The Best Pinball Movie EVER MADE.

Wed 1/27/2010

There is more pinball in the OPENING CREDITS of TILT than in the entire 111 minute running time of Tommy.

TILT is the the story of a 14 year-old girl (played by a 13 year-old Brooke Shields) who is REALLY, REALLY good at Pinball. Without giving too much of the plot away, she hits the road with an aspiring rock and roll musician and they hustle people of their hard earned dollars... by PLAYING PINBALL. Eventually (of course) she has to face the world's greatest pinball player... "THE WHALE."

Not once does this movie shy away from showing you what's happening on the playfield. When a player steps up to a machine, the camera cuts straight to the silver ball being smacked off the flippers, hitting drop targets, going through spinners, being bounced off of jet bumpers and the like. In short, it's exactly what you'd WANT in a pinball movie! It even has a pinball themed rock song, "Pinball, That's All" which is played like THREE TIMES.

Now, maybe this is just because it was a movie about pinball, but TILT gives off the impression that in the late 1970s there were pinball machines EVERYWHERE. Most of the movie takes place in a string of bars, and every one of them has like 5 pinball machines (also there were apparently a lot more people DANCING in the 70s too). It gives you the feeling that if you walked into a bar in 1979 and there WASN'T a pinball machine you would instantly think "Ugh! What's WRONG with this place?!" Oh, what happened to those halcyon days of olde?!

Really, the only downsides to this movie are 1) the HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE acting, which is painful to watch, but I'm sure will get easier and funnier with repeated viewings, and 2) the extremely creepy set-up of having this prepubescent girl running away from home to play pinball with a 25 year-old, male rock and roll singer. Not only do they share a hotel room each night, but she is constantly being hit on by other pinball players, all of whom are GROWN MEN. It is WAY creepy.

If When they remake this movie, hopefully they'll cast the rock and roll singer as a WOMAN, so it can be more like a buddy movie. You know, two sisters out on the road, sticking it to the man! You'd probably have to still have it set in the 1970s, when pinball was readily available everywhere...

Anyway, I found the soundtrack on ebay for $5, so I sent away for it, mostly for the sick cover art (I don't even have a turntable). It arrived today, and on a whim, I thought I'd check if "Pinball, That's All" was available on iTunes. I put "pinball" in the search field of the iTunes store, and LO AND BEHOLD, I came across two compilation albums of "HOT PINBALL ROCK" (!!!?!)

I used an Xmas iTunes card to download Volume I and Volume II. It's pretty amazing stuff. Songs about not having a quarter to play pinball, songs about being frustrated with the pinball machine, songs about having a good pinball game, songs about specific pinball playfields, being obsessed with pinball, etc. etc. etc. There's even a song about the TILT movie! These are songs by MY PEOPLE, you know?

But then, as I was looking up the URLs to link these albums, I discovered that these songs were originally released as 7" records that came free with issues of MULTIBALL MAGAZINE (???!) A zine about pinball?! Oh man! I've only begun my research, which lead me to a page from 2004 which says that issue #22 was out after a three year lapse... Twenty-two issues???! And it looks like the IPRC has more than HALF of them! Well, I know what my next pinball mission is, for sure!

Sorry if I'm alienating any of you readers with all this pinball talk... I promise I'll write some stuff about comics one of these days. Until then, go see if you can find a pinball machine in your neighborhood and play a few rounds. Hopefully you'll see why I'm so HOOKED!

8 comments on this entry

In France we have this classic (?) pop song :
SOOOOOO 80's !
But few pinballs in the videoclip, I'm afraid :'(

Ha ha, that is CRAZY funy Vincent!

Alec Feb04

Does anyone remember the Pinball made for the was a home version called "Tilt" ....a promo item from Famolare shoe company....

Greg Daniel Aug02

Hmmm... all I could find online is the TILT shoes, manufactured by Famolare:

Alec Aug02

Alec, if you like to listen to the OST:

Thanks to Isbum for sharing this fine soundtrack!


Sel Apr24

Hi, I am trying to find all the songs that are in the movie Tilt(with Broke Shields) 1978. I noticed on your blog you had bought the soundtrack. I am looking for a song on the album and I can't remember the name of the song but there are lyrics in the song that have,"... Friends I don't even know. I am just a contestant..." Could you please give me the soundtrack songs and artisits since I can not find any information on this. Thank you for your time.

kimberly Nov02

Hi Kimberly - I'm away from my records at the moment, but as soon as I get back to Oakland I will send you the track listing for the album. If you don't hear from me by Thursday 11/8, please shoot me an email!

Alec Nov02

Song is #6 on Side A of the soundtrack LP. As for the album, Google search came up with this...

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