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Four turns for a dollar. 500 turns for two dollars.
April 9, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick (previously) makes the day of the nine-year-old proprietor of Caine's Arcade.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy (46 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey! I went to college with Nirvan. New College represent! Great little video, too.
posted by gnutron at 8:41 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


That kid is pretty ingenious. I love when children still have imaginations like that.
posted by deezil at 9:05 PM on April 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can't hate on this too much, because the kid is awesome, and they really did make his day.

I just wish it hadn't been such a deliberate "stunt." (calling the local news, signs saying "Thanks, Reddit", etc.)
posted by ShutterBun at 9:18 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nirvan is a walking stunt.
posted by ambulance blues at 9:22 PM on April 9, 2012


500 turns! Now that is the deal of a lifetime!
posted by greenhornet at 9:22 PM on April 9, 2012


I don't mean stunt in a bad way, either.
posted by ambulance blues at 9:31 PM on April 9, 2012


The Fun Pass square root security code system is hilarious!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:38 PM on April 9, 2012 [21 favorites]


Part of me wishes this were more organic and less "hey, internet, let's do something goofy lulz reddit facebook," but the kid's smile and his eyes when he's running his arcade for all these people? I can not hate on that one little bit.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 9:50 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's awesome! :)
posted by zarq at 9:53 PM on April 9, 2012


Yeah, the best part of the video is the real part—this kid smiling as he's making his stuff, chatting up customers. It's nice that he has this big day, but it seemed like people were there less about actually playing the games than getting photos. I was a little worried when he and his dad returned from Shakeys—shades of Ghosts of Pasha came to mind.
But this kid... that honest smile, and that drive? He's going to go far.
posted by blueberry at 9:59 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


That kid is great. The claw machine, and the feeding the prize tickets through the front of the game after the player wins? (And the square root system.) Outstanding.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:15 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Agreed, LobsterMitten and beucoupkevin. I was hoping for a more "organic" following as well. Like, the guy discovers the arcade, starts a Facebook group about it, blogs about it for a while, and via word of mouth, the arcade becomes sort of a quirky "place to visit" attraction. Granted, that all would be a lot more difficult and perhaps impossible to achieve, while an afternoon flash mob in L.A. is pretty easy to make happen. (though arguably a lot harder than in cities without L.A. huge "flake factor."

Still, though, there's no doubt the kid was a very happy one that day, and the story makes for a nice little film. (the "square root security" he incorporated into his play passes was SUPER clever)
posted by ShutterBun at 11:38 PM on April 9, 2012


That's great, and what an amazing boy. To me the big plus of this would simply be having someone recognize you for what you've created with your own ideas and ingenuity, not about creating some sort of long-term arcade business. Even if people were there just for photos, they were there for photos of something they thought was worth the time and effort involved.

His father is clearly very loving and down-to-earth, and I think we can trust that if anything negative were to come from the experience his dad knows how to step in and talk to his son.
posted by Salmonberry at 12:29 AM on April 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I figured that of all the sites where I saw this story/video, Metafilter would be the one with either snark and/or condemnation.

Well played, Metafilter, well played...
posted by kuanes at 5:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


kuanes, I see lots of good thoughts and a few minor reservations. If this is what you call snark and condemnation, then I suggest that the internet may be too harsh a place for you.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:19 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


@MrMoonPie - Thank you for your warning about the internet. I never knew it was such a dangerous place.
posted by kuanes at 7:29 AM on April 10, 2012


The kid in this video is awesome, and his dad seems nice. I'll mention a specific detail, not about either of them, that I liked about the film: the film maker's pose as a guy who just found the "All Day Fun Pass" a tremendously compelling good deal. That was a well-executed 3 seconds of comedy.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:30 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow.. This morning he had about 7k donated. I just checked again, and people have donated over 22k to this kid's scholarship. Amazing.
posted by quibx at 1:12 PM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


So it would have been better for Caine to continue to have no customers than have a bunch of nice people coordinate a visit via Facebook and Reddit? I tend to think of myself as a cynical person, but I'm way out of my league.

