Screen Junkies » Toys http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 15 Oct 2014 19:59:17 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 The Film Cult Presents: Toys http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/the-film-cult-presents-toys/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/the-film-cult-presents-toys/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:15:02 +0000 Philip Harris http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=263414 Warning! Spoilers Ahead! Toys didn’t get a fair shake. I saw it in the theater when I was a teenager, and the visual effects mesmerized me. It was a Magritte...

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Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

Toys didn’t get a fair shake. I saw it in the theater when I was a teenager, and the visual effects mesmerized me. It was a Magritte painting come to life. I never understood why I didn’t do well, especially with such a phenomenal cast. Toys was one of those movies that just didn’t click with audiences. Not only was it a flop at the box office, it was nominated for a Razzie, which by the way, it didn’t win.

Starring Robin Williams, Robin Wright, and LL Cool J, Toys tells the story of the Zevo family, which owns and operates the Zevo Toy Factory. The patriarch, who is about to die, decides to give the company to his brother, who in turn wants to start creating war toys, which his nephew Leslie (Robin Williams) thinks is a bad idea. One is inclined to agree with Leslie, seeing how introducing war toys into the magical world being almost literally painted before one’s eyes would be a travesty to the abounding magic. A family drama ensues, things get pretty dark, and then everything turns out okay.

One of the reasons the movie didn’t do well was because of its marketing. I really need to have a talk with marketing departments. I get that they are trying to attract the largest audience, the most money. “We gotta make our money back,” and all that, but come on. Don’t try to sell me a kid’s movie when what you’ve actually got is an art-house film swarming with surrealist imagery and sounds. I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that marketing departments are among the biggest (and most useless, yet necessary, if you can wrap your head around that) headaches in the film industry.

Toys was marketed as a children’s film, a film filled with fun characters, happy music, and beautiful cinematography. They couldn’t have gotten it more wrong. Toys is far from a children’s film. I’m not even sure it’s a film for grownups. Like so many of the films I write about, it’s for the displaced person who doesn’t want to leave the comfortable world they’ve come to know because they know the outside world is dangerous. Toys is for the outsider, that person who didn’t want to play war games with the other children, who instead wanted to create their own worlds by looking at the clouds, pondering the universe around them, and spinning through their imagination. They didn’t want to kill; they wanted to create.

Toys takes the imagination of these kinds of minds and puts it on film. The message is beautiful, and the acting is great. It’s a shame this film didn’t get more of an audience because it should be a classic. To me, and many others from the comments I see on Youtube and other media outlets, it is and will always be a classic.

One of the stunning aspects of the film is also the music, which in part may have had something to do with the film’s failure. Hans Zimmer and Trevor Horn did the music, and while beautiful and serene, there’s a sense of danger and distance to it. It’s sort of like when your in an airport in Belgium and you hear synth music pumping the background. Your jet-lagged; everything is beautiful, and some perfectly composed music the likes of which you’ve never heard of before seems to be following you around. It’s beautiful; but it’s different. And for American audiences in 1992, it may have been too different. You’d be hard pressed to find a copy of the soundtrack now, but listening to some songs on Youtube this week, I realized how ahead of their time they really were, and how stunning they sound now. It’s the same sound that Trevor Horn would later bring to Tina Turner’s album Wildest Dreams, which he produced the entirety of in 1995.

Tina Turner aside, Toys is a dark, broody meditation on the trappings of childhood. It’s the sort of film that questions the very notion of growing up. Who says one must leave the fantasy and toys behind? Grown ups in this film are marked as the kind of people who want to kill. That’s the message, that if you decide to grow up, you want to play at killing things. Who wants that? The alternative in Toys is to stay imagining, to stay alive through the magic of the imagination. Sadly, in this world where men and women who hold on to the child-like wonder of life (including the toys that accompany it) are labeled as weird, so much so that a movie that celebrates leaving open of the jeweled gates of childhood imaginings was thought too out there to be worth spending money on. Watch Toys again, groove to Trevor’s synths, and let your imagination out of the gate.

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6 (Mostly Annoying Or Terrifying) Talking Toys In Movies http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/6-mostly-annoying-or-terrifying-talking-toys-in-movies/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/6-mostly-annoying-or-terrifying-talking-toys-in-movies/#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2012 20:38:39 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249213 I prefer my toys not to talk, but just to stand there all sexy.

