Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
12
Feb 2019
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Return of Tambelon – Parts 1-2

Summary: The legendary city of Tambelon returns after 500 years, resulting in missing Unicorns before the villain Grogar invades Dream Valley, bent on revenge against the Ponies. The usual nonsense follows. Enter White Girl Savior Megan, to form search parties and sing sad songs about unicorns.

Grade: C-

Initial Thoughts:

IS THIS SERIES NOT OVER YET?

Yep, Dove and I are back for yet another recap of what I’m just going to go ahead and predict as a terrible episode (how can something/someone return if you’ve never fucking heard of them before??) but I did realize that this screen cap from Bright Lights is my new favorite representation of the toll this series has taken on Dove and I. Once… once we were happy and excited.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap Series

Now? Not so much.

Dove had the honour of recapping episode #25 and suffering through a plot line that left a bad taste in both our mouths. Like, it was bad. I know the bar is set below the crust of the Earth at this point but we still have a generous twenty-five episodes left of season 1.* (Well, okay, we’ve already recapped Rescue from Midnight Castle already, so technically just 23 episodes to go!)

Face it: Dove and I are still traumatized from Flutter fucking Valley. A GoFundMe will be set up for our eventual need for treatment and recovery. [Dove: That’s a good picture. I often do have pink hair. And dead eyes.]

As I mentioned, this episode involves Tambelon (I keep typing Tamberlan? ??? I don’t even know why??) and his/her/its alleged return. We’ve never met him/her/it and fuck knows why he/she/it would want to return to Dream Valley, unless (like every “villain” before him/her/it) he/she/it wants to steal and rule it as some kind of third-world dictator. I literally don’t know what Tambelon is. I’m assuming it’s the villain? Who knows.

You know what I’d rather be watching right now? The 3.5 hour fan edit of David Lynch’s film version of Dune. And I fucking hated Dune because the officially released film version never works / makes sense story-wise for me. Hell, I live an hour away from where Herbert got his inspiration for Arrakis and I still have never actually read the first novel* (bite me) but even the original film makes more sense then these damn cartoons.

(I didn’t run out of Vikings episodes to watch yet; I just need a break. I can only take so much of that, knowing what’s going to happen to Ragnar. And season 5 just ended; talk about a shitty cliff hanger to end on!) [Dove: I ran out of South Park. I’m on Catfish now.]

Okay now that I’ve rambled on and complained myself out, time to lock in and start recapping this clusterfuck. Shall we?

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25
Dec 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Bright Lights (Parts 1-2)

Summary: When a trio of Baby Ponies become enamored of a singer called Knight Shade, things take a turn for the worse when it becomes clear he’s just a front for an evil wizard bent on gaining power through magical means.

Grade: C-

Initial Thoughts:

 

Bright Lights (Part1-2)

🎶 The view from hell is blue sky / so ominously blue 🎶 (with apologies to Josh Homme)

…whoa, déjà vu! Wasn’t I just here, recapping about a giant puppy? These back to back recaps are brutal.

Okay. Welcome, once again, to the masochistic recapping series where Dove and I rewatch My Little Pony and Friends cartoons and question our memories and choices, a lot. We’re only four episodes away from the halfway point of Season 1 (Dove gets the honor of recapping that episode, #25/50) which means we have hit BRIGHT LIGHTS.

(Sadly, no, it is not Bright Lights, Big City, which I could be watching right now. Alas. This also has MUCH LESS cocaine use then that movie, but the clothes in this could very easily be worn by any character in the film. Weird.)

Out of… well, the series as a whole, this four-parter is one of the ones I have concrete memories of. Mainly because of Knight Shade and the plot twist, which I’ll get into during the recap. Things in this episode clearly date it to mid-1980s (oh what a time to be alive!) bu they don’t hold up well. I was made in the 1980s and I’m not holding up well, either.

[Dove: I have more memories of this, because I’ve watched this one several times. Not deliberately. I misread our schedule and thought I was doing parts 1 and 2, I set them going just to remind myself which story this was, but got involved in coding something, and background-watched them. Then I realised what I’d done, and started over. Just in time I checked the schedule and realised that I was doing 3 and 4. But then my brain went: “Watch them again, so you can start parts 3 and 4 now.” So I did. But I didn’t start my half of the recap because life. Then I watched them again when bat made the draft page for her recap – I assumed she’d finished it, but she hadn’t. So I only watched part 1. I still haven’t retained much though.]

