Clue

A few weeks ago we were at the cottage with our friends when someone pulled out a dusty old board game – Clue. Although the game is basically part of our cultural lexicon, I had never actually played it (although I vaguely remember seeing some clips from a VHS version that must have come out in the 80s – does anyone else remember this?) so around the board we went. I knew fairly quickly that it was Mrs. White in the kitchen with the wrench, but the trick is that you must get to kitchen to finger the murderer, and I couldn’t get there to save my life (so to speak).

This past weekend, my friends and I went to something I tentatively described to Sean’s grandmother as a “live version of Clue”, although that’s not a very precise analogy. It’s called Escape Manor, and it has several rooms into which people pay to be locked, and then they spend 45 sweaty minutes scrambling to decode clues to get themselves out. In our “scenario” , the 5 of us were locked into a prison cell (Matt hand-cuffed to the bars) and we were given the customary 45 minutes to escape, or meet our death via electric chair. The game is designed so that less than 10% of people succeed. It’s a real thinker, and we were really impressed with ourselves for figuring out cyphers and codes and puzzling out all kinds of clues, and being willing to stick our hands down a prison toilet, just in case.

Surprisingly, during neither of these encounters did Matt once bring up a man I once dated very VERY briefly, but who stayed a consistent punchline between us for the 6 or 7 years hence. Let’s call him Garrett. We joke about him for so many reasons – because he affected an Irish accent mid-way through our date, disappeared regularly for a “dart”, regaled me with his Rideau actor’s award (while conveniently avoiding the fact that while he described his employment as “acting” , it was actually “waiting tables” that failed to pay his bills – I found that out when grabbing burgers with a boyfriend, during which time Garrett flirted with me AGGRESSIVELY in front of said boyfriend in between refilling our drinks and despite the fact that I had not returned his calls in a year). Usually if Matt finds a way to bring up this guy (or a lengthy string of others, let’s face it), he pounces on it. And the thing we reminisce about most often is this weird text I once received from him that pronounced, out of the blue, that Clue (the movie) was “Tim Curry at his best.”

I watched it today, annnnnnd. Sorry, Garrett, wherever you are, but I must disagree.

Clue-clue-the-movie-3822096-600-338The movie Clue is set in 1950s New England. Six strangers have been invited to a mansion for a party. They are met by a butler (Tim Curry) who gives each their pseudonym to protect their true identities. During dinner, Mr. Boddy arrives, and it is revealed that he is their connection – indeed, all are being blackmailed by him for various unpatriotic behaviours (Mr. Green’s offense is to simply be a homosexual employed at the State Department, so you get some real 1980s flavour included in the price of your ticket).

Professor Plum: Christopher Lloyd

Mrs. Peacock: Eileen BrennanClue-clue-the-movie-3822403-600-338

Mrs. White: Madeline Kahn

Miss Scarlet: Leslie Ann Warren

Colonel Mustard: Martin Mull

Mr. Green: Michael McKean

Clue-clue-the-movie-21766153-500-283Mr. Boddy, for reasons the script fails to justify, gifts each one with a weapon. Then the lights go out for a five count, a throaty scream is heard,  and the first body is found. Then another, and another. The group tries to solve the murder but of course they all suspect each other – rightly. The script is paper-thin, as I mentioned, and the movie is pretty terrible. Leslie Ann Warren spends the movie Jessica Rabbiting around, making her bosoms heave in a bad impression of a middle-aged sex kitten. None of the wounds bleed. No one can explain why they haven’t called the cops. An actual quote: “Three murders! Six altogether. This is getting serious.”

 It flopped when it was released but has since garnered an implausible cult following by weird dvd-clue-splshredheads named Garrett. There were three different endings filmed, and they were distributed to different theatres, which means that there’s no possible way to watch the movie and actually sleuth things out. There are no clues in Clue. There’s just a jumbled explanation at the end that could be immediately invalidated simply by rewinding the movie. But nowadays you can watch the movie and see all three endings, through the magic of bonus features, and decide which is most absurd. A little hint: “Communism was just a red herring.”

