Tuesday, July 25, 2017

80's Movies With MASSIVE Plot Holes



The 80's churned out some fantastic hits which have become either timeless or cult classics. Many films I was enthralled with as a kid have become mainstays in my library. However, for as much as I love the era of the 80's, I have to admit that some of my favorite movies of all time have massive plot holes which when analyzed from an adult perspective kind of ruin them.

UHF

Ah, what could be better than watching a film written by and staring "Weird Al" Yankovic? From start to finish it's a laugh out loud comedy that's so silly its plot is somewhat out of place. George Newman finds himself the head of his uncle's television station, U62, turning it from a late night TV lover's dream into the most highly watched network.

Unfortunately for the now famous station, Uncle Harvey has a gambling problem, and soon finds himself owing Big Louie seventy-five thousand dollars in cash. This leads to a very timely phone call from RJ Fletcher, the owner of the station in competition with U62 who offers to buy the station.

George pleads with his uncle to give him a chance to match the offer, which is where the whole plot goes awry. With the help of his biggest star, Stanley Spadowski, George hosts a telethon to sell shares of the station in a hopes to raise the money. During the opening sequence of this part, Stanley announces operators are standing by to collect people's money. Throughout the final act, numbers are consistently changed on a board to show the dollar amount raised both via in person and telephone donations.

Things come through at the last minute as George collects the last $2,000.00 from a homeless person, and delivers to Big Louie, who arrives on the scene, $75,000.00 in cash.

So what's wrong here? For starters, George is hosting a telethon to sell shares to a station he doesn't own, nor got permission to sell shares of. Not only that, but he's essentially decided overnight to take a privately owned company public. Even if he were the rightful owner, this doesn't happen overnight. This could be overlooked.

However, there is a larger plot hole at hand. If donations were being taken by phone and in person, and both of these sources accounted for the accumulated $75,000.00 how did George have the exact amount of cash in hand to give to Big Louie? If this were the case, the station reached its goal far in advance to the final minutes of the film.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Even blockbuster films can have a plot hole (don't even get me started on Michael Bay's second Transformers film).

We all know Indiana Jones. He's been tromping the big screen since the early eighties as the world's most famous archaeologist. However, the third film should have been his last outing, and no I don't mean that because of how bad the fourth film was.

During the scene where Indy is walking across the letters to spell Jehovah - Or Iehova as it is properly spelled he steps on a "J". Of course the letter collapses, sending Indy falling through the now open space. In an effort to save himself he grabs two more letters, an "L" and a "Y", which he uses to pull himself up.

Not being the correct letters either, shouldn't these tiles have fallen as well?

Back to the Future Part III

Alright, so this one came out in 1990, but it was filmed in the 80's.

Some say the third, and final installment in the Back to the Future series wasn't worth the wait. Personally, I think it's the better of the two sequels...Except for one problem.

Marty goes back to the West to find Doc Brown who will be killed just a few days later. Of course nothing can ever go right, and Marty ends up damaging the DeLorean, resulting in a fuel leak. As Marty and Doc scramble to find a way to get the now sans gasoline vehicle up to 88 MPH, everyone seems to forget one thing...Doc hid a fully fueled DeLorean in a cave for Marty to find in 1955 where he is stranded at the beginning of the film.

Why not take that one, and make tracks for the future?

Sure, you can say, "But then there would be no DeLorean for Marty to find in 1955!" No, not true. They could have hidden the broken one with a note stating what is wrong with it. The vehicle would have been much easier to repair in 1955 with the younger version of Doc who probably could have fixed it in the span of a few hours. Marty then could use it to go back in time completing the circle. Heck, even easier - Put a note in there that says, "Bring a fuel line with you, and spare gas when you come because this one is going to break when you get here."

The Karate Kid

Ah, the Karate Kid. The tale of a bully named Daniel Larusso who moves to California, and picks a fight with another local teen at a beach in the hopes of winning the affections of the ex girlfriend of said teen. After losing the fight, Daniel holds his grudge for months, only to turn a hose on young Johnny in a bathroom stall at a school function in hopes of humiliating him. When this doesn't work, he then challenges the boy to a fight in public at a tournament.

Seriously though - The Karate Kid is a great movie except for the fact that Daniel wins at the end with an illegal move.

Throughout the tournament we're reminded that blows to the face and below the belt will not be tolerated, and repeated disregard for this rule will result in disqualification. So how does Daniel win the tournament? With a straight kick to Johnny's face - To the roaring cheers of the crowd. Shouldn't this have resulted in no point, and a warning of disqualification? Certainly not a win.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. is a beloved family classic for many generations of children and adults. It shows us how a young boy and alien can become the best of friends, and how children in general are smart enough to outwit the entire US government.

However, there is a problem. E.T. should have never even met Elliot as there was no need.