What an awesome kid!
posted by usonian at 2:43 PM on April 10, 2012


Caine's scholarship fund is now over $33,000 and climbing a few hundred dollars a minute. Amazing. It's not reddit taking this viral (yet). Is it BoingBoing?
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:50 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And... it hits $50K. (And yes, I watched it roll over. Some joker took it to $49998.98)
posted by sutt at 7:55 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't been this legitimately happy about something I've seen on the Internet in a long time. I smiled...a lot.

And, the paternal instinct I've apparently started to develop as I age got me all choked up when Caine saw all of the people there to play his arcade and started smiling his missing-teeth smile.
posted by asnider at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2012


Joey, it was on Reddit, Boingboing, and a gazillion other sites now as well as front page of Youtube, Vimeo, Time, and others. If you like their FB page they're posting spots it's turning up.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:53 PM on April 10, 2012


Wow.. This morning he had about 7k donated.

He had $300 when I checked on the 9th. (which, I originally thought was a sign that the "Flash Mob" had made a small donation last summer when this apparently took place, and quickly lost interest)

So I guess the real "viral" part of this story is really only now just happening. I guess that was kinda the whole point of the movie itself, it just took a bit longer to find its audience.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:07 AM on April 11, 2012


(the "target donation amount" was also updated from $25,000 to $100,000. I hope this all works as intended)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:09 AM on April 11, 2012


Nearly $67,000 now... just amazing.
posted by usonian at 7:02 AM on April 11, 2012


What really affected me was the distance between what would normally be Caine's humdrum kid-clever summer haul with his dad at a junkyard in East L.A. and the dream he got to live once Nirvan makes his film.

Having been raised by an immigrant Asian mother, I've grown up immune to idle displays of cuteness and affection. Adult cooperation in realizing a fantasy wasn't even in the realm of possibility.

And here's Caine, cardboard DIYing a charmingly hokey arcade with so many details considered and engineered. And you see the possibility of a deadend summer become the possibility of something much better, much more fantastic.

And that's what touches my heart because all children deserve to have this happen. All children should get a day at Caine's arcade.
posted by mistersquid at 7:27 AM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I made an arcade like this for my friends when I was that age, and it was a super duper fun project. The currency was all marbles.

I think it's AMAZING that this kid suddenly has a college fund.
But it does seem that nowadays all interesting cuteness is being generated for the purpose of a quirky vimeo film, and not the other way around.
posted by Theta States at 10:16 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


all interesting cuteness is being generated for the purpose of a quirky vimeo film, and not the other way around.

but this was the other way around - the kid probably never heard of vimeo and probably never dreamed of being part of a viral video. he created this thing just to create it. he sunk all his imagination and passion and boredom into making a kick ass arcade. then he caught the interest of one guy.

i can see your complaint on something like the jimmy kimmel gotcha videos (which i really dislike for a number of reasons), but this kid isn't being cute or precious (or fucking bad ass) because an adult goaded him for page views, he did that all on his own. as the comments here show, his specialness outshines the spectacle the filmmaker was trying to capture.
posted by nadawi at 11:48 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Adult cooperation in realizing a fantasy wasn't even in the realm of possibility.
Goddamn, but that just made me cry. Is making me cry. That's a pretty good encapsulation of why my childhood was different from--no, better than--that of many other kids', and it applies to my daughter's childhood, too. I didn't really get, until now, the beauty of the father's encouragement of the arcade, because my dad, my mom, and my own child's parents would have done more-or-less the same. I guess I never really thought about how damned lucky we all are.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:02 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


he sunk all his imagination and passion and boredom into making a kick ass arcade. then he caught the interest of one guy.

