A Movie A Day #332: Surviving The Game (1994, directed by Ernest R. Dickerson)

Jack Mason (Ice-T) has been living on the streets of Seattle ever since the death of his wife and daughter.  When Cole (Charles S. Dutton), the friendly man at the soup kitchen, tells Mason that he can get him a job, the suicidal Mason accepts.  It turns out that a group of wealthy men are going on a hunting trip and they need a guide to lead them through the wilderness.  Mason accepts but, upon arriving, he discovers that the men (who are played by Rutger Hauer, F. Murray Abraham, William McNamara, John C. McGinley, and, of course, Gary Busey) are actually planning on playing the most dangerous game and hunting him for the weekend.

There are definitely better versions out there of Richard Connell’s famous short story.  One of the best, John Woo’s Hard Target, was released a year before Surviving the Game.  Both films share the idea of rich men hunting down the homeless for fun.  Surprisingly, it is Woo’s film that seems to take the idea, with all of its societal implications, more seriously.  Surviving the Game may present Jack Mason as being a suicidal homeless man but there is never any doubt that he is actually Ice-T, everyone’s favorite rapper and all-around badass.  But it’s precisely because Ice-T has such a recognizable persona that Surviving the Game is a guilty pleasure.  There is never any doubt that Ice-T can survive the game because Ice-T is the fucking game.  Matching Ice-T every step of the way is a rogue’s gallery of recognizable character actors, all of whom bring a different type of crazy to the proceedings.  When a movie delivers the spectacle of Ice-T being hunted by and then hunting Gary Busey and Rutger Hauer, it is easy to forgive whatever plot holes might be present in the script.

One final note: Surviving the Game was directed by Ernest R. Dickerson.  Dickerson got his start of Spike Lee’s cinematographer so it’s not surprising that Surviving the Game looks great.


2017 Year In Review : Top 10 Single Issues

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

And so it’s that time of year again : let the debating begin, I suppose, as the various “Top 10” lists begin to hit the internet in earnest, but one thing I think we can all agree on — it’s been quite a year in the world of comics. The underground lost luminaries Jay Lynch and Skip Williamson, the mainstream lost Swamp Thing co-creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson — there have been some tough moments.

But there have also been a number of “highs,” as well — in fact, one could make a fairly convincing argument that 2017 has seen more really fucking good comics published than any year in recent memory. To that end, then, we’re splitting this annual “best of” round-up into several columns, the basics of which will proceed as follows :

The top 10 graphic novels list will be pretty much exactly what it sounds…

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Music Video Of The Day: There’s A Beast And We All Feed It by Jake Bugg (2014, dir by Bob Harlow)

Hi there!  Lisa here with today’s music video of the day!

Welcome to life on the Bayou!

This video is for a song by Jake Bugg.  It’s called There’s A Beast and We All Feed It.  One reason I like this song is because it’s only 99 seconds long, which is perfect for my miniscule attention span.  Despite the short running time, this video manages to include just about everything that you might expect to find living on the bayou.  Alligators.  Shoplifting.  Guns.  Drugs.  Dogs.  Bizarre religious rituals.  They’re all here.

I have admit that one reason why I like this video is because I “know” all of these people.  When I was growing up, my family lived all over the country.  We spent time in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, and, of course, Texas.  Even though I’m happy to have escaped it, I still know the world in which this video is set.

The song itself is a Dylanesque attack on conformity.  Check out the lyrics:

They grin but they don’t mean it
They sing but they don’t feel it
They’re gone but they don’t see it
They can call but they can’t heed it
They think but they don’t speak it
There’s a beast eating every bit of beauty
And they all feed it
Stop a moment, try to freeze it
Find and they don’t seek it
At the bar but they can’t meet it
Try their best but they can’t beat it
Nice car, somebody keys it
There’s a beast easting every bit of beauty
And yes they feed it
Not a finger pointer
I will not cry your name
For yeah brothers and sisters
We are one ‘n’ the same
But when my sister suffers
And when my mother cries
All I want to do
Is look in someone’s eyes and say
You sleep but you don’t dream it
You’re sly but you don’t seem it
You’re busy as a flea pit
You struggle to perceive it
Is it hard to believe it
There’s a beast eating every bit of beauty
And yes you feed it
I’m not a finger pointer
I will not cry your name
For yeah brothers and sisters
We are one ‘n’ the same
But when my sister suffers
I have my mothers job
All I want to do
Is look in someone’s eyes and say
Somehow we’d better speak it
We’re scared someone will tweet it
It’s on the wall but you won’t read it
It’s gone before you see it
We all dread to repeat it
There’s a beast eating every bit of beauty
And yes we all feed it

Anyway, enjoy!