Rollerball 1975

Going to the movies with my buddies was a favorite past time as a teenager. Most of these movies were forgettable, but one got permanently lodged in my mind: Rollerball!

 

For 1975, Rollerball was quite violent. While the violent images might have indeed been the catalyst to keep this movie in my cerebral folds, I often referred back to Rollerball as to help gain understanding of workings of the world. Its theme and tone described a society gone bad.

 

Rollerball is a futuristic professional sport. Similar to roller derby, two teams of skaters jostle each other around a track to score points and win the game. There is a lot more violence in this sport than the roller derby of the 1970s: severe injury and death was common in this arena.  And unlike roller derby, this sport is hugely popular in this future time--and perhaps even the focal point of many citizens' lives. Rollerball stars are wealthy and popular and always get the girls.

 

How the society got to this point is an underlying theme of this movie. The "boring parts" are actually quite philosophical, probably not that interesting to the average teenager. It seems there was a bit of a civil war over much of the world. What stopped the fighting were corporate interests who somehow gained control over national governments. The corporations developed treaties amongst themselves for territory and economic rights. Nations and provinces were abandoned. The corporations believed that they were the real providers of peace and prosperity of this new world order. And they sought to maintain that order, which meant sacrificing much  and individual freedom was sacrificed.

 

Each corporation had its own rollerball team. And that is how, outwardly, they competed against each other. But inwardly, the corporations used rollerball to placate citizens under its control. Rollerball was an important diversion from the real machinations of the corporations.

 

The duration of a rollerball player was short-lived. There was just too much violence for a star, regardless of talent and ability, to survive this game for more than a few years. Players routinely became injured or killed. The smarter ones got out of the game early enough to retire very wealthy. Yesterday's stars were soon forgotten. 

 

Except for Jonathan E. Jonathon is a very talented rollerball star. He has survived many rollerball battles, obviously beating the odds by wide marigns. He has reached an age exceptional for a rollerball player. And he loves the game.

 

Jonathon's corporation wants him to retire--despite Jonathon being instrumental in leading the team to the world championship. It seems the public is starting to see Jonathon as a cult figure. And corporations fear big celebrities and how they could upset the social order created by the corporations. The corporation uses all sorts of tactics to force Jonathon to retire, but he doesn't.

 

After the last game of the movie, Jonathon survives a deadly rollerball game. As he skates his victory lap, the crowd yells: JON-A-THON!  JON-A-THON! JON-A-THON!

 

It took me about 30 years to run across that movie again. Amazingly, I remembered most of it. And I understood it a lot better.

 

Have we moved closer to a rollerball world?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 1:11pm
Good stuff, Dave.
Dystopian science fiction is my favorite genre. Although my favorite author; Jack Vance wrote a lot of picaresque adventures, he also wrote some fascinating dystopian adventures.
Yes, our celebrity culture, alone, makes the case.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 22, 2018 - 1:12pm
Makes me think of "The Running Man" in the early 80s too.  But I was just talking about roller rinks from back then a day or so ago...how the coolest, most skilled skaters could impress the girls by skating backwards.  Kind of a funny time.  Seems like a fine set for a Will Ferrell movie.
Stone-Eater Added Feb 22, 2018 - 1:24pm
Dave
 
That was one of the first movies i saw in a cinema. i'm not much of a movie freak ;)
opher goodwin Added Feb 22, 2018 - 2:03pm
Dave - I'll have to have a look at it again. I hadn't picked up on the social aspects when I saw it many many moons ago.
George N Romey Added Feb 22, 2018 - 2:14pm
Dave that along with The Hunger Games is our future. Remember how popular Dowton Abby was in the US a few years back? We actually thought the servants lucky their employer cared for them.
 
Welcome to serfdom 21st century style.
Dave Volek Added Feb 22, 2018 - 4:58pm
George
I kind of recall a Downton Abby series a few years ago. I think I watched half of a show, but watching British aristocrats didn't appeal to me. I went to Wikipedia and found it was indeed quite popular and gave a positive slant to the aristocracy.
 
The Hunger Games--that was a good one!
 
