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Film / Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie

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Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (abbreviated to AVGN: The Movie) is a movie based on the long-running web series The Angry Video Game Nerd, if you didn't realize already. It is co-directed by James Rolfe and his friend Kevin Finn.

It stars the titular Nerd and centers around the infamous mass burial of the ET game, deemed by many to be one of the worst games, if not THE worst game, of all time. The game just so happens to be the one game the Nerd never plays, and after being pressured by fans to review it, he decides to embark on a quest to prove the burial is a hoax and that there's nothing really there. Then federal authorities step in, led by our Big Bad, General Dark Onward, who believes the Nerd is investigating Area 51 and a UFO crash.

Since the movie was independent, James made an Indiegogo to raise money, with a goal of $75,000. About four months after the campaign was started, fans had raised over $325,000, becoming the second-highest online fan-funded movie ever.

The movie's production ended officially in December 2013, and the finished product premiered on July 21, 2014 at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre. It was screened at other theaters through July and August, and went on video-on-demand on September 2nd. It was officially released for VOD on YouTube and Vimeo.

This shitload of fuck contains the following tropes:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: In one scene, the Nerd briefly questions why the word "debris" isn't pronounced the way it is spelled (like "DEH-bris" instead of "duh-BREE").
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Dark Onward does a background check on The Nerd, he thinks the videos are funny.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Dark Onward has no legs when he first appears. He loses his arms too by way of accidents.
  • All Myths Are True: Upon being told Santa Claus isn't real, Cooper denies it and then proceeds to expound an absolutely ridiculous story about how the Earth is a flat circular conveyor belt and how Death Mwauthzyx created God and Satan and is buried underneath Mt. Fuji. We later see Death Mwauthzyx is very much real.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted: The Nerd and Cooper forgo saving Mandi, though it is because they suspected her of being on Dark Onward's side. Though later they decide they might as well save her considering they were heading to the enemy base anyways.
  • Angrish: Mandi becomes incomprehensible after Death Mwauthzyx uses the chick magnet on her.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: "WHERE THE FUCK IS E.T.?!" is exclaimed by one of the webcam fans during the opening credits.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Dark Onward charges a tank toward the spacecraft.
  • Bald of Evil: Dark Onward.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: McButter to Dark Onward.
  • Big Damn Movie: The movie has a much larger scope then any of the regular Nerd episodes.
  • Big "NO!": The groom at the Las Vegas wedding after seeing Death Mwauthzyx.
  • Bile Fascination: invokedThe Nerd explains that the reason he reviews terrible games is to keep people from playing them and ruining their lives. He is horrified to learn that his harsh criticisms usually entice people into playing them.
  • Broken Aesop: The point of the Nerd's character arc is to learn that his over protection was making him sound like Dark Onward and he doesn't need to protect his fans from bad games like Eee-Tee. While the Nerd does do the Eee-Tee review at the end, it's only after every copy of Eee-Tee is assured to be leaving earth forever, meaning that he's only accepted that he doesn't need to protect his fans after the thing he was protecting them from was already gone forever.
  • Bros Before Hoes: This movie's version is "Nerds before birds", unusually G-rated considering it's coming from The Nerd.
  • Bland-Name Product: Most of the video games and products shown or mentioned are bland-name products of real games/things, most likely to avoid copyright infringement.
    • E.T., a major focal point of the story, which is now spelled "Eee Tee". The game visuals are slightly altered as well.
    • The movie features "YouPooed" as a stand-in for YouTube.
    • "Dingleberry's" ice cream is a stand-in for Ben & Jerry's.
    • Although Xenophobe is an actual game released on the NES by Sunsoft, the visuals were altered in the movie and the company logo was altered to read "Shitsoft".
    • When the Nerd and Cooper first enter GameCops, there's a cardboard cutout advertising Eee Tee 2, with the company names Actifiction (Activision) and Funsoft (Sunsoft).
    • The Nerd works at GameCops, which so-totally-isn't GameStop.
    • The OMG Grand Hotel in Vegas, standing in for the real-life MGM Grand.
    • Nearly all the video games played other than E.T. are simulated — it's easy to tell what game it's intended to be but the graphics are tweaked to avoid infringing copyright.