During the infamous bicycle scene where E.T. and Elliot fly across the sky showing the now famous moonlight bicycle image we are shown one amazing thing - E.T. can fly! If this is the case, why didn't he just fly up to his ship at the beginning when it was (very slowly) lifting off the ground?

He could have easily popped into a hatch, been back on board, and on his way back to his planet - or wherever the ship was going.

Gremlins

I mentioned this one way back when I did a post on LJN's Gremlins toys.

Yes, Gremlins is a timeless classic which introduced us to the species of Mogwai - Specifically Gizmo. However there's a major problem with the rules it imposes.

Don't get them wet? Nope, this is fine.

Avoid light - Especially sunlight as it will kill them? Well...It's arguable that he was in lit areas, but that's not the one I'm talking about.

Don't feed it after midnight? Yeah, that's the one. Since the first day of time it's been after midnight. Not only that, but what time zone do Mogwai associate with? What if I feed my Mogwai at 11:59 PM? If there's food in his stomach come midnight am I in trouble?

This rule seriously breaks an otherwise classic film.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

People love the Star Wars Trilogy. They feel Lucas made such perfect masterpieces that they beg anyone who will listen to release a remastered unaltered edition (an oxymoron if you think about it). What they fail to see is how flawed the films are - and this comes from a huge Star Wars fan.

Return of the Jedi starts out on one of the messiest feet a movie can start on, and somehow manages to still be an entertaining bit of film from start to finish. Lando who has disguised himself has already infiltrated Jabba's palace, and done nothing to free Han from Carbonite.

Enter C-3PO and R2-D2 for no other reason than to introduce Luke Skywalker to Jabba. Luke then gives his droids to Jabba racking up now three heroes in the palace who are making zero moves to free Han.

Enter Leia in disguise with a captive Wookiee she willingly hands over to Jabba to....infiltrate his palace - Didn't Lando already do this? Furthermore, now we have two prisoners to free.

Leia now finds it a great idea to free Han, and bolt for the door - Only to be captured. We now have three prisoners who need rescuing. Not only this, but what was the plan for Lando, C-3PO and R2-D2? Leave them there to fend for themselves?

Enter Luke Skywalker who somehow manages to salvage this totally botched job, and rescue everyone.

What was the plan to begin with? Furthermore, why didn't Leia just call upon the Rebels to send a small force in, and take over Jabba's palace, freeing Han in the process? I love Star Wars, but what the heck is going on here?

I'm sure there are tons more movies out there with holes so large you'll never find your way out of them. Feel free to leave your picks in the comment section.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Winner!!!!!!!!



After our first winner never checked in, we're pleased to announce Tony of 2 Minute Toy Break has won and claimed the Rocket Fizz give away! Congratulations, Tony!

We won't spoil the surprise, suffice to say Tony has a box of good stuff headed his way. Hopefully he'll share some pics on his blog when he gets it. Otherwise we'll throw an honorary post up with some images in about a week's time.

Congratulations once again on winning the prize pack!

Kong (Mezco)



Kong
Mezco
2008

Today will be short and sweet.

One of the most interesting things to note about Mezco's 2008 Kong line is that the packaging is almost identical to that of Playmates Toys line from 2005. Coincidence?

Mezco produced three different variations of a fifteen inch Kong - The only difference being the facial sculpt. The "figure" featured limited amount of articulation - Limited to swivel joints in both the arms and legs. However, this worked rather well considering the poses that one would go for in a Kong figure. Additionally, the paint job was amazing. It showcased high details in particular to the flesh deep scratches all over Kong's body.

Beyond that, there's not much more to say. It's Kong - The eighth wonder of the world.

Kong (Fierce Face)*Kong (Somber Face)*Kong (Rampage Face)

If you're a fan of Kong, and looking to add this particular line you better start saving your pennies now. Loose ones have sold for upwards of $200.00, with mint in the box ones easily going for twice that.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Toy Box Give Away!



Every been to one of those stores where the novelty is so appealing that you soon find yourself buying...Well...A bunch of stuff you don't really need? This is the predicament I found myself in after a visit to Rocket Fizz.

Rocket Fizz is a unique candy and soda chain located nationwide in the US. Admittedly, the location they've chosen for their Northern Virginia venture doesn't seem like the most ideal as I would think this type of shop more commonly thrives in touristy locations such as boardwalks, and not in the middle of a suburban strip mall.

As I walked through the shop, I was enthralled by the numerous options of sugary treats and drinks. They had the most common of the common - Such as Hershey bars, and then some I'd never seen before or heard of. Additionally they also had several gag type toys, such as exploding golf balls, fake vomit and / or poop, and other various novelties. I snapped a few photos of the shop to share;

 Pretty much every shelf had an equal selection of
sodas and candies, but you had to look closely to
find the truly unique items.

 Price wise, this place is not buyer friendly. Candies
range anywhere from $1.00 to $12.00. Sadly the low
end cost will garner you the chalky nasty candy
which comes in a box, while the higher prices are
reserved for what most people would really want to
buy...if it weren't so expensive.

