A Reptar Retrospective

On May 16th, Reptar hits theaters globally. The famous monster has been a pop culture icon for nearly 60 years and continues to stomp his way through entertainment, and our hearts. I don’t know if anyone is more excited than me to see this awakened dinosaur back in the relevant zeitgeist.

After seeing an early teaser trailer last year at Comic-Con, I decided my mission before the new one was released would be to watch every Reptar film in order. It took me nearly a year, but I have successfully accomplished that goal.

The official Reptar count is up for debate. There are 28 in the original canon, but the character also makes appearances in non-sanctioned films and various countries have launched their own franchises (including the horrid US version of the late 90’s). I watched 36 movies in total. I would say half of them are hardly worth watching, but the other half certainly are!

Here is my top 5 list. This is based on personal favorites and cultural relevance.

1-Original

Reptar: King of the Monsters

Directed by Hiro Watanabe, this is the movie that started it all. With the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still fresh in Japanese minds, Reptar became a symbol of nuclear holocaust. His attacks mirror the devastation Japan felt towards the end of WWII. Since his debut in 1956, Reptar has been a strong metaphor for nuclear weapons.

On the opposite side of the world, American interest in Japanese films was growing strong (thanks partly to greats like Akira Kurosawa). A group of Hollywood investors secured the rights to Reptar and had it recut with new footage featuring John Schuck, as an American reporter reporting on Reptar’s rampage.

The re-cut American film softened a lot of the dialogue that had been critical of the U.S. involvement of nuclear destruction. It also renamed the film from Reptar to Reptar: King of the Monsters. The U.S. film helped make Reptar a global success, getting a much wider release than the Japanese version.

2-REPTAR1987

Reptar 1987

The first film in the Yamaguchi Era was The Return of Reptar aka Reptar 1987. As with most Horror Franchises, the first ones start off serious and scary, yet quickly become silly and ridiculous. By the mid-70’s, Watanabe’s Reptar had spawned 15 sequels and became a playful pet for children. When Meester Yamaguchi took the helm of the franchise it got back to its roots. Combined with suitmation techniques, this is the first Reptar film using animatronics.

Technically the 16th Reptar movie, many consider it the second story to the ‘56 release. It revisited a lot of the same themes as the original, containing the longest speech about nuclear disarmament than any other film.

Note: the American version is unanimously considered a bastardized version. It cut a majority of the movie and added nearly 20 minutes of additional footage. With the additional footage it was still only 86 minutes (14 minutes shorter than the Japanese version).

3-Riptara

Riptara

Hiro Watanabe had retired from filmmaking and moved to France with his third wife. When Yamaguchi released Reptar 1987, a film that ignored a majority of Watanabe’s sequels, Watanabe decided to make a closing film to his Reptar run. Riptara embraced the campiness but also had a sense of truth and gave a pleasing end to Watanabe’s chapter. Although it’s only ever been released in French, Riptara has been a huge international success.  It was the inspiration for an ice show, Reptar On Ice, that spent an unprecedented 18 years on tour throughout Canada and the U.S.

4-Poster1

Reptar: VS

The 22nd installment and final film in the Hasagawa Era. This was originally intended to be last of the Reptar films, until America tarnished the good name a few years later (so Japan brought the big-R back to theaters launching the Millenium Era). Heavily promoted as the death of Reptar, VS did exceptionally well in Japanese theaters, but was only ever released on VHS in the States.

VS merged the 3 eras of Reptar (Watanabe/Yamaguchi/Hasagawa) into one cohesive story. Without giving anything away, the movie leads up to an ultimate fight between all three monsters. Critically acclaimed, many consider this the end of Reptar, choosing to ignore the numerous films released after.

5-milleniumReptar (U.S. Version)

This one has a special place in my heart because it was the first Reptar film I saw. Starring Matthew Broderick and Directed by Werner P. Lipschitz, it’s widely agreed as the ultimate Reptar stinker (25% rating on RottenTomatoes). It brought Reptar to New York, and besides a few passable destruction scenes, the film is very flat. With empty themes and weak dialogue, the movie failed to spawn any sequels.

