CD-ROM: You Don't Know Jack Movies

You Don't Know Jack Movies
Berkeley Systems Software

I t's bad enough not knowing something, but how'd you like to be insulted for it? Since this concept has worked so well for other games in the You Don't Know Jack series, its latest sequel is this digitized movie-trivia avalanche of some 800 questions. In it, players are verbally abused from start to finish, even if they manage to win a final prize that the unseen host refers to as "impressive." Such sarcasm conjures images of the Christian Slater character and his dad in Heathers, as well as most of the routines of Janeane Garofalo and Denis Leary. The question is: Can you handle that sort of harshness, in addition to some tough trivia?

As before, the setup borrows from the more desperate and snide of TV game shows, the kind that exist mainly to draw advertisers rather than to value the information being tested. This means that questions about movie people, roles, plots, directors, and sets are often formatted more cleverly than the answers deserve. For instance, the punny "Luke Warm!" has to do with Luke Skywalker's impromptu coat in The Empire Strikes Back, while a string of questions about color vs. black and white is known as "Ted Turner Need Not Apply."

Ultimately, the snide tone feels tolerable, since Jack's prefab catcalls are more wicked--and more swiftly issued--than anything your wittiest friends could come up with. And all this insane, self-mocking attention to trivia seems appropriate to a game that requires its winners to know arcane details about Showgirls as well as the meaning of a quote from Louis Lumière, the Frenchman who started it all by inventing the movie camera and then predicting no future for the medium. I think it's fair to say that Lumière could never have anticipated this as part of his legacy.

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