Americathon (1979)

Movies & Sex

Moderators: Ice Cream Jonsey, AArdvark

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

In Americathon's alternate timeline, Jimmy Carter was lynched in office for not preventing the oil crisis, which led to America running out of gasoline. Carter's successor, President Chet Roosevelt (played by John Ritter) is no relation to the previous President Roosevelt and won the election with his campaign motto, "I'm not a schmuck." President Roosevelt has kept America running by borrowing mass amounts of money from Native Americans, but when they demand their money back, Roosevelt and his staff (lead by Fred Willard) decide to put on a month-long telethon, hosted by Monty Rushmore (Harvey Corman).

While the film's subplots deal with an affair by President Roosevelt and a group of terrorists working with the Native Americans to foreclose on America, the bulk of the film focuses on the telethon and the increasingly ridiculous acts that make their way to the stage. Traditional song-and-dance and ventriloquist acts are quickly replaced by boxing matches (mom vs. son), a man (played by Meat Loaf) who fights a Camaro, and even more outlandish acts. Americathon felt like one part Network and one part Idiocracy.

The movie is ostensibly told from the point of view of a young network executive, who is voiced in voiceovers (but not played by) George Carlin. The voiceover angle is dropped something along the way, and none of the subplots are as interesting or funny as the main film. I realize you can't make a 90 minute film and only show bad stage performances (then it's just a clip show), but if you're going to spend so much time on subplots, you have to make them interesting.

Harvey Corman does a good job as the telethon's MC and I wish he were in more of the film. As part of his payment in the film, Corman's character demanded "a briefcase full of pills," which he continually pops to stay awake for an entire month. Near the end of the film, a hostile takeover goes awry, Corman is shot on stage, and the money starts rolling in, revealing what audiences were hoping to see all along. Every time I review a movie with John Ritter in it I say "he played John Ritter," and this movie is no exception.

In high school I wrote a paper about the best way to get the country out of debt, which I believed was letting convicted murders fight to the death on pay per view. I don't think America (or my teacher) was ready for that idea (fast forward and the owner of the UFC is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, go figure). Maybe a telethon where people randomly get shot live on television isn't so far fetched.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

Flack wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:33 pmIn high school I wrote a paper about the best way to get the country out of debt, which I believed was letting convicted murders fight to the death on pay per view. I don't think America (or my teacher) was ready for that idea (fast forward and the owner of the UFC is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, go figure). Maybe a telethon where people randomly get shot live on television isn't so far fetched.
Wait, you came up with The Running Man?

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

Sorry, it's been a while since I read it. What part of the Running Man was about convicted murderers fighting to the death on Pay Per View?
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

Flack wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:06 pm Sorry, it's been a while since I read it. What part of the Running Man was about convicted murderers fighting to the death on Pay Per View?
Pretty sure it was a show, though I think the contestants were falsely convicted.

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

Does Running Man feature convicted murderers fighting to the death? Are they on Pay Per View?
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

User avatar
pinback
Posts: 15878
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 3:00 pm
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by pinback »

Flack wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:06 pm Sorry, it's been a while since I read it.
Pfff, you don't READ movies, ya silly goose!
In the yard, not too far from the car.

User avatar
Ice Cream Jonsey
Posts: 25266
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 2:44 pm
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

I don't think Running Man had anything to do with that. CO, are you thinking of "Chariots of Fire"?
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:59 pm I don't think Running Man had anything to do with that. CO, are you thinking of "Chariots of Fire"?
Just so you can have this song stuck in your head once again:


Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

Flack wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:05 am Does Running Man feature convicted murderers fighting to the death? Are they on Pay Per View?
Yeah, they were convicted as far as I remember though probably not fairly. Not sure if pay per view is a thing in their fake world but the fake show seemed to be making money somehow.

Are we both talking about "The Running Man" with Arnold? Or are you confusing with something like this:


Or this?:

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

pinback wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:36 am
Flack wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:06 pm Sorry, it's been a while since I read it.
Pfff, you don't READ movies, ya silly goose!
This is probably the source of confusion. According to Wiki, the book is quite different than the movie so Flack and Jonsey probably are thinking about the book which of course they both read.

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

Casual Observer wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:39 pm
pinback wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:36 am
Flack wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:06 pm Sorry, it's been a while since I read it.
Pfff, you don't READ movies, ya silly goose!
This is probably the source of confusion. According to Wiki, the book is quite different than the movie so Flack and Jonsey probably are thinking about the book which of course they both read.
I've read the book and seen the movie. Neither one has anything to do with convicted murderers fighting one another.

Again, to clarify -- are you saying that I got the idea from The Running Man because they both contained people who had been arrested? Are you saying that all works that contain people who have been arrested are somehow derivative? Like do you think Con Air is a rip off of Looney Tunes because of that one time Bugs Bunny went to jail?
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

Psst, Casual Observer -- you want to clear this up before you go traipsing around in other threads? I'd really like you to either state the similarities between my idea and Running Man, or admit that you were wrong. Either is acceptable.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

Flack wrote: Wed Jun 30, 2021 7:25 am Psst, Casual Observer -- you want to clear this up before you go traipsing around in other threads? I'd really like you to either state the similarities between my idea and Running Man, or admit that you were wrong. Either is acceptable.
um, kinda confused. Here is a movie where someone is convicted (falsely) and have to participate in a game show where they have to fight to the death, seems pretty similar to your stupid idea. Sorry your stupid idea had already been come up with by multiple other "writers".

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

My idea consisted of two convicted murderers fighting one another to death on pay-per-view.

Running Man consists of one person falsely convicted of a crime being hunted (not fighting to the death) on a game show (not pay-per-view).

So I guess they're the same except for every single plot point being different.

Wait, they both contain people. Is that your point? They both contain people?
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

Wait, don't think Arnold was the only prisoner made to fight.

User avatar
Flack
Posts: 7871
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Flack »

You win.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

Casual Observer
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:23 pm
Location: Everett, WA, 2 blocks from where the Green River Killer picked them up

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Casual Observer »

You've never watched The Running Man, I take it?

User avatar
Jizaboz
Posts: 3213
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:00 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Jizaboz »

Casual Observer wrote: Thu Jul 01, 2021 2:30 pm You've never watched The Running Man, I take it?
Image

User avatar
Tdarcos
Posts: 7656
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 9:25 am
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Contact:

Re: Americathon (1979)

Post by Tdarcos »

Flack wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:33 pm In high school I wrote a paper about the best way to get the country out of debt, which I believed was letting convicted murders fight to the death on pay per view.
This is the entire plot of Death Race 2000 including that at least one of the murderers was innocent.

It is not the plot of The Runninng Man. Neither in the book nor the movie was pay-per-vew discussed.
"Perhaps she'll understand, if you tell it to her, plain."
- Don McLean, Castles in the Air

Post Reply