    • Aversion: Rolling Rock, the Nerd's signature beer brand, is surprisingly unchanged.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    Nerd: "A nerd's work is never done."
    Cooper: "That's a stupid thing to say."
    Nerd: "I only said it for the trailer!"
    • "Even my dreams are low-budget!"
  • Broad Strokes: The way the movie handles continuity with the show. The premise that fans have been begging the Nerd to review E.T. is maintained but the game itself is swapped with the generic "Eee Tee." The Nerd himself is also basically the same but details of his life are tweaked a bit just for the movie, such as giving him a day job and a sidekick. Likewise, the show accepts that the movie more or less happened the way we were shown, but ignores the "Eee Tee" angle in favor of pretending that it was the real game all along.
  • Call-Back: A great many.
    • When researching the Nerd, Dark Onward watches a clip from the Nerd's review of Top Gun where he tries to land a fighter jet on a carrier, fails, and shouts "AAAAAAAAAAASS".
    • The Nerd also references Top Gun while flying a fighter jet with the alien. "Not a pretty sight."
    • A Disney Villain Death plays out exactly like the one in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III; implosion, no splash.
    • There's a particular shot that shows GameCops front and center, but to the right of it is a place called "Where Did the Hair Go".
    • The Nerd's Vomit Indiscretion Shot is done in the exact same fashion as in the Toxic Crusaders episode, with the Nerd sort of covering his mouth with his hand.
    • The vehicle chase scene involves two people holding glass and moving back and forth, reminiscent of the NES Back to the Future game.
    • The inexplicable piles of boxes everywhere during the car chase previously appeared during the Nerd's battles with The Joker, Bugs Bunny, and the Nostalgia Critic. Dark Onward even angrily asks why there are so many boxes, just like the Nostalgia Critic did.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The Nerd doesn't believe Santa is real even though he helped save Christmas.
  • The Cameo:
    • The opening credits includes webcam videos from several fans demanding that he review Eee Tee for the Atari 2600. James Rolfe actually requested to the fans that they film these fictional rants for the film while he was doing the production blog.
    • The scene where the alien summons every E.T. cartridge in the world to him is basically a montage of cameos, including Lloyd Kaufman and Doug Walker.note 
    • Kyle Justin and Mike Matei show up at the con set up near Area 51, as does Pat Contri.
    • Keith Apicary also appears as a guest at the E.T. dig site. He is handed a shovel by Bernie Cockburn and in excitement jumps head first into an electric fence in an attempt to dig up some cartridges.
    • Composer Bear McCreary appears as one of the zombies in the Nerd's nightmares, alluding to his work on The Walking Dead.
    • The Bullshit Man and Shit Pickle appear on digital billboards in Vegas (Bullshit Man apparently has his own live show). When the screen displaying Shit Pickle gets knocked over, the image starts flickering with static and at one point shows the Glitch Gremlin instead.
    • Howard Scott Warshaw himself, the programmer for E.T. on Atari 2600, appears in this movie.
    • Andre the Black Nerd appears at the Nerd's workplace to buy videogames and talk him into reviewing the E.T. game. He also buys a bad game only because the Nerd said it sucked and spat on it.
  • Captain Ersatz: The movie couldn't get the rights to the actual E.T. property, so they stuck with an altered lookalike under the name "Eee Tee", and all the "game footage" is animated by hand. The seven-minute segment available on YouTube (spoiler alert on that) has no such restriction, and thus uses the real game and the real footage.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Eee Tee cartridges: Zandor hid the fragments of the alien space craft in each one.
  • Circus of Fear: The Nerd has a nightmare of a carnival selling Eee Tee 2 and giving away copies of the original, and all of the customers are zombies. The worst thing is that the carnival is in his honor.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Death Mwauthzyx likes to mess around with anything and anyone to the point that even the only method to stop him seemed like it didn't work, but he decided to just leave everyone alone anyway. Even Eee Tee the alien doesn't understand him entirely.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: Obviously, they can't use the exact title "E.T.", so the game is constantly spelled as "EEE TEE", and the video game graphic shows E.T. with a mustache.
