Based solely on the recommendation of my agent, Tetris (now streaming on Apple TV+) skyrocketed to the top of my “Movies I Want to Watch” list. He said it was one of the best movies he’d seen in a good while, and he watches a lot of movies. (This is coming from me, who most people think watches more than my fair share.) On paper, the movie just shouldn’t be very good. I mean, it’s about the origins of Tetris, of all things. How thrilling can something like that be?
The answer? Very.
Succinctly put, it focuses on the mad rush to get the rights to Tetris, a game that was made deep in the heart of the USSR, unknown to the rest of the world for a while. But as soon as Westerners knew about it, they very much wanted to make money on it. But how do you get rights to something from a country that really doesn’t like you, where the owners of those rights don’t really own them?
It’s a tangled web that only gets worse once people start lying about actually having the rights, and selling those imagined rights to people. Everything combines in a really wonderful way.
For one thing, it happens right at the end of the Cold War, and it’s chock full of espionage tropes. But not espionage by action espions. No, this is espionage by people who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. It’s not played for laughs, though. The main character has his whole life riding on getting the rights to Tetris, and so he’s willing to do just about anything to see it through.
Add backroom business shenanigans, fish out of water tropes, family pressure, great 80s theming, a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, and a killer soundtrack?
You’ve got yourself a 10/10 movie.
The movie it reminded me most of was actually Argo, and that’s high praise. It was just so much fun to watch these people deal with the challenges in front of them, flailing around as best they can because so much is riding on it. It’s even more enthralling when you read over the real story of what happened and realize just how much of the movie is accurate.
It’s rated R for some language, but it really is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. I’d say it’s worth a month subscription to Apple TV+ (especially since Ted Lasso Season 3 is being released right now. What a deal!)
Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.
If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.