This summer is bursting with an array of new and revived shows for nightly entertainment while the cineplexes offer large-screen blockbusters. ABC is broadcasting an updated “Match Game” with Alec Baldwin and “$100,000 Pyramid” with Michael Strahan, and “Celebrity Family Feud” with Steve Harvey returns. GSN has added “Winsanity” with Donald Faison.
Game shows aren’t just for television. Many films have featured them as plot points or the setting for the entire film. In fact, there is one game show movie that has won the best picture Oscar. I has a soft spot for this post because: 1) I’m a big game show fan and 2) I was named after a contestant who appeared on a short-lived game show from the 1970s. Here are some films that blend television fun with cinema.
“Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)
Starring Dev Patel, the film centers around a Mumbai teenager who is accused of cheating as he makes his way up through India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Tracing back how he knows the answers, Jamal (Patel) retraces his life’s story in order to prove he didn’t cheat. The movie, directed by Danny Boyle, won eight Oscars, including best picture and best director.
“Quiz Show” (1994)
Based on the 1950s “Twenty-One” game show scandal, Robert Redford directs Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro and Rob Morrow in the tense drama. The movie chronicles the investigation into allegations that the show was rigged, that certain contestants were given answers before the show. The film was nominated for four Oscars.
“Confessions of a Dangerous Man” (2002)
George Clooney directed the dramedy and Charlie Kaufman adapted the memoir of “The Gong Show” host Chuck Barris. Sam Rockwell stars as the showman who insists he was a hitman for the CIA.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, “Magnolia” features three San Fernando Valley storylines that intersect among characters. A common link is a children’s trivia show “What Do Kids Know?” Among the characters are Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), the show host who is dying of cancer; Stanley Spector (Jeremy Blackman), a whiz kid who is pressured by his parents to win money for them, and Quiz Kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), a grown-up former contestant whose life is in shambles.
The campy thriller directed by Brian De Palma begins with a “Candid Camera”-style game show where Danielle (Margot Kidder) and Phillip (Lisle Wilson) meet and win a dinner date. Let’s just say that Phillip met the worst of the date thanks to Danielle’s twin, Dominique.
The Kevin Smith comedy features Jason Lee and Jeremy London who travel to the mall when their girlfriends dump them. To get the women back, the two buddies appear on “Truth or Date,” a mall show modeled after “The Dating Game.”