 Sodas will set you back about $2.99 a piece, and
let's be honest here - You're only buying the unique
label / name. In essence, it's just a variation of
common flavored sodas for the most part.

 I jokingly said to my girl while there, "How much do
you want to bet most of these soda's are the same
flavors made by the same people just with a
different label?"
 Just in case you want instant gratification of your
soda you can also buy them cold as opposed to
room temp.

 The very small comic book related table had some
fun candies, and even Funko Pops.

 Looking for a unique tin sign? They have tons of
those as well - $15.00 each.

I love taffy, and was excited to see the massive
bulk section they had.

 More soda!

 The register was dead center in the shop, and also
covered in merchandise. It was fun finding packs
of baseballs cards sitting there for sale, but they
were admittedly a little random as they were just
placed on the counter. They were also an array of
different series.

 More soda...

 ...and more...

 ...and even more.

 The shop isn't massive by any means, but they
certainly maximize space.

 Yes, that is indeed a Mr.Bacon figure on the shelf!

Okay, so maybe that's more than "a few" photos, but I wanted all of you to share in the experience I had.

Alright, so we've all seen the store now, but that's not why you clicked this link. You're looking for a prize, right?

So here's how you enter - Simply leave a comment with your favorite type of candy as a kid between Sunday, July 16 and Saturday, July 22.

Now let's go for bonus points. Leaving your favorite candy type will get you one chance to win. If you actually go through the trouble of writing about why said candy is your favorite you'll get a second entry.

On the 23rd, one winner will be drawn at random to win a box of fun items I picked up from Rocket Fizz. At that time the winner will be announced via a separate post on this blog. That person will have 24 hours to claim the prize via the instructions in that post. Failure to do so will result in forfeit of prize, and a new winner will be drawn. This process will loop until someone finally claims the prize - Hopefully it will be the first person announced though.

The unfortunate disclaimer section;

Must be 18 years or older to enter, and live in the United States. Sorry, no international shipping. Candies may contain nuts, milk or other such items which you may be allergic to. Eat at your own risk. Not responsible for inevitable weight gain from consuming this prize package. Anonymous comments will be posted, but are not eligible for an entry.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pet Rock (Rock Bottom Productions)



Pet Rock
Rock Bottom Productions
1975

There's something to be said about someone that would purchase an everyday average rock - The word stupid comes to mind. Nevertheless, Gary Dahl proved to the world that it wasn't about having a good idea, but rather that idiots with too much money will buy anything. Thus, the Pet Rock was born.

In 1975 Dahl was at a bar with his friends listening to them bicker about their live pets. Complaints about walking them, feeding them, changing litter boxes and so on lead Gary to the idea that a rock would be the ultimate pet. You wouldn't have to feed it, walk it, bathe it, or in general take care of it at all. Though his friends laughed at the idea, Gary was far from joking. He went to work on penning a manual for taking care of your new found pet.

Pet Rocks were smooth stones which were obtained from Mexico's Rosarito Beach. Each came with a custom cardboard box which had air holes in the sides, and of course the manual Gary had written.

The fad of Pet Rock lasted about six months, but it was more than enough time for Gary to sell 1.5 million of them at $4.00 each making him a millionaire in the process. Is anyone else shaking their heads?

To be fair, the rock itself was a gag, with the manual being the real product. Though it could have been sold as its own "book" so to speak, you really need the rock with it to bring the whole comedic concept to a head.

With his new found fortune, Gary ended up designing and building a bar in Los Gatos, California called Carry Nations. Sadly, kids of this generation that stop by for a drink probably have no clue who he even was.

Dahl continued to work in advertising throughout his years, but for a long time avoided interviews because of what he called, "A bunch of wackos appearing out of nowhere with threats and lawsuits." He retired in 2006, and sadly passed away at the age of 78 in 2016.

Rosebud Entertainment are the current rights holders to Pet Rock, and since 2012 have been producing them again. I guess as a society we'll never learn. As George Santayana said, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Soundtracks Of The 80's




Soundtracks are big business, and movie studios know this. Even the worst of films can be saved by a stellar soundtrack, taking it from financial flop to blockbuster. They're synonymous with highly popular one hit wonders you can't find anywhere else, drawing in big names in the music industry who either contribute or write full albums, and of course the masters of their craft - I'm talking about the many composers out there who write and conduct entire symphony's for film.

As many of you know, or found out in a recent post I wrote about a bunch of CD's I recently purchased, I love soundtracks. As I said above (and in the aforementioned post), they're a treasure trove for one hit wonders you just can't find anywhere else. Not only that, but they're so much fun to display with their mini movie posters for covers. I probably own as many soundtracks as I do studio albums from bands, and I dare say they may supersede said studio albums in volume in the very near future.

