It was Johnny’s sixth birthday, and for his present he’d insisted on his Mum and Dad taking him to see the Super Mario movie at his local cinema. Johnny was ecstatic, as he absolutely adored Super Mario a tremendous amount. In his spare time, he even liked to imagine he was a character in the Mushroom Kingdom, Goomba stomping and coin collecting, much like the Italian hero he idolized so passionately.
“Get in the car Johnny, it’s nearly 7:00pm, we’re going to be late,” shouted Mum.
“I hate the cinema,” moaned Dad, who would have much rather been helplessly indulging in his crippling addiction to alcohol.
“Coming,” shouted Johnny, who bombarded down the stairs like a fighter jet. He was wearing his bright red bobble hat, and a sky-blue t-shirt that sported a large ‘M’ for Mario. Beaming from ear to ear in ecstatic excitement, he bounded into the car, and the three of them set off.
“Are you looking forward to it, Dad?” asked Johnny.
Mum gave Dad a subtle nudge, reminding him to choose his words carefully as she whispered under her breath “Let him have this George, it’s his special day.”
“Erm, yes I am Johnny,” mumbled Dad reluctantly.
“I just love, love, love Super Mario so much, and I know it’ll be totally awesome,” exclaimed Johnny, with a naïvely childish optimism.
Pulling up outside the cinema, Johnny soaked in the bright lights whilst glancing the various promotional posters for recent releases. He spied 50 Shades of Gay, a homosexual interpretation of the critically panned franchise, 50 Shades of Clay, a crude display of Wallace and Gromit erotica, 50 Shades of May, footage of Theresa May being aggressively bummed in the White House by Donald Trump, and of course, a colorfully expressive poster advertising the star of the hour, the Super Mario movie. Without further ado, Johnny barraged through the hefty doors and into the cinema lobby, gleefully grabbed a handful of brightly colored sweets whilst Mum and Dad purchased tickets, before zooming into screen 8 and plopping down with a thud into his seat.
Johnny waited patiently, his entire body buzzing with anticipation, until at last…
“Hey Paisanos, it’s the Super Mario Bros. super movie!” bellowed the stumpy, red-clad icon of video gaming himself.
Dad immediately got a whiff of what he was in for, and realized that he should have gone to see 50 Shades of May instead, as three hours of Theresa May engaging in bumfoolery with a psychopathic egomaniac would be more enjoyable than this cash-grabbing garbage. “If only I had had a bit more to drink, this might be tolerable,” Dad pondered.
As the opening titles began to roll, the words “Animated by Illumination Entertainment” enveloped the screen, accompanied by a Minion body-popping with its cock out. As it screeched a garbled language that only moronic children and those suffering from a deeply severe brain disease find amusing, parents within the audience began rapidly rummaging under their seats for sturdy pieces of rope.
Johnny was unfazed, and proceeded to gaze wide-eyed for the following hour and a half, as Illumination Entertainment grossly inflated Super Mario‘s minimal narrative — typically responsible for offering an ultra-light layer of story to pleasantly accompany great gameplay — into a big ol’ chunk o’ movie. With highlights such as Luigi’s wacky slapstick, Wario’s musical fart sequence, and a sub-plot concerning Waluigi’s tense trial in a court of law for possession and distribution of child pornography, the Super Mario movie was everything Johnny had dreamed it would be. “This has been the best birthday ever,” he thought to himself.
Exiting screen 8, Johnny was overwhelmed with joy, whilst Mum plastered on a pretend smile to obscure her sincere feelings of underwhelm. Meanwhile, Dad trailed behind wearily, well and truly worn down by the child pandering slop heap that had been presented to him moments prior. Entering the cinema lobby, he sluggishly reunited with Johnny and Mum.
“Are you okay, George?” asked Mum.
“What was your favourite bit, Dad? I loved the Mario and Bowser dance-off at the end,” Johnny declared, jumping for joy. “I also thought it was cool when Toad had to ride on a Bullet Bill to break into Bowser’s castle, and he was really scared, and then…”
Dad stared at Johnny, and his eyes began to well up. Giving a faint smile, tears began to softly stream down his face. He remembered how today would have been Johnny’s sixth birthday, his first birthday since the accident, and how eager he would have been to see the Super Mario movie.
George steadily slipped away from his fantasy, and awoke in his cramped, dank, one-bedroom flat. As he lay there, his figure imprinted upon the rotting floor, he felt the all too familiar presence of empty cans surrounding him. After Johnny’s passing and the divorce, all he could bring himself to do was defeatedly drown his woes in dirt cheap alcohol. He gave a gentle sigh before quivering the words “Happy Birthday champ, Daddy will always love you.” Finally, as his consciousness began to slip away yet again into an alcohol-induced blackout, one final flicker of thought echoed in his mind…
“However sad this scenario may be, it’s still better than the Super Mario movie.”