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A long-running competitive activity among my circle of film geek friends, the Movie Blurb Game is a 20-questions style time-killer that involves improvising movie descriptions.


It works like this: Player One improvises a blurb-like description of a movie that combines the names of two or more famous films.


Example: Michael J. Fox stars as a time-traveling teenager in this second installment of George Lucas’ original space opera trilogy.


Answer: The Empire Strikes Back to the Future


The only real rules are that words from the titles of the film can’t be used in the blurb, and the movies have to be fairly well-known.


You can also earn style points for mimicking the tone of hyperbolic studio press releases (“sensational blockbuster”), or snobby film criticism (“maverick iconoclast”), or trade magazine jargon (“boffo box office”). Bonus points for brevity and/or inspired lack of brevity.


The Movie Blurb Game predates YouTube film trailer remixes, music mashups – even the Internet itself. Notional, portable and entirely analog, the Movie Blurb Game can be played anywhere, at any time. It’s good for long car trips, or family holidays, or waiting out profoundly disappointing presidential administrations.


I’ve provided below ten new puzzlers for our Movie Blurb Game, Happy New Year Edition. At least one of the films in each item was a popular mainstream release from 2011, paired with one or more well-known movies from movie history.


Remember that films can be mashed up phonetically as well, e.g. “Nosferatu Kill a Mockingbird”. Answers are provided at the bottom of the quiz.


+++


1.) Kristen Wiig and Robin Wright headline cinema’s raunchiest fairy tale.


2.) This odd ‘60s-era prequel pits civil rights leader Denzel Washington against Magneto.


3.) A 13-year-old Eminem accidentally makes a monster movie.


4.) Maverick director Terrence Malick is mistaken for the Messiah.


5.) Golf prodigy Kevin Costner finds himself inside a Belgian comic book adaptation.


6.) Fast Eddie Felson invents sabermetrics.


7.) Hugh Jackman and Julia Roberts stars in this classic weepie about fighting robots in small town Louisiana.


8.) Chuck Norris and Jake Gyllenhaal headline this thinky sci-fi thriller about exploding passenger trains, corrupt cops and Hannibal Lecter. (three films)


9.) Sandra Bullock and Clint Eastwood headline this fantasy rom-com about Hugh Grant, vigilante cops and boy wizards. (three films)


10.) This deeply confusing 1943 classic pairs Harrison Ford with Daniel Craig as dueling space monsters – co-starring Roy Rogers and Simba. (four films)


Answers:


1.) The Princess Bridesmaids


2.) Malcolm X-Men: First Class


3.) Super 8 Mile


4.) The Tree of Life of Brian


5.) The Adventures of Tintin Cup


6.) The Color of Moneyball


7.) Real Steel Magnolias


8.) Source Code of Silence of the Lambs


9.) Dirty Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two Weeks Notice


10.) The Lion King of the Cowboys and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Glenn McDonald writes about popular culture from his home in lovely Chapel Hill, NC. His humor essays have been described as "grammatically consistent" and "remarkably frequent". He is editor of the Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me daily news quiz at NPR.org, and a film critic at the Raleigh News & Observer. He lives virtually at www.glenn-mcdonald.com.


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