Today I've pulled a collection of some of my favorite soundtracks from the 80's to share.For me, this is the definitive era for music in films. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the 80's essentially defined who I was as a person being the time frame I grew up. The music was fantastic, and it has remained an important part of my life to this day.

Do bear with me though. When I say "I pulled some", I really mean I grabbed pretty much everything which wasn't nailed down. Selecting a favorite soundtrack is like asking a parent which one is their favorite child. So, the heck with it. We'll just take a trip down memory lane with a bunch of them. I assume if you're still reading you have no problem with this.

Let's begin!

Kenny Loggins is essentially the face of 80's soundtracks. In fact, if I didn't know any better I'd say there was some form of written law which stated all film studios had to first check with him to see if he was willing and available for their soundtrack before they moved on to the next person. Kidding of course, but seriously, this guy had a ton of popular hits on a ton of popular film soundtracks. In many cases he was the only reason to even consider buying it.

Caddyshack is Loggin's first debut on a soundtrack, and from there only showed his staying power with hits on Footloose, Over the Top and Top Gun. Of course these aren't the only contributions he made in the 80's.

However, it wouldn't be fair to give Kenny all the credit for the above albums. While his music definitely stands out, there are other great tracks to be found from numerous artists; Deniece Williams, Mike Reno, Ann Wilson, Bonnie Tyler, Sammy Hagar, Asia, Berlin, Cheap Trick and more!

Harold Faltermeyer (who also wrote the anthem for Top Gun) showed the world you could reach number one on numerous charts without singing a single note when he provided Axel F for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. This straight synthpop sounding dance track also made it clear that synthesizers were an instrument which could be utilized to create fully developed and high quality songs from start to finish.

The album also benefits from having hits from several big name artists of the era; The Heat is On (Glenn Frey), New Attitude (Patti LaBelle), Neutron Dance (The Pointer Sisters), and though it wasn't a hit, one of my personal favorites was Gratitude by Danny Elfman.

I don't know about anyone else, but for me, Fame and Flashdance kind of go hand and hand. I never really think of one of them without thinking of the other. This is probably contributed to Irene Cara who sang both of the biggest hits off of both albums, Fame (from Fame) and (Flashdance) What a Feeling (from Flashdance). Both tracks just make you feel good. They're peppy, upbeat, and make you want to get up and dance. Flashdance also had two other great tracks, Romeo from Donna Summer and Manica by Michael Sembello - A song originally written as a joke, but tweaked lyrically to fit in the film.

There's no denying Survivor's Eye of the Tiger was the only reason to buy the soundtrack for Rocky III - Which is why I'll give it an honorable mention here. However, it's inclusion on Rocky IV's soundtrack in addition to the many other great tracks made the fourth installment far more tantalizing for me.

The album is notable for so many hits; Burning Heart (Survivor), Heart's On Fire (John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band), Eye of the Tiger (Survivor), Living in America (James Brown), No Easy Way Out (Robert Tepper) and the Training Montage (Vince DiCola). This is a soundtrack I would say if you don't have, you need to get it.

Madonna was big, big, big in the 80's, and everyone wanted her for some form of project - Photo shoots, soundtracks, staring in films, or a little bit of all of the above. She not only stared in the two films, Desperately Seeking Susan and Who's That Girl, but also contributed tracks which quickly shot up the charts - Into the Groove and Who's That Girl, respectively.

There are a handful of albums which immediately come to mind when I think of iconic 80's films. I can't even visualize scenes from movies such as Back to the Future, Ghostbusters and Dirty Dancing without their respective tunes humming in the back of my head. These three are definitely soundtracks I would say are equally as important as the films they're from. You simply can't have one without the other. Well...You could. It would just be a terrible world to live in.

Prince may not have been able to act, but there's no denying he broke barriers between races with his soundtrack to Purple Rain. I'm not going to lie - The film stinks. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say for me Purple Rain is the definitive 80's soundtrack. There's just not one bad tune on it. Since then, Prince has stared in a handful of other (not so good) films, and of course written the soundtracks for them.

Enter the soundtrack for Tim Burton's Batman. I'm not really sure how Prince got attached to the project, but I do believe I recall hearing rumor that it all came about because he owed Warner Brothers a soundtrack under his contract. Regardless, this is one solid album. Not only that, but it's also a transitional phase for Prince musically. He steps away from his 80's pop style music, and leans more towards a funk bass and drum style with a hint of industrial in it. It works fantastically together.

