Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- Honorable Mentions

Before I bring out the Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews, I would like to go over a few honorable mentions. I will admit, the shortlist for this countdown had about 75 reviews on it. If that sounds like an outrageous sum for such a small, cult Internet show, that's because it kinda is, I'm not gonna lie. Still, it was hard to choose the best reviews for this list, because there were a few common traits to all of them, all with the same positive vibes.

And so, beyond the Top 11, here we have some of the reviews I enjoyed the most.

IT and The Langoliers -- The third Stephen King review, The Tommyknockers was okay, but the height of comedic gold comes from how cheesy and campy both of these miniseries were. IT, marking the longest review at the time, had a lot of goofiness and narm elements to it, accentuated by the face that a lot of fans actually found it legitimately scary. And Doug put it best, if you're afraid of clowns it's understandable. But at the same time, just look at Tim Curry! He's clearly having a blast, even in the book scene going, "I'll Kill You All!" (BONUS: Another hilarious Tim Curry delivery that the Critic missed.) The Langoliers is even sillier, starting with how much cheesier the special effects look (blame the lower budget thrown all over the place). At least IT had a good look to it on film. Then add a TGIF sitcom star like Bronson Pinchot... Say it with me everyone, "Scaring the Little G-iiii-rr-l?"

The Neverending Story 3 -- This is one that stand out for how funny it is, and for all the requests it got. Some would say that it's up there with The Secret of NIMH 2, a fellow sequel month entry related to Doug's personal, deepest movie tastes. But that review was only okay, that most of that movie itself was just boring. This movie, however was a total abomination from start to finish, making for a more satisfying review on the whole. The buildup actually begins with The Neverending Story 2, also relating to a deep movie taste and itself a deeply scathing, funny review in its own right. This time around though, the prospect of "It Got Worse" is embodied in all the hilarious reactions to the glaring stupidity, the funniest being when we first see The Rockbiter. It was bad enough that his life essentially turned into the TGIF sitcom Dinosaurs, but really, why is there a butchering of a pop song in a fantasy world?! Granted Shrek 2 found a way to make it work, but on the whole it isn't even funny in a generic, contemporary setting. Either with cartoon funny animals or even in a live-action movie.

Video Game Review -- The whole fake rivalry with the Angry Video Game Nerd deserves some special attention as well, though the whole affair is only "Meh" to me. Still, it got me into James Rolfe's videos, and I like the serious comradery between him and Doug that developed. (Well, they both like Nintendo, Ninja Turtles, Batman...) Further, this brought the Critic to new heights as an internet celebrity and got him a lot of attention that proved for the best. But, I do think this was the single funniest video made for that run, the result of a challenge in return for the AVGN reviewing a "Bad Nostalgic Movie". The video game was Bebe's Kids (the Critic would also eventually review the movie, which made for a funny video), and what works best in this laughfest was the way it sends up the composition of the average AVGN review. From the constant near-breakdowns threatening to destroy the cartridge to having Kyle Justin sing a parody of the Nerd's theme song.

Star Wars Holiday Special -- Another classic review, like Neverending Story 3 requested on a grand scale. In fact, I had to leave out Howard the Duck just to justify including this, since we've got the actual old shame of George Lucas. And man, is that shame sure justified, starting with the long stretches of Wookie growling making whole segments incomprehensible. The celebrity appearances all look pained, especially Harvey Korman in drag doing the now-classic "Stir-Whip-Stir-Whip, Whip-Whip-Stir-WAH" routine. To go with "DuckT--s", we also have Dianne Carroll looking like she's turning on the Wookie grandfather (!). And extra points go out to Bea Arthur, who does the most inexplicable thing here by making a musical number interesting and appealing in ways that the special never could even comprehend. Overall, we have a very funny review, and it's up there with Linkara's New Kids on the Block #4 review for the funniest Christmas video on the site.

North and Patch Adams -- These two aren't specifically "classic" reviews, nor are they all that personal. (Well okay, I'll admit that I fell for North's bull when I saw it initially, but I've grown a lot since then.) But both are very funny, and I will admit that they work on the exact same level in regards to criticism. These two movies are very repugnant, mean-spirited pieces of crap, and particularly earned all their scorn for maintaining the delusion of being poignant and sweet. North tries to get us into the notion that our main character is finding his heart and soul in his relationship with his parents. But, it expects us to get around all the patronizing, broad, insulting-on-many-levels stereotypes. And that ungodly twist at the end tries to justify everything but only makes things worse. And Patch Adams is a bigger problem. The review itself is a little flabby, but it makes for an excellent, hilarious argument over the true story nature of the film, a detail that makes the sappiness all the more despicable. (And yes, I do intend to cheat a little and count two entries for one on the actual countdown. But trust me on this, the only time I'll do so is when I have a good reason for it. Though depending on what you thought of this explanation, it may not be so good to you.)

