From Cineplex to Console: 26 Movies That Should Become Video Games

From Cineplex to Console: 26 Movies That Should Become Video Games (photo)

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Cinema and video games provide excitement to audiences in two very different ways. The thrills that come from watching, say, “The Dark Knight,” come from the unexpected twists and turns of its story. Games, on the other hand, let you embody a story’s main character. You’re a mostly passive observer with a movie like “Avatar” whereas playing BioWare’s “Mass Effect” games not only puts you in the middle of the action, it also lets you shape the main character’s personality and the saga that’s unfolding around you.

Still, video games overall could use some of the nuance, story sophistication and tonal variation that movies enjoy as a matter of course. And, lately, it’s been impossible to walk out of a certain flicks and not think, “There should be a way to play in that world.” Take “Inception,” for example. Nowadays, it’s a given that tentpole Hollywood films come out with game development deals as part of their package. However, many cinematic classics or cult favorites could also make the jump from projector to polygon and become fun games. We’ve assembled a list of films that need to be pulled out of unplayable limbo and given new life as button-based experiences.

[#1-5]   [#6-10]   [#11-15]   [#16-20]   [#21-26]

1. “eXistenZ” (1999)
Directed by David Cronenberg

The Movie: This psychological thriller offers that a throbbing, tumor-like growth will become the future’s next hot game console, a portal to a new massively-multiplayer online game called “eXistenZ.” Playing it requires players to physically plug into bio-organic consoles, gets tested. When a killer threatens the life of the game designer (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), she and a bodyguard (Jude Law) go on a voyage that blurs the boundaries of reality and gameplay.

Why an “eXistenZ” Game Needs To Exist: It’s got the requisite chasing, running, hiding and shooting going on, but “eXistenZ” also film draws on cyberpunk trappings that would make great game elements: jumping between a virtual world and real life, a shared reality as a giant level/maze meant to be solved and the fusion of man and machine. Plus, it’d be a game about a game within a game so there’s room for plenty of

Who Should Make It: Grasshopper Manufacture. The dev studio run by Suda51 (a.k.a. Goichi Suda) made a grade-A mindf**k with “Killer 7,” a gory, bizarre mystery that debuted on Nintendo’s family-friendly GameCube. Suda’s since gone on to make “No More Heroes,” an action title with a bunch of meta-commentary about being a video game. The designer’s shown a love for gore, otaku culture and messing with people’s heads, all things that would make him perfect to build an “eXistenZ” game.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play:Alan Wake.” Remedy’s critically acclaimed game sports a lead character fighting off possessed townsfolk drawn from the collective subconscious of his own tainted creativity. The dark shoot-em-up seductively turns in on itself, with elements that riff on “The Twilight Zone” and Remedy’s own “Max Payne” games. For most of the game, Wake can’t tell if he’s the architect of his own hell, a trait that he shares with Leigh’s game designer in “eXistenZ.”

2. “Ip Man” (2010)
Directed by Wilson Yip

The Movie: This Hong Kong martial arts movie tells the story of than man who taught Bruce Lee how to kick ass. Donnie Yen plays the titular role, an aloof grandmaster who rouses to action when the Japanese invade the Chinese mainland in the 1930s.

Why an “Ip Man” Game Needs To Exist: A kung-fu brawler with the guy who originated the Wing Chun style just begs to made. But it wouldn’t have to just be mindless punching and kicking either. With the setting of the Sino-Japanese War, an Ip Man game could be a playable history lesson, affording the player a chance to learn about the pivotal intra-Asian conflict right before WWII.

Who Should Make It: Capcom. The “Street Fighter” publisher’s got a long history in the fighting game genre and, with “Dead Rising 2”, they’ve shown the technical chops required to throw hordes of combatants on-screen. Of course, it’d also mean that the Japanese game giant would be making a title in which their forebears would be the bad guys…

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Sengoku Basara.” Based on a manga comic that fictionalizes the wars that led to unification of Japan, historical figures like Tokugawa Ieyasu and Takeda Shingen get transformed in super-powerful punchers and hyper-skilled swordsmen that can change the tide of a skirmish by their lonesomes. It may not be the way the Shogunate actually coalesced, but it’s a lot more fun.

3. “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004)
Directed by Wes Anderson

The Movie: Wes Anderson’s oeuvre is filled with awkward silences and loopy dysfunction that don’t exactly themselves to translation into an action-centric medium like video games. “The Life Aquatic” might be the only exception, as it focuses on an emotionally charged revenge saga focusing man vs. jaguar shark.