 
 
 
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 5:29pm
I was thinking more like Soylent Green. 
One day during my junior high days, Doug, Daryl, and I skipped school. We were hanging out with the radio playing. Some radio announcer was having a quiz show at a car dealership. I was barely paying attention until someone missed a question. I told those guys, "I know that one. Adlai Stevenson." Doug dialed the number and shoved the phone in my face. I stuttered and stammered and finally blurted out the answer. We 3 went to the dealership and I collected my prize from a surprised pitchman. Two movie tickets. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Silent Running. It could be that Silent Running is responsible for me having a bit of a green bent.
I am embarrassed to admit that I missed Rollerball. I will rectify that, shortly.
George N Romey Added Feb 22, 2018 - 5:43pm
Dave it’s always amazed me how movies from the 70s predicted a world in which 90% of people become expendable to serve the needs of the very rich and powerful. At the time it was sci fi, today a grim reality.
 
Starting in the 80s the lessons of the Great Depression wore off as that generation moved off stage. I remember my father saying any company that would mass fire workers for higher profits had no place on this Earth.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 22, 2018 - 5:59pm
Geo "nostalgia" Romey tries to contend: Remember how popular Dowton (Sic) Abby (Sic) was in the US a few years back? We actually thought the servants lucky their employer cared for them.-Only someone like you would say that it was soooo good for the working class in Edwardian England, or even post WWI.  Things weren't that neat below stairs, despite a TV show that spent a Million bucks an episode, mostly promoting upstairs.  I contend your love of nostalgia outweighs your understanding of history, regardless of reality.  Try spelling it right, Geo: Downton Abbey, then read up on Edwardian England before you post more absurd notions.
 
Welcome to serfdom 21st century style-Welcome to Geo Nostalgia in the 21st Century.
George N Romey Added Feb 22, 2018 - 6:06pm
Moron I never said that. I talked about how the show portrayed their employees. As usual you show how much of an ass you are.
Dave Volek Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:03pm
Padero
 
Planet of the Apes is still in the realm of science fiction. I think we could be on the way to a Rollerball society. But for some reason, we have become more mesmerized than usual with politics. The corporations in Rollerball tried to keep our mind off politics.
 
Jeff
You totally missed the point behind George's post. Read twice before responding.
 
 
 
 
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:09pm
You know when you are a somebody, here. You get trolled by the Jeff Michka anti-Welcome Wagon.
George N Romey Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:10pm
Or that you must be correct. LMAO!
Jeff Michka Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:25pm
"Pardero" (not my pard)You know when you are a somebody, here. You get trolled by the Jeff Michka anti-Welcome Wagon. -If that's all it takes, Pard.  I'm sure Geo R. will be your new WB pard.  Geo is perpetually angry at me for pointing out all he does is pontificate about stuff, but never offers solutions or does anything.  He got a pass from some WBers, and when ol Geo got critical of someone actually doing something, he heard about it.  ol Dave "it's in the book' is now defending him, and seems Lord Grantham was a swell guy, treating his employees sooo well. Or that you must be correct. LMAO! -Or maybe just a faulty as you, Geo the coward.-Live big on the laugh.  Oh, BTW, Pard...YOU NEED TO ADDRESS ANYTHING TO GEO, WITH SOMETHING LIKE "YOU'RE RIGHT, geo."  You are so correct.  See nobody, and I mean nobody according to Geo has any use for him...and he's soo old he can't get work (under 50). You'll figure it out or won't.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:30pm
Dave, you are right, no question about that here.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:33pm
Its actually far worse than people imagine, not only our loves but our fears and desires are controlled. Its far deeper than just placating. Its an effort to drive us insane so that we will line up to be shot. I'm not exaggerating - I really do believe that. The Checkist is a great movie about it and Lefty philosophy
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:38pm
Doug,
Thanks for getting this thread back on topic. I wish I could go to the store and buy Rollerball. Maybe I can watch it on the computer. Things are slow at work right now. We will probably be busy by the time it gets here.
I will be on eBay, shortly, and look for a copy. Maybe look for Cherry 2000, too. My small collection of movies is mostly science fiction.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:44pm
Doug Plumb Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:46pm
Ooops try this one Rollerball
Jeff Michka Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:49pm
I talked about how the show portrayed their employees-No you didn't: You concluded this deep thrust into history with : (the underlined your point) Remember how popular Dowton Abby was in the US a few years back? We actually thought the servants lucky their employer cared for them.-Who is 'we", pinhead? and ol Pard sez:  It could be that Silent Running is responsible for me having a bit of a green bent.-You just alienated (humor here) most of the WB rightists...NEVER EVER mention climate change, either...Don't say I'm not your good buddy now, Pardster.
Dave Volek Added Feb 22, 2018 - 8:10pm
Jeff
If you don't like someone on WB, stop reading their posts. Even I though I enjoy discourse with people of different opinions than I, I still have to self-censor a couple of people here. Better for my heart rate, for sure. 
 
