17 Nov


“I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here. Or what I’m doing here, or what this place is about, but I am determined to enjoy myself. And I’m very intrigued, and, oh my, this soup’s delicious, isn’t it?”

– Mrs. Peacock


The Setup

As the title suggests we need to do a little setup to explain why we developed The Tabletop Series, and just how long we have been wanting to start this series. To start, we love board games. Before Munch started taking up all of our time, we would play board games all night long at least once a week. It was a great way to make sure we stayed in contact after we graduated from college. It is so easy to just go your separate ways, and we didn’t want that to happen, so games brought us together every week.

Now, we don’t have as much time to play as we’d like anymore since we spend all of our free time cooking, watching and talking about movies, or just being busy with everything else that can take up your time. This month, we decided to revisit our board game roots and cook, watch, and talk about movies based on board games. That’s right, we’re starting our Tabletop Series. First up, the murder mystery board game that had everyone on the case trying to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy: Clue.

The Meal

One of the most distinctive parts of Clue is the names of all the characters. So naturally, we decided to make a meal based on the colors of several of our favorite characters.

To start, we made Colonel Mustard kielbasa. The kielbasa, which we purchased from local polish deli George’s Deli, is simmered in a mixture of raw honey and yellow mustard in the slow cooker for several hours until it was ready to eat. Sweet, spicy, and fatty, this appetizer checks all the boxes.

Next, we made Mrs. Peacock’s blueberry balsamic glazed salmon. The salmon picked up Mrs. Peacock’s signature blue color once it was slathered in a blueberry balsamic glaze. Simply reduce sugar, blueberries thyme, and balsamic vinegar to a nice sauce and you are well on your way. The dish was surprisingly sweet for a fish dish, but it worked exceptionally well.

Finally, we made Professor Plum’s sugoli di uva fragola. We’re not exactly sure what that is. We got it from an Italian website and translated it into English (we were desperate). It’s basically grapes, cornstarch, and sugar. Does that sound appetizing to you? No, right? I don’t know why we thought it did. I guess the Italian name just made it sound fancier than it really was, and the photos looked good too. None of us ended up finishing our sugoli di uva fragola, but we did appreciate that it matched Professor Plum’s purple aesthetic.

The Drink

For the drink, we had to make one in honor of Miss Scarlet, the character who always seemed guilty. There are too many tasty red beverages, so we went with a Campari, rose water, pomegranate molasses, and blood orange juice cocktail to get a beautiful red that Miss Scarlet would down. Just throw a little rye whiskey and lemon juice in there and baby, you got a drink goin’.

The Rules

We did something a little different this time. We each tried to solve the mystery and drafted the character we thought was the murderer. Whoever got it wrong would have to take a shot. For reasons explained below, we all had to take a shot.

We had two normal drinking rules:

🔍  Take a drink for every clue.

🚨  Take a drink when the doorbell rings.

The Movie

Let’s skip right to the good part, okay? Our whole colorful cast of characters (not actually wearing their respective colors which was our biggest complaint) is alone in a big house together when Mr. Boddy dies, just like in the board game. We spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out who did it and how, as more and more people start dropping off. This is all well and good and expected, but Clue really throws you for a loop at the end. Skip the next paragraph if you plan on watching the movie because we are going to spoil what could be considered the best part of the movie.

A little-known fact about Clue is that three different endings were filmed for the movie, each showing how different characters committed each of the murders. These different endings were shown in different theaters across the country when the movie came out, so two people who watched the same movie in different theaters would come out thinking completely different characters were the murderers! We knew this going in and were curious to see how Clue would handle it on the home video version of the film. We were impressed to see that Clue managed to get all three endings into the movie. First, they show you how the murderer got away with it, but then the screen goes black and says “That’s how it could have happened. But how about this?” Then the movie backs up and shows us how a different character could have been the murderer. Finally, we are told, “Here’s what really happened” and get the canonical ending. This ending alone took a decent murder mystery movie and turned it into what, in our minds, is a classic.

As for whether or not this lives up the long and storied lineage of movie adaptations of board games, well rest assured because we were all happy with its connections to the board game. Almost everything in the board game is there for you: the cast of characters, the locations, the weapons, shortcuts, murder, and, above all, a level of ridiculousness that every board game film should adopt. As previously mentioned, we were very disappointed by the fact that the characters didn’t actually wear their respective colors, and it made the whole ordeal all the more difficult to separate who was who. We can only hope our next board game film will be as faithful as this one.


The Reviews

André: You should probably watch it. I didn’t think I would like Clue – I expected it to be campy and dated and just bad. It was definitely a little campy, definitely a little dated, but it was actually pretty good. I was drawn into the mystery, impressed by the performances, and loved the double twist at the end. Clue was smarter than I expected, and I think you’d like watching it too, but I do suspect you’d have more fun if you watched it with others.

Leanna: Take a clue from us, and watch this film. (Sorry.) But really, it’s worth a watch. Of the movies we had picked for this series, I was most hesitant about this one because it was the most dated, and in our experience so far, lots of films don’t age well. Honestly, I would probably watch this movie again. The dialogue moves so fast and there’s so much to see in every scene that a second watch would probably be a very different experience. Also, it’s worth noting that there are some very good dogs in this movie, so that was also a plus. Finally, I have to give special shout out to my friend Joe who hooked us up with some great props for our photos.

Ben: 80%. I was genuinely surprised by Clue. Which says a lot because film adaptations of any form of game haven’t met the most positive of reviews, but Clue felt unique in the space. While its acceptance of campy and over-the-top humor may not have played as well when it was released, it has aged splendidly (outside of the moments of sexual harassment played for laughs at the expense of the victim) as a result of most the cast being fully devoted to their characters. Mrs. Peacock and Miss Scarlet stand out from the pack and Tim Curry does a wonderful job keeping it all together as the butler. The entire movie has the feel of an improv game played in high schools across the country with an ever-steady increasing cast of characters and a bell that announces when a new face must entire the scene. Clue takes that metaphor to the full extent in the sense that high school improv is hardly ever perfect, yet with the right cast you recognize that everyone is having fun and you can’t help but go along with the act. Also, in the same way, high school improv games hastily wrap up their scenes with quick exposition that hardly is satisfying and never playing off what has been set up before it, Clue‘s ending is a disappointment to all the hard work of the cast. While I can applaud the audacity of a piece of media having multiple endings, and hope to see another movie or TV show attempt such a thing, perhaps the downfall of multiple endings is that not enough time is spent on any of them and thus they all suffer. But despite the unfortunate end, Clue succeeds in being the perfect combination of murder mystery and board game all wrapped up in a surprising movie form.







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