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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Game of Your Life Movie Review

I remember with great fondness the times in my youth when the whole family gathered around the TV to watch some movie "special".  It seems like that hardly ever happens anymore.  But kudos to Proctor and Gamble, Wal-mart, and NBC for committing the time and resources to bring a whole new generation back to the tradition of "Family Movie Night".

Their latest offering, "Game of Your Life", premieres December 2nd at 8/7 C on NBC, and I had the chance to watch it a few days ago so I could share about it with all of you.  Here is the synopsis of the story:
When industrious high school gamer Zach Taylor lands a prized scholarship to the prestigious Digital Institute of Game Design (DIGD), his future breaks wide open. The opportunity to study under gaming legend Marcus Bentton and alongside the country’s most creative minds will certainly propel him into a successful career as a video game designer. That is, if he can pass the infamous freshman project that eliminates more than half of the class within the first three months.

Paired with brilliant yet socially awkward teammates Phillip and Donald, the trio persuades Sara Ramirez – a determined and striking team leader with whom Zach has a history (and possibly a future) – to join their team. Working off-campus in the teched-out Lincoln Alley loft, the four set out to involve the entire campus in a quirky new social interactive game. But as the group becomes entrenched in the project, Zach learns that his father Billy, a widower, is facing growing financial woes at home. To help out, Zach accepts an opportunity to work directly with Marcus Bentton on a secretive side project that seems too good to be true. The effort requires nearly all of Zach’s time and energy, which he should be devoting to the project. Struggling to keep it together, Zach is torn between his responsibility to his team, his admiration for Bentton and a chance to help his father.

Everything comes to a breaking point when Zach’s team threatens to remove him from the group and the deceptive truth behind Bentton’s project comes to light. With the guidance of Professor Abbie Lambert, Zach must make a decision that not only affects his future, but the lives and livelihoods of the people around him as well. It’s a revealing story that recognizes the magnitude behind the choices we make and the importance loyalty plays in making good decisions.
And here's what I thought:

The pros:  The movie has no foul language, no inappropriate boy-girl relationships, and no violence, outside of a virtual boxing match.  Instead, it has a strong focus on the importance of family and the real cost of the choices we make.  As Zach tries to save the day by saving his family business and home, he also violates the rules that he promised to follow.  His courageous teammate makes the hard choice and turns him in for it, even when she really doesn't want to.  That step, and his subsequent visit to home where his father reminds him that home isn't a place, but, "Home is love and loyalty.", turns his life around.  Zach has to admit his mistake and be humble and apologize to his team for letting them down, and ask them to allow him to return.  He also finds out an adult in the movie deceived him, and has to make a choice as to how to handle that.  He seeks the guidance of other adults in this, which I think is a positive message.
The cons:  I don't have any.  This really is a movie I would feel good about my whole family watching.
The bottom line:  I had heard good things about these "Family Movie Night" movies, and now I know why!  "Game of Your Life" airs December 2nd on NBC and I'd highly encourage you to watch it with your family.  Even my girls, who aren't gamers at all, enjoyed the story.  It's rare when a movie, especially one made for TV, comes along that upholds positive values and really is safe for the whole family, and this is definitely one of those rare gems.
To visit the Family Movie Night website, and learn more about "Game of Your Life, go HERE.  Or, if you like social media, you can check it out on Facebook HERE or Twitter HERE.  Several different movie trailers are available for you to watch on Vimeo.
Legal Disclaimer:  I was given a code to be able to watch this movie in advance with my family for the purpose of giving this review.  Being able to screen the movie in advance was the only compensation I received for this review.
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