Ellen Web page as a scandalous esports coach within the online game ‘1UP’

Sports films? Often very good! Video game films? Um, a bit of a spotty track record? Movies about video games? Rare, but definitely some gemstones hidden in it! Now what if we mix all of these genres together and add two stars from the latest Netflix hits? You could have something like the upcoming movie 1UP.


Image via Netflix

1UP stars per variety Paris Berelc (Hubie Halloween) as college esports gamer – esports are competitive video games played and consumed like normal sports – who leave the mostly male team at their university due to rampant sexism (rampant sexism in the gaming community? Never before heard). In order for her to keep her college scholarship, she has to form an all-female esports team of misfits under the guidance of a coach Ellen Page (The Umbrella Academy) who has some scandals to deal with in their esports coaching closet. The film, debuting from BuzzFeed Studios, is directed by Kyle Newman (Fanboys), written by Julia Yorks (Trolls: The beat goes on!) And produced by Michael Philip and Jason Moring (The Doorman) and BuzzFeed’s Richard Alan Reid. Production is – somehow – expected to begin in Toronto this month. I hope some of the games they will be playing include, “Give everyone COVID tests ASAP”.

This film sounds a lot in my alley. The narrative structure of “Misfit Toys band together to exercise and learn about themselves under a broken coach”, although seen often, always works for me and is full of strong moments of emotion and exhilaration. The combination not only with the emerging film world of eSports, but also with an approach that favors a critical eye for problematic gender relations in this world (although I wish a director or producer was there), sounds like a smart move, and a lot more appealing than the all-male alternative universe version. Plus: This will likely give the production a ton of opportunities for young, up-and-coming breakout female talent to play Berelc’s new teammates, and give us more opportunities for Page to play comedy. I’m ready to play 1UP, right?

If you want to learn more about the world of video game films, may I yell at you for a while as to why Mortal Kombat is the best movie ever?

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