Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Max Maven's Mind Games (1983)

Not so much a movie as a party tape Max Maven’s Mind Games is a great deal of fun. Sure the program is almost 30 years old, but it still is fun, even if you have seen before.

The program is a series of magic trick and (rigged) games that have been set up to always work in Maven’s favor. Maven may be treating you a friend and a buddy but he’s clearly in control. For some things you’re going to need some items that he lists and for others you’ll have to be standing at the TV screen and moving your fingers around as if it were your smart phone. Most of the tricks are slightly more complicated versions of beginning magic tricks you may have seen in books, but done with a skill and dexterity that is to be marveled at.

The reason the show works is the widowed peaked Maven. An amazing magician who’s career parallels Ricky Jay’s in my mind (the pair seemed to come on my radar about the same time and both seemed to be learning from the same mentors) Maven seems not to have gotten the respect he really deserved. I think that his distinctive look, the unique haircut which makes him seem to be almost a comic book villain, which makes him instantly memorable, but at the same time makes some people dismiss him- despite his ability to really amaze you with his feats of dexterity.

I’ve had a copy of Max Maven’s Mind Games almost since it came out. I first ran a copy of the VHS tape that was in the video store I used to manage. I would pull it out now and again when friends were over and no one knew what we wanted to watch. When I got my DVD recorder I made a copy from my tape because the program seems to have fallen into obscurity.

In all seriousness, outside of some 1984 technology, this show still holds up. Maven’s patter is perfect, and the tricks are still amazing even if you seen them before, and trust me I’ve seen this more than a handful of times in the last 28 years and I’ve enjoyed it each time.

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