Just a Red Herring – Clue (1985)

Writer’s note: I had to take a break from my movie intake for a couple of weeks.  My wife and I just purchased a home, and there has been a constant stream of tasks that have needed to get accomplished, as you can imagine.  With any luck, those should start to die down and I will be able to make my end of the year Oscar push starting shortly.  For now, please enjoy a review of one of our favorite wind-down movies.

Well-penned.  Based on the Parker Brothers board game, this is about six strangers that get invited to a dinner party.  When the lights go out and a murder happens in the darkness, they must deduce who is responsible before it is too late.  This is (and probably will be) the only board game movie that works 100% of the time, and it has everything to do with the makers of this being smart and not rushing things in the writing department.  I don’t know if you have ever seen Battleship, (if you haven’t, you shouldn’t, it’s atrocious), but if you have had the misfortune, you already know: if you don’t take the time to properly develop ideas and concepts, you get mediocre results, especially when the property you’re working with is based on a board game.  Clue is the polar opposite, because everything about this script is given very careful consideration.

1Also, this has Tim Curry.  Points.

When Clue starts, you can tell right away that they know how to set up a running joke, and they can even do it without words, i.e. the shoe checking bit.  In fact, there are jokes featured in here that I don’t even think that the film gets credit for.  Have you ever heard someone interrupt with “too late,” when you say “to make a long story short”?  Clue did it first.  As an additional cherry, the closing line to this is one of my absolute favorite lines to make an exit on.

2I’m going to go home and sleep with my wife.

I love Clue for its sharp writing and quick-wittedness.  Every single character is deftly cast in their respective roles, including punk rock star Lee Ving as Mr. Boddy.  The score is so unique that it is instantly recognizable, and when you reach the point at the end where everybody is running from room to room, trying to piece together the case, it is impossible not to have a raucous good time.  I can only imagine how much fun this must have been to talk about when this first came out.  Picture this: you get out of this movie, pumped with the energy of seeing a great film.  You sell your friend about this amazing comedy, and you sway them to check it out.  They go see it, and then they come back to you to chat about it, and then you talk about the ending.  Imagine how hilarious the confusion about the conclusion would be!  Anyway, this is a cult hit for a reason, and it’s a favorite of mine that is in my heavy rotation.

Clue (1985) *****

– Critic for Hire


3 thoughts on “Just a Red Herring – Clue (1985)

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