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You know what’s fun? Toys. But they can’t be everything. Nothing can replace the precious medium of human interaction. Wait. Talking toys can. Talking toys take the fun of toys, and use it as a surrogate for personal relationships, guaranteeing that weird little kids can be left alone and never forced to socialize or even step outside their comfort zone.

Unfortunately, just like people, most talking toys are just insufferable. They whine, spazz out, and occasionally straight-up murder you. Again, just like people. So be careful what you wish for as you vet this list of toys that talk.

Ted


Ted seems to be the best of the bunch. (Note: This post is not paid for or sponsored by Ted, arriving, hilariously, in theaters June 29!) He’s a drinking buddy, a wingman, and a lifelong friend. While he may come across as a little crass or drunk, that’s just part of his charm, dammit. If I had to choose between Ted and Mila Kunis, as I’m sure Mark Wahlberg will have to do at some point during the movie, I would pick…Mila Kunis. It wouldn’t even be close. But I still think Ted would be a pretty nice toy to have come to life, considering he’s just like one of your dumber, less ambitious friends, only he’s a stuffed animal, so he’s not supposed to do anything ambitious with his life.

Most of these other entries will make your life worse in one way or another. Just you wait and see.

Chucky


See? I told you these toys were going to be bad. When this “Good Guy” doll comes to life, he’s inhabited with the soul of a serial killer. Does he use this newfound depraved soul to track down terrorists and assassinate them, making the world a better, safer place? No. He does not. He just kills people left and right, mashing them in garbage trucks, slitting their throats with scissors, and replacing the blanks in guns with real bullets.

If you recognized that all those acts were actually in Child’s Play 3, where he mails himself to owner Andy’s military academy, then give yourself a hand. You just passed my “Child’s Play Quiz,” which is actually just a thinly-veiled attempt to hide the fact that it’s the only Child’s Play film I have seen.

When Chucky does talk, it’s largely profanity or labored puns immediately before or after he kills someone; it’s not the type of talking that would make you cancel your plans to hold a conversation with him.

Richard Pryor


For those unfamiliar, Richard Pryor played The Toy in the 1980’s film The Toy. While he didn’t “come to life” or anything, he was a toy, and he talked, so he makes the damn list. In the film, Pryor plays a fledgling professional who is acquired by a rich spoiled boy and made to serve as his personal toy.

It’s funny to think of this happening in real life, mostly because I would think one would treat Richard Pryor with profound respect, even though the guy lit himself on fire using a crack pipe. This was before crack was popular, which makes it even more groundbreaking.

ANYWAY, the boy, Eric, is taken to a department store by his absentee father and offered anything he wants as a gift. Naturally, Eric picks the black janitor (I would have picked the same thing) and hilarity and some heartwarming ensues.

I recommend The Toy even though it doesn’t go as far as it could to condemn human trafficking.

V.I.C.I.


I didn’t really want to include robots/cyborgs/androids on this list, because they aren’t really toys, but that led me to think about what Vicki on Small Wonder really is. She’s created by the patriarch of the family, Ted, and she must be a toy. She’s not performing any tasks for the family, so the only alternative is that the mom, Joan, was barren and couldn’t have any more kids, clinging desperately to this robot-child as her progeny. This is pretty damn heavy if it’s the case, so I’m just gonna call Vicki a toy.

She talks, but mostly like a robot. Also, she demonstrates superhuman strength and speed, so pity the high school boy that receives a handjob from her a few years down the line.

Pinocchio


(Yup. That’s the whole damn movie. Enjoy.)
“I’m a real boy!”

Not really, Pinicchio. Real boys don’t have growing noses and talk like their genitals are trapped in a vice. But he is a toy come to life. Which should remind us all how crappy toys used to be. A wooden marionette is only slightly more fun to play with than that ball-cup-string thing, and only then because you can at least rip the arms off your toy to demonstrate your disapproval with your gift.

I forget exactly how Pinocchio ends, but the way I choose to remember it is that Pinocchio, after living life as a “real boy” for some time, turns back into a dumb inanimate doll and tossed in a toy chest just before Mt. Vesuvius erupts.

Not sure about that timing, but that’s how I choose to remember it.

The Indian in the Cupboard (Among Other Things in the Cupboard)


I believe The Native America in the Cupboard is more politically correct, but that’s neither here nor there. This Frank Oz-directed film revolves around a small cabinet that breathes sweet life into any object stuck inside it. Rather than playing around with anthropomorphized toasters, electric shavers, and Koosh balls, this dumb kid only puts dolls in there, which is lame, because we all know how dolls act: Like people.