Your dialogue with George is accomplishing nothing in terms of making a better world. If you think he is a fool, stop reading him. It's that simple.
 
Maybe I should stop reading everyone here. I have written a book about how to govern ourselves without political parties---and put people back in charge of governance. Even the more open-minded on WB still somehow believe the system can be fixed. 
George N Romey Added Feb 22, 2018 - 8:18pm
Dave there are people here in which I don’t agree with everything they believe. I avoid in particular the whole Jew debate. I’ve met wonderful Jewish people over my 58 years. I’ve met asshole Jews ( and every other ethnic background).
 
I see the way he fights with Marko. I know Marko (and since it’s social media could be anybody) as an accomplished writer. I know nothing else and don’t care. I have no interest in knowing.
Michael B. Added Feb 22, 2018 - 8:41pm
I never saw that movie, but I did see a female roller derby once, and those bitches were nobody to fuck with, on wheels or on feet, lol.
James Travil Added Feb 22, 2018 - 11:20pm
I was seven when Rollerball came out, but I still remember it. Plus it was shown a couple weeks ago on the Comet network. Back in the day when I first saw it I thought it was cool and thought it was sad that it was not a real thing! 
Flying Junior Added Feb 23, 2018 - 4:23am
Roller Derby was wicked enough.  That was a tight circle!  50 feet?  I used to watch it on KTTV Channel Eleven Los Angeles.  Watching the sport was probably a great deal more exciting than the sick and twisted film.
 
Isn't hockey almost as violent as the Rollerball movie?  It was back in the 1970s.  Less death.  More penalty box.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 23, 2018 - 5:41am
I got halfway through this last night, its just getting good now. This movie, Farenheit 451 and 1984 have some kind of assault on books - burning or re-editing. Our masters have never had to really do that. Amazon has restricted books about the holocaust but you can still get books about 9-11. Jim Fetzer's book on Sandy Hook was removed. For the most part, people don't read.
It must be very hard to read if you have never had phonics. Teach whole language and people stop reading - easier than censoring or re writing books all the time.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 23, 2018 - 2:35pm
I watched the rest of this today. This is an excellent movie, its much better than Animal Farm or 1984 maybe as good as Brave New World, which is read on YouTube by Huxley.
  It shows us a world based on matter and comfort rather than purpose and freedom.
  I like the part where the women were shooting those trees. The purpose was to show mans natural state without leadership.
  That leadership can be provided by men or by God. A society lead by God rather than men is a society lead by mankind's greatest thinkers rather than the men of the day with their ideas and ambitions.
  But anything goes today, men can be lead anywhere or made to believe anything because we are the subject of the ambitions of others.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 23, 2018 - 8:21pm
DV complains: Your dialogue with George is accomplishing nothing in terms of making a better world. If you think he is a fool, stop reading him. It's that simple.-Funny, but Geo was given a pass on WB, BECAUSE  HE HAD SUCH BAAAAD LUCK and was sooo downtrodden, and was spouting all this economic stuff and talking about "the Deep State" controlling everything and how pointless it was trying to make change.  Fortunately, "the Deep State excuse" articles and comments have almost disappeared.  But Geo pontificates and a certain percentage of WBers agree with him, probably in a percentage much like the real world, and WB  is no real world. DV goes on: Maybe I should stop reading everyone here. I have written a book about how to govern ourselves without political parties---and put people back in charge of governance. Even the more open-minded on WB still somehow believe the system can be fixed-hmmm.  I don't ever remember saying "the system can be fixed," but I do remember asking you where your new governance was being tried, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but the answer is "nowhere," right?  The stuff in your book are your ideas, right? You took good time writing and editing your book, and yet it's odd you aren't out trying to find an enclave where it could be field tested and the field test documented so the success will mean it might be tried elsewhere. I tried to give you a lead, but don't know if you cared enough to look.  So you want book sales, not alternative governance?  The Geo dopamine hit he lives for:  You are so right George, I  do go on with Marko, your new defender, but then he's been on the attack with his lies and slanders for over a month.  I can take it.  You can't mount any "defense" of only living for a six-figure job and secure pension and an unwillingness to do anything, despite your equally obvious talents.  You were willing to take a gig in Puerto Rico that fit your spec.  Why would anyone in PR want a do nothing, "I can't hep myself" whiner when some obvious courage and beliefs matter and are needed.  "Now, now, there, there Geo...(pat*pat*pat)"  I suppose Dave will find reason not to reply...but once again, where are the trials of your ideas, Dave?
Dave Volek Added Feb 24, 2018 - 9:29am
Jeff M
As stated previously, my ideas are not being tried anywhere in the world (except maybe some rural districts in England with a primitive form of the TDG).
 
