Tom Hanks’ First Lead Role Was A Movie About The Evils of D&D

Tom Hanks wasn’t a nobody when he made “Mazes and Monsters.” He’d already made his big screen debut in a small but scene-stealing role in the (pretty danged good) slasher “He Knows You’re Alone,” before co-starring in the briefly popular, but ultimately flash-in-the-pan sitcom “Bosom Buddies,” about two men who dress as women so they can live at an affordable hotel that doesn’t allow male tenants. In a couple of years, he would be headlining hit comedies like “Bachelor Party” and “Splash.” But in the middle, he LARPed his way into terror.

Based on a novel by Rona Jaffe, which was inspired by only somewhat-true events, “Mazes and Monsters” stars Hanks as Robbie, a college student whose brother ran away from home and whose parents hate each other. He was kicked out of his first college for playing too much Mazes and Monsters — the film’s fictionalized version of Dungeons & Dragons — and he promises his parents he won’t ever play the game again.

This lasts about one day because he quickly finds a notice on a bulletin board — oh geez, do we have to explain bulletin boards? Try to imagine Twitter on physical media, it was kinda like that — where a group of M&M enthusiasts (the game, not the candy) are looking for another player. They then proceed to peer pressure the living hell out of Robbie until he finally agrees to join them. Just say no, Robbie! Just say no!

But for a while, Robbie is able to balance his school work, his role-playing games, and even a romance with one of his fellow players, Kate, played by Wendy Crewson (“Air Force One”). Yes, it was the college experience of his dreams… until LARPing turned it into a nightmare.

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