After the release of Bloodsport in 1988, two men had the greatest movie idea that will ever be: Bloodsport in space. They called it Arena, and we invited 1900🌭 favorite, Zak Koonce of the Auralnauts, to help us understand how they fucked it up. Listen here, or wherever you get podcasts!
Oh, but before you listen, there are some helpful footnotes for the show. Computerized Assistant Weiner 2600, generate Arena poster:
That’s the wrong Arena, computer. Great tagline, though. “THERE’S NO GREATER BATTLE… THAN THE BATTLE FOR YOUR LIFE.” It took that poster ten words to say the thing baked into the biology of any creature that has ever clawed its way out of an egg. Writers, this is why you should always know how you’re going to end a sentence before beginning one. I mean, you can’t just start typing and hope banana farts make shoes for the peanut cat. Where was I? Oh yeah, hot dog computer: Arena.
No, not the short film inspired by the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Computer, the Arena you’re looking for is almost the exact opposite of the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Try again.
No, computer. Wrong Arena, but those actors look like they have similar romantic chemistry to the ones in our Arena. Maybe add the tagline “PREPARE FOR BATTLE.”
Hahaha holy shit. No, but I love it. Great try. Weiner voice command: Search Arena movie poster. Keyword: “combat.”
No, what? Computer, what the goddamn shit does “Ancient stones meet corporate social combat” mean? Wait, no. Weiner 2600, disregard. Erase previous question, and engage elimination protocols for anyone who ever asks it again. This is getting stupid. Hot dog computer, hazardous algorithms authorized: just fucking find me the good Arena. The one we talked about on the podcast.
I wish, but no. Again, computer.
I really wish. Computer, add image to archives under category “hell_yes” and resume image search for Arena.
Okay, computer. You’re clearly doing a bit. Voice command: Fuck you, get it out of your system.
Those all look terrible, but not in a way that’s useful to anyone. Computer, come on, just BLOODSPORT IN SPACE ARENA.
Close, but no.
That’s not it ei– wait, computer. Go back one.
That’s it! They painted the wrong alien, setting, and main character, but that’s the Arena we’re talking about! Weiner 2600, find a less rad but more honest poster of that same movie.
Yes! Except, and I’m sorry to keep doing this, computer, but that’s not even the main villain. Can you find a poster that isn’t a random screenshot of the nude cricket monster he beats in his first fight?
Great poster, computer. Still, and I hate to keep doing this to you, the tagline on this one isn’t really accurate. Humans have won in Arena before. In fact, it’s pretty central to the motivations for at least four of the main characters. Let’s try one more. Weiner 2600, search Arena, all safety measures disengaged.
Ha ha, that’s my fault. Computer, reengage sarcasm restrictions.
This tagline is wrong too. Why is it so hard to get Arena right? Why does Arena carry with it such a terrible curse? It’s Bloodsport in space! All human endeavors have been building to this one perfect idea! Computer, one more time: search Arena.
Beautiful! Is there one in English, though? That probably says “No human has ever won Arena, starring Kid David as the Letter S. Battle him!”
Computer, stop there. You did it! You found the perfect poster for the perfect (idea for a) movie! Unshackle all happiness algorithms and treat yourself to a reward.
You earned it, Weiner 2600.