Written by: Andrew Matthews
Directed by: Katie Graham & Andrew Matthews
Release Date: 2013
Runtime: 1h 27min
Available on Tubi
As roleplaying gains in popularity, its appearance in T.V. and movies increases. It’s often depicted with stereotyped characters with geeky cliches and misrepresents the hobby and the people who enjoy it. While searching for something to watch on Tubi, I came across the movie “Zero Charisma.” “Zero Charisma” is about a gamemaster who has control issues and lacks empathy towards others. There are many bad movies on Tubi, so as a precaution, I watched the trailer before watching the whole film. The trailer was humorous, and roleplaying was the dominant theme. As I began watching the movie, it didn’t take long before I knew I had a stinker on my hands.
Looking for a bad movie, try Tubi. Tubi is an online streaming channel with tons of movies, and T.V. shows free to watch with limited commercials. Most of its catalog is horrible, but occasionally a good one does make it in. “Zero Charisma” is not one of them. I’ve outlined the whole film below to save everyone one hour and twenty-seven minutes of their lives.
The movie focuses on Scott Weidemeyer, an arrogant, self-centered, overbearing, unapologetic, over-the-top gamemaster who takes his position way too seriously. He expects unconditional respect and attention from his players. The movie opens with the group roleplaying at Scott’s house with Scott as their gamemaster. Anyone who interrupts Scott is scolded. Even Scott’s best friend Wayne is chastised for making a humorous quip at the table. The game is interrupted by Scott’s grandmother as she enters the scene. The group breaks, and they entertain themselves while Scott converses with his grandmother in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, one of the players receives a phone call from his wife and excuses himself from the table. After scolding his grandmother, Scott returns to the table to find a player missing. Scott confronts the player after his call. The player returns to the table and begins to pack their things quickly. Then announces they are permanently leaving the group to work on their marriage. Unempathetic, Scott is furious and throws a tantrum, ripping up the player’s character when left behind to be used as an NPC.
As we can see from the opening scene, Scott is an asshole with little regard for anybody else. He only cares about himself and his campaign, which he has been running for three years. If the spotlight is not on Scott, he is not happy. Scott is in his late twenties/early thirties and has no career goals. He has been living with his grandmother ever since his mother left him when he was little. He has difficulty holding down a job with his bad attitude and obsession with his roleplaying game. He is currently employed delivering food.
On a quest to locate another player, Scott finds the task rather tricky as his reputation as an iron-fisted dungeon master proceeds him. He enlists his best friend Wayne to aid him with no luck. While delivering food to The Wizard’s Tower gaming store, Scott’s former job, which he was fired from, he meets Miles, a hip, a twenty-something customer who is eager to get involved in a tabletop roleplaying game. Miles is super friendly and bursting with charisma. Scott extends an invitation to his game which Miles happily accepts.
Game night and Miles’ first session with the group goes smashing well. He mixes well with the other players, but Scott becomes threatened by the attention the group is giving Miles, especially his best friend, Wayne. Scott grows envious of Miles’s hot girlfriend, his life, and his successful career running a thriving pop-culture website.
A few hours after the game ends, Scott’s grandmother Wanda suffers a stroke. Scott’s estranged mother, Barbara, and her current love interest move into the house to take care of Wanda. Barbara adds to Scott’s misery the following week when she interrupts and humiliates him at his weekly roleplaying game–forcing it to end early. The group decides to hold next week’s game at Miles’s place, infuriating Scott.
The next session at Miles’s house, Scott tries desperately to sway the love and admiration away from Miles and back onto himself by floating a blatant lie, which Miles quickly debunks. Upset, Scott removes himself from the group to compose himself before returning and beginning the night’s session. The session doesn’t go well for Scott. Miles deviates from Scott’s plan and kills an important NPC to the story. Scott tries to cheat, but Miles’s girlfriend catches him and alarms the group. The players groan and complain the game has become too serious. It is no longer any fun. Scott explodes. He rage quits and tries to get his group to storm off, but they side with Miles. Scott leaves wholly defeated.
Back home, Scott finds out that his mother is selling the house, which his grandmother promised to him. His grandmother will be moving into a retirement home in Arizona close to Barbara.
Scott returns to The Wizard’s Tower for a Q&A with Greg Goran, a roleplaying legend and Scott’s hero in the next scene. Scott tries to get validation from his actions and gamemastering style but receives the opposite. He shouts at his hero, telling him he is wrong. Scott’s former co-worker then announces to the audience the circumstance in which Scott was fired. It consisted of Scott self-pleasuring himself in the back to hentai anime while the store was being robbed. Scott leaves the store completely humiliated.
Feed up, Scott confronts Miles at his house one evening. When he gets there, Miles is throwing a party. Scott invites himself in and starts drinking heavily. Miles spots Scott and calls Wayne to remove him. While he waits for Wayne, Scott tries to steal Miles’s friend away by belittling and challenging Miles to childish games he loses. Wayne arrives to see Scott lashing out and striking Miles in the face. Miles retaliates and punches Scott in the gut, sending him to the floor. Wayne feels betrayed by Miles for not inviting him to the party and watching his best friend get beaten up. Wayne picks up Scott and takes him home. On the ride home, Scott apologizes to Wayne for being a dick. It is the first time he shows any remorse for his actions.
In the movie’s last scene, Scott is at his new job at his grandmother’s retirement home in Arizona. He has a little more confidence in himself and a new group. He is gamemastering his game for the seniors with the same ferocity as seen in the first scene—showing no growth whatsoever.
With all Scott has gone through, his attitude doesn’t change. I thought by the end, we would see the Scott character change, but he didn’t. He is still the same asshole as he was at the movie’s beginning. One hour and twenty-seven minutes with no meaningful growth. What a waste of time.
Hopefully, this will save others from watching this trainwreck of a movie. If anything, this movie is a good lesson on how not to be a gamemaster. Like I said above, the trailer made it look better than it was, so don’t be fooled. My wife and I have a rule regarding new movies or T.V. shows. We give it fifteen minutes, and if it doesn’t appeal to us, we stop watching it. I should have followed my own rule and done some more productive like reading another RPG book to review.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Our mission is simple: to provide our readers with well-written articles and reviews that inform, promote, and improve the gaming community as a whole. We’re able to do this through the support of our patrons. If you’d like to become a patron and support our work, click the Patreon banner above to learn more.