Category Archives: The League

The League week four, G.I. Joe figures that made me go "Whoa!"

I find it funny that I ended up preparing for last week’s vacation by making sure I had a bunch of stuff to post while I was away from the computer and stuff, and yet this week, though I’m back home I haven’t had a second to update the site.  Aw well, c’est la vie.  In catching back up this week, I’m ready to finally tackle a new League assignment via Brian over at Cool & Collected.  This time it’s all about media/PR announcements that managed to have us as fans saying, “Whoa!”, and figuratively (or literally) pumping our fists in the air with excitement.  I’m typically a low-key kind of guy, and ever since my teenage disappointment with the direction that the Batman movie franchise took in the mid-90s I’ve been very wary of getting excited about much of anything, at least in terms of build-up.  There have been a couple of instances like the releases of the first Phantom Menace and X-Men trailers that had my small group of friends buzzing, but I have to say that the only time I really had to step back and say “Whoa!” in my best Joey Lawrence impersonation was when the 25th anniversary G.I. Joe figures were announced back in January of 2007

G.I. Joe was the main toyline I collected as a kid, and I have so many fond memories of flipping through the figures on the pegs at toy stores looking for the elusive characters that I didn’t have.  I can vividly remember the time as a teenager when the line finally came to an end (at least the classic carded figures), and I was still buying the horrid Street Fighter spin-off figures because they were packaged in a similar fashion.  The announcement of the anniversary line had me all excited and I was hoping that the actual figures and packaging would do the original line justice.

The initial images of the figures really wowed me, but my moment of “Whoa!” really came when I stumbled upon them in the toy aisle of my local Target.  I was excited for these, but the reaction I had when I saw these on the pegs was huge.  Like a sucker punch to the gut, I was 7 years old again.  The packaging, though not perfect, was so darn close to the original that for a minute or two I felt like I was seeing G.I. Joe figures for the first time all over again.  I’m not a big toy-buyer these days, but it was a no brainer to walk out of the store with each one of the figures that day, and for the next two years I was constantly scouring the pegs for new figures.

It’s amazing the hold this vintage-style packaging had over me.  Though I wasn’t always in love with the actual figure redesigns, the feeling I got when picking up a new figure, seeing the art rendered against the classic explosive background, it was just awesome.  I was so sad to see the line end with the release of the movie figures, and my figure-buying has again ceased to all but a trickle.  For the most part, the anniversary line gave me an opportunity to relive the experience of picking up some of my favorite vintage figures (Cobra Eels, Flash, Zartan, Storm Shadow, Firefly, and the Cobra B.A.T. to name a few), but there were still some figures I was never able to get my hands on like Dialtone.  Though he was eventually released as a Joe Con exclusive, there was no way I could attend and the secondary market prices on that figure are insane.  None the less, it was still a good run, and I have most of my figures proudly displayed next to the computer at home…

Here are some other responses to this week’s League assignment:

Christopher, Tupa’s Treasures, talks about the re-release of the Star Wars Special Editions

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, talks about the Lucas event at Star Wars Celebration 5

Justin, General Joes, talks about the G.I. Joe Resolute announcement

TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, talks about the release of the Dukes of Hazzard Movie

Brian, Cool & Collected, talks about the Halo 3: Believe campaign

There’s only one solution to the newest League assignment, The Peanut Butter Solution!

I’ve been having a lot of fun with these League assignments, and this week’s topic is no exception.  Brian over at Cool & Collected posed the question, what 80s kids/teen flick would you like to see get a present day sequel with the same cast now grown up.  This one required a bit more in the pondering department if for no other reasons than so many of the kid/teen flicks I grew up loving either had sequels (Karate Kid, Lost Boys, and Back to the Future came to mind) or had stories that were tied up very nicely and didn’t really need to be delved back into (E.T., The Goonies, or Flight of the Navigator.)  Though I wanted to go with something like The Monster Squad, I don’t really want to see the cast grown up as much as I’d like to see the concept of kids vs. monsters explored again, so that didn’t seem to be the way to go.  I also thought about Teen Wolf, as it’s a film series that was far from perfect and could be improved upon, it just wouldn’t be the same without Michael J. Fox who probably isn’t up to the make-up effects the flick would require.  Let’s be honest though, seeing Fox and Jason Bateman team up for a double dose of van surfing would be pretty badass, right?  At the end of the day, I love so many of the flicks from the 80s for what they are, that dusting them off and continuing the story just doesn’t tend to appeal to me.  Most recent ventures into that territory have really left me wanting (with the exceptions of The Muppets and Tron: Legacy), so I was stumped.

After wracking my brain for a couple of days I finally landed on something that I think could really be interesting though.  There are a handful of obscure flicks that I used to watch a lot on HBO back in the day that I was never fully gung ho about, but were still decent or interesting enough to keep my attention (flicks like the Meatballs sequels or Teen Witch.)  Of these, there was one film that always sort of weirded me out and felt a bit like it was shooting for something much deeper than I could appreciate at the time.  That movie is The Peanut Butter Solution.

It’s a film that I’ve begun to appreciate much more as an adult, and one that I think is just weird and insane enough that it would be really easy to dip back into that world and create something truly magical.  For those who haven’t seen it, TPBS is a Canadian flick from 1986 about a boy named Michael who wanders into an abandoned mansion and ends up seeing something so frightening that he loses all of his hair.

