Although the movie world has established genres such as westerns and horror films, recently there has been more of a trend to develop some more modern alternatives.
With highly successful movies like The Matrix and The Social Network offering a fun twist on technological themes, there is a whole new area for the modern filmmaker to play in. But one area that has blossomed in recent years are films that deal with the rise of reality TV.
Jackass: The Movie
Although it may not quite have the same sense of futuristic abandon as The Running Man, Jackass: The Movie pinpoints a definite modern trend; that of reality TV stars inexplicably becoming media figures courtesy of their on-screen exploits.
Such trends can be seen in the likes of many reality TV shows from Made In Chelsea to X Factor where stars are formed out of the general public, and can even become the subject of online betting sites like Flashbitch that offer a variety of X Factor odds. These shows offer a glimpse into the world of real individuals in a way that fictional accounts cannot match and as such, they offer ripe pickings for feature films.
And with respected filmmakers like Spike Jonze rushing to produce films like Jackass: The Movie, it’s a testament to how powerful this new art form has become.
The Running Man
In the 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger reigned supreme at the box office with a string of hits that dealt with dystopian themes such as The Terminator and the successful adaption of the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale that became the iconic Total Recall. But one of his often unfairly overlooked films from this period was The Running Man.
This was based on a book by Stephen King and saw Schwarzenegger as an unfairly imprisoned policeman who is given the chance to escape courtesy of a nightmarish TV show. The concept of the television show is to allow felons to escape, but only if they can flee some truly horrifying stalkers and assassins. And true to form, Schwarzenegger ramped up the action with some spectacular action and some wildly memorable dialogue!
The Truman Show
For those looking for a slightly more subtle twist on the reality TV film, the 1998 hit movie The Truman Show offers a much more emotionally in-depth take.
Featuring a surprisingly humbling starring performance from Jim Carrey, the movie follows an individual who gradually suspects that his entire life is the focus of a reality TV show.
And with an inventive portrayal of the media-constructed world in which Carrey’s character lives courtesy of director Peter Weir, it’s stood the test of time as a defining statement upon the curious phenomenon of reality television.