  • Colbert Bump: This in-universe example is pretty much the reason how the plot kicks off. Mandi at Cockburn Inc takes notice to the Nerd making a game very popular, no matter how horrible of a game it actually is, and decided to try to sell a really bad sequel to Eee Tee and get the Nerd to review it just so it can guarantee their sales. As a microcosm to this, the Nerd trashes War Duty 3000 in front of his fan/customer at Game Cops and even spits at the box. Said fan/customer suddenly buys the game the Nerd just trash talked and spat on.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Cooper believes, among other things, in the Eee Tee burial site, Santa Claus, the Roswell UFO incident, Area 51, Flat Earth, and "Death Mwauthzyx": an ancient being who created God and the Devil, sleeps within Mount Fuji, and can set off The End Of Reality As We Know It just by turning a radar dish on his head 180 degrees, and that the only thing to survive reality being Ret-Gone will be one bologna sandwich, which will be of an immeasurable size as there will be nothing to compare it to. Turns out, at least some of these and more are true! Maybe all. Some were not tested.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Playing Eee Tee as a child scars the Nerd, prompting him many years later to take strong measures to quench its popularity.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mandi spends half the movie captured by McButter and her men, which she uses to troll them, and at the end when the Nerd and Cooper refuse to save her she frees herself, just to be captured again thanks to the chick magnet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The alien.
  • Decomposite Character: In the first draft, the character of Louis Zandor did not exist, and the house in the desert was indeed the house of Howard Scott Warshaw. The character of Louis Zandor was created because Howard Scott Warshaw, being a licensed therapist, did not want to be portrayed as having served time in jail and shooting at trespassers. Those traits were reserved for Louis Zandor, while Howard Scott Warshaw makes instead a speech about honesty and truth that he would really make to his patients.
  • Depth of Field: A handful of scenes are shot using miniatures; they feature a shallow depth-of-field even though the minis are not that close to the camera.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Double subverted, Mandi tried to avoid a girl fight with McButter, but ended up having one anyway.
  • Dirty Old Man: Zandor turns his TV down when he hears the Nerd and Mandi getting their game on (literally, they were playing an NES game with a floor mat controller), only turning it back up when he thinks their playing around is getting a little too kinky.
  • Disco Dan: The Nerd has shades of this. Not only does he review mostly 8-16bit games, uses a C64 (even to access modern content), but his idea of bringing the music for a road trip is a record player.
  • Disney Villain Death: Happens to McButter.
  • The Door Slams You: How Dark Onward loses his other arm.
  • Dramatic Deadpan: Nerd sounds pretty stupefied as he tells Cooper that Area 51's layout is literally the game.
  • Dream Within a Dream: The Nerd's dream that finally convinces him to check that Atari landfill rumor. He woke up twice just to find himself in yet another dream.
  • Elvis Lives: Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur, too! They're all hanging out in Area 51!
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The Nerd's third dream featured fans zombified by the awfulness of Eee Tee.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: While in the fighter jet, the Nerd explains to the alien that only Dr. Zandor knows where the space metal is, and upon doing so remembers that Onward is on his way to capture Dr. Zandor.
  • Explosive Stupidity: A rare non-lethal example; during his first encounter with the Nerd, General Dark Onward loses his right arm by fumbling his own grenade and trying to pick it back up.
  • Fan Edit: A user on Reddit re-edited the film so it's about 80 minutes instead of two hours, calling it Frankie's Cut. He removed all the GameCops scenes, all the Cooper's mom jokes, trimmed many other scenes, and overall made it a tighter-edited film.
  • Female Misogynist: While normally the reasonable one to General Dark's General Ripper-tendencies, McButter is quick to antagonize Mandi for no specific reason.
  • Flashback Nightmare: The Nerd's first dream is about getting an Eee Tee game for Christmas as a child and falling in the pit again and again until he wakes up.
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe: Cooper's "Super Rad Video Game Dude" to the Nerd's show.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Eee Tee cartridge's chip reforms itself. Later, it's revealed that the alien metal has the ability to bind with itself, foreshadowing that the chips are the alien metal.
    • The Nerd's last nightmare involves a carnival that pushes both Eee Tee and Eee Tee 2. When his fans discover the landfill they set up a similar carnival, only with no Zombies.
