Sunday, July 31, 2011

Discussion about The Running Man and a Cooler

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

Last year (I think) I started reviewing Stephen King books that I’m reading and movies that I’m watching. It’s not that I’m fully neglecting it as much as I don’t read that fast. I’ll have to go back and see what I wrote then, and see what I’ve read since then. I know I was reading “Night Shift” at that time. But today, I’d like to talk about “The Running Man” specifically.

On Thursday night I was trying to finish reading Richard Bachman’s fourth novel, “The Running Man.” I was reading it in “The Bachman Books” collection, and it was the last one to read in the collection. I was at work, and the sun was starting to go down. I got out of my truck, and sat on the tailgate. When it got too dark to see, I found a mini-flashlight I had and sat down to finish the 22 pages I had left.

I want you to keep in mind that I’d used this mini-flashlight the night before, when I went to relieve another guard and to work that post. He claims he wasn’t asleep, but I yelled at him, honked my horn, and shone the flashlight in his face. It wasn’t until I knocked on his window that he heard me. He claimed that it was because he had his radio loud, which it was very loud. But just the next night, mini-flashlight didn’t work. I examined it, and somehow that day the battery had burst in the heat.

So I decided to start up my laptop and do something else. I figured I could finish reading the book later when I was running my truck to charge my laptop. I could turn on the dome light then and read. Except that when I had put the laptop on standby before coming to work, it didn’t shut down all the way. So having been there four hours, the laptop battery was dead. It looked like I’d be charging it and finishing “The Running Man” sooner rather than later.

Then I got a call from another guard who was at a nearby post. He described a situation where there was a vehicle sitting across the street. I told him to call our dispatch number and see what they thought, because I wasn’t familiar with his post. When he called me back he said that dispatch was a little worried about it, because it was suspicious. More out of curiosity than anything, I called the dispatch number and asked if they would like me to drive over there and check it out since that guard couldn’t unlock the front gate. They said yes, so I drove off to go check it out.

As you may remember, my tailgate was down. Somewhere along the way, the cooler that I keep my soda and food in fell out. I noticed when I got to the other post. It turned out the truck across the street was supposed to be there. The thing is that all that took about ten minutes. Surely my cooler would be sitting wherever it fell out. Nope. Someone had already picked it up. I’m not sure why anyone would drive along and go, “Look someone dropped an old cooler. I think I’ll take it.” But they did.

And I didn’t finish reading “The Running Man” that night either.

I did finish it the next night though. It was good. Not the best of the early Bachman books, but it was good. I remember liking the movie as a kid, but I suspected that the two stories had some major differences to them. The major one being that I couldn’t imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the character in the book, and not just because of physical description. I spoke with my dad, and he said the movie was very different.

So I looked up the movie on You Tube, and it was there. Three minutes into the movie, and I was already realizing that they took the basic story concept and just wrote their own story. Thirty minutes into it now, and I’m really wondering if they even read the book. It almost seems like they just had a list of character names (not even occupations) and a basic plot outline. I’m sure I’ll finish watching it, but I’m not really thinking it’s all that good now. It was turned into an action hero movie, when it was an anti-hero story. I guess the screenwriters misheard. I wasn’t a fan of “Commando” either, so it’s not just because I recently read the book of “The Running Man.”

And in case you’re wondering, Nathan bought me a cooler as a souvenir when he and his wife went on vacation. It was smaller than the one I lost, but it was similar in design, so he said, “I’ll get that for Chris.” I am now using that.

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