Then there's the mass of one hit wonder as well as big name bands / singers who provided songs they never released on their studio albums for soundtracks which sprinkled about the 1980's, and charted the top of Rick Dee's Weekly Top 40 frequently. Initially I was going to list them all out here, but decided against it when it essentially became a wall of text. Suffice to say there are a ton of great songs on these albums;

 Valley Girls*The Goonies*Pretty in Pink
Say Anything*Cocktail*The Breakfast Club

 Vision Quest*Electric Dreams*The Jewel of the Nile
The Karate Kid Part II*National Lampoon's Vacation*St. Elmo's Fire

Here's a little soundtrack trivia for you to blow your friend's minds with - You can't actually find The Karate Kid Part II on CD. It was only released on cassette and vinyl. The album was the only one released in 1986 by United Artists, and was in an effort to revive the companies movie and record label. It failed, resulting in minimal pressings / copies of the album in general despite having the number one hit Glory of Love by Peter Cetera. The company went defunct, and the entire catalog (including their soundtracks) sold to Capitol Records. To date Capitol has not released the soundtrack on CD either.

 Mannequin*Weird Science*Beaches
Risky Business*Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome*Against All Odds

 An Officer and A Gentleman*Real Genius*Scrooged
Streets of Fire*Ruthless People*Working Girl

Children's movies were no exception to the necessity of a great soundtrack. In fact, there are some films I loved as a kid which simply haven't aged well enough to watch again, but the soundtrack on the other hand has one or more classic tracks on it which make their rotation into my iPod regularly.

 Transformers The Movie*Labyrinth*The Neverending Story
An American Tail*Annie

There were also the cartoons which weren't so kid friendly. Ralph Bakshi was my first introduction into more adult themed animated films, and may very well be credited with showing me breasts (among other things) for the first time. Let's just say as a very young teenager I liked his films for many reasons. Fortunately one of those is on topic for this discussion - The soundtracks.

As a child of the 80's I didn't really listen to a lot of music from the 60's (and 70's for that matter). Bakshi's American Pop was my first real foray into the hay days of rock with artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Big Brother and Holding Company and The Doors. In fact, the only 80's artist on the soundtrack is Pat Benatar.

If you think about it, the soundtrack for Less Than Zero was rather groundbreaking. Rap was quickly making its way to the forefront of the music scene, and in essence was helping to bring many people together under one unified interest - The love of music.

The soundtrack for the film melded all the great sounds of the decade together with hits from the likes of LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Poison, The Bangles and Aerosmith (to name a few). This was definitely a different kind of album for me because typically you had a soundtrack which focused on one particular style of music. There was never really a combination of the various "genres".

James Bond films had been synonymous with hit theme songs since the early 1960's, and the 80's were no exception. Sheena Easton provided the title track for the film For Your Eyes Only, Duran Duran for A View To A Kill, and A-Ha for The Living Daylights - All of which quickly became popular mainstay tracks on FM radio.

To this day Bond films make it a point to come out of the gate swinging with a theme song by the most current hottest acts of the day. It's probably a safe bet to say this will continue as long as bond films are made...Which may not be much longer if I had to honestly speculate.

Sadly not all soundtracks for great films can be equally as good. With movies being produced every day alongside the music which goes into them you're bound to have some duds. Such is the case with soundtracks such as The Lost Boys, Revenge of the Nerds, This is Spinal Tap and Spaceballs. Great films...Not so great soundtracks.

Granted there are some descent tracks on these albums such as Cry Little Sister and People Are Strange on The Lost Boys, and Spaceballs on the Spaceballs soundtrack. For the most part though, these don't tend to find a rotation in my catalogue of music. In fact I'll even throw out there how disappointing it was to find that the best song from Revenge of the Nerds (the rap at the end) isn't even on the soundtrack! LAME!

As I mentioned above, soundtracks have a way of drawing in big names in the music industry. I already talked about Prince and Madonna, but there have been others. The Bee Gees were big into providing music for soundtracks in the 70's, but sadly got pushed to the background as the 80's rolled around. While their Staying Alive soundtrack has a fair amount of hits on it, disco was quickly being deemed uncool to listen to - Let alone perform.

Then there is my all time favorite band, Queen, with their not so great Flash Gordon soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, I like a fair amount of the tracks on this record, but you're not going to find anything which made the airways in the 80's. Additionally, this album was also the start of the band incorporating synthesizers into their music - Something which greatly disappointed a lot of their fans.

Olivia Newton John was also big money during this era having been majorly successful in the film Grease. She was often times brought in to star in the films she provided soundtracks for. Xanadu not only features her magnificent singing voice, but the music of Electric Light Orchestra. The combination is really something special.

Not all soundtracks have to be driven by tunes which made their way to FM radios across the world. It would be an absolute crime to not mention the symphonic master of soundtracks, Mr. John Williams. If it was a conducted soundtrack, chances were high he was behind it. It's a fair bet that in his several decade long career that you know and like something he's created.

If you've truly been living under a rock, he's the man behind such classic scores as Star Wars, E.T., Indiana Jones, Jaws, Harry Potter and so many more it would take all day to list them.