  • Fruit Cart: Happens right after the cardboard boxes, with the same amount of Lampshade Hanging.
  • General Ripper: General Dark Onward takes it to almost Take That!/Deconstructive levels. His first reaction to seeing a van of nerds in the desert it to blow them up with excessive force with no clue as to why they were even there before McButter talks him down. He is quick to accuse them of being terrorists and enemy spies, becoming even angrier and more enraged when he finds out that they were not and then accidentally blows his own arm off (like he did with his legs) by mishandling a grenade. He threatens to kill harmless conventioneers if the Nerd does not tell him where the space-metal is, and then sends missiles to blow-up Mt. Fuji (which would have led to a toxic cocktail of an international incident if Death Mwauthzyx hadn’t shown up) to spite him.
  • Going Commando:
    McButter: Put your hands on the car, NOW!
    Mandi: Okay! don't get your panties in a wad!
    McButter: I'm not wearing panties!
  • Go-Go Enslavement: When the hostage diversion plan fails Dark Onward exclaims they should have utilized this.
    McButter: The diversion didn't work, sir.
    Dark Onward: You should've put her into something more provocative! How the hell can you use her as bait if she's dressed in causal attire?
  • He-Man Woman Hater: The Nerd presses his golden rule "nerds before birds" to Cooper. By the end, he's better about it, but doesn't get shipped.
  • The Heavy: General Dark Onward, who commands most of the enemies the Nerd and Co face, and also blows up Mount Fuji, waking Death Mwauthzyx.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Alien thinks his dad will think this about our race (bigots and warmongers) and will take away his videogame.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Dark Onward not-so-quietly tells his men to bring Zandor back alive so he can find the space metal.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: When McButter finds Dr. Zandor's house on radar, Onward says "you never cease to please me, McButter!" Immediately afterwards, the house is lost, and Onward says "you never cease to disappoint me, McButter."
  • Jump Scare: In the Nerd's second dream. MONSTER EEE TEE ATTACK!
  • Kirk's Rock: The Rocks serve as a launch ramp for a mocked-up flying saucer. And Cooper (well, an obvious puppet) plummets from the top.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Exaggerated during the actual ET review, which was later posted online free to view with a spoiler warning. The Nerd offhandedly rapid-fires every spoiler regarding the cartridges in a single sentence near the end of the review.
  • Lethal Klutz: Dark Onward. He is mostly a danger to himself though.
  • Momma's Boy: The Nerd's manager Cooper, starts off this way.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Death Mwauthzyx, Dark Onward.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: The Nerd deliberately invokes this for himself, living by the mantra "Nerds Before Birds".
  • No Intelligent Life Here:
    Alien: I came here in search for intelligent life.
    Nerd: Guess you found it.
    Alien: I found life. Yes.
    Nerd: Very funny.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Onward points out that both he and the Nerd want all copies of Eee Tee destroyed, for different reasons, and bargains with him so they can both have their wish. This deal may have caused the Nerd to realize that he's behaving like Onward, prompting him to overcome his phobia of the game.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: The Nerd gives one when the scientists at Area 51 cut open his alien mask.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: General Onward says this after his right arm gets blown off by a hand grenade.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Nerd's alien disguise complete with cheap rubber mask and a UFO made out of paper and tinfoil.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Evidently, the Nerd's Commodore 64 is capable of connecting to the internet and playing the same MMO as Cooper (albiet rendering its visuals in 8-bit graphics and requiring a handheld microphone for voice chat as opposed to a headset).
  • Properly Paranoid: Dr. Zandor huddles the gang around the fridge in case the government is listening in thermally. He's right.
  • Public Secret Message: The level design of Eee Tee is really a map of Area 51.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Mr. Swann, to the Nerd in the beginning: "GET. THOSE. GAMES. SOLD!!!!"
  • Recursive Reality: Our reality is a simulation. More specifically the Alien's videogame.
  • Refusal of the Call: The Nerd does not want to review Eee Tee, and only goes along with the excavation to prove the rumors false.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Death Mwauthzyx.
  • Running Gag: The amount of times the protagonists get captured, which was targeted by The Nostalgia Critic.
    Critic: There's more people being bound up in this film than Fifty Shades of Grey!
