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What The Cast Of The Wizard Looks Like Today

What do you remember about The Wizard? Probably not the main story, in which a young boy named Corey helps his half-brother, a video game savant named Jimmy, travel from Utah to California with the help of a rough 'n' tumble girl named Haley. You're more likely to recall the big moments: The climactic showdown at Video Armageddon, which went on to inspire the real-life Nintendo World Championships. The moment when Jimmy finds the Warp Whistle, making Super Mario Bros. 3's warp zone the worst-kept secret in video game history. The infamous Power Glove scene.

Those are the moments that made The Wizard a cult classic for fans of a certain age, but here's the real secret behind the movie's success: for a B-level film, The Wizard has a decidedly A-list cast. Some were stars before the movie started shooting. Others went on to become some of the biggest names in show business. Almost every single one of them is still working. The Wizard may not be a great movie, but it's a beloved one. The following men and women are one big reason why.

The superhero-to-be

Blink and you'll miss him, but Spider-Man makes a brief appearance in The Wizard. That's right: he doesn't have any lines, but Tobey Maguire — aka Peter Parker himself — has a teeny tiny, completely uncredited role in the film as one of Lucas' goons. Maguire shows up near the end of the film, when the Video Armageddon contestants disperse into Universal Studios while grousing about having to compete in a brand new game. See that kid? The one in the pink shirt? Yeah, believe it or not, that's him.

Of course, Maguire would go on to make a name for himself thanks to stellar performances in films like Pleasantville, Cider House Rules, and Wonder Boys before Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy transformed him into a bona fide movie star. Roles in Brothers, The Great Gatsby, and Boss Baby followed. He's also an avid poker player — a really, really good one, by all accounts — and was once named one of PETA's "Sexiest Vegans." Judging by The Wizard, however, Maguire's biggest achievement might be that glorious mullet. He's never going to top that.

The hyped registrar

As the overly enthusiastic Video Armageddon employee who signs people up for The Wizard's climactic Nintendo tournament, Lee Arenberg has a small role, but he makes a huge impact. As it turns out, small roles that make a huge impact are kind of Arenberg's whole thing. Over the years, the veteran character actor has had bit parts on shows like ER, Charmed, and Scrubs. He played Charlie's openly gay boss on season 6 of Californication. He's the parking space guy on Seinfeld. He's been five different characters on four different Star Trek series (including three outings as one of the scheming aliens, the Ferengi).

More recently, however, Arenberg's finally gotten his due as a featured player. If you're a Disney fan, you know him very well. Arenberg played Pintel, the "Hello, Poppet!" half of Pirates of the Carribean's comedic relief duo, in the series' first three movies (he turned down a role in the fifth, claiming that the producers "weren't really trying to court us like they really wanted us").

On Once Upon a Time, he plays Grumpy, one of Snow White's seven dwarves. Unsurprisingly, he loves it. For a working actor, a steady paycheck is always welcome, but for Arenberg it's about more than just money. "When the audience connects with something you are proud of," Arenberg says, "then it is really an honor to be associated with it."

The (other) dad

Oh, yeah, it's that guy. Sam McMurray, who plays Wendy Phillips' second husband and Jimmy's step-dad in The Wizard, isn't a household name, but with over 150 credits to his name, you've probably seen him in something. Maybe you recognize him from pre-Wizard projects like Raising Arizona or The Tracey Ullman Show. Maybe it's his later roles, like Chandler's boss on Friends, Doug and Deacon's boss on King of Queens, Samm Levine's cool (but aldulterous) father on Freaks and Geeks, or doctors on Breaking Bad and The Sopranos.

At the very least, you've probably heard McMurray, even if you've never seen his face. He played Roy Hess, the doofy best friend, on ABC's Dinosaurs (which he tells the AV Club "was the easiest job in the world"), had a recurring guest spot in Disney's Recess!, and took various roles on The Boondocks (if the timing had been right, he says, he could've been the man behind Homer Simpson, too).

More recently, you can find McMurray on The Fosters, and he was part of the main cast of ABC's Cristela, which lasted for a single season. In fact, McMurray is so busty that he barely remembers The Wizard. "People come up and quote lines from The Wizard, and I don't know what the hell they're talking about," he says. Still, he admits, "I had a good time on the set."

