Cinematic audiences just love watching people thrown into the gauntlet of competition… but games in film aren’t anything like schoolyard tag or hide-and-go seek, unless your version of hide-and-go seek had pistols or mutant dogs. Hollywood’s biggest “games” tend to be deadly, dangerous, and dehumanizing. But if you had to pick, which of these movie games would you most like to play?
The Hunger Games
The big mean Capitol rips 24 starving children from their homes so that they can starve on live TV. But now they’re starving while fighting to the death. Such great television! The last child alive wins and gets a big house to live in… not in the fancy Capitol, of course. Can’t have that District riff raff mixing into society. You still have to live in your poor, decrepit neighborhood. But at least your house is bigger than your neighbors’.
Fun Level: 2
In Ender’s Game, Ender has to spend his childhood on a space station where he plays simulated battles that will train him to fight off an alien invasion. If he fails and the aliens blow up the Earth, he’ll have to deal with been reminded incessantly of how he let down the human race. Oh, wait, no, everyone would be dead. But hey, at least he went to space camp.
Fun Level: 5
In The Game, Nicholas Van Orton is given the gift of an interactive game whose sole purpose is to ruin his life to such an immeasurable degree that he leaps off of a building at the end of the film just to get away from it all. You know what, how about next year you just get him a nice card, or a fruitcake? Yes, even a fruitcake would be better. A fruitcake.
Fun Level: 2.5
You think you’re going to enjoy a peaceful weekend at the old lake house when a couple of creepy blond guys dressed in white bust in wanting some eggs. Next thing you know, they’ve broken your leg, killed your dog, and tortured your family. Oh, and they also have a tendency for breaking the fourth wall and warping reality… so things are really looking up for you this vacation. You should have just went to Disneyland. People don’t kill you at Disneyland. Well… usually.
Fun Level: -5
Avoid movie games at all cost. Except The Movie Game, that one’s usually a good time.