The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

7 Movies Based on Sadistic Fictional Games (Rejected Writing, pt.1)

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I’ve mentioned before that Bo Ledman and I talk about all kinds of crazy stuff when we ride bikes in the summer.  It’s not a sometimes proposition–every week when we ride from The Duck Inn to Independence Grove and back, we stumble upon some crazy tangent and end up exploring some deep angle of it.  Late last summer, we somehow got to talking about fictional games characters have played on TV shows and in movies.  The longer we talked, the more we came up with.  Before the end of the ride, it hit me:  We have an idea for an article we could submit to America’s Only Humor Site.

I’ve been a follower of Cracked since its inception (and I’ve linked to it here since I moved to WordPress).  They’ve evolved into a site known mostly for their pop culture lists, and more times than not after my daily fix of Cracked, I’m left thinking that somebody came up with a pretty cool idea and got me thinking about something I hadn’t really thought about before– and the renowned Cracked irreverence is always good for a laugh or two.  It helps that Cracked accepts reader-generated ideas and the staff writers will even help develop those ideas into full-length, featured lists.  I thought the idea Bo and I had about fictional games would be a shoe-in, and convinced him that we should go for it.

We spent a lot of time brainstorming every fictional game we could think of.  I was pretty impressed with our list, which we kept on the dry-erase board here in the editorial suite of The Seeker.

Writing, though, is plagued with obstacles.  I wanted to make sure that we were doing something original, and it turned out that we weren’t.  I found a website where someone had created a list of fictional games similar to ours, and that pretty much torpedoed our original notion.  But this is why we brainstorm as writers, and why we need to have visual representations of our thinking.  I looked at our list, and started to notice entire movies that were based on certain types of fictional games.  Bingo! I thought…  there’s our angle:  Seven Movies Based on Sadistic Fictional Games.  It still echoed of our original idea, but was also tightly focused, which in my mind made it even better.

Bo and I settled on a structure, took turns writing and editing the seven different entries over the course of a few weeks last September, and pushed our idea to the folks at Cracked.  As I said, I thought we’d be a shoe-in.  We were insightful, funny, original, irreverent…  everything Cracked goes for.  I think we had the most fun imitating the Cracked style of writing, which I found librating in some ways.

Unfortunately, the folks at Cracked had different thoughts on our thoughts.  The rapid feedback they provided was best summed up by the third person who looked at our idea:

“What you have here right now is a straight-up list with no twist and no surprising elements. I also really like his suggestion of maybe trying to research (using studies etc.) if such violent games would actually have a positive impact on society. Maybe start with Gladiator games – were they essential to the development of Ancient Rome? It would certainly make for a good entry on SOME kind of list, but I don’t know what yet. Still, it’s a fascinating idea and I think you should pursue it. See what you can come up with.”
We appreciated the encouragement to keep developing the idea, but eventually decided to let things go.  It’s still a solid piece of writing, though, and one worth sharing here for those of you who don’t mind digesting some microwaved rejects.  I’ll start the list today and continue it tomorrow…

7 Movies Based on Sadistic Fictional Games by Jeff Burd and Bo Ledman

If there’s one thing we all love, it’s a feel-good sports-based film, whether it’s an underdog overcoming a long shot (Rudy, Hoosiers), or a fact-based account of athletes winning out despite differences (Chariots of Fire, Remember the Titans, Miracle).  Sometimes we end up with a sports-themed tear-jerker (Pride of the Yankees, Bang the Drum Slowly), and sometimes we get a riff on the sports theme and get a movie based on a game instead of an actual sport (Searching for Bobby Fisher, The Hustler).  But what happens when some wise-ass writers and directors get together and subvert our beloved sport- and game-soaked culture, showing that when you break it all down, sports and games can just as frequently reflect the poorest and most depraved aspects of our society and can even be used to manipulate the masses?  We thought you’d be curious about that, so we are happy to enlighten you by telling you about the following films.

The 10th Victim (La Decima Vettima) (1965)

Director:  Elio Petri

Cast:  Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress

In a not-so-distant dystopian future, a game has been invented to supplant aggression by doing the exact opposite:  Allowing certain people to be as wantonly aggressive as they need to be to win, which pretty much means you’re expected kill the shit out of the opponent.  But before you get any crazy ideas, it’s not a total free-for-all—you have to be licensed for this!  Once you are licensed to kill (cue James Bond music…), you are an official hunter-killer, and you are pitted against other officially licensed hunter-killers to see who kills whom.  The fun comes in as a hunter-killer tries to figure out who is pursuing him and then strategizes against that person.  The big money is rewarded to a hunter-killer who can survive ten rounds each as a hunter-killer and a target. The game is played in public, so kills can happen in front of people watching movies, eating at sidewalk cafés, or discretely masturbating on crowded busses.

Cool Rules:  Anything goes!  Mastroianni scores a kill by blowing up his target with a pair of riding boots rigged to explode when the heels are clicked together.  Andress rigs her bra with a set of guns and shoots her target with her boobs (not only inspiring the Austin Powers fembots, but also striking a blow for feminists tired of men remarking about a woman’s “killer rack”).

Probability of Dying While Playing the Game:  Extremely High.  Duh!

Likelihood of Playing the Game in Real Life:  Low, though the early rounds of American Idol would be infinitely more watchable if Fox executives found a way to mash up the rules with The 10th Victim.

Rollerball (1975)

Director:  Norman Jewison

Cast:  James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams

In the dystopian future of 2018, the world is dominated by mega-corporations that control everything from transportation to food.  The upside is that the conservative fascist douchebags who are no doubt in control have eliminated war, having replaced it with Rollerball, a sport more asskickingly great than mixed martial arts, football, boxing, rugby, lacrosse, and quidditch combined.  To compete, and to kick as much ass as possible, teams deck themselves out like members of GWAR and skate around an indoor track, a la Roller Derby, trying to possess a ball used to score points.  The game is so popular that nobody seems to mind that the mega-corporations have stripped individuals of their rights and even manipulate historical records.  It’s like neo-Communism all over again in a futuristic setting.

Cool Rules:  In addition to being allowed to maim and/or kill the opponent, each team can use three players on motorcycles to tow team members or run over the opposition.

Probability of Dying While Playing the Game:  Very High, especially if (spoiler alert!) you play for New York and face James Caan’s Houston team for the championship (unless you are the one player he spares at the end).

Likelihood of Playing the Game in Real Life:  Low.  Despite the ever-present threat of douchebag corporations taking over the world, a sanctioned blood sport would have little chance of securing a TV deal critical to sustaining the league and transforming it into a bloated cash cow with an untold amount of Byzantine broadcast regulations (because the NFL Network already has the corner on that market).


Written by seeker70

August 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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