shops and collectors is just spinning wheels. There is also an issue with the film pretty much abandoning its own premise almost immediately by “cleverly” crafting a newer (and potentially easier) collector goal. This renders the entire purpose of this film moot, which is silly, because they could have very easily edited out the initial 30 day stipulation altogether and left it as Jay hunting for every game, period. That would have been enough on its own, so it shows a real lack of foresight and hindsight to see how badly they shot themselves in the foot with their blown concept. My ultimate opinion of NINTENDO QUEST’s value is for THOSE REASONS and not the reasons to follow. Everything past this point is purely personal opinion, and should be taken as such.
End of proper review.
Hello, and welcome to the rant portion of the review.
So listen… I’m sure Rob and Jay are nice guys in real life, but NINTENDO QUEST has left me in a really foul mood. Maybe it’s me, but I’m having a hard time accepting “men” like Rob and Jay, as people I need to respect or root for. While it’s true, they have the bodies of men, emotionally they are children–trapped in a sort of arrested development. While the purpose of this film is to “inspire” viewers to go out there and “live their dreams” (which is actually stated a couple times during Rob’s big emotional wrap-up near the end of the film), for anyone of a rational adult mind to see this as anything other than an emotionally stunted man-child hiding from his problems by worshipping an important piece of nostalgia (to him) is impossible!
NINTENDO QUEST doesn’t make me want to root for Jay. It makes me feel sorry for him. Here is a man, in his thirties, with clear emotional issues, being enabled by his best friend (director Rob) to spend an incredible amount of money on NES games, when he should be spending that money on therapy. Midway through the film there is a moment where Jay says some pretty vile things about his father that is never really expanded upon or cleared up in any satisfactory way. According to the film, Jay hates his father because he never made time to play video games with him. He all but says he’s glad his father is dead! There was no clear statement on whether Jay’s father mistreated his son in anyway. To hear Jay’s mother talk about their relationship, all she had to say was basically, “Yeah, Jay and his dad didn’t have a lot in common.” I’m sorry, but if you’re going to throw your DEAD FATHER under the bus, you should make it a point to clearly illustrate WHY you feel that way. Instead, there is no follow-up here, and we’re left to wonder just what exactly that was all about–and all I can really think is that it was put in the film to gin up some emotional support for Jay while he steps out of his comfort zone of talking to people and buying video games.
Get the fuck outta here with that noise.
Jay comes across as an emotionally retarded brat in need of therapy and a better best friend–and a financial consultant. Rob comes across as an enabling exploiter. Their “Nintendo Quest” should serve less as a triumph and more as a cautionary tale of what you could end up as if you don’t take a good long hard look in the mirror every once in a while.
I haven’t even touched on how poorly they treated a fellow collector offering to sell them an overhyped video game at cost, or how they managed to find all of these collectors and shops without using the internet–which seems HIGHLY suspect to me. But hey, I’ve already said too much about this movie. More than this movie deserves.
If for nothing else, congrats to Rob and Jay for at least making me FEEL something from their film. I’m sure RAGE isn’t what they were going for, but it’s better than nothing… I guess.
1 out of 5
Dear Rob & Jay,
If you find yourself reading this review, and would like to respond, feel free to contact me here: CONTACT JUNIOR. We can discuss your film and my review of it on my podcast, or we can correspond via email, and I will post anything you wish to say in defense of NINTENDO QUEST. Your call.
I’m a pretty reasonable guy, most of the time. I’m just a reasonable guy who hated your movie.