It’s pretty much just like going to a cocktail party, only WAY more offensive to Native Americans.

BOO, INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD! BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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12 Cringingly Bootleg Toys http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/12-cringingly-bootleg-toys/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/12-cringingly-bootleg-toys/#comments Fri, 06 Apr 2012 20:00:35 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=247989 These are worthless even in the original packaging.

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The summer blockbuster season is nearly upon us, which means there will soon be a whole new crop of movie tie-ins lining the shelves of toy stores. Which also means there will be a whole new crop of wackass bootleg knock-offs lining the shelves of dollar stores and blankets of subway platforms.

If they’re nearly as hilarious as these examples that preceded them, we’re all in for a treat. Can’t wait to get my complete set of The Avenge Team.

Woody

Three blockbuster films under his belt have proved too stressful for Toy Story’s Woody.The spoils of fame have gone to his head and hurled him into a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol, and sex addicition. It’s sad to see him ride the snake in his boot but even the brightest of stars sometimes burn out. If I were selling this toy, I’d market it as “Florida Cowboy.”

Titanic Bot

When selling toys to children, it’s perhaps best not to focus on maritime disasters that claimed the lives of their ancestors. I always thought that Pearl Harbor was Michael Bay’s version ofTitanic. I stand corrected.

SuperBat

Where does he get all those terrible toys?

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In Honor Of ‘Toy Hunters’: Jordan Hembrough’s 7 Rarest Toy Finds http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/in-honor-of-toy-hunters-jordan-hembroughs-7-rarest-toy-finds/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/in-honor-of-toy-hunters-jordan-hembroughs-7-rarest-toy-finds/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 18:45:01 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=242447 Watch Toy Hunters this Sunday at 11:00 EST/PST on the Travel Channel

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Travel Channel‘s new show, Toy Hunters (think American Pickers, but with toys and collectibles), premiers this Sunday, Jan. 15h at 11:00 PM EST/PST. Considering the CW just ordered a show about extreme musical chairs, a show about classic children’s toys seems downright highbrow.

I’m a sucker for childhood nostalgia, so once I saw the word “Kenner,” I was on board. As such, I asked host Jordan Hembrough to share with us some of the rarest toys he’s found during his hunts. So, in honor of Toy Hunters, here are Jordan Hembrough’s seven rarest toy finds.

Again, be sure and watch Toy Hunters this Sunday at 11:00 EST/PST on the Travel Channel. And don’t just DVR it! Watch it live, so it has a chance of getting picked up. And no, I’m not getting paid for this!

Six Million Dollar Man Venus Probe

This evil alien robot battled Steve Austin during one episode. Some collectors were not even sure it was made, until they started showing up on clearance shelves. To this day, it remains one of the most sought after toys from the line, easily fetching over $1000 for a mint in box example.

Strawberry Shortcake Banana Twirl Doll w/Berrykin

During the ending of the line, the dolls were released with little Gnome-like counterparts called Berrykins. The Banana Twirl was the hardest to find and boxed examples still bring in over $300.

LJN Thundercats Tounge-A-Saraus

The green lizard rival to the Thundercats still commands a hefty price tag. Boxed examples will set you back at least $400.

Star Wars Jawa w/ Vinyl Cape

Kenner toys released their vintage Jawa figure with a thin vinyl cape before switching to a more “realistic” cloth version. It remains one of the most sought after, and faked, Star Wars figures to date. Authentic examples bring in more $200, while a nice carded version will easily sell for over $3,000.

Mattel Vintage 1966 Switch N Go “Lost in Space Playset”

These playsets consisted of a motorzied vehicle which ran along flexible track. You could control the direction of the toy. Paper cutouts of buidlings and plastic characters were also included. Mattel also released a Batman TV set as well. Boxed, each set can easily fetch at least $1,500 on the market.

MEGO Boxed Alter Egos

Mego put out a series of dolls that were the “alter ego” counterparts to their superheros. Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayon, Clark Kent and Peter Parker were all released through catalog mailers. They remain some of the most difficult to find of the Mego “Worlds Greatest Superheroes.”

GI JOE “A Real American Hero” Figures (Straight Arm)

When released in 1982, Hasbro‘s GI Joe figures had straight arms. Later, they were replaced by a simple “ball in joint” mechanism. The early Joes, particularly the females like Scarlett, all command top dollar.

