Game of Pleasure (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Four degrees of Suckeration.

You know, the verb "to suck" has taken over the world. When I used to say, a couple of decades ago, "I suck at Asteroids," women actually got offended. Now everyone says "suck" on family shows and "Meet the Press." In fact, most of the impolite slang we used in New York and New Jersey in the 1960s has been adopted and legitimized by mainstream society. The only thing they haven't adopted from our old slang is the traditional "this" response. Example? The priest says, "Dominus vobiscum." Then you say, "Dominus THIS, Padre," and grab your crotch. This works on all occasions and as a response to any comment. (Or, as an alternative, you can grab your crotch and say "I got your Dominus right here, Padre", but my friends found this variant too verbose.). To relate this to the "suck" verb, one guy would say, "your cigar sucks," and the other guy would grab his crotch and say, "suck THIS." There you have plenty of merriment and an instant Algonquin Round Table of witty repartee for all occasions.

The co-opting of "suck" by the mainstream culture leads to a lack of gradations. Is it fair to say that Cher's singing sucks, when this is the same way you would describe Yoko Ono? Of course not. So I therefore propose four degrees of suckeration. To stay on the musician theme for a minute, here's how it would work.

First degree of suckeration: people who are OK, but not really as good as you might expect from the success they've achieved. An example would be Jewel. If you got all your cousins together, Jewel would sing about as well as the best one. She has a pleasant voice, can carry a tune, knows some guitar chords, looks good. She's OK, you just can't quite figure out why she's a star and 100 million other equally talented women are not.

Second degree of suckeration: people who really aren't good enough to be doing what they do professionally. If you assembled your cousins together and had a karaoke contest, they would finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. Cher and Jerry Vale would be in this category.

Third degree of suckeration: people who don't have a clue how to do what they are supposed to be professionals at. Your most incompetent cousin could do it as well. Sid Vicious belongs in this group.

Fourth degree of suckeration: people who are so bad that they not only can't do what they are supposed to be good at, but they cause nausea and/or laughter when they try to do it. If these people were your cousins, you wouldn't even admit it. And if you had a family karaoke contest, you'd have a kindly aunt distract them to another room to look at baby pictures. Examples would include Carol Channing, Yoko Ono, and Shatner.

Shatner is an excellent illustration of this principle, because you might casually say, "Bill Shatner sucks as an actor," and/or, "Bill Shatner sucks as a singer," but the word "suck" doesn't really mean the same thing in both sentences, does it? As an actor he's only a first degree suck. As a singer, he's not only guilty of fourth degree suckeration, but he could actually be in the fifth degree, since he pretty much sucks deeper and harder than anybody has ever sucked in the history of music. In fact, if Shatner had lived before the age of recording, and your grandpa told you how bad he was, you would think the old boy was exaggerating. Even if you believed your gramps, you would not be capable of imagining how bad the performing was, because there is nothing else as bad to compare it to. If the recordings of Shatner did not exist, we simply could not conceive of anything that bad. In a sense, ol' Kirk, as much as Newton and Freud, stretched the very boundaries of human conceptualization.

We owe him so much.

All of that brings us around to the topic of Game of Pleasure, which not merely sucks, but sucks in the fourth degree and beyond. It is up there in Shatner territory, in that I can't really describe how bad it sucks, because it is not possible to find something to compare it to.

It is sort of a horror/thriller thing, I guess. It's one of those deals where a guy has a dream, and we think that is real until he wakes up. Then we think that is real, until he wakes up again, and we realize that his previous waking was only part of the dream. And we think that is real until he wakes up again, and we realize that all previous wakings were only part of the dream. This happens a few times until the story finally jumps back to the same scene we saw 40 minutes earlier, where Our Hero sits mesmerized by a computer, and we realize that none of it was a dream at all, but rather a particularly hypnotic virtual reality game.

And ... (here is the big kicker) ...

 ... he may still be playing it ...

... or he may still be dreaming about playing it ...

... or the dream about playing the game might actually be part of the game ...

... or it might not.

Hard to say.

The director is somebody called Dale E. Frantz, who doesn't seem to have done anything else in show business before or after this video. I assume that Dale, wherever he is now, presumably plus-selling French fries, does not admit that he was involved in this. One can only hope that if he decides to make another amateurish camcorder film, he will read all the instructions on the camera box, and not just the one about removing the lens cap. If he can clear that hurdle, perhaps he can hire some actors to make his next movie, instead of making it with his fellow workers at the drive-through window.

I'm pretty sure that Dale is still alive, because exactly one IMDb voter scored this film higher than five, and that voter scored it a 10 out of 10. It's a fairly safe conclusion that the voter in question was none other than Dale E Frantz.


  • Mandy Leigh- breasts
  • Tammy Parks- breasts, maybe more in a dark sex scene
  • Kim Penn - breasts and buns
  • Danielle Summer - breasts

DVD info from Amazon

  • two movies (this and "Vampire Carmilla")

  • and a couple of extra trailers

The film does have some plusses, of a kind:

1. I finally got to see Mandy Leigh in something. Our old pal Celebrity Sleuth has featured Mandy several times in his magazine, and I've always wanted to see some evidence that Mandy is, in fact, a celebrity, somebody famous for something other than posing in that magazine. Of course, I don't mind looking at the pictures of her. She is very pretty, has a great tush, a beautiful head of hair, and lovely a-cup breasts. Given her good looks, one might wonder why she doesn't have any other career. Unless one has seen this film. Her performance here shows why she hasn't been in anything since. I don't know if she's the worst actress I've ever seen, because I've seen a bunch of them, but no worse performance comes immediately to mind. And I've seen Kathy Ireland act.

2. If you're a fan of Queen-B Tammy Parks, here's another chance to see her naked.

3. The film is only about 60 minutes long. I would normally complain that a film so short is a rip-off, but some things are better when shorter, like time spent in Purgatory, and time spent watching this film.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No reviews online. There is one amusing comment at IMDb

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is an F. A low F.

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