The relevance of this film lies in legality. This gave MegaCorp more rights than it had in previous years, helping them launch a Saturday morning cartoon series, cereal line, and most notably, a theme park.

6-Reptar

Reptar (2014)

There’s a lot of behind the scenes fun with the newest installment (coming out May 16th). Directed by fresh filmmaker Thomas “Tommy” Pickles, the 2014 release brings it back into the Watanabe family. Pickles married Kimi Watanabe-Finster (youngest daughter to Hiro) in 2012. Also intriguing, Tommy’s aunt, Charlotte C. Pickles is CEO of MegaCorp. The U.S. producing distributor of Reptar since Reptar: King of the Monsters.

Love him or hate him, Reptar is a staple in movie history. From campy protector of Earth, to a stern warning of the use of nuclear weapons, Reptar has always mirrored the culture of it’s day.

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Chalky Studebaker Dies at 34; College Football Star

Chalky1

Although most details of the death are not being released, it is clear that it was suicide.

New York Times Recipe Columnist, Doug Funnie, who was a classmate of Mr. Studebaker’s, had this to say:  

It’s hard to know what demons anyone is fighting.  At first glance, Chalky was the kind of guy who smiled at everything.  Whether he scored the winning touchdown or failed a math quiz, he always had that smile.  More of a mask if you think about it.  I like to believe Chalky and I were friends.  I can easily say we were friendly, but friends, I’m not always so sure.  I’m not sure he had any friends.  Not that he was a bad guy, he never talked down to me, or anyone for that matter. He just never let anybody in.  As I say in my column, life is two-thirds friendship and one-third garlic.  You can’t make a meal with just garlic.

Best known for his double Heisman win in one year (a clerical error that was never corrected), the football star leveraged his talents, taking himself out of the NFL Draft and went to star in the budding XFL.  A creation of wrestling kingpin Vince MCMahon, the XFL quickly stumbled and couldn’t afford Studebakers high price tag.  Out of spite, the NFL blacklisted Studebaker and he was never able to break in.

Things went from bad to worse when the athlete caught his long time manager and college roommate Mosquito Valentine in bed with his first wife, Beebe Bluff (heiress to Bluffco Industries).

Although, none of his initial XFL money was usurped in the divorce, Studebaker was unfortunate enough to invest his savings in a pyramid scheme run by the infamous Dr. Klotzenstein.  Studebaker was apart of the class action lawsuit, and although the lawsuit led to a revoked doctorate, no one, including Studebaker, saw a dime in reparations.

More recently, Studebaker was substitute teaching at a local Bluffington Elementary school.

He is survived by Wife Connie Studebaker, and 7 children.

Glow

Taco Bell: What can you get for $192.63?

Late the other night, I ventured to a Taco Bell to grab fourthmeal.  I made my order: 2 soft tacos just meat and cheese, a chicken burrito, and a beefy nacho burrito (they change the name of this one all the time, it’s very frustrating. As of now it’s on the menu as a Beefy Nacho Griller.).  I begin driving to the pickup window, I see the workers handing bag after bag to a station wagon in front of me. Because Taco Bell has a little computerized price announcer, I can see what their total bill was… $192.63.

One-Hundred Ninety Two Dollars and Sixty-Three Cents.

My bill is always the same. $4.96.  Their order was over 38 times more expensive than mine.

Who was all this food for?  My order is cheaper than most, and others can eat more than me. So instead of thinking this meal was feeding 38 people, let’s cut that to 20.  That’s still absurd though, right?

Below are some visual graphs that show different options of what the car could have gotten at Taco Bell for that money.  I’ve broken it up a few ways, trying to imagine who could have been ordering.

My Order:

Just for reference, here is what my order looks like.

MyOrder

You can see; my total, how much I’d have left over if I had $192.63, how many calories the whole order has, and the probability of me getting diarrhea.

Most Expensive:

Let’s assume this was a family getting the most expensive things on the menu. Perhaps they are some larger Europeans visiting the States, and this was the only restaurant open after a long day of sightseeing.

