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.
The 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. White: Madeline Kahn
Miss Scarlet: Leslie Ann Warren
Colonel Mustard: Martin Mull
Mr. Green: Michael McKean
Mr. 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 redheads 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.”