Shakespeare introduced us to the concept of a “show within a show” by staging a play within a play. This was introduced in the play, “Hamlet,” in which everyone is watching a puppet play depicting the murder of the king by the king’s brother. Prince Hamlet, the current king (his uncle) and his mother (the queen, who married his uncle after his father’s death) are also watching.
Reality TV is the name of the concept now, and it has been successfully carried out in various movies. It’s interesting to see what kind of plot twists and story lines have been incorporated into box office gold. Here are reality TV style movies I know you’ll enjoy.
You can watch them online, rent or purchase the DVD’s. Many of these movies are in my own collection because of their unique story lines.
Running Man (1987)
This blockbuster starred Richard Dawson, the host of the TV show, “Family Feud.” Other notable celebrities include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, both former governors. Criminals are recruited for a reality TV show called “The Running Man.” The contestants, as they are called, must make it through a maze while being hunted by stalkers. The stalkers will kill the convicts on the air. If a contestant makes it to the end of the maze, he or she receives a full pardon and a dream vacation.
Citizen Verdict (2003)
What would happen if a death penalty case were treated as a reality TV show in which the public voted for the verdict and sentence? This movie takes reality TV to a new and terrifying level. Armand Assante and Jerry Springer are spectacular in this film. Members of the public weigh in on the morality of such a program and their segments are interspersed throughout the film.
The Truman Show (1998)
Truman, played by Jim Carey, is a man who grew up in a seemingly normal family in a normal town. Unfortunately, he’s been the subject of a TV show; all his friends, family, classmates and neighborhood are made up of actors. The trauma of finding out has interesting consequences. This is a great movie for reality TV fans, especially those who watch shows that follow real families around.
Death Racers (2008)
This is an interesting take on the concept of a car race and reality TV. The contestants are violent criminals who are awarded points for killing people during the race. People are allowed to try to attack the racers, but the racers fight back. The winners get to meet the infamous Reaper. This movie contains foul language and graphic violent content. Fans of the Insane Clown Posse will enjoy this film.
Death Race 2000 (2008)
David Carradine plays a character named Frankenstein, a two-time Death Race champion. He’s the only one to survive two races. Sylvester Stallone plays a contestant bent on winning the race. The race is across the country; contestants rack up scores by killing pedestrians of various ages and genders. They also have to contend with a resistance group that hates the race. You have to see this movie to believe it. It’s kind of hokey, but worth watching. The contestants are not criminals, they’re race car drivers; the winner gets to shake hands with Mr. President. Wow.
Death Race (2008)
This race doesn’t take place in the streets; the course and drivers are in a maximum security prison. The racers have one objective: win four races in a row and receive a pardon. The problem is, the vehicles are armored and armed to the teeth. There is no resistance, the drivers are out to kill each other. After all, if the competition is eliminated, the survivor wins. Jason Statham plays Frankenstein, a masked racer with three wins. The trouble is, the original racer died and he’s a replacement. Almost no one else knows, and the warden will do anything to keep the TV ratings for the show high.
The Condemned (2007)
A nefarious entrepreneur gathers a group of condemned prisoners from around the world. His idea is to take the prisoners to an island in international waters and make them an offer. Last one standing gets a full pardon and his or her freedom. All of the prisoners are notorious murderers, which makes the competition worth watching online. Worldwide subscriptions pour in while the prisoners fight for their lives. Look for WWE’s own Stone Cold Steve Austin as one of the prisoners.
Death Watch (1980)
A man has a small TV camera implanted in his head and films a woman dying of cancer without her knowledge. Her struggle, family and feelings are broadcast for all to see. This is an interesting statement about privacy in the age of nanny cams, cell phone video cameras, security cameras and web cams on computers. And that’s just inside one home. Wonder if anything you do in your home will wind up online?
If you have any doubts whether you should show these films to children, watch them yourself first. They make an interesting part of any DVD collection.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.