 

32 thoughts on “Clue

    1. Jay Post author

      We did not. We were on the very last clue and you’re supposed to get one freebie hint but unfortunately the staff did a shift change during our 45 minutes that just did not work in our favour. We were soooo close! Other rooms include a wine cellar where serial killer is making wine out of blood, and an asylum, and the devil’s office of darkness, so we plan to return and to blow them right out of the water!

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  1. Sean

    I remember that guy. He was the worst! I didn’t say anything to see how long he would take to acknowledge my presence. And he never did, he just stood beside me and pretended you were alone at the table!

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  2. That Other Critic

    Question: In terms of board game movies, where does it lie? Is it better than Ouija and Battleship? I’d imagine it’s nowhere near as good as Zathura or Jumanji, but I could be wrong.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Of those, I think I saw Jumanji, but that’s about it. From what I heard, you could literally film me playing Battleship with a cat and that would be a better movie than the actual one!

      Liked by 2 people

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  3. Andrew

    Um, this is unacceptable! LOL, I clicked on your link expecting to see “Clue…is the best cult movie of the 80’s ever” and was like WTF when I read that you…didn’t LOVE THIS.

    And Tim Curry for all the Oscars in one of my favorite comedic performances ever!!!

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  4. Amy Reese

    I loved Clue as a kid, played it ALL the time. I guess that’s why I never saw the movie. I’m sure it would ruin all my good memories! I’m shocked to hear there were that many murders. In the game it’s just one you need to solve you know. They played it all wrong. 🙂

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    1. Jay Post author

      I do know now that I’ve played it. And we also always know where the murders are taking place, so that part’s hokey too. They don’t even play by their own rules!

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  5. The Knitting Cinephile

    I disagree with you regarding “Clue”; I thought it was brilliant, but to each his own, right? Now, for another movie along the same vein, but about 20 years older: “Murder by Death”. Written by Neil Simon, it stars: Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker, and Estelle Winwood. It’s a mash-up and parody of all the great fictitious detectives. It’s a hoot. Worth it just to have Truman Capote yell at Peter Sellers.

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  6. reocochran

    I played Clue with my brothers and parents. I taught my kids how to play and when things go missing or awry, we say funny things like “Colonel Mustard did it with a knife!”
    This sounded like a really cool acrivity, Jay and I also would like to do this! I have been to a mystery dinner theater where you get clues and costumes are used.

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    1. Jay Post author

      My mom did a murder myster at her house once. I don’t remember who won, but I do remember my brother in law dressed up like Andy Warhol!

      I also acted in two murder mysteries, now that I think about it. That sure slipped my mind!

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  7. The Vern

    I freaking Love Clue the cast all have amazing Chemistry and its something I could see be redone on Stage. The game Escape Manor does sound interesting It makes it a bit of a challenge rather then the Clue Board game

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    1. Jay Post author

      It was a challenge!
      And we left Matt hand-cuffed for way too long.

      I could see Clue being better on the stage. It would be cool of they literally pulled random cards every night and based the play on who was the murderer, and where, and with what.

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      1. Andrew

        I’ve actually been to a ‘Clue Dinner Theater’ production, and they do just that (with the random cards every night) so the play changes on the cuff every evening. It was a riot.

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  8. jameshaseltine

    We have this crazy thing in Britain called ‘Cluedo’, exactly the same as ‘Clue’ so I’m not sure what the added ‘-do’ is for? Maybe someone on here could help? Regardless of that slight cultural difference I actually really enjoyed ‘Clue’ and Tim Curry was pretty nifty in his pre-Home Alone 2 work and definitely added to my enjoyment of this rather camp 80s board game film.

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  9. NotAPunkRocker

    I love this movie! I read an article not too long ago about how the cast reacted to having to film it and the different endings. They apparently loved it and had a ball shooting it, which you can tell in the performances.

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