If Thomas Edison had waited for someone else to show the world how a light bulb worked, we just might still be reading in the dark.
 
And if you don't want to build the TDG, that is fine by me. That will put you in the same company as George. The TDG needs only 0.5% of the population to get things started. I just need to find angle to reach these people. It doesn't appear to be an Writerbeat.
 
It would be nice for you to be more civil.
 
 
George N Romey Added Feb 24, 2018 - 9:33am
Dave I think your idea is great but unless there is a revolution such a radical idea will die in its tracks. The Deep State won’t allow it.
Dave Volek Added Feb 24, 2018 - 10:26am
Jeff M again
 
My God, I fell your bait and switch. Rather than discuss your handling of various authors on WB, you went back to the TDG.
 
To get back on topic, what good does it do to rail against George and Mark on Writerbeat? Please explain that for all of us. 
 
Dave Volek Added Feb 24, 2018 - 10:41am
George
 
In Chapter 6, I outline the process of how the early TDG builders start the TDG building process. I would say that your so-called "deep state" won't pay any attention to the TDG is the first two stages. The builders can start and build the TDG unfettered by any organized opposition in these times.
 
There should be no doubt there is going to eventually be some opposition, and this will occur in the third stage. There will be several social/political forces that will prevent the TDG from being shut down. First, at the start of the third stage, the TDG should have at least 10% of the population as members, which is a significant voter block. The political parties will be a little fearful of upsetting this demographic. Second, the very act of formal opposition will cast more attention to the TDG. Many citizens will take a serious look at the TDG--and will find it preferable to whatever western democracy is proffering at the time. Membership will increase. Third, there will be a new kind of political leadership at the helm of the TDG. It will be capable of handling this crisis very effectively. For example, they will use the various freedoms of western democracy, such as freedom of association and the courts, to further their work. If the early TDG is built well, the rest will fall into place--including handling of the opposition.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeff Michka Added Feb 24, 2018 - 1:47pm
My God, I fell your bait and switch. Rather than discuss your handling of various authors on WB, you went back to the TDG.-Oh, of course I carefully planned that.  My "handling" of users doesn't seem all that topical, but you've fallen for "it's all Jeff's fault.  Ah, poor Geo and Dr, Marko.  That seems a little too pat, and perhaps you needed a little more than a one sided perspective.  I guess it doesn't matter what someone says to or about me, the "crime" is replying in kind.  Anyone convicted of being left should always look down, never confront and "play nice."  The other side never stops the snide bad mouthing and really don't like it when it gets handed back or their "motives" questioned.  Bullshit, Volek.  Read ol Marko and vintage Geo, real nice.  I was suppose to beg their forgiveness and My God, I fell your bait and switch. Rather than discuss your handling of various authors on WB, you went back to the TDG.apologize, eh?-Yup, this is also on point.  I'm suppose to vest my time and effort in Dave Volek's ideas when Dave Volek won't invest his time anywhere past "the vaunted book."  OK, but like now, you'll never get anywhere.  I asked the same questions anyone would ask of you, you answered.  And so let me get your "view" straight:  If I'M not willing to go out and follow through TDG, then I'M  like, Geo.  Where does that put ol DAVE? You wrote the book, but on blind faith, want others to do it?  tHAT USUALLY NOT HOW IDEAS L;IKE YOURS WORK OUT, but if it makes you happy to have them totally ignored, fine by me. Here's your champion Geo in perfect and typical form: Dave I think your idea is great but unless there is a revolution such a radical idea will die in its tracks. The Deep State won’t allow it.  There you go...the deep state is preventing Geo from DOING anything.  But for you, I guess that's okay.