This will all eventually make sense, so, let’s just get to the recap.

 

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21
Dec 2018
The Three Musketeers (1993)

The Three Musketeers (1993)

Title: The Three Musketeers

Summary: Based on the classic novel, Dumas’ story of the young Gascon d’Artagnan who goes to Paris to become a Musketeer and serve the king, and how he befriends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and they have to save the king of France from being assassinated. Only this version is extremely Disney-fied!

Tagline: All for one and one for all!

Though, honestly, the other two that were used for a poster and video packaging, respectively, crack me up:

A place of betrayal. The fate of a king. A time for heroes. (Considering this movie wasn’t even filmed in Paris, let alone in France…)

They’re Scoundrels, Playboys, Outlaws . . . The Greatest Heroes Who Ever Lived. (This literally sounds like a MCU tagline. All those things describe Tony Stark.)

Book!Aramis was a complete playboy scoundrel and the Musketeers technically turn outlaw… I’m lost on the “place of betrayal” part, though.

Note: I have seen this movie many more times than an average viewer. Something like 75 times, at least 3 times in an actual movie theater, during its original release. Yes, I have a problem. A problem named Sutherland.

Oh, and I will likely make the distinction of book!CHARACTER to keep them separate from the film version, through out the recap. Because book vs movie is rather important to understand how much different the version you’re watching is compared to the actual novel.

Initial Thoughts:

The 1990s were a weird time for movies churned out by Disney. Instead of a bunch of animated films (this was just when Pixar really kicked into gear, but who really remembers A Bug’s Life?) they were releasing a bunch of family-friendly live-action films. Stuff like White Fang, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, The Rocketeer, Newsies, [Wing: Newsies is one of my favourite movies!The Mighty Ducks (and its subsequent sequels [Dove: Bagsie I get to recap them!]), and Hocus Pocus, to name a few. [bat: Okay, Wing recap Newsies, Dove recap Mighty Ducks, and I’ll recap Hocus Pocus! THEN WE CAN CROSS-COMMENT ON EVERYTHING!]

The first three years of the 1990s saw only four animated films released compared to 14 live action films. Granted, animated movies take longer, so that’s probably why. Even today that’s still true, although computer animation is much more widely used compared to the tiny bit we were all dazzled by during the ballroom sequence in Beauty and the Beast in 1992.

Also of note would be the part where Disney was pulling from classic literature and interesting life stories. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken is based on a true story; White Fang is a Jack London novel. There were real news boys in NYC and they held a strike in 1899 but I don’t think they sang and danced while doing it. [Dove: I have only just got a copy of this, because it’s called “The News Boys” over here. I have no idea why the name was changed, but Dean Portman from Mighty Ducks will sing!] [Wing: His role is fairly small but completely delightful. Oh, god, I could talk about Newsies for hours. Carryin’ the banner, y’all.]

Alexandre Dumas’ The d’Artagnan Romances, which is the encompassing name given to all the stories Dumas penned about the 17th century musketeers and their adventures, is really, really long. Most people are familiar with The Three Musketeers, the first of the stories that runs sometimes over 700 pages in length, which introduces us to d’Artagnan and tells the story of how he becomes a member of the King’s Musketeers.

Like Disney was going to actually stick to the actual story. Based on real events and persons, it is not… shall we say… “family friendly”. There’s a ton of intrigue and romantic/sexual affairs, and murder plots, all set within the court of King Louis XIII of France.

There’s also about a billion and a half (slight exaggeration) characters with enormous French names and titles. Keeping track of it all is only slightly less harder then knowing who’s who on Game of Thrones. It’s taken me a long time to really understand it, and that’s just based on half-hearted effort to read wiki articles and such, and admittedly it interests me to a fault. Your average reader? Probably not so much.

The Three Musketeers

There was a family portrait package special down at Sears that day.

So, Disney being Disney, stripped the story line down to its basic and most “family friendly” elements. Gone are the Musketeer’s menservants, gone is Kitty and Constance’s husband, no one needs you Monsieur de Tréville! (Who is actually awesome in the BBC’s adaptation, The Musketeers.) Everyone else was either toned down or given amped up traits: Athos is the serious broken-hearted alcoholic, Porthos is the larger-than-life comic relief (although he is in the book, as well), and Aramis’ philandering ways are severely reined in.

Which, in light of what happened with Charlie Sheen, is rather funny in a dark way. Sutherland’s legal troubles with DUIs would happen after this film, so again, life and art have many blurred lines.

There’s a lot more I could get into about all this but I’d rather incorporate it into the recap, so there’s some reference that can be of aid to you, readers. It’ll help, trust me.

One last thing: most of the main cast had either previously worked for Disney at some point or subsequently went on to do something else with them after this film. Basically, once you get in bed with the House of Mouse, you never really get out again. (Well, Sheen might be the exception…)

Onward! To the recap!

[Dove: I love this movie. Oliver Platt is awesome, and I swear to god, he played this role as if he knew that gifs would be a thing one day. Also, Michael Wincott is probably my longest-running crush. He’s wonderful.] [bat: Dove, you REALLY must see Forsaken. Wincott saves that movie from being a total bore.]

[Wing: This movie is so much cheesy fun, and also full of attractive people, or at least people who are attractive in this movie even if not elsewhere.]

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11
Dec 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Puppy Pony

Summary: When the Ponies discover Clifford the Big Red Dog a huge puppy has mysteriously been dumped on the doorstep of Paradise Estate, they set out to make the animal abandoner pay! No, no they don’t. They make friends with said puppy and build it a huge dog house for the winter.

Grade: Read to Find Out!

Initial Thoughts:

Welcome back for another installment of My Little Pony ‘n Various Characters-of-the-Week That You’ll Never Remember. I swear, Dove and I are fervently slogging through these, regret clouding our minds every single step of the way. THE EPISODES ARE NOT GETTING ANY BETTER, PEOPLE. [Dove: This episode may be the greatest example of “you can never go home” in history.]

We’ve finally reached one of those single episodes, a one-shot that doesn’t require us to split it between two recaps. A quick glance tells me there’s four more one-shots after this, but about a billion multi-part episodes on top of that. Oh mysterious creators of Dream Valley, be merciful and end my suffering quick.

(It’s kinda hard to go from a rewatch of all seasons of Vikings to pastel-coloured talking cartoon horses but here I am. If only Floki would show up and yell nonsense about the pagan gods and blood sacrifices at Shady. I would watch that.)

After that misleading GLASS PRINCESS crap, I am not holding out hopes for this episode being any good. Setting the bar low early on! Let’s watch.

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15
Nov 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Glass Princess (Parts 1-2)

Summary: Pony Olympics! Yes, it’s the Pony Olympics! With no explanation about why! Can’t make it up. (Although, I guess the writers did.) More ‘villain of the week’ crap; this time it’s Porcina and the Raptorians, who are after magic to use in order to repair Porcina’s magic cape. Dove’s favorite, the Sasswoolies, return for more madcap adventures with the Ponies.

Grade: D-

Initial Thoughts:

Hello and welcome, again, to this continued semi-nightmare road trip of childhood nostalgia that is the first season of My Little Pony ‘n Friends. I’m sad that I can’t say this is the halfway point through season 1, since that won’t be until episode #25, and we’re quite a ways off from that, still.

Anyway, Dove and I are doing our best to get through these poorly crafted/written episodes involving Ponies and their, um, friends. On deck today is the first half of “The Glass Princess”, which I honestly do not remember. I keep confusing it for the episode when the Princess Ponies show up, but that’s not for a while. The fact I remember nothing — and probably won’t even when I’m watching it or will suddenly something will trigger my memory? — should be interesting.

[Dove: I also thought this was about the Princess Ponies. Clearly we’re so frazzled that we can only react to a single word in the title. This is further evidenced by my confusion over The Ghost of Paradise Estate being the episode where furniture comes to life.]

Let’s just get this over with.

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25
Sep 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Ghost of Paradise Estate (Parts 1-2)

Summary: The Ponies finally remember that, hey, The Moochick gave us a wonderful play set of condos named Paradise Estate! We better move into them! (Dream Castle who?) But, of course, because this is Ponyland, there’s a ghost haunting Paradise Estate and that ghost wants the Ponies OUT. But when is anything ever as it seems in Ponyland? And what should be a simple fix is never the case! (Magical powers? How don’t those work!)

Grade: D

Initial Thoughts:

Hello and welcome back, that is if you’ve actually decided to return after the nightmare that was The End of Flutter Valley, the never-ending saga that kicked off this series of G1 MLP cartoon recaps by Dove and I. THANKFULLY Flutter Valley has been “saved” (boo, hiss) and we’ve moved on to… well, just as stupid things. This is the My Little Pony cartoon series. Don’t set your bar too high. But no more Flutter Valley. I think?

I just want to point out that, unconsciously, we somehow manged to near-sync this recap with the original air dates! Which were September 29 & 30 and October 1 & 2, 1986. Yeah, it’s super weird and entirely unintentional. Can’t say this will happen for the next batch but hey, celebrate when you can, amirite?

Thus begins the “spooky” 4-parter, The Ghost of Paradise Estate! (BUY OUR MERCH!) Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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28
Aug 2018
The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover... why?)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover… why?)

Title: The End of Flutter Valley (Parts 7-8)

Summary: 

Grade: This will be given when Dove and I finally reach the end of this 10 part epic.

Recap:

THE RAINBOW OF LIGHT IS AT THE END OF THE DAMN TUNNEL! All the harrowing hours we’ve spent neck deep in this never-ending saga – what was originally just a stupid day trip to freaking Flutter Valley – are finally drawing to a close! Well, okay, these two episodes to go, then Dove has the last two to recap, so we’re not as close as everyone (ie: ME) wishes we were. But we’re getting there! At least the action picks up speed in parts 7 & 8… if you can call it “action”…

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24
Jul 2018
The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover... why?)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover… why?)

Title: The End of Flutter Valley (Parts 3-4)

Summary: That great maguffin aka the Sun Stone has been stolen by Queen Bumble and her Bees, putting Flutter Valley in dire straights. The witches are on the verge of claiming their new territory, the Flutter Ponies are captured (and recaptured, in Morning Glory’s case), and the Ponies somehow manage to stumble into Furbobia, where Baby Cuddles gets steamed.

Grade: This will be given when Dove and I finally reach the end of this 10 part epic.

Recap:

You have now reached episodes 3-4 of this harrowing 10 part, 2 hour struggle through this Flutter Vally-centric nightmare. I don’t know; I’m pretty sure Flutter Valley was covered in the major motion picture that had been released three freaking months prior to the cartoon’s debut, but Hasbro gotta make that merch money! Anyway, Dove will cover Parts 5-6 in the next batch recap.

 

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12
Jun 2018
My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

Title: Escape From Catrina

Yes, there’s confusion if the villain’s name is spelled with a ‘C’ or a ‘K’, but based on officially released packaging as well as the fact she’s a damn cat-person, we’re sticking with ‘Catrina’.

This television special was released on March, 23rd, 1985. I would have been three years old. Thirty-four years have passed. Ouch.

Also, this is the box art I remember from childhood. It has ZERO to do with the actual events, and shows Danny(?) riding(?!) Spike, who’s much bigger then normal, and the Moochick is there(??) and the only hint of the actual villain was a photo on the back cover. Someone dropped the ball BIG TIME on this.

Summary: The Ponies are planning a ‘Welcome Back’ party for Megan, but things go awry when villainous Catrina and her reptilian henchman, Rep, steal the baby Ponies as well as the Rainbow of Light. A rescue ensues and new allies are discovered in the form of the Bushwoolies.

Grade: A solid B+. Catrina isn’t as scary as Tirek, though yet again the writers came up with a story involving mass enslavement, kidnapping, several near-fatal incidents, stranger danger, and drug addiction. The animation was about on par with the first special. Three original songs in one 30 minute special is also pretty impressive, even if they’re not great.

Initial Thoughts/Intro:

Me, circa 1985, with Glory and Baby Cuddles. Note the sweet MLP threads!

Hi all, it’s bat and I’m a long time MLP fan. No, really, the MLP toys coincided with the beginning of my existence on this planet and they were the one toy I was truly obsessed with. Screw Barbie, give me ALL THE PONIES!

I watched MLP from the very beginning, though time has faded some of my memories of the cartoon episodes. That said, “Escape From Catrina” was my favorite of the two initial specials and I watched it way too many times.

The MLP specials were known for pulling “big” actors and actresses to do voice work. This particular special features the enchanting Tammy Grimes as Catrina (she voiced Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn) and Paul Williams as Rep (he wrote “Rainbow Connection” aka that song made famous by The Muppets).