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Hula Hoop: The Movie? You Know, For Kids! http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/hula-hoop-the-movie-you-know-for-kids/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/hula-hoop-the-movie-you-know-for-kids/#comments Mon, 31 Jan 2011 20:47:50 +0000 Dave Horwitz http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=23540 ICM has just signed Wham-O Toys as a client, with the intent to develop film projects out of kid favorites like the Hula Hoop, Slip-n-Slide, and Frisbee.

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Battleship? Okay, could be a cool action movie? Monopoly? I guess so? It’s at least timely, with the recession and all. Ouija? You’re pushing it, but I guess it could be a horror movie. But HULA HOOP? That’s not even a board game, it’s a thing! It’s a circle that goes around your waist and then you move your hips.”

That’s what a normal person would say, but since no one in Hollywood is normal, we are going to see a movie about/inspired by the children’s toy. What could it even be about? ICM doesn’t care, as they’ve just signed Wham-O Toys as a client, with the intent to develop film projects out of kid favorites like the Hula Hoop, Slip-n-Slide, and Frisbee. What’s next? Bop It: The Next Generation? Silly Putty: The Animated series? Wrong. It’s the apocalypse. The apocalypse is next. (Badass News)

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‘Erector Set’ to Build Film Franchise http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/erector-set-to-build-film-franchise/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/erector-set-to-build-film-franchise/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 The days of making toys based off popular films are in the distant past due to the success of Transformers and GI Joe. Currently we have movies in production based upon Legos, Stretch Armstrong, View-Master, Battleship, Candyland, Barbie, Risk, Max Steele, Monopoly, and Bazooka Joe inexplicably. Feel free to lump another hastily decided upon toy-to-film adaptation onto that pile as it was announced that old timey plaything Erector Set will now be given the big screen treatment. Is it in 3D, you ask? Of course it is and I chide you for asking. As punishment, you have to buy stock in this movie. An independent film company has teamed up with Meccano Toy Company to build a franchise out of the antiquated toy. No plot details have been released because 'how?' Apparently Meccano has a CEO and his name is Michael Ingberg. He says, "It's perfect for a film franchise as it is certain to entertain but also stimulate creativity and imagination as the Erector toy system has done around the world for nearly a hundred years." There's no word which supermarket Inberg's office/vista cruiser is normally parked behind. (Coming Soon)

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The days of making toys based off popular films are in the distant past due to the success of Transformers and GI Joe. Currently we have movies in production based upon Legos, Stretch Armstrong, View-Master, Battleship, Candyland, Barbie, Risk, Max Steele, Monopoly, and Bazooka Joe inexplicably. Feel free to lump another hastily decided upon toy-to-film adaptation onto that pile as it was announced that old timey plaything Erector Set will now be given the big screen treatment. Is it in 3D, you ask? Of course it is and I chide you for asking. As punishment, you have to buy stock in this movie.

An independent film company has teamed up with Meccano Toy Company to build a franchise out of the antiquated toy. No plot details have been released because ‘how?’ Apparently Meccano has a CEO and his name is Michael Ingberg. He says, "It’s perfect for a film franchise as it is certain to entertain but also stimulate creativity and imagination as the Erector toy system has done around the world for nearly a hundred years." There’s no word which supermarket Inberg’s office/vista cruiser is normally parked behind. (Coming Soon)

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Indiana Jones “Nuke The Fridge” Collectible http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/indiana-jones-nuke-the-fridge-collectible/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/indiana-jones-nuke-the-fridge-collectible/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Do you remember the frustration you felt when viewing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Did you want to unleash your inner-Christian Bale on the filmmakers after that lazy attempt? Good news! Now you can own a piece of that cinematic turkey turd with this brand new "Nuke The Fridge" 12-inch figure!Actually all 600 of the limited edition have been sold out at $175 a pop. Sounds like a rousing success. Hopefully this means we will get more groan-worthy moments from film playsets. Such as Batman's Shark Repellent or Jeff Goldblum Uploading A Virus To the ID4 Aliens. (Sideshow Toys via /Film)

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Do you remember the frustration you felt when viewing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Did you want to unleash your inner-Christian Bale on the filmmakers after that lazy attempt? Good news! Now you can own a piece of that cinematic turkey turd with this brand new "Nuke The Fridge" 12-inch figure!

Actually all 600 of the limited edition have been sold out at $175 a pop. Sounds like a rousing success. Hopefully this means we will get more groan-worthy moments from film playsets. Such as Batman’s Shark Repellent or Jeff Goldblum Uploading A Virus To the ID4 Aliens. (Sideshow Toys via /Film)

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