9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Gamer

Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Here are nine winning facts about directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s 2009 action-packed shoot-em-up, Gamer.

1. IT WAS AT THE FOREFRONT OF DIGITAL CINEMA TECHNOLOGY.

Gamer was one of the first major motion pictures to be shot digitally using the RED ONE movie camera, which allows 4K footage to be transferred immediately to a flash card after filming in order to speed up the post-production process. RED cameras are now commonplace in the industry, with everything from expensive blockbusters like Deadpool 2 to documentaries like Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time using them.

2. BUT WAS MAYBE A LITTLE TOO AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

The filmmakers originally planned to shoot Gamer in 3D (before Avatar reignited the trend), but budget constraints forced them to scrap the idea. It was later converted to 3D for the movie’s home video release.

3. THE FILMMAKERS BLEW UP DOWNTOWN ALBUQUERQUE DURING SHOOTING.

Gamer was shot entirely on location in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in order to shoot the urban battle sequences, the filmmakers were given an entire intersection of downtown Albuquerque. They even built fake buildings in vacant areas of the intersection in order to blow them up for the battle scenes.

4. THE DIRECTORS AREN'T HUGE GAMERS AS ADULTS.

Though the movie looks at the darker side of what a video game world is capable of, Neveldine and Taylor weren't big gamers before diving into research for the movie. "As a kid, I was a huge gamer. I was never off of the Pac-Man or the original Nintendo. I didn’t follow that through," Neveldine said. Taylor responded with, "I feel like I probably would be one if I had the time."

5. LUDACRIS’S ROLE WAS WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR HIM.

The rapper/actor was such a big fan of Crank that he asked the directing duo to write a role for him in their next movie. They obliged by writing the role of Brother, the leader of the underground activist organization, just for him.

6. BEFORE MAKING GAMER, MARK NEVELDINE ALMOST ADAPTED A REAL VIDEO GAME.

Years before Gamer hit the screen, Neveldine was hired to write the script for a movie adaptation of the Grand Theft Auto video game series. There was one problem, though: There was already a movie called Grand Theft Auto that Ron Howard starred in and directed back in 1977. The rights issues delayed the project, which Neveldine eventually left.

7. TOXIC AVENGER FANS MAY SPOT A FAMILIAR FACE IN THE DOWNTOWN BATTLE SCENE.

Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo (at :42 in the video above) as a Genericon during one of the movie's action scenes.

8. THERE'S A RUNNING MAN EASTER EGG IN THE MOVIE.

Gamer and 1987's The Running Man share plenty of themes, but eagle-eyed fans may notice that there's even more that the two movies have in common. According to Brian Taylor, one of the costumes that Arnold Schwarzenegger wears in Running Man can be seen on one of the characters in the Society in Gamer.

9. THE FILMMAKERS SHOT MUCH OF THE MOVIE ON ROLLER BLADES.

Neveldine concocted a technique he dubbed the “Rollercam”—holding the camera while skating on roller blades—in order to get up close to the intense action.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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A New Documentary Investigates West Virginia’s Infamous Mothman

The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Jimmy Emerson DVM, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The continuing impact of the Mothman on Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is hard to overlook. The town plays host to a statue, a museum, and an annual festival that all celebrate the red-eyed flying beast who first showed up on the scene in 1966.

In November of that year, two couples spotted a winged, vaguely man-shaped monster near the so-called “TNT area,” a collection of abandoned bunkers where explosives were stored during World War II. After the Point Pleasant Register reported on their harrowing ordeal, other sightings started rolling in. When nearly four dozen people were killed in a bridge collapse on December 15, 1967, many believed the Mothman was somehow involved.

The infamous cryptid’s popularity endured over the ensuing decades with the help of John Keel’s 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies and the 2002 movie adaptation starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. While glimpses of the Mothman himself definitely peaked during the ’60s, close encounters with a strange creature in West Virginia still surface to this day.

In his new documentary The Mothman Legacy, director Seth Breedlove delves into the history of the Mothman, investigating its long legacy in Pleasant Point and interviewing more recent eyewitnesses. It’s not Breedlove’s first film on the matter; he also directed 2017’s The Mothman of Point Pleasant, which focuses on the Mothman’s heyday from November 1966 to the bridge catastrophe a year later.

His latest project features Jeff Wamsley, who has written two books on the subject and also founded the town’s Mothman Museum. As The Daily Beast reports, The Mothman Legacy doesn’t exactly try to solve the mystery of the Mothman or debunk all the theories about it. Instead, it’s more of a celebration of the urban legend, complete with spooky CGI reenactments and plenty of eerie accounts of alleged run-ins with the monster. In short, it’s ideal fodder for your Halloween movie marathon—and as narrator Lyle Blackburn points out in the film, “an absence of evidence doesn’t necessarily indicate an evidence of absence.”

The documentary is now available to buy on VOD through Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.

[h/t The Daily Beast]