Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Tournament: Teenage Battle Royale Participants, Concluded!


Revealed below are the final dozen combatants in our field of 40, including a boxer, a detective, a schizophrenic, and one badass gang leader/alien fighter.

(#29) Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

When it comes to death matches, charm is an underrated quality. Bueller’s proven in the past that he can hatch an elaborate scheme, even if it’s just to get a single day off from school. He’s not much of a fighter, but when it comes to retreating there isn’t any amount of backyard fences or conveniently placed trampolines that can slow him down. Expect “Save Ferris” to be scrawled across many a water tower as the Battle Royale wears on.

What’s in his backpack? A karaoke machine. Because there’s never an inappropriate time for an impromptu rendition of Danke Schoen.

(#30) Diana Guzman (Michele Rodriguez, Girlfight)

Guzman is a natural born scrapper, turning the frustration and anger caused by her hard knock life into the fortitude necessary to embark on a promising amateur boxing career. She's can take as well as she can dish out and will likely cause major problems for any competitors who get within reach.

What's in her backpack? Brass knuckles. Those punches are really going to smart.

(#31) Billy Tepper (Sean Astin, Toy Soldiers)

On an average day, Billy Tepper is little more than your average prep school troublemaker, occupied by cherry bombs and Creme de Menthe in Listerine bottles. But on an extraordinary day, Tepper just might be capable of helping take down a group of militant terrorists. Outnumbered and outgunned is when he thrives. Don't let his somewhat juvenile brand of guerrilla warfare fool you, Tepper's one of the best improvisers in the field, and his reconnaissance skills may keep him away from danger long enough to make a run.

What's in his backpack? A map of the island. It could keep Tepper one step ahead of the others.

(#32) Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko)

Haunted by memories of a gunshot man in a twisted rabbit costume, something tells the emotionally damaged Darko that he doesn’t have long to live. Darko is in the running for the field’s most mentally unstable entrant. Will he be reduced to a quivering ball of emo fatalism, or will Darko assume his role as acerbic hero to the Battle Royale’s disaffected youth? Hopefully, the killing moon will come too soon.

What’s in his backpack? An axe. Maybe Darko will use it on more than high school water mains and statues.

(#33) Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brick)

Hard-boiled Brendan Frye; someone came kicking in his homeroom door and dragged him off to an island populated by troubled dames and roughneck thugs. Frye’s cleverer than most, a natural judge of character, and he can absorb a serious beating. Will his detective skills help him survive the Battle Royale, or will his well-documented streak of self-destruction be his ondoing?

What’s in his backpack? A roll of quarters. The most important element of any noir sucker punch.

(#34) Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone)

A gentle soul at heart, Ree nonetheless has some qualities that could make her a Battle Royale dark horse. This native of the Ozarks has plenty of wilderness experience, she’s hard-headed, and she doesn’t trust easily. Being a loner might not be so bad when your 39 closest friends are all trying to kill you.

What’s in her backpack? Squirrel meat. Because a girl’s got to eat.

(#35) Jake Tyler (Sean Faris, Never Back Down)

Some people don't have balanced skill sets or obscure talents. Some people just kick ass. Fight fans, meet Jake Tyler. He's a hot tempered amateur MMA fighter, and he'll be a favorite in any close quarters unarmed combat. His biggest weaknesses are his prickly attitude which may prevent advantageous alliances, and his general dimwittedness.

What's in his backpack? Axe body-spray. Dude has an endorsement deal.

(#36) Hayley Stark (Ellen Page, Hard Candy)

Diminutive Hayley Stark is no stranger to dangerous situations. Superficially an unassuming introvert, Stark made her reputation luring in pedophiles and subjecting them to remorseless torture games. There aren’t any creepy older men in our Battle Royale field (except maybe Dylan McKay), so it isn’t entirely clear if Hayley’s skills and predilection for vigilante justice will translate.

What’s in her backpack? Handcuffs. Dudes, seriously, don’t let her get you trussed up.

(#37) Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone, Easy A)

As a girl who rode that meaty part of the bell curve for much of high school, Penderghast is used to going unnoticed. She wasn't a desired popular girl, nor a picked-on outcast. Her accidental entrepreneurship proves she's capable of grasping opportunity, and her wit and charm might provide her the tools necessary to dance around danger. Many argue that Penderghast's biggest weakness, yes even greater than her sheltered suburban upbringing and complete lack of combat experience, is that she's probably not even taking this whole thing very seriously.

What's in her backpack? Pepper spray. With her reputation, she'll need it to keep the boys away.

(#38) Moses (John Boyega, Attack the Block)

Perhaps more comfortable with his gang at his back than on his own, Moses is still no pushover solo. The dude has ample combat experience; first on the rough streets of South London, and later against packs of hairy fanged aliens. Sometimes he feels guilt over petty crimes like mugging, but only after he’s gotten to know his victims. If Moses can keep his feelings in check, he could be a force to be reckoned with in the Battle Royale.

What’s in his backpack? A machete. Good for killing aliens, better for killing teenagers.

(#39) Nick Twisp (Michael Cera, Youth in Revolt)

Nick Twisp is superficially just a wispy dreamer with all the killer instinct of a half-blind puppy. But, beneath the surface lurks his sociopathic alter-ego Francois Dillinger, a ruthless egomaniac with a penchant for cigarettes and anarchy. Will the schizophrenic Twisp be able to draw on his mental instability to survive the Battle Royale?

What’s in his backpack? Nightvision goggles. What better way for this pervert to spy on the more comely female combatants?

(#40) Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama, Kill Bill)

Every Battle Royale has a ringer and Gogo Yubari is ours. This psychotic school girl was schooled by master assassin O-Ren Ishii; she’s lethal in hand-to-hand and even deadlier with a weapon. Unlike many of the other entrants, Yubari will have no compunctions about slaughtering teenagers right out of the gate. However, some tournament pundits wonder if Yubari’s bloodthirsty kill streak won’t put a target on her back.

What’s in her backpack? That spiked ball-and-chain thing. It gave The Bride a run for her money, these teeny-boppers should be easy prey.

That's it! 40 entrants, but only one can be declared The Tournament's sole survivor! Do you have what it takes to predict the outcome of our pop culture Battle Royale. Test yourself by clicking here and taking our survey! We'll be keeping score as we start revealing the results in a few days. GOOD LUCK!

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3 Responses »

  1. Question -- How is Johnny from Karate Kid not in this?? I mean, he's only the leader of the Cobra Kai. Sorry Larusso, but in a real fight, no one's getting taken with that stupid jump-kick. When you lined up all the teenage phenoms, did you just forget to count him because he'd snuck off in the bathroom with Tai from Clueless? Or was he disqualified because his flowing golden locks were considered a super power?

  2. Man, I would've loved to get Johnny in, but we only took 20 dudes. Decided to go with the more popular Larusso.


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