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Onward takes McButter's encouragement to shake her while she's driving at face value. Bringing us to...
  • Sarcastic Devotee: McButter. On the bad side, but never actually betrays Onward despite having next-to-no respect for him.
  • Secret Test of Character: The game room leading to Zandor's house, was designed for people adept at video games.
  • Series Fauxnale: Rolfe intended for the film to be the last project involving AVGN, as he wanted to move on to other film ideas. However, during production, he and his wife conceived a child, and he decided it best to remain home with his new family (making the movie took him away from home far too much), and decided to continue creating AVGN episodes in between working on the movie. That changed his mind- now he's more than happy to keep doing AVGN indefinitely (if infrequently), feeling it to be a comforting tradition.
  • Servile Snarker: McButter to the General.
  • Sheet of Glass: Can't have a Chase Scene without one. The people carrying the glass get out of the way of the Nerd's van, but fail to notice the pursuing military. The glass stops their armoured vehicle dead in its tracks.
    McButter: Double-paned, sir.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous, as would be expected.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Well, the movie's tagline which is repeated to clarify it's about Eee Tee is "Worst game. Greatest game story." The myths are greatly exaggerated. See Twist Ending.
  • Special Effect Failure: Intentionally invoked. A Disney Villain Death is exactly like the one from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, which James has poked fun at both as himself and in-character as the Nerd because the special effects were so bad he found it hilarious. In both cases, the villain falls into water, and when they hit the water their body appears to simply implode and disappear with no visible water splash, even though you hear one.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Due to the Nerd's influence over gamers developing Bile Fascination, Mandi has developed a follow-up to Eee Tee that is designed to out-suck the original.
  • Status Quo Is God: The Nerd goes through some Character Development, but nothing that affects the core AVGN show.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream can be heard during the Car Chase. This was lampshaded in a scene that was in the script, but not included in the final cut.
    Nerd: That scream! It's in every! Fucking! Movie!
  • Stylistic Suck: Eee Tee 2 is intentionally worse than the original.
  • Super Wheelchair: Dark Onward's wheelchair is actually a cybernetic set of tank treads. It looks badass, but makes getting in and out of cars a pain in the ass.
  • The Movie
  • Trapped in TV Land: The alien is trapped in his own videogame.
  • Twist Ending: At the end of the movie, during the Nerd's review of Eee Tee as the credits roll, he concludes that it's actually not the worst game ever, but rather something that, in spite of its myriad flaws, was rather innovative for its time (especially considering it was only put together in five weeks) and that it's actually not much different from the critically acclaimed Atari 2600 version of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Variable Mix: When the movie cuts between Cooper and the Nerd while they're playing online, the music in the game fittingly cuts between modern and 8-bit.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Downplayed example where Onward takes a liking to the Nerd's web show.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Chick Magnet!
    • The bartender literally rolls the Nerd a Rolling Rock.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Nerd's reaction to seeing gameplay footage of Eee Tee 2? Projectile vomit on Mandi and her laptop.
  • We Can Rule Together: Dark Onward proposes the Nerd join him in the quest to rid the world of the E.T. cartridges and Mc Butter offers a similar deal towards Mandi.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Phlebotinum?: The Eee Tee games themselves are made with the metal used for the alien spaceship.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two male soldiers with McButter disappear from the movie after the slot machine scene. James assumes they just stayed in the casino and kept gambling.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The Nerd's legal name is apparently "Nerd".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Continuing from his Spielberg games review, The Nerd fears the Eee Tee video game, to the point where it gives him multiple nightmares, and just watching a remake of it causes him to vomit within seconds. It turns out to not be as bad as he thought it was.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The movie understandably couldn't get the rights to use the actual E.T. and its namesake, so they used a Captain Ersatz under the similar name "Eee Tee".
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: When Mandi gives the Nerd her proposal to endorse the sequel to Eee Tee, he spends several seconds projectile vomiting over her. After he's done, she says "So that's a yes?"
  • You Can Keep Her!: Watered-down version where Nerd kind of wants to rescue Mandi, but decides to focus on his current task instead, throwing a token insult at the kidnapper and hoping that things work out without him.

Alternative Title(s): Angry Video Game Nerd