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Western Animation / Geri's Game

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Geri's Game is a 1997 short animated film from Pixar, written and directed by Jan Pinkava.

An old man, Geri, settles himself down at a table in a park and sets up a game of chess. He makes a move as white, takes off his coke-bottle glasses, moves laboriously to the opposite side of the table, and makes a move as black. Then he laboriously shuffles back to his original seat, puts his glasses back on, and makes a move as white. Repeat.

The Geri playing the black pieces, "Black" Geri, is mean-spirited and aggressive. Eventually he manifests as a second, separate person, and a much better chess player, ruthlessly wiping out all of "White" Geri's pieces. But "White" Geri has a trick up his sleeve.

Geri's Game was the sixth short film made by Pixar, eight years after Knick Knack, and the first to be made after the studio shifted from a computer hardware company to a full-time animation studio. The character of Geri had a cameo a couple of years later in Toy Story 2.



  • Cool Old Guy: Well, the ability to divide yourself into two is pretty cool.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Geri, depending on how crazy the audience views him to be.
  • Double Consciousness: Geri plays out this trope, acting snarky and aggressive on one side of the chessboard and anxiously intimidated on the other.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: The penalty for losing? "Black" Geri has to give "White" Geri his dentures.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There is only one shot where another player can be seen.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Invoked. "Black" Geri is crude and aggressive, while "White" Geri is meek and anxious.
  • Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: Maybe? Or are there really two of him?
  • Jerkass: "Black" Geri rather meanly extends the game in order to take each and every one of "White" Geri's pieces, when he could have forced a checkmate long before.
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  • Mind Screw: Are there two of him? Does the guy have split personalities? At one point, when "White" Geri fakes a heart attack, "Black" Geri checks his own pulse, as if surprised he's still standing.
  • Mirror Match: Geri plays one of these out with himself.
  • Playing Sick: "White" Geri wins the game by faking a heart attack. When "Black" Geri looks under the table for him, "White" Geri pops back up and flips the board around.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Although ironically the inferior chess player, "White" Geri is revealed to be smarter than his doppelgänger.