However, for as popular as he is, John Williams is not the only mastermind of conducted soundtracks. One of my all time favorites is Danny Elfman - Mainly because I love everything Oingo Boingo. Elfman himself scratches his head at why Tim Burton selected him to write his soundtrack for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (the film which started their long working relationship). Whatever the reason, Burton was right to choose him. Danny Elfman writes fantastic music, often with a dark or quirky tone which fits in perfectly to Burton's on screen visions.

For a more synthesizer based soundtrack which hits all the marks, you really need look no further than Vangelis who was the mastermind behind Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner. Ironically, due to a dispute with the film company, you couldn't actually find Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack until 1994. Instead you'd have to suffice for a recording by The New American Orchestra when the film was first released.

Other conductors get an honorable mention for their work in 80's film. Though there are many of them, three specific albums come to mind; The Terminator by Brad Fiedel, Thief by Tangerine Dream and Escape From New York by the film's writer / director, John Carpenter.
 
 The Terminator
Thief*Escape From New York

Last, but certainly not least, I want to mention a few albums for 80's films which helped introduce me to the great tunes of yesteryear. Some of these soundtracks take me back as far as the 40's and 50's, while others introduced me to the soothing sounds of Mowtown.

The Blues Brothers*Stand By Me*Good Morning Vietnam
The Big Chill*The Last Dragon

This really is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many great films of the 80's out there with equally great or better soundtracks. This definitely will not be my last post on the subject. In the meantime, please feel free to add your own list of great 80's soundtracks to the comment section. Who knows, maybe some of your selections will make it into my future post.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Diamond Select)



The Nightmare Before Christmas
Diamond Select
2016 - 2017

The Nightmare Before Christmas has had merchandise based on it ever since its release in 1993, and rightly so. It's one of the most popular animated films to date, right up there with your typical Disney classic. Fans love it, and obsessed folks can't get enough of it. Now if only we could get a sequel.

It seems that every so often a new wave of action figures are released. Hasbro started it all in 1993. NECA had a go in 2003, and Funko even made a ReAction line in 2016. Mind you, that's just the tip of the iceberg as many other companies released merchandise in between all of that.

Diamond Select's 2016 (and still running) line is a wonderful addition to any Nightmare Before Christmas fan. The sculpting is spot on, and what the figure lack in articulation is made up in spades with the accessories and backdrops included in each package.

Wave one featured Jack Skellington, Sally and Oogie Boogie - Three common figures that seem to jump start every Nightmare Before Christmas line. Not that this is a problem. It's just typical.


Wave two featured The Mayor, Dr. Finkelstein and Santa Jack. You've got to check out those amazing accessories packed in with the trio. They're spot on renditions to those seen in the films.

As of this writing, the line is only on wave two. A third wave has been announced that will include Pumpkin King Jack, Santa Claus, and Oogie's Boys - Lock, Shock and Barrel. What's not to love about that?



Much like any series of toys based on Tim Burton's animated classic, prices will most likely start to rise quickly. For now though, you can still get each figure for roughly twenty to twenty-five dollars. It's highly recommended that you jump in now if these are something you're planning to add to your collection.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Creature from the Black Lagoon (Amok Time)



Before we start - For those of you who like to peruse our older posts, we'd like to let you know we've been investing a lot of time to revisit the numerous posts from 2013 which originally had no text (only photos). This is something we've actually been doing for a while now, but are making it a point to complete in the very near future.

Creature from the Black Lagoon
Amok Time
2010


When I first heard about Amok Time's Creature from the Black Lagoon, it was way back in 2012 on a site many of you may know about - Green Plastic Squirt Gun. His photos intrigued me enough that I kept this "little" guy on my radar for quite some time. Then, as things often do happen, I forgot about it.

In 2017, Brother Midnight returned to his CftBL "figure" in the Round Robin Challenge, Fire All Over. It was at that point that I remembered this awesome toy, and had to have one of my very own.

Amok Time's Creature from the Black Lagoon is by no means common. It's scarcely rare, and more importantly, it's not cheap. Getting one mint in the box is going to set you back at least $400.00, and that's if you can find one.

The most common factor to it's scarce nature is that it was limited to just 500 pieces. That's not a whole lot to go around.

The "figure" was designed by Motanari Sugai, and stands 22 inches tall by 13 inches wide, and weighs in at approximately 5.5 pounds. In short, there's a lot of plastic on this thing - Sorry...Vinyl. It features minimal articulation, limited to just the arms. With such minimal articulation, it suits more so as a display piece than a toy - Which is okay, because it makes one heck of a conversation piece.

The box itself comes in at 23.5 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 8.5 inches deep. So whether or not you would plan on displaying this piece in the box or open, you're going to need a fair amount of open space. Personally speaking - It's far more impressive out of the box than hidden inside of it.

If you look closely, you'll see that no, the lips are not red. Purists of the original Creature from the Black Lagoon from Universal Studios will appreciate this key aspect. For those of you unsure of what I'm getting at, take a moment to Google it. It's a fascinating debate. 