Why a “The Life Aquatic” Game Needs To Exist: It’s got helicopters, pirates [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IV6CGOS_yo], kidnapping and a rivalry with another “part-gay” oceanographer. Not to mention those snazzy Team Zissou wetsuits. A great game adaptation could employ a good software engine to generate beautiful, roiling virtual seascapes and would be a great place to populate with the fanciful, imaginary aquatic life shown in the movie. And getting Seu Jorge to do more Bowie covers would give it the best game soundtrack ever.

Who Should Make It: Telltale Games. Best known for classic adventure titles like the “Monkey Island” games and the “Sam & Max” games, the dev studio specializes in humor and in adapting properties from other media. “Sam & Max” started as a comic but cartoonist Steve Purcell helped make it a game and Telltale’s also making the upcoming “Back to the Future” game, too.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Endless Ocean.” The two games in the series turned the Nintendo Wii into a vast diving simulator. The first game’s gentle, ambient vibe was super-mellow but gave way to a more traditional game design in the second game “Endless Ocean: Blue World.” Making friends with dolphins and scaring up buried treasure falls right in line with Team Zissou’s everyday activities.

4. “Labyrinth” (1986)
Directed by Jim Henson

The Movie: You can tell “Dungeons & Dragons” was big in the ’80s because of movies like “Labyrinth.” David Bowie stars as big bad Jareth, a Goblin King who abducts the baby brother of Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) when she bitches about having to babysit. To get him back, she must make her way through the movie’s titular maze and defeat the puzzles and beasties she finds within.

Why a “Labyrinth” Game Needs To Exist: What developer wouldn’t want to bring the late, great Jim Henson’s puppetry to life? And, conveniently, the game’s structure already exists in the intellectual property, what with its giant maze filled with puzzles and random encounters. In addition to the Thin White Duke as a poncy bad guy, a “Labyrinth” game could have in Sarah a heroine who doesn’t have to be sexualized and who relies on her wits to save the day.

Who Should Make It: Square Enix. The company that makes the mega-popular “Final Fantasy” games shares some of that “D&D” DNA with “Labyrinth.” The designers at Square Enix are the undisputed grandmasters of Tolkien-esque roleplaying experiences and would turn Henson’s two-hour movie into a 30-hour extravaganza, probably building out the fiction in quirkily Japanese ways.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play:Beyond Good & Evil.” Ubisoft’s under-appreciated classic also has a competent, emotionally compelling heroine at its center in the form of Jade. She takes care of war orphans, needs to use her wits to photograph her planet’s varied wildlife and uncovers a secret conspiracy happening underneath everybody’s noses. It’s not a fantasy game but could well be a sci-fi cousin to “Labyrinth.”

5. “Kill Bill” Vols. 1 & 2 (2003-2004)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

The Movie: Quentin Tarantino’s two-part opus casts Uma Thurman as the Bride, a former assassin out to kill her former boss/lover after he shoots her in the head and puts her in a coma. While Tarantino throws in tons of pulpy references to the sexploitation and kung-fu crazes of the ’60s and ’70s, “Kill Bill” is at its core a movie about philosophical differences and maternal instinct played out through violence.

Why a “Kill Bill” Game Needs To Exist: The dual-part movie basically apes the structure of a video game, with each one of the Bride’s former compatriots as a level boss. But, instead of duplicating the movie plot, a game should mine the Bride’s backstory as sword-for-hire, which surely holds lots of crazy assignments. All the swordplay and gun-shooting could be interspersed with a plot that sheds more light on

Who Should Make It: Team Ninja. The gory tales of vengeance in the “Ninja Gaiden” games don’t have the emotional grounding that “Kill Bill” does, but the Team Ninja dev studio could more than make up for that void with razor-sharp action and stylized dismemberment. They’d do a bang-up job making Thurman’s slinky form a virtual lethal killing machine.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play:Shank.” Klei Games’ downloadable hit clearly imprinted off of the heavily stylized work of grindhouse-cum-Tarantino and the indie studio’s hit game could even be a distant, cartoonier cousin to the O-Ren anime sequence by Mitsuhisa Ishakawa in Kill Bill, vol. 1. The game’s title character — also a former gun-for-hire out to kill his mentor–may not have a kid to fight for but his reasons for wanting revenge are just as personal as the Bride’s.

[#1-5]   [#6-10]   [#11-15]   [#16-20]   [#21-26]

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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