The Hunger Games (2012) -vs- The Running Man (1987)

March 23, 2012 Nicole Marchesani

President Snow (Donald Sutherland) shares his philosophy in this weekend’s blockbuster film, The Hunger Games, “The only thing stronger than fear is hope.” He and his kind have built their dystopia on this theory: if the people they subjugate don’t have a way to cope, they could get violent. Better to give them some pre-packaged violence and distract them.

The odds are stacked heavily against both Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games and Ben Richards of The Running Man to win in their own futuristic sporting arenas. But they are motivated to try, each having not just their own lives but the lives of the people they love at stake. While millions of people watch, they suffer and struggle to make it to the end. The only thing keeping them going is hope.

It seems harsh to subject these characters to another bloody arena, but as the films prove, audiences love a good fight. We can’t lie. So do we. […]

Brokedown Palace (1999) -vs- Return to Paradise (1998)

June 29, 2011 Mark Sanchez

Oh, to be young, independent, sexy… and rotting in some hellhole of a foreign prison.

Young Americans take a lot of things for granted. The right to party, to be spontaneous, to make quick friends, to stiff a rental service or skate on some free drinks, that kind of thing. Mostly they get away with it, and when things go bad, they can usually talk their way out of the consequences or get a lawyer to talk for them.

Around the time Bill Clinton was getting impeached for breaking the rules himself, Hollywood got in a game of chicken on two films about young American travelers who make some mistakes in judgment, run afoul of very strict drug laws and end up in nightmares they can’t wake up from. […]

The Green Mile (1999) -vs- The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

September 30, 2009 Rodney Twelftree

Prison movies have a long and proud history in Hollywood, keeping us in rapt attention to the plight of the modern-day inmate. While Hollywoods idealized prisoner is traditionally the wrongly accused, or the murderer with a heart of gold, there are some films so perfectly realized by a filmmaker that they transcend the genre and become classics in their own right. We have two to put in the ring together that share more than a screen setting. Both 1999s “The Green Mile” and 1994’s “The Shawshank Redemption” sprang from the original imagination of Stephen King and were brought to cinematic life by director Frank Darabont. As we approach the ten-year anniversary of “The Green Mile,” it’s probably time to ask if either film deserves our critical version of a lethal injection? Take our advice: order up what would be your perfect last meal and kick back for a double-header of life behind bars!
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