Are you a Watcher or a Player?
The premise of the movie revolves around an online game called Nerve. The game website describes it like Truth or Dare…without the truth. I would say it’s more like Fear Factor and Amazing Race, combined with Periscope live streaming and a splash of 4Chan. Basically, you can join the game as either a “Watcher” or a “Player”. The Watchers pay money and propose dares for the Players. The Players have to complete the assigned dares in order to win the money. Simple enough.
As we have witnessed with things like Taylor Hicks winning American Idol, or “Boaty McBoatface” winning an online contest to name a polar research ship—the anonymous masses on the Internet have a sadistic sense of humor when given enough latitude. You can just imagine what sorts of dares you might be challenged with if you opened it up for the whole Internet to crowdsource a dare for you.
Nerve was pretty awesome. I don’t get off in the weeds much about cinematography, lighting, or other things like that. I base my reviews and recommendations on one thing and one thing only—“Was I entertained, and do I feel like the movie was a worth my time and money.” With Nerve, the answer is an emphatic “Yes”.
Granted, the movie isn’t without its plot holes, and events that defy belief. Suffice it to say that I don’t feel like those things take away from the experience of the movie. I mean—it’s fiction. The story and events are almost supposed to defy belief by definition. I still highly recommend that you go see Nerve. If you want to talk about issues with the plot after you’ve seen it, drop me an email and we can have that conversation.
The live-streamed Q&A after the movie was pretty cool, too. Dave Franco seems to be very likeable and funny, but also a bit quiet—possibly even shy. He definitely portrayed his personal life as something that is both a tad boring and mundane compared to what you might imagine for a Hollywood star, as well as private. Ironically, given the premise of the movie, Franco says he essentially does not engage online or in social networks.
It was interesting to listen to Franco talk about making the movie and some of the things that challenged him. I don’t want to give anything away, but you can see in the trailer that Franco’s character rides a motorcycle. Franco said he did not previously know how to ride one, so the directors gave him a motorcycle and a couple weeks to learn before letting him loose on the streets of New York and trusting him to drive co-star Emma Roberts around.
Someone also asked whether or not there is any concern that someone will now try to create a similar game in real life. Franco described the movie as being “five minutes into the future”—meaning that it’s feasible something like Nerve could exist. Again—we already have shows like Big Brother and Fear Factor, and people live streaming their own exploits and adventures on Periscope, Facebook, YouTube and more. It’s not a huge stretch to imagine tying all of those things together into some sort of crowdsourced daredevil online game.
Franco replied, “I hope that more good comes from this than bad—like I really hope a game like this never exists,” adding, “But, if it does—don’t blame us.”
I like to think I’d be a Player. After watching the movie, though, I may think twice about that and just kick back and watch some more crazy YouTube videos.