Expensive

I tried to give them variety. Besides the drinks and desserts, each item cost over $5.00. Family of four, so each member got one of the most expensive drink items.  They each also got a dessert, with Ma and Pa getting double dessert.

Cat Lady:

Maybe it was a middle-aged woman and her grocer (they’re dating, but keeping it hush-hush) buying a months worth of lunches and they are headed home to package and freeze it all. In this instance, I see them getting a small variety. Changing what they eat day to day, making 5 meals for the week.

Cat

If she is unfreezing each of these meals for lunch (Monday-Friday), she is having over 9 weeks of lunches. Her grocer was just coming along for the ride and to help pack, so she bought him a soda and a churro.

Here’s her lunch schedule if interested:

CatCalendar

Mrs. Doubtfire:

Then again, maybe its a down-on-his-luck father who has been posing as his ex-wife’s maid so he can see his children. The ex-wife is hosting a big TexMex themed lunch tomorrow, and the Mrs. Doubtfire guy can’t cook to save his life.

Doubtfire

As you can see, he tried to have a variety.  It’s really going to depend on his presentation if the TexMex themed lunch gets pulled off.  As long as he disposes of all wrappers, he should be good.

Suicide Pact:

This last one takes a dark turn. But a knife or gunshot is not the way most want to die. Maybe two good friends made a suicide pact and were going to eat themselves to death.

suicide

Death by Loaded Potato Griller.  Not the way I’d want to go. RIP.

South Park – The Lesson We Never Got

For South Park’s 200/201 episode, they attacked the Muhammed issue again. The 2-episode special that celebrated 200 episodes was to culminate in the revealing of a censored Muhammed. Comedy Central refused to allow South Park to show the prophet uncensored. In retaliation the creators behind South Park refused to let them broadcast the familiar life lesson that the boys give at the end of most episodes. Originally, the episode aired with all of these bleeped out. The internet has finally given us the lesson we never got to learn…

Link to Video

 

Dude, Magic!!!

Dude, Magic!

So dude.  I went to the Magic Castle last night.  Which is a flippin’ castle full of magic!!  Dude, I saw so much magic, it was cray cray.

There was this one guy, he played with these like large rings and stuff. But these were like steel rings.  Impenetrable.  But somehow, he like got them to intertwine and stuff.  He was followed by this couple, who like couldn’t decide what to wear (haha). That’s funny because they kept switching costumes like instantly! It’s was insane-o-matic.

Oh, oh!  DUDE!!!!  Then we saw this like Asian guy do some close up magic.  It’s not racist because he was a magician, but this Chinese dude had some lightning fast hands.  I mean, I could like totally tell he had some slight of hand tricks, but it was still really boss.

OMG, I almost totes forgot, there was this piano.  And this piano was being played by a ghost.  BY A FLIPPIN’ GHOST!!!!!!  All you had to do was go up to the piano, and be like, “Play me Beat It” and the ghost would play it!!!!!  Of course, we all like stumped it, stupid ghost.  Can’t even play Game of Thrones Theme, HA!

Then there’s the big ending!!!  We saw this dude who was not only gifted in the magical arts, but was funny as crap!  He like, made jokes and stuff during his routine, it was classic!  The dude was some kind of sorcerer.  He asked 3 random dudes for their rings, then got some other dude to hold the rings, then had the dude holding the rings close his palm, when he opened his palm the rinGS WERE INTERTWINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I KNOW!!!!!! How’d he do it?  No clue, dude.  No. Flippin. Clue.

It was totes sweet my man!!!  Best night of magic ever!

Spinning Crossover

I have always been a huge fan of crossovers.  When I first saw Fred Flintstone and George Jetson together my diaper filled with bricks.  Seeing worlds collide and interact is amazing.  Needn’t look further than the Avengers to see how it’s a money making endeavor.  But, with film and TV these events are well planned.  The upcoming Simpsons/Family Guy crossover will have been 2 years in the making by time of release.