Ashamed of his sudden baldness and having to wear some truly terrible wigs, Michael is confronted by the ghosts of a deceased homeless couple that he had met and helped out once.  The ghosts tell Michael about the Peanut Butter Solution (in the vein of Freckle Juice, except it actually works), and by the next morning Michael’s hair growth is out of control.  He’s then kidnapped by a mad aertist who uses Michael’s continuously-growing hair to make designer paintbrushes that can paint pictures so real you can walk into them (as well as a really creepy hair jacket.)  Oh, and Michael’s friend uses the Peanut Butter Solution to grow hair in a very nsfw kind of place.  You still with me?

The worst kind of rattail is snaking out of those pants!

Anyway, the flick is surreal and over the top, though the production value is sadly lacking as it feels a lot like a made-for-TV movie.  The world and the concepts are great though and I can fully imagine folks like Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillermo Del Toro, or Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze diving into this material and making something truly insane and delightful with the original cast included.  This is the kind of thing that I think would make the best 20-30-year-gap sequel, one where it’s not important what decade it is, or that the actors have to try and recapture any magic that might be long gone.  For me, this would be a real treat.

Anyway, if you’ve never seen the flick, you can check out the trailer here.  Unfortunately this is a pretty obscure movie and it’s never seen a North American DVD release.  There are some bootlegs floating around that are pretty decent watchable ports of the old VHS tapes.  It’s also up in its entirety on youtube (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, and Part 10.)

Some of the other League members are also chiming in with their picks:

Christopher Tupa, Tupa’s Treasures, talks about Labyrinth

TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, talks about the Breakfast Club

Reis, The Dork Horde, talks about The Last Starfighter

Iok, That Figures, talks about a different sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark

Michael, Adventureblog!, talks about Legend

Dex, AEIOU and sometimes Why, also talks about Labyrinth

Swimming in the League’s Moneybin…

So last week I participated in the inaugural week of “The League“, a themed writing assignment that is the brainchild of Brian over at Cool & Collected.  It was really fun to tackle a topic, and then to see what all the other participants had to say about the subject.  Surprisingly, there was very little cross-over in terms of content, much like the Countdown to Halloween participants, which I thought was pretty darn awesome.  Lots of different perspectives weighing in on some shared pop culture.  The second question/assignment is now live, which asks the question, what one piece of Hollywood memorabilia would you acquire if budget and space were not an issue.

After sitting back to ponder the question for a bit, there were a couple of ideas swimming around in my head that were kind of hard to choose between.  On the one hand I’ve always had an obsession with helmets, hats and masks in pop culture, and I’d love to have the same sort of helmet-dispensing contraption that was in the M.A.S.K. team headquarters in Boulder Hill, except instead of just the M.A.S.K. helmets it would have a varied assortment of headgear that I love.  I’m sure there’d be helmets and masks from Airwolf, Star Wars (a Stormtrooper and Leia’s Boushh disguise in particular), that Charlie Sheen movie The Wraith, General Kael’s mask/helmet from Willow, Captain Power’s helmet, and probably even that really weird one from Videodrome (I did say it was and obsession.)  Thinking about it though, it seemed to skirt around the framework of the question with way too many items, not just one.

My other thought seems to be more in line with the parameters of the question, which would be a full-size replica of an AT-ST Scout Walker from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  The idea is that this chicken walker would make for a perfect backyard “tree fort”.  Something I always wanted as a kid but never managed to really make work was some sort of clubhouse/fort for my friends and I to hang out in and plan our daily neighborhood gallivanting.  I’m sure it stems from loving flicks like The Monster Squad and the Goonies (I mean Mikey’s house might as well have been a clubhouse.)  There were a couple of attempts, but nothing ever got past the elaborate illustrations in our school notebooks.

It also reminds me of the Return of the Jedi Jungle Gym playset advertisement I shared a couple years ago.  Now that I’m looking at it I’m wondering if that was the intention of the designers that worked on it, as it kind of resembles an AT-ST in a way…

In doing a little bit of research on the internets, I see that there are some enterprising fathers out there that have had this same idea and have tried to give their children the ultimate tree forts.  Bravo!

(Attribution on the above picture was very hard to nail down, apologies to the original poster.)

Makes me wonder what ever became of some of the full-scale sets that were built for the ROTJ film.  Did anyone get to take those home I wonder?  Anyway, a man can dream (about 40-odd-foot-tall, two-legged, mechanical walkers equipted with dual watergun cannons, and a flip-top hatch!)

Here are some of the other League members talking about their dream acquisitions:

Christopher Tupa, Tupa’s Treasures, talks about the One-Eyed Willie’s Pirate Ship

Nat, Nat – Not Nate – Dot Net, talks about the Thunder Road from The Explorers

TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, talks about the Trolley from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Gina, MercanStyle, talks about Ms.-Piggy-on-a-bike from The Great Muppet Caper

Matt, Matt-Can-Draw, talks about the Supreme Being’s map from Time Bandits

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, talks about Flynn’s lightcycle 2.0

Reis, The Lair of the Dork Horde, talks about his 5 favorite pop culture rides