The arcade is awesome. It's the "mob" suddenly arranged for it that just seems stale and prefabbed for vimeo. (with the amazing side benefit of tuition, of course)
posted by Theta States at 12:31 PM on April 11, 2012


but the "interesting cuteness" isn't the mob, it's the boy. i understand the critique, i just think it's misplaced here.
posted by nadawi at 1:57 PM on April 11, 2012


and there ya go: $100,000.
posted by sutt at 5:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well over $100k now. I hope the kid wants to go to college.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 12:08 AM on April 12, 2012


Fuck college, spend it all on pinball machines.
posted by Theta States at 5:37 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Caine: "I used to like Hot Wheels when I was little..."

Um.
posted by obscurator at 6:43 AM on April 12, 2012


This is just so heartwarming, I adore Caine's smile. What I wish is that I could contribute to is a scholarship that would let him have better educational/enrichment opportunities *now*, rather than 10 years from now.
posted by dejah420 at 6:51 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is just so heartwarming, I adore Caine's smile. What I wish is that I could contribute to is a scholarship that would let him have better educational/enrichment opportunities *now*, rather than 10 years from now.

This, this, this, this, this, Christ almighty THIS
posted by waxbanks at 12:55 PM on April 12, 2012


My son is a little over a year and a half old. I watched the video and spent the whole time alternately (1) beaming at this indefatigable little wizard boy, and (2) thinking about all the amazing things my son's gonna try to do as he grows up, and the million little ways I'm going to fuck up and be more hindrance than help because I'm already a terrible person and dad just all ego and fear and I'm going to get worse and worse, I know it...but also the absolute joy it will be to get it right, to be part of the stories he'll tell his children someday, 'Your grandma and grandpa and I went for a long walk one day in Boston, and we decided to tell a story for every dog we saw, and when we got home we wrote them all down and drew so many pictures, and look -- here's the first one, his name is Mitch, and he can speak Polish...'



I cried the whole way through the movie. Because of (1) yeah, and bless that kid for being so fucking alive, but also because of (2).
posted by waxbanks at 1:01 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love it!

NBC Nightly News had a segment on Caine and his arcade tonight.
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on April 12, 2012


@dejah420, it's possible that having people believe you're capable of college and that you deserve a full ride scholarship may make him focus on his studies. When other people (teachers, principals, community program coordinators, sports coaches, etc) hear that he's got this scholarship, it may make them push a little harder and do more for him. Having something like this in his "portfolio" may mean he can win a scholarship to a specialized public school or a private school. I totally get what you mean, but I suspect the publicity and coverage from this will open a lot of doors.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:22 PM on April 12, 2012


So great. Hey... you can see Caine's Arcade on google maps street view.
posted by JBennett at 8:10 AM on April 13, 2012


What a wonderful story. I loved that little boy's enthusiasm and ingenuity--the square root security system just killed me. And his dad! What a good parent. He just thought his kid was smart and creative and encouraged him do his own thing. All kids should be so lucky to have that kind of loving presence in their lives.

Re: Caine's college fund (which is currently over $165,000!)--his site says the money is being matched dollar-for-dollar (up to $250,000) by the Goldhirsh Foundation to provide scholarships for other kids like Caine.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:44 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm the fourth person in the photos where Caine got presented with a check on Saturday. We ended up raising over $160 so far for Caine's education with matching funds up to $250000 for a foundation for creative kids. HiddenLA was originally posted on MeFi as a project I was working on in 2009... it all started here! :)

I couldnt be more honored to have any part of the Caine's Arcade story... if anything was going to go viral I'm glad this did... There's not a single bit of negative to it. Caine, George and Nirvan are just stellar people that deserve the best. I've cried feel good tears all week... Even more than I did last October.

And honestly, Caine is just happy to have customers. He hasn't changed at all, running his arcade really IS his passion. He loves it more than anything, it's all he wanted... He's a proud kid indeed.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:45 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


And dejah... FYI, the money is starting to help him now. He will now get the tutoring help he needed in subjects he struggled in, and will get better preparations to lead him towards being ready for college when the time comes. It's not just going to apply to help him with college, my understanding is that there's going to be an investment in his education over time.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:30 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am so glad that the money is helping him now. I am so so happy for that kid.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:26 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


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