The beleaguered mom

Wendy Phillips was born into a show business family — when she was a kid, her parents would drive a flatbed truck around California, performing for the farm workers. Her father was an acclaimed stage actor and her mother, Jean Shelton, founded San Francisco's Shelton Studios, an acting school that produced stars like Danny Glover. It's also where Tommy Wiseau met his partner, Greg Sestero. That's right: if you've suffered through The Room, you have Shelton to "thank."

Phillips followed in her parents' footsteps, appearing in the TV movies One of Our Own and Death Be Not Proud when she was just 23. She was a reliable character actor throughout the '80s and early '90s, with parts in films like Airplane II and Midnight Run, and showed up in Warren Beatty's Bugsy as Esta Siegel, the titular gangster's wife. Phillips' biggest break, however, came in 1996, when she played Claire Greene in an episode of Touched by an Angel. That ended up functioning as a backdoor pilot, and Phillips went on to co-star in a spin-off called Promised Land, which focused on a family that traveled the nation in a trailer to help those in need.

To bring things full circle, Phillips also started working at her mother's acting school in 2001. As she got older, she was offered less interesting parts — "The roles I'm auditioning for are props to the younger people," she says — and started teaching to pick up the slack. To her surprise, she enjoyed it. "As a teacher, there's 30 years of stuff I can communicate," Phillips says. "I believe acting can change people's lives."

The pint-sized villain

Even if you've never seen The Wizard, you're probably familiar with Lucas, Jimmy's hot-headed and cocky rival. He's the kid who proudly sports the Power Glove — which is, in the film, the coolest accessory ever created and not an expensive and broken mess —  and became a living meme thanks to the line, "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad."

In The Wizard, Lucas was played by a young man named Jackey Vinson, and if that name doesn't ring a bell, there are a few good reasons. For one, according to IMDb, Vinson didn't do much acting after The Wizard hit theaters. He appeared a handful of times in a drama called Grand, which starred Pamela Reed, Bonnie Hunt, John Neville, and Michael McKeen. He had a small part in an early Jason Bateman vehicle called Breaking the Rules. He popped up on an episode of Law & Order. That's it.

Further, in 2004, Vinson was charged and sentenced to ten years probation for child molestation, and now has his own spot on New York's sex offenders list. Yuck. Allegedly, Vinson joined Twitter a few years back in order to capitalize on his meme-found fame and to try to make up for past mistakes, but it seems like his return to the limelight was short lived: by now, the account has been deleted, and Vinson is in the wind again.

The worried dad

Beau Bridges may not be quite as famous as his younger brother, Jeff, but he's a formidable actor in his own right. If you watch The Wizard, you can tell. Pay attention to that final scene, during which Jimmy lays his late twin's remains to rest. That scene was written the night before filming, and according to both Luke Edwards and director Todd Holland, Bridges' performance is the only reason why it works.

Not that you'd expect anything less from an actor of Bridges' caliber, of course. He was already famous before The Wizard came out (Holland says that many of the film's actors, including Christian Slater, signed on to the film just to work with Beau). He clearly loves working with his family, too. As a kid, Beau appeared on his father's anthology series, The Lloyd Bridges Show. Just a couple of months before The Wizard came out, Beau joined his brother in The Fabulous Baker Boys for what's maybe his most iconic performance. After The Wizard, Bridges appeared in a few episodes of The Outer Limits alongside his son, Dylan.

Of course, Bridges works well on his own, too. He's been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards and has won three. He has a Grammy for his narration of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. In 2011, Bridges received a very different kind of trophy when the United States Coast Guard honored him, his brother, and his father — all three Coast Guard veterans — with the Lone Sailor Award, which honors those "who have distinguished themselves, drawing upon their Sea Service experience to become successful, in their subsequent careers and lives."

The older brother

So, what did the actor who played Fred Savage's protective older brother do after The Wizard? See if you recognize any of these: Heathers. Pump Up the Volume. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. True Romance. Interview with a Vampire. Broken Arrow. Mr. Robot. In other words: guys, it's Christian freakin' Slater. You know what he's been up to.

Of all of the actors and actresses who appeared in The Wizard, Slater's gone on to become the biggest star, although it hasn't been an easy road. For one, he's had numerous run-ins with the law. In 1989, he was arrested for drunk driving and spent a few days in jail. In 1994, he was arrested for trying to bring a handgun on an airplane. A few years after that, Slater was sentenced to three months in prison and three months in a rehab facility after attacking his girlfriend and a couple of police officers (naturally, there were drugs involved).