If you're a fan of the Creature, then this could very well be the ultimate collectible out there to hunt down. Again though, it's not going to be easy to find, nor is it going to be cheap.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Baltimore Toy and Collectible Show!



I told myself I was going to make the next Dave Hart Show no matter what! I'd missed it for years, and was dead set I wasn't missing it again. Then I forgot about it.

Fortunately Brian of Cool and Collected was on top of his game, and fired over an e-mail asking if I wanted to catch up with him at the show. With an early start, and an eager heart I was up, showered, and out the door by 7:30 AM to make my way for a 9:00 AM door opening - A time slot I made by mere minutes.

My intentions were to focus strictly on finishing my Remco Karate Kid line. You know...This one;

Mr. Miyagi*Daniel Larusso

With a boast of 80+ vendors, and 300+ tables I was sure I would find something. I mean, that's a lot of toys in one room. Well...Apparently luck was not on my side. I found only one dealer who said he had a Johnny figure from the line, but upon digging into his tote he concluded he either couldn't find it, or had already sold it. So in short, the day turned up nothing prosperous for putting any dents in my limited collection (above).

It may have been for the better as despite my lack of ability to find Remco KK toys, I found plenty of other stuff which made its way home with me.

For starters, I got a ton of CD's. I'm a big fan of owning physical media (which I then transfer to iTunes). I don't like digital downloads or the impression it gives that I'm only renting something. If I pay for it, I want to own it. I want to hold it, display it or sell it again if I tire of  it.

There were two dealers selling them for $1.00 to $2.00 a piece, and I wasn't about to pass this up. It would cost me anywhere from $3.00 to $4.00 just for shipping to get them off of ebay in addition to the cost to buy them. For a buck I was very liberal with what I chose, grabbing many CD's which had only one or two songs I wanted on them. Why not? The cost of a single for an entire album? Sign me up!

 Dirty Dancing Soundtrack*Young Guns II Soundtrack*Who's That Girl Soundtrack
Forrest Gump Soundtrack*Across the Universe Soundtrack*Pulp Fiction Soundtrack

I love a good soundtrack. It's a great way to get a nice mix of tunes from various bands, and not only that, but a lot of times songs they never released on their studio albums - For example Guns N' Roses cover of Sympathy for the Devil only available on the Interview with a Vampire soundtrack.

Not only that, but how many soundtracks from the 80's were so awesome? Sometimes even better than the films they were for.

 Batman and Robin Soundtrack*Batman Forever Soundtrack*Interview with a Vampire Soundtrack
Top Gun Soundtrack*Wayne's World Soundtrack*Grease Soundtrack

I'm by no means an R.E.M. fan, but three CD's for three bucks featuring the majority of songs I would look for on one greatest hits album is definitely well worth it for me.

 R.E.M. Document*R.E.M. Out of Time*R.E.M. Monster
Paul Simon The Rhythm of the Saints*Spice Girls Spice World*No Doubt Tragic Kingdom

This Greatest Hits of Kenny Loggins CD was an 80's soundtrack unto itself with hits such as Footloose, I'm alright, Meet Me Half Way and Danger Zone.

 Kenny Loggins The Greatest Hits*George Michael Faith*Motley Crue Dr. Feelgood
Heart (self titled)*Tears for Fears Greatest Hits*Madonna The Immaculate Collection

 Billy Idol Vital Idol*Dire Straits Money for Nothing*Dire Straits Brothers in Arms
The Outfield Play Deep*Men At Work Business As Usual*Skid Row (self titled)

Steppenwolf Greatest Hits*Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits*Boston Don't Look Back
Billy Joel Greatest Hits*Heart Greatest Hits

I apparently missed Prince The Hits when taking photos, but I grabbed that as well.

I would have gladly bought more CD's if I found more which appealed to me. Like I said, at $1.00 to $2.00 a piece how can you go wrong? That's practically giving them away.

In addition to the Remco Karate Kid figures, I also had my eyes on the lookout for a few other specific things; 1989 Batman movie Batman and Joker figures, Lion-O and Mumm-Ra from Thundercats and a Captain Power.

I ended up finding a Joker mint on card, but since the guy didn't have Batman I left it there with a promise I would be back if I found a Batman counterpart. While I did end up finding two Batman's, I passed on them both. One had the insignia rubbed off, and the other was missing the cape, and the belt was broken off. As such, Joker stayed at the show for someone else to give a home to.

Captain Power was nowhere to be found, and quite honestly got forgotten about rather quickly. He's a figure I would buy if I saw him (cheap), but didn't really focus on looking for.

Lion-O and Mumm-Ra I did find - Quite a few times. However it wasn't until I found two complete ones that I showed my hand of total interest. Not only were these figures complete with their weapons and light up rings, but also with their "pets" Snarf and Ma Mutt. However, at $60.00 for Lion-O and $50.00 for Mumm-Ra I was hesitant. Especially when the guy told me he couldn't confirm if the light up features worked. So, I walked away.

