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the running man
so obvious it hurts
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
pop culture

By the time this hits your monitor screen, another column about Schwarzenegger's run for Governor of California will be the last thing you want to read. So, if you've heard it all and don't really care anymore, I understand. Gary Coleman appreciates your lack of interest, I'm sure.

I really only have one small, stupid point anyway, and while it amuses me greatly, it will probably seem painfully obvious to anyone who was born in or around 1971. As a matter of fact, my point is so pointless that I wouldn't be afraid to stick it into my own eye. All the same, I think I'll take my time getting to it.

There was a time, not too long ago, when another movie star took up the Governor's role in California. His name was Ronald Reagan, and he was the first president that I ever really paid any attention to. I had been peripherally aware of a guy with funny teeth in the Seventies, who talked funny and looked funny, and I guess I knew his name was Jimmy Carter, and I guess I knew he was The President. But it wasn't until Reagan was in office that I had any real awareness of politics and the people who were Running The Show (see: Lying Shamelessly to The Public).

I remember a lot of people made much ado about Ronnie having been an actor in some forgotten age that, to me, seemed like an awfully long time ago. I remember thinking, "come on, give the guy a break, that was like, another life ago, fer sure".

I couldn't grasp how strange it might be to see the guy who played an undercover agent in "Cattle Queen of Montana", sitting there in the Oval Office addressing the nation with those same pale, pleasant features and that same, raspy-deep voice.

Now, years later, I am acutely aware of America's lean toward celebrity worship. I myself have fully embraced pop culture and all of its trappings from the time I was a wee lad running around in Gene Simmons makeup, strumming the holy Hell out of a tennis racket. I watch lots of movies, and with all the hours of television I have under my belt, I could've learned several languages, cured cancer, fed the starving children of the world and engineered a warp-capable spacecraft. Many times over.

I could've, but TV Land was playing a "Fish" marathon, and there's no way I was gonna miss that...

So, as an entertainment junkie, I'm pretty much wrapped up in the whole celebrity news thing. I don't necessarily go looking for it, but if I happen to flip the TV on and E! is delivering some seriously compelling hardcore gossip about the cast of X-Men, I am so totally there.

I do lean toward the science fiction / action adventure side of things, which is why - and here comes my point, everyone - I can't believe I haven't seen one stinking article or news blast that mentions the fact that Arnold AND Jesse "The Body" Ventura (also known as the Pro Wrestler Who Became Governor of Minnesota) starred together in not one but TWO of the greatest, classic sci-fi action adventures of all time: The Running Man and Predator.

Now, The Running Man was a movie adaptation of a novella written by Richard Bachman, aka Stephen King. In the film, Arnold plays a man living in the not-too-distant future, framed for a crime he didn't commit. He's captured by authorities and forced to try and survive a public-execution-style game show, hosted by none other than Richard Dawson. He's chased by a bunch of goofy headhunters, all of whom get their asses kicked, with the exception of Captain Freedom (played by Ventura), who sides with Arnie in the end. Finally, Dawson gets strapped to a rocket and launched into a wall or something. GREAT film-making, folks. I'm not kidding.

In Predator, Arnold leads an elite fighting team through the jungles of Latin America in search of some missing American soldiers. What they find is an ugly-ass alien who collects skulls. Ventura's character Blain is given just enough time to cuss, glower, and spit his way into our ever-lovin' hearts before the alien nails him, only a third of the way into the film.

In both movies, Arnold is The Hero, the BIg Winnah, The Guy Fourteen-Year-Old-Boys-Everywhere Want To Be. A real badd-ass. So here we are, 2003 and counting. Arnold is doing the "Moderate Republican" thing in California, and all those fourteen-year-olds are now thirty-somethings. Arnie's a man of the people, a real man's man too. Not to mention the fact that he kicked Predator's ass!

When people head to the voting booths in California, will they choose based on entertainment value? If so, then obviously Arnold is the clear choice. Still, I'm sure some folks will be confused on this point, and they'll wonder what to do. Will they go for the sheer comedic value of Gary Coleman? The cost of custom-sized podiums alone could break budgets statewide. Do you vote for the porn star or the billboard queen? Which of them will sound more stupid being interviewed on CNN? Now that's funny!

An amendment to the constitution that would allow naturalized immigrants to run for office would make it possible for Arnold to run for President someday. Imagine that. Ventura could run with him or against him, and, in either case, we'd get to enjoy these to world-class entertainers, together again.

It would even make a great movie.


Brown eyes, brown hair, bluejeans and a T-shirt. Digs loud guitars and good design. Easily hypnotized by green-eyed blondes, shiny leather, B-movies, and brightly packaged foods. He's got a bustle in his hedgerow - but he is NOT alarmed.

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tracey kelley
8.27.03 @ 8:26a

Well, this is classic. I never made that movie connection.

Jesse was in Iowa recently, slummin' at the National Wrestling Musuem. He looked happier than he's been in 5 years.

erik myers
8.27.03 @ 10:03a

A real badd-ass.

Is that like a Color Me Badd ass? If so, I want no part in it.

I, for one, think that Arnold should try to get the Constitution amended so that he can run for President -- and for this exact reason. Can't you see it? Running mates: Ahnold and Jesse "The Governor" Ventura. Co-stars on the screen, co-stars on the podium, co-stars in office.

Seriously. If you were an opposing world leader, would you screw around with a couple of guys that could bench press you?

jael mchenry
8.27.03 @ 10:18a

I would like to be entertained by politics, but I'm too busy being appalled.

And thinking about moving to Canada.

brian anderson
8.27.03 @ 10:20a

Jael, I've checked it out. The best things to do are to bring lots of money, have a spouse, or set up a job with a Canadian company before you apply for immigration.

Or have a Canadian parent.

jeff miller
8.27.03 @ 10:33a

Canada? Really? Don't think that would be my first choice, but that's just me. Besides, it seems to me that escaping American politics (or American entertainers, for that matter) ain't quite so simple as leaving the country. Our super-hype-world-dominance-trend-slamming machiine will find you anywhere you go. Now quit complaining,go rent a DVD, and have a Coke... or something.

trey askew
8.27.03 @ 10:46a

I'm looking for Harry Tasker Arnold (True Lies). Now that guy would be a great president. Or maybe Conan although the current administration may leave him no enemies to see driven before him.

mike julianelle
8.27.03 @ 10:56a

Your Sub-Zero, now, PLAIN Zero!

jeff miller
8.27.03 @ 11:02a

My favorite Arnold quote:


(any movie, but there's some really good ones in Total Recall)


mike julianelle
8.27.03 @ 11:09a

I will snap your neck like a chicken's.

jason gilmore
9.8.03 @ 12:09a

Good article and very funny. I forgot that Jesse The Body was in The Running Man, shows how long it's been since I saw that movie. Things are a little scary out here in Califonia, we've got action heros, porn stars and child stars running for Governor. Darn greedy Repubs are messing up everything.

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