More Out There Than Slumdog
So this weekend is the Academy
Awards, where, if you're a game show fan, you're hoping that "Slumdog
Millionaire" walks out with a ton of Oscars. However, that's
not the only game show movie out there. If you are a game show
fan, here are ten items of entertainment value that are worth
seeing at least once, if not deserving of being on your
bookshelf or DVD cabinet.
Champagne for Caesar (1950): I'm guessing that most of
you haven't heard of this one, but it's a gem. From the
1950's, this satirical movie features Ronald Colman, a genius
who to take revenge at a company who refused to hire him, gets
on a show sponsored by them - a show that doubles the money
for every correct answer, and a show that Colman threatens to
bankrupt as he continues to get questions correct.
The Gong Show Movie (1980): This one won't be winning
any Academy Awards, but this movie based on the week in the
life of mastermind Chuck Barris is a must for Gong Show fans.
If you like comedy in Barris' mindset, then you'll want to at
least take a peek at it.
The Running Man (1987): This is classic Arnold
Schwarzenegger as he tries to run through a gauntlet of over
the top villains who have only one objective - his head on a
platter. This may be more popular among game show fans not for
Schwarzenegger, but for Family Feud host Richard Dawson, who
plays Killian, the evil smarmy host.
Stay Tuned (1992): John Ritter is trying to save his
wife Pam Dawber from a TV set sent to him by The Devil, but he
must travel through hell and navigate a maze of 666 channels
to do so. This film follows the genre of 'Airplane'-style
movies and throws a lot of jokes at you. A number of them
miss, but the ones that hit are funny as they spare no genre -
including game shows.
Quiz Show (1994): If serious historical value is more
your genre, then you can't go wrong with this, the closest as
to what happened behind the scenes of the rigged show '21' as
you're going to get. This flick featuring John Turturro and
Rob Morrow made a splash of its own during their year at the
Academy Awards, being nominated for four Oscars, including
24/7 (2001): This is one of two books that make the
list. Jim Brown created an amazing novel of a game gone
horrifically wrong when 12 contestants on an internet reality
show see their game get sabotaged by a killer, who gives them
all a poison and lets the world wide web vote on who should
not receive the antidote. It's gripping from beginning to end.
Series 7: The Contenders (2001): It's a new show with a
disturbing twist: seven contestants have to kill each other
off. Last person standing wins. If you like the movie (and it
was done rather well), then you'll love Battle Royale
(1997), which features the same premise, except with 40
high school students, each one given a different weapon. If
you love that and want to see more regardless of the quality,
then there's The Condemned (2007), featuring Stone Cold
Steve Austin and a watered down version of the concept with
ten inmates, which is competent, but not nearly as good as the
previous two movies.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003): Another movie
based on Chuck Barris is here. But while the movie, featuring
George Clooney, was decent, the book, which was released a few
years before, is better, and has more game show elements and
stories than the movie. So I would strongly suggest to grab
the book instead.
American Dreamz (2006): This is a blatant stab at
American Idol and the pop culture that has prevailed over
America. Although the intention was there, the execution and
ideas fell far short. This is here because it's the only movie
of its genre, but if you want a better play, may I recommend
Americathon (1979) a darker movie that takes more stabs
an in era where the movie wasn't handcuffed by political
Dead Set (2008): Finally, we have a zombie outbreak in
the UK. The only people left unscathed...the people in the Big
Brother House. If you like Big Brother, or zombies, or Big
Brother hosts and staff turning into zombies, then this
miniseries is for you.
So this is my Top Ten list of game show related media. Do
you have anything to add to the list? Then toll me an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll put up a list suggested
by you, the fans, at a later date.