Dave Volek Added Feb 24, 2018 - 2:08pm
Jeff
I have two WB contributors who I don't bother reading. I guess there is going to be another one soon.
George N Romey Added Feb 24, 2018 - 2:13pm
Maybe Mika can enlighten us on all the community projects he’s led or papers he’s published.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 24, 2018 - 3:59pm
Maybe Mika can enlighten us on all the community projects he’s led or papers he’s published-Why do you need a MSNBC host to write that up, Geo?   Jeff
I have two WB contributors who I don't bother reading. I guess there is going to be another one soon. -Oh gee, Dave.  Your call.  I won't embarrass you any further and ask about TDG or your book sales, will that help?  Or are you just worried because I'm not listening to the latest tone cop on WB?  As to WB, I've decided to not put any more personal information out for obvious reasons.  I just get it thrown back at me, and I don't believe in defaming people who don't have access to defend themselves, like my family.  MY daughter will not allow any pics of our grandchild online.  Again reasons are obvious.  And there's no reason to trust anyone here. 
Jeff Michka Added Feb 25, 2018 - 6:49pm
Maybe Mika can enlighten us on all the community projects he’s led or papers he’s published-Maybe you mean me?  I don't know anyone named Mika. save a host on MSNBC.  Read my previous comment above.  If I want to further personally identify myself on WB, it's unlike under ongoing circumstances. There's no reason to trust anyone here, and since Marko and I may still meet in a courtroom, he can do his own work. I'm not in the least tempted by your "phony challenge" trying to get me to blow my own horn.  When would I start?  Your favorite year, 1970?
Jeff Michka Added Feb 25, 2018 - 9:38pm
But for you, I guess that's okay-Look, Dave....I wasn't digging at you, but do understand, even if I were to start setting it up, I know the first questions I'd get is along the lines of "So, okay.  Where are they doing this, and how is that working for them?"  People have less time for coummunity activities.  Many once active people have job constraints, so don't have real time to "waste" implementing untrued/untested ideas.  You get my point, right?    
Jeff Michka Added Feb 27, 2018 - 9:31pm
Well, Dave has done his "tell all," and I don't remember Dave talking about his situation and personal problems, but he seems to think I was attacking him by asking practical "rule in/rule out" questions.  He honestly answered, and I can't hope or expect more than that.  I can see where his troubles make some of this impractical for the moment, and think it too bad.  I don't think TDG is a wasted idea, just a big package to sell, untried and untested.  I imagine that also irritates Dave that he can't promote his ideas and marshal them through practical application.  I realize time is precious to others, as well as for me.  I also realize a responsibility to those nearby when having to almost instantly confront and leverage a governor's veto of a bill passed by state House and Senate, SB6617, here that would exempt them from the state's Public Records Act, made into law in 1972 via a citizen's initiative, post a very bad scandal involving "secret" public records.  Now they passed an exemption to the Act for the legislature.  They don't have to supply emails, text msgs and other now-public records if this bill is allowed to become law.  Ol Geo asked about my "community projects," and the public records act was my first "big" outing, starting post scandal in 1970.  Will of the people now denied.