3 Big Reasons “The Hunger Games” will never be as cool as “The Running Man”

Posted: March 28, 2012 in Pop Culture
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s the future.  After an epic collapse of financial, governmental, and moral institutions, the world that we know and love today no longer exists.  In its place: a dystopic, fractured world exists.  On one side: the haves.  On the other: a scratching, clawing, bottom-feeding lower class. 

The chasm between the hyper-rich and the destitute masses has taken on Grand Canyon-esque levels of disproportionality.  The desperate members of the bottom class are thrown scraps of blindingly mindless “reality.”  They are spoon fed despair by the unseen hand of a brutal and corrupt government that only sees dollar signs in the forlorn faces of the destitute and they gobble it up, losing their humanity.

Chief among these opiates, these IV drips keeping the citizenry comatose, is the entertainment industry.  Rigidly controlled by the self-preserving status quo, the most popular of these propaganda pieces is a show that pits human on human in a futuristic gladiatorial games; a battle to the death for the entertainment of the starving, increasingly bloodthirsty masses.

The show, presented by the crooked dealing government as a way to promote freedom and justice is, in fact, just the opposite.  Embraced by the mindless, brainwashed masses as entertainment, the show is the ultimate form of repression; a downpour of mind-control, soaking through the fuse of revolution.

Do you think I’m talking about the movie that just made $155 mill at the box office?  Because I’m not.  In fact, I’m talking about the unofficial template to The Hunger Games: The Running Man.  That’s right.

I’m talking Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I’m talking Maria Conchita Alonso.  I’m talking Jesse the freaking Body. 

Brace yourself, tweenage angsters.  Loosen those skinny jeans so you can inhale the deep lungfuls of awesome that are about to come billowing off this steaming pile of factual, scientific evidence.

Here are the 10 reasons that The Hunger Games will never be as cool as the movie it pretty much used like a movie madlib.

(*Author’s note: The year is_______.  The name of the corrupt government/mega-corporation is ______.  The name of the show is _________.  And we can just hire some other broodishly hunky dude, instead of a ‘roid popping future governor.)

What’s that, you say?  This movie was based on a series of books.  I haven’t read the books, seen the movie, or thought through this past the fact that these are only loosely similar movies?  Don’t try to bring logic to a gunfight, son. 

Here are the 10 reasons The Hunger Games will never be as cool as The Running Man.

1.  The Cast

Let’s put aside the fact that this is starring the pre-eminent method actor of this or any generation.  Let’s put aside the fact that it co-stars another governor, a guy named Dweezil Zappa (*Author’s note: yes, that Dweezil Zappa), Sven-ole Thorsen playing a guy who is also named Sven, and a guy whose stage name is “Professor Toru Tanaka.”  Actually, you literally cannot put those names aside. 

If you’re so hungry, Hunger Games, eat that!

2.  Quotability

While that may not actually be a word, it’s the intangible, immeasurable, quality that puts movies over the top.  It’s like the old sports cliché for a pitcher that has great “stuff.”  (*Author’s note: really, baseball?  That’s the best you can come up with on that one?) Or football analysts describing a player who has “moxy”.  For a point of reference here, Anchorman, rests atop the Chris Hatch Quotability Index with an unprecedented amount of lines.  In fact, it became so quotable that from late 2005 to early 2006 approximately 10% of my terribly unfunny jokes had root-phrases in Anchorman.  It’s like Latin for movie quotes.

Here’s a quick sample of a few choice morsels that make this hard to quantify category a definitive win for The Running Man:

Richard Dawson (*Author’s note: yes, apparently before he was hosting Family Feud he was actually hosting a psychotic death-show):  Hello, this is Killian.  Give me the Justice Department, Entertainment Division.
(*Author’s note: check out this pithy bit of back-and-forth between two actors with unparalleled chops)

The Governator: Now I’m gonna untie you, and then you’re gonna get dressed, and then you’re gonna come with me.
Maria Conchita Alonso: Oh yeah? But why should I?
Governator: Because I’m gonna say “please”…
(At this point, and for no discernible reason, the Governator rips her weight bench out of the ground.  Dominance firmly established, like a silverback gorilla in the wild, she has no choice but to consent.)
Maria Conchita Alonso: Well, why didn’t you say so?
The Governator: I’m not into politics, I’m into survival.  (*Author’s note: prophetic words for a man who sucked at politics and then risked spousal homicide by fathering a child with the couples’ nasty nanny.  In fact, I’m betting Arnold did a little “Running Man” impression the night that the news broke about his illicit love child.)
(*Author’s note: let’s finish strong.)

Richard Dawson: You bastard! Drop Dead!
Governator: I don’t do requests.
Governator: Uplink underground, uplink underground. If you say that one more time, I’ll uplink your ass, and you’ll be underground!
Governator: Killian, here’s your Subzero, now plain zero.

3.  Villains

There’s the aforementioned Richard Dawson, playing the evil gameshow host.  And then there’s these guys:

Dynamo: This villain is a fantastic opera singer, (because he’s fat, I guess?) and also wears a suit that allows him to shoot out electricity.  Later, in a scintillating insult, Schwarzenegger calls him, “Christmas Tree.”

Subzero: named because he kills people in a giant hockey rink (Again: I guess?) is definitely the fattest person to ever wear ice skates.  He’s at least 3 Tara Lipinskis wide and roughly 8 Brian Boitanos when he steps on the scale.  Or should I say ate Brian Boitanos?  Right?  Right?  On a final note, check the gigantic metal cup he’s rocking.


Buzzsaw: a guy who’s basically a super-roided up version of Mike Holmgren that goes into battle wearing a shirt made entirely out of hookers’ fishnets and he rides a motorcycle.  His weapon is a chainsaw, so his name kind of makes sense.  Needless to say, he’s quickly owned by Schwarzenegger.

Fireball: played by Hall of Famer Jim Brown, with hair like a black J. Jonah Jameson, this villain wears what looks like chain mail and flies around using his flamethrower/jetpack.  In the scheme of things, this might be the most realistic of all the characters.

And the piece de resistance:

Captain Freedom: played by another former governor (*Author’s note: well played, Minnesota), Jesse the Body, this bad guy spends the majority of his time in the game show studio where he demonstrates how not to wear a terrible wig.  The ‘stache alone puts this movie in elite territory.

Since I’m roughly 1,100 words in on a post that will surely get me lambasted by some 15-year-olds who know way too much about The Hunger Games than they should, I think I should just leave it at three reasons. 

In summation– ladies and gentleman of the Burnpoetry jury: any movie, I repeat, any movie that stars Jesse The Body, The Governator, Professor Toru Tanaka, Jim Brown and Dweezil Zappa must be given immediate and a Marianas-Trench-deep level of respect as one of the greatest post-apocalyptic, gladiatorial game show movies of all time.

Nothing further, your Honor.


  1. madhat says:

    I own the Hunger Games (novel) if you’d like to read it. It’s actually got a lot more to it than what
    you gleaned from the trailers, etc. I have to admit – I found it good reading.

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