Willy Wonka Old Vs. New -- A personal choice here. Not only did I grow up with the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it marked an early step in the development of my cinematic tastes. This isn't a particularly funny review, but it's one of the most thoughtful discussions of film Doug has put into his videos. Admittedly, I enjoyed the Tim Burton remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I first saw it, but looking back it doesn't really hold up that well. I agree with every point here, that the biggest improvement of the only substantial ones is the look of the movie. But the thing that won me over the most was the conclusion that Charlie is the heart of the story, and he's more engaging and poignant in the original. Overall, there is some imagination and appeal to the remake, but you can't top a true children's classic.

The Thief and the Cobbler -- Distinctive review in that the Critic was reviewing a subpar version of a movie, generated by overbearing restrictions from producers homogenizing it with the rest of the Disney musical pack from the time it came out. As an animation buff, I found it very fascinating and highly commend him for going into the history to start things off. The Critic explained the tragic story of how this intended masterpiece from the great animated Richard Williams turned into the mess it became. There's more to the story, including the version that came between the original intended vision and this Miramax nightmare, and I recommend you check out the Recobbled Cut on YouTube.

Bio-Dome -- Honestly, this is just a hilarious review. Actually made better, in my opinion by the fact that it's little more than "This/these scene/joke/movie/characters is/are pure pain" with suitably mind-numbling clips to represent it. And yeah, the Critic is right. This movie is pure poison. Some of the worst, most irritating bits aren't even in the review! Just that sink in. (Also, some of this same effect is available in the Felix the Cat movie review. Not to mention, it's there in the worst movie the critic reviewed, which is also the worst movie Doug says he ever saw.)

Power Rangers: The Movie -- Take it from a 90s Kid (even though it was the generation that followed the Critic) with the first ever Nostalgia Critic review I ever saw. The first impression was a touch awkward and the jokes a bit too broad, but it all was dispersed on a reasonable scale and actually got plenty of laughs. Linkara isn't a fan of the movie either, and he's the site's resident Power Rangers fan and expert. (In his intro to the "History of the Power Rangers" series, Linkara states that he didn't think it was good, and it was left out of the series because it had no impact on the show.) Still, I actually rather like this movie, even though I didn't see it until after this review. You can expect a lot of frustration directed at Power Rangers, and I'm from the right generation to know just how cheesy that show was! And even for something that was low even by those standards, I still think it can be a guilty pleasure.

Raiders of the Story Arc Episodes: Ninja Turtles and Duck Tales -- And in that regard, I must also credit my influence and nostalgia to my family. I'm the youngest of three, with a brother four years older than me, and a sister six years older. As such, my earliest memories can be attributed to these two shows, with enough power and influence to reverberate well into the 90s. While I do like some of the cartoons from later in the decade I properly grew up with, I still longed for the feeling of the Disney Afternoon at that time. And while both the reviews are very funny and deserve my admiration for that 80s child influence, I think the Ninja Turtles one is the stronger of the two. It was the first, and more experimental of the format, and I gotta say it paid off in ways that one couldn't have expected. After all, he put the "Pillowy Mounds" Uncle Phil joke in the best possible place. And there's still that awkwardness contained within shows leading into the 90s boom, simply exemplified in the gag around April's indifference to her apartment building collapsing.

Every Video Game Adaptation -- Yes, every single one. If you look at the first year or two of the Critic's reviews, you may have noticed a pattern going on. Super Mario Brothers. Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat. The Wizard. Double Dragon. Mortal Kombat Annihilation. The Super Mario Brothers Super Show. Captain N. ...And, maybe there's something about a hedgehog in there. I dunno, maybe it'll crop up later. Anyway, you may like some of these movies, even if only as guilty pleasures. You may hate them all, like the Critic himself does. I don't think anybody likes the DiC (Do it Cheap) Nintendo cartoons, at least that I know. And yes, The Wizard is not an adaptation. But on the whole, the video game has proven one of the biggest and most influential media (that's right, media) on children of both the 80s and the 90s. This influence has allowed it to grow and evolve, and result in all these titles. But yet, not once have we gotten a really good movie. (Maybe a good cartoon, but we'll get to that.) Hell, this tradition continues today, where the video game adaptation begets, at best a guilty pleasure. Still, it all exemplifies the influence of the medium to our generations. After all, think about Wreck-It Ralph, and the potential it holds. And the Critic hit the nail right on the head, every time he talked about it.

Wow, just the honorable mentions bore a lot to say! Just imagine what the actual Top 11 will bring...

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