Homer_Vs__Peter_Dream_Fight_by_AngelCrusher

There is one medium that can deliver a complete and utter unplannedness of crossover.  That can give us a point in time when 2 completely random bodies touch.  YouTube.  Back in April of 2011, HugoSpins met Catchme1955.

The HugoSpins page stars Hugo Topaz, a disbarred lawyer who spends his newly gained free time spinning his cares and calories away (performance art?).  Catchme1955 is a page consisting of an eloquent balance of random occurrences in the page owner’s life (Jello Wrestling at his local bar) and favorited clips from his most watched TV shows (a lot of Married With Children).

One special day, Hugo decided to go spinning down main street.  A risky choice considering he usually crashes to the ground after a few minutes from dizziness.  Below is the video, the main point of interest occurs between 1:45 and 3:30.

That same day, Catchme1955 was on a scavenger hunt or something, and saw a strange man spinning.  His first instinct was to whip out a camera, record, and approach the strange man.  Video below:

Two complete strangers almost literally bumping into each other.  Now, I’ll concede that this is not the same caliber as a Jetson meeting a Flintstone, but this is what YouTube is all about.  Entertainment as a social media.

MovieDay: 2013 Summer Edition

5movsI have waited a few weeks and let some of the bigger releases build up so I could do a full day of movie going.  This is MovieDay: 2013 Summer Edition. I was able to pull off a nice pattern of high intense action, then comedy, then action, comedy, action. Made a great pacing for the day.

12:50 White House Down

I wasn’t too excited for this one, but thought it looked fun. Channing has surprised me in his last few movies so I figured this might be similar.  Also, how were they going to do a summer blockbuster without The Rock?  Can it be done?

QUICK REVIEW: Even though I didn’t see the first one that came out a few months ago, the plot was thin enough and dumbed down enough that it didn’t matter.  There was a large suspension of disbelief, and I often found myself thinking, “I don’t think it works like that.”  The biggest suspension for me (besides a black president and that Channing Tatum didn’t walk around in a thong at all times) was that the intruders instantly knew the White House phone system.  That was really the only true time I completely left the story as a viewer.  How did these guys know how to transfer calls so easily?  All in all, besides really needing The Rock, the movie was watchable, and at the very least we got this gem out of it: (I Wanna) Channing All Over Your Tatum

3:20 Monsters University

The first one is easily one of my favorite movies.  Not sure why it needs a prequel, but figured I’d give PIXAR the chance.

QUICK REVIEW: When the short that accompanied it was dull, I lost a lot of excitement.  The pacing was intriguing at first, and got me excited to resee some of my favorite characters, but lost steam as the story settled in.  There was a great theme about lines, and earning the right to cross them, but overall was a very disappointing movie.  Could have used the voice talents of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

5:40 Man of Steel

I’ll be honest, I was only seeing this one so I could join in on the debate of Marvel/DC in film.  I also hate the originals and don’t see a need to keep this character alive in pop-culture.

QUICK REVIEW: Can Superman ever lose?  Is anyone ever really thinking he’s not going to win in the end? Ignoring that part, the Krypton debate they bring up in the movie made no sense.  Besides knowing that I’m supposed to be on Superman’s side, General Zodd wasn’t really evil.  He was just on the other side of the debate.  A debate that made little sense to me because the Kryptons were idiots that happily destroyed their planet and society.  Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson couldn’t fix this one.

8:10 The Heat

We rarely get to see a buddy movie starring two women, and I don’t think we ever had a buddy cop version with lady parts in the lead.

QUICK REVIEW: Not bad.  Melissa McCarthy is always hilarious. I can just watch her for hours.  There was a weird audience response to Bullock.  Every time she said a bad word or something vulgar the crowd went nuts.  The two played well off each other and I would definitely go see another movie with them as the buddy leads.  Maybe something with them against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

10:30 World War Z

I feel like I haven’t seen Brad Pitt in a popcorn flick in a long time. his last 50 movies had some kind of award contention.