Catrina’s use of the witchweed potion caused some trouble down the road in later years, because the USA was big into the “War On Drugs” during the 1980s. “The Good Old Days” song was excised when this special was cut down to two parts for the syndicated cartoon series; I’ll get into more detail about that in the recap.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be shortened to FiM, because that is a long time title to type out.

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18
May 2018
Brotherhood of Justice 1986

Brotherhood of Justice (1986)

Title: Brotherhood of Justice

Summary: The eponymous “Brotherhood of Justice” starts out as a well intention’d group of teenagers taking a stance against crime and drug use happening in their high school, but dissolves into much darker territory quite quickly.

Tagline: In this town if you deal or steal, you die… That’s a promise from the Brotherhood.

Note: This was a television movie that aired on May 18th, 1986. It’s 32 years old today. Also, you can find it uploaded to YT, if you wanna watch it.

Initial Thoughts:

In my continuing quest to be the world champion of Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition (Announcer Voice: “She was the only one playing.”) I figured we’d delve into yet another one of his films. This one isn’t as well known as others; granted, quite a few of his films are terrible and/or forgettable, so there were plenty to choose from.

But no. No, I chose Brotherhood of Justice.

Back when the internet was new™ and I was just beginning to use eBay to amass a collection of VHS tapes of his films, I stumbled into Brotherhood of Justice. Partly because in the lead role is none other than Keanu Reeves, another actor who basically ruled my pre-teen years via movies. (Wyld Stallyns forever!) Anyway, here is a film that has two of my favorite actors ever in it, was filmed in Santa Cruz, CA, and aunt Becky from Full House, too? SIGN ME UP!

Brotherhood of Justice 1986

How much false advertising can you cram into one photo?

Over the years, with both Reeves and Sutherland becoming much more higher profile in terms of careers, the packaging on this film has become absolutely bat shit bonkers. Brotherhood of Justice seems to be included on those “14 movies on one disc!” collections you find in the reduced sales bins at Kmart or Walmart. And it’s always marketed as a vigilante film — which it is — but then the packaging artist uses photos of them from, say, when they were in their mid-20s and it’s an outright lie. Or they use photos from The Matrix or thereabouts and 24 and I’m like literally standing in the aisle, pointing and screaming “LIES! ALL LIES!”

To explain, I must start from the beginning. The television film, which is what this is so don’t go expecting anything spectacular production-wise, is based on true events. In 1984, a group of young males formed “The Legion of Doom” at Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas. A group of privileged white boys from wealthy backgrounds decided to become their own justice system and, duh, went way overboard and really, this might as well be set in 2018, things haven’t fucking changed.

Anyway, you can read more about that here and here. As part of their sentences, the members of “The Legion of Doom” were not allowed to be involved with or sell rights to their story. Did that stop Hollywood from capitalizing on the story? Nope. I’m currently recapping a fictionalized version, so obviously not.

Brotherhood of Justice 1986

None of these photos are from this film. NONE.

Brotherhood of Justice 1986

AKA: PHOTOSHOP FAILURE

As I said before, when both actors’ careers took off, this one was dragged out of the vault and received weird packaging to capitalize (yet again) on people (like me) who liked their work. You can see it also (for a time) received a weird title change — High Voltage — which I cannot explain. I can’t find anything  online to tell me why they titled it that, either.

BUT. I can tell you that the photos on the backside of the VHS box (photo on the right) come from Point Break, Flashback (at least I think so? It’s not Flatliners) and that bottom one of Keanu is from Permanent Record (which was filmed in the city of my birth and I promise it, too, will be recapped in the future.) So basically NONE OF THE PHOTOS ON THE BOX are images from the actual television film. LIES! ALL LIES!!!

Even the DVD artwork is all lies. It may be titled Brotherhood of Justice on my copy, but I’m pretty sure the photograph of Sutherland is from Flatliners and the one of Keanu could be River’s Edge, though I’m not certain. Still lies. Still has zero to do with the film.

Okay, moving forward, I should add that in addition to Lori Loughlin, Billy Zane (when he still had his own real hair) shows up, and also Gary Riley, who played Charlie Hogan in Stand By Me. (Another 50 billion points for me in Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition!) It was filmed in Apatos, CA, in Santa Cruz, too, and features scenes at the Boardwalk. It’s a much different feel, the Boardwalk scenes, compared to the ones in The Lost Boys.

Here, just watch the trailer:

Without further adieu, Brotherhood of Justice.

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