Some movies are so crazy that they must have a team of creative minds to make them. And some others are crazy because crazy is the true story that inspires them. Tag, the 2018 film directed by Jeff Tomsic, tells the incredible story of five adult friends that still play the “Tag” game as grown-ups. And it’s inspired by the real story of the “Tag brothers,” which was covered by the Wall Street Journal in 2013. Let’s find out more about it, who’s the real Jerry, and if he really was “the untouchable.”
You can watch the official trailer for Tag here on Youtube.
Tag movie, the true story: who’s the real Jerry?
In the movie Tag, released in 2018, five friends are playing the game “Tag” still as adults: their names are Hogan “Hoagie” Malloy, Bob Callahan, Randy “Chilli” Cilliano, Kevin Sable, and Jerry Pierce. Tag is inspired by the true story of the real “Tag Brothers,” which was told by the Wall Street Journal in 2013 (you can find the original article here).
The real-life Tag Brothers are ten: their names are Bill Akers, Patrick Schultheis, Sean Raftis, Mike Konesky, Brian Dennehy, Joey Tombari, Rick Bruya, Chris Ammann, Mark Mengert, and Joey “Beef” Caferro. They started playing Tag in the early 80s at the high school. When high school ended, the game stopped, and the last one to be tagged (“to be it,” in the movie slang) was Joe Tombari. Eight years later, the group gathered again, and Joe proposed to restart the game. Since then, the ten friends still play the game every year, in February, flying the United States from one coast to another to tag their target.
In the movie, Jerry is “The Untouchable,” the player that has never been tagged in thirty years. But in the true story behind Tag, there is no real Jerry: all players have been tagged at least once, although the game became harder and harder over the years. The characters of the movie took inspiration from the real group of friends, mixing the characteristics of the actual individuals. In the film, Jerry is the owner of a gym, whereas in real life, no one among the Tag brothers owns a fitness center: there is a Catholic priest, a math teacher, two executives, an engineer, but no gym owners.
Nevertheless, the true story of the real Tag brothers is even wilder than the movie. In real life, a signed agreement was stipulated by the lawyer in the group, listing the rules of their game. Tagging someone was really hard, and the players were forced to hide, dress up, and prepare traps. and yes, one of them really broke into the house of another player, Brian Dennehy, at 2am. The wildest anecdote is about the player who was tagged at his father’s funeral: it was Patrick Schultheis; he was sitting in the front row, close to his father’s coffin, and his friends were there for him. One of them, “Beef,” hugged him and said “you are it.”
Yes, reality can really overcome fiction. The movie Tag wasn’t very distant from the crazy things the real Tag brothers did in their true story, although no real Jerry “The Untouchable” ever existed.