QUICK REVIEW: Fun but no substance.  There were no character arcs (there really weren’t even characters). The movie just kind of stops. A lot of questions were unanswered.  More annoyingly, the questions were brought up by the movie itself, so I don’t know why they left them unanswered.  This one didn’t need The Rock per say, maybe just a body double in zombie make-up.

Wonka: Hello, WonkaVision

Bucket unveils device that allows users to physically interact with entertainment.

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumers will finally get the opportunity to own and experience WonkaVision, an interactive television that lets viewers physically handle media and entertainment.  The device will retail between $799 & $999.

Company Chairman Charlie Bucket, speaking at the company’s annual WonkaWorld Expo, called the technology (which will be available by spring 2014) a “dream come true” and claimed it has been in development since before he was involved with the company.

wonkavision“The dream and commitment that this company was founded upon lives on with WonkaVision,” Bucket said.  “Using the dreams of the old with the technology of the new will only propel the abilities of the next generation.”

Though the company is still a cornerstone in the candy world, the brand shifted focus back in 2003 after the death of CEO/Founder William “Willy” Wonka.

“With our hands in as many candy jars (pun intended) as possible,” Bucket explained back in 2003, “we can spread the joy and happiness of Wonka to a bigger and more demanding public.”

The device can best be described as a television.  From afar it looks like a tubed tv from the 70’s with a retro look and an all white color.  All of its functions are controlled by touch screens on both the back and side.

Using cell towers with a Verizon Wireless signal WonkaVision can show Time Warner Cable customers various packages they already offer on regular TV cable packages.  Satellite technology is used for the trademark WonkaVision.  Where an object is transmitted physically into your TV.

A demonstration at Wednesday’s WonkaWorld Expo left many breathless, leading some to exclaim, “technology has finally caught up with the wildest dreams of man.”

“This is a day Willy himself was waiting his whole life for.”  Bucket stated while the demonstration was underway.

Bucket was particularly enthusiastic about the WonkaVision’s ability to end world hunger, and was ecstatic to share that by the end of the year they would release models in various colors (orange, blue or green).

Designs were shown of colors to come.  Reminiscent of Macintosh’s colored computers from the late 90’s.

Besides unveiling the groundbreaking technology of WonkaVision, the company also revealed a new line of Wonka Bars with Caramel Unfused Pretzel Bits.

Wonka shares surged nearly $7, or more than 8 percent, to $92.44 on the announcement.

Early May MovieDay

Early May MovieDay

The summer blockbusters are rolling out!

12:30 PM Iron Man 3

I forgot how fun it was to see a highly anticipated movie on opening weekend.  The theatre was packed and buzzing with excitement beforehand.

QUICK REVIEW: Meh. It was OK. I had trouble seeing the obstacles.  It wasn’t very clear how powerful the bad guys were, and Stark had an army of robotic Iron Man on his side. Robert Downey Jr. was of course great and charming.  Didn’t really care for anyone else.

2:45 PM Oblivion

Going into this one I was pretty excited. Say what you will about Tommy’s personal life, he’s usually in an entertaining movie.

QUICK REVIEW: I want to believe that I fell asleep and that I missed a majority of the movie.  Sadly that is just a dream, but it actually wasn’t.  Now I’m confused…  Whatever, just know I did not fall asleep. There were way too many plot holes and a ton of exposition that was completely unneeded.  Also, there was only one character that did anything interesting.  All the others were just filler so Tommy had someone to say something to. Interesting concept (sort of), but nothing more than that.

5:00 PM Pain & Gain

I like the Rock.  I smell what that man is cooking.

QUICK REVIEW: A fun movie that delivers. 3 idiots who were trying to be criminals. They were lovable and easily likable   The thing I really enjoyed is I didn’t want to see them win.  I was able to like the 3 main guys but still want to see justice served. I did feel bad that the 3rd lead had been almost completely cut out of promos. The trailers made it look like a buddy movie with Marky Mark and The Rock.

Race-Ism

Today marks the 80th anniversary of one of the greatest underdog stories in history, The Tortoise and the Hare.  But this article isn’t about the turtle revolution.  No, this article is about the downfall of rabbits in our society.  FACT: