Sports movies? Often very good! Video game movies? Um, bit of a spotty track record? Movies about video games? Rare, but def some gems hidden in there! Now what happens if we mix all of these genres together and add two stars of Netflix’s most recent hits? You might have something like the upcoming film 1UP.
Per Variety, 1UP stars Paris Berelc (Hubie Halloween) as a college eSports gamer — eSports being competitive video gaming played and consumed much like regular sports — who quits her university’s mostly-male team due to their rampant sexism (rampant sexism in the gaming community? Never heard of it). So she can keep her college scholarship, she must form an all-female eSports team of misfit gamers, under the tutelage of coach Ellen Page (The Umbrella Academy), who has some scandals in her eSports coaching closet to cope with. The film, the debut feature from BuzzFeed Studios, will be directed by Kyle Newman (Fanboys), written by Julia Yorks (Trolls: The Beat Goes On!), and produced by Michael Philip and Jason Moring (The Doorman), and BuzzFeed’s Richard Alan Reid. Production — somehow — is expected to begin this month in Toronto, so I hope some of the games they’re gonna be playing include “give everyone COVID tests as fast as possible”.
This movie sounds very up my alley. The narrative structure of “misfit toys band together to play sports under a broken coach and learn about themselves,” while seen many times, always works for me and is rife with potent moments of emotion and hilarity. Combining it not only with the nascent-to-film world of eSports but to an approach favoring a critical eye on problematic gender relationships within this world (though I wish a female director or producer was attached) sounds like a canny move, and one much more appealing than the all-male alternate universe version. Plus: This will likely give the production tons of opportunity for young, rising, ready-to-breakout female talent to play Berelc’s new teammates, and give us more opportunities for Page to perform comedy. I’m ready to play 1UP, are you?
For more in the world of video game movies, may I scream at you for awhile as to why Mortal Kombat is the best movie of all time?