Guilty Pleasures: Clue (1985)

And now… for a new category on the blog. It’s called Guilty Pleasures and if you’re a movie lover, you’ve got ’em.

Those movies that you love and watch every single time they’re on TV, but don’t immediately come to mind when people ask what the greatest movies are. I get asked that question a lot. And truth be told, there’s a difference between greatest movies and favorite movies.

Schindler’s List is one of the greatest movies of all time. I’ve seen it once. In the theater. Almost twenty years ago. However, a Guilty Pleasure movie… that’s a different story.

My first selection is Clue, the 1985 comedy based on the popular Parker Bros. board game. We all know the game. I played it incessantly as a young child growing up in the inner city of Fremont.

Co-written by director Jonathan Lynn and comedy genius extraordinaire John Landis, Clue is simply a whole lot of fun. It was not particularly well-received upon its release and grossed $14 million domestically (its budget was $15 million). Since then, it’s developed a deserved cult following. I am a proud member of the cult.

Clue excels in its casting. As the players suspected of killing Mr. Body, we have the invaluable Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White, Lesley Anne Warren as Miss Scarlet, Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock, Michael McKean as Mr. Green, Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard, and Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum. They all have some great moments to shine. Even better, Tim Curry is marvelous as Wadworth, the butler of Hill House.

The picture comes in at a tidy and fast-paced 94 minutes. There were three endings shot for the pic with different characters being the murderer. During its theatrical release, some viewers saw one outcome. Others witnessed an alternate ending. By the time it was released on home video, all 3 endings were shown back to back… to back.

Is Clue a great movie? No, but damn it’s fun. And it’s populated with talented actors who seem to be enjoying themselves. Is it a guilty pleasure? I guess so. However, it’s also indisputably the Citizen Kane of movies based on board games… meaning it’s better than Battleship. And unlike Battleship, it’s intentionally funny.

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