Still, Slater's career seems to be back on track. After three seasons, Mr. Robot continues to rack up nominations and awards — including a few for Slater himself. Meanwhile, recently, Slater's ventured into voice acting. He plays a satirical version of himself on the animated spy comedy Archer, and guest-starred on episodes of Rick & Morty and Jeff and Some Aliens. Even better, he's trying hard to stay drug- and alcohol-free. "Work is my hobby," Slater says. "Staying sober is my job."

The wily tomboy

If you haven't seen Jenny Lewis in another film, you've almost certainly heard her voice. In 1998, Lewis and some friends formed Rilo Kelly. Three years later, the band released its first album,Take Offs and Landings, and history was made. Lewis was a rock star.

It was a good thing, too, because despite her appearance in The Wizard, in which she played the 13-year-old hustler Haley, in addition to roles on television and in movies like Troop Beverly Hills, Lewis' acting career wasn't headed in the right direction. She'd been in show business since she was three years old, when a role in a Jell-O ad helped lift her family out of poverty, and over that time she'd become typecast. "I was the best friend," Lewis tells the New York Times. "I wanted the big, juicy roles, and they didn't come to me." So, Lewis turned to music instead. She's never looked back.

Rilo Kelly is no more — rumors of the band's demise started circling as early as 2011 — but, frankly, Lewis doesn't need it. She's become a formidable solo act of her own. In 2014, Lewis dropped The Voyager, as well as a music video that she directed for its lead single, "Just One of the Guys." The video, which features Lewis, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and Brie Larson wearing tracksuits and fake moustaches, garnered one million views in its first 24 hours online. It's currently been seen nearly six million times — and that number just keeps on growing.

The wizard himself

In The Wizard, Luke Edwards doesn't say much, but he makes a big impact just the same. He's the wizard, after all. Despite Jimmy's rough upbringing — the poor kid watched his sister drown and his parents split up, for goodness' sake — he became something of a cult hero for Nintendo-obsessed children in the late '80s. Hey, the kid's good at video games. Sometimes, that's all it takes.

Edwards put in a remarkably nuanced performance for a nine-year-old, but he didn't become a big star until he appeared in 1994's Little Big League, in which he played the 12-year-old manager of the Minnesota Twins. It was a break-out part for Edwards, and one that he's still closely associated with. In 2014, Edwards returned to Minneapolis for the film's 20th anniversary, where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch and helped Ryan Lueschen, a 14-year-old with chronic heart disease, serve as the honorary manager. At the time, however, Edwards revealed a big secret: he's a San Francisco Giants fan, although "the Twins are definitely No. 2," Edwards says.

Otherwise, Edwards has spent pretty much his entire post-Wizard career acting, with roles in projects as varied as American Pie 2 and True Detective. He hasn't forgotten his past, either. In an interview with Nintendo Life, Edwards revealed that not only does he still play video games, but his friends actually call him "The Wizard," thanks to his "ability to pick up a game I've never played before and whup their asses at it!"

The noble hero

Even before The Wizard hit theaters, Fred Savage was a star. In January 1988, almost two years before The Wizard debuted, ABC launched The Wonder Years, a coming-of-age dramedy set in the late '60s. It was an immediate hit — The Wonder Years won the Emmy for best comedy series after only six episodes had aired — and as the lead actor, Savage became a celebrity almost instantly.

In fact, Savage's newfound fame made The Wizard difficult to shoot. Five weeks after director Todd Holland landed the gig, the cameras were rolling. "The rush was all about Fred Savage's TV schedule....," Holland explains. "He had certain weeks off to shoot the film and therefore we had to start on time." During filming, people lined the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of the Wonder Years star. Teen girls screamed as the boy drove by.

Savage stayed on The Wonder Years for the duration of its six season run, and spent the next few years making guest appearances, including an episode of his little brother's sitcom, Boy Meets World. Recently, however, Savage has made a comeback. He received a Critic's Choice Award nomination for his role in The Grinder, and currently appears on Netflix's Friends from College. He also hosts Child Support alongside Ricky Gervais, and is a prolific television director, having helmed episodes of Disney Channel shows like The Wizards of Waverly Place and Phil of the Future.

Still, it's not all roses and sunshine for the former Kevin Arnold. Savage has been accused of on-set harassment multiple times (charges were dropped in every case), and his only feature directing gig was the Cuba Gooding Jr. vehicle Daddy Day Camp. Its reviews were, appropriately enough, savage.