After perusing around for another thirty minutes or so, I made my way back and had a heart to heart with the guy. I basically said, "I'm interested, but what can you do price wise considering I'm buying under the assumption they light up, but not the guarantee?" He ended up knocking a fair amount off the prices, and I took them.

Lion-O and Snarf*Mumm-Ra and Ma Mutt

Mumm Ra paid off, working exceptionally for the light up feature. Sadly Lion-O did not. Considering the sword is in pristine condition, I still feel it was a fair trade off. Would I have liked the eyes to light up? Absolutely. But, let's be honest here - It's not like I would have sat and played with this feature over and over. It will sit on my shelf in all it's magnificent glory of display.

Then I made the ultimate mistake for the day...I decided it was the most opportune time to start my vintage G.I. Joe collection. Talk about instant buyer's remorse. These things weren't cheap - Which one would expect for nice stiff jointed figures with minimal paint wear and all their accessories. Still, it wasn't the smartest idea I had for the day.

Don't get me wrong. I got some great figures, but the timing just wasn't right. I really wish I had held off.

 Commando*Duke

Gotta love those original Joes with their purse accessories! Let's go shopping, YO JOE!

 Cobra Officer*Cobra Commander (hooded)*Cobra Soldier

I guess since I've broken the seal it's time to start looking for the next "wave" of Joe figures I want to add to the mix. I'm focusing strictly on 1983 - 1986. For me, there's no sense in buying the 1982 figures. They all got re-released in 1983 with fully articulated arms, so first and foremost why buy the same figure twice? Not only that, but the straight arm versions simply don't interest me, and at the end of the day they cost more.

 Baroness*Cobra Commander (helmet)*Destro

I definitely overpaid for the metal helmet Cobra Commander. At $50.00 he was the most expensive Joe I ended up buying. The rest averaged about $15.00 to $25.00 each.

One of the aspects I was cognizant of was the paint - Especially on the Cobra figures. It's rather challenging to find ones with the insignia's intact, and one of the main reasons I have held off for so long on taking the plunge on the series. I was pleased to find these all had very solid paint jobs.

 Xamot and Tomax

I looked around for some Joe team figures to help even out the ratio, but quite honestly just kept finding more and more Cobra ones which interested me more. I had to finally draw the line at an $85.00 Storm Shadow.

The last piece I picked up at the show was one which had interested me for a long time, but never made it from ebay to my house. When I found this one in the wild I was certainly interested, but the asking price of $35.00 was way too much.

 
Star Wars 1977 Theater Program

This is a 1977 program for Star Wars which was handed out at movie theaters. It's filled with beautiful photographs from the film, character bios, a behind the scenes write up, and a full cast list. This thing screams nostalgia, and will fit in rather nicely with my Star Wars home video collection.

The guy selling it was one of the vendors I grabbed a handful of CD's from. As he was ringing me up I casually said, "If you drop that Star Wars program down to $20.00 I'll take that too." To my surprise he immediately accepted. SOLD!

This was a fair price as it was essentially what I would have to pay on ebay for it without the hassle of shipping, and the satisfaction of instant gratification. Now I just need to find an appropriately sized backer board for the poly-bag.

One of the things my girl and I like doing when we go to new places is find a Mexican restaurant we can't find back home. Timonium was a perfect opportunity for this as there was one just down the street. Unfortunately it wasn't open at 11:30 when we left the show, so we decided to kill some time at Target.

Fate was dishing out love my way this day as I found three of the new Nickelodeon TMNT figures on the shelf.

 Rookies in Training Leo and Donnie*Samurai Leo*Rookies in Training Mikey and Raph

Admittedly I'm not a fan of what Playmates is dishing out in 2017 for the Turtles line, and it quite honestly makes me wonder if the series is dead or on a fast track to dying. Sprinkled in with the very few "new" figures to date are a trove of repainted ones. In fact, I dare say there are more repaints than new figures being released.

I'm all for a well thought out variant which has all new features and / or accessories, but these (the line in general, not the photo above) are just the same set of figures with a new coat of paint. This is lame, and lazy...and I guess I'm an idiot because I still bought them. Thank goodness I'm no longer a mint in package collector in addition to buying one to open because this is getting old.

I'm really not understanding why Playmates is flooding the market with rehashed old stuff. Like I said, maybe the line is dead.

Well, perhaps that's quite a downer of a note to end on, but that was my day. I mean, I could tell you about the two near misses I had on the highway as I almost got smashed from behind on two separate occasions when people weren't paying attention to stopping vehicles, but aside from a few choice swear words and middle fingers a-blazing out my window, there's not much to tell.

I'm sure Brian will have a post up about his wares (which sounded great from what he told me when we met up). Make sure you check his site for an update. As for me, I have a busy night ahead of me of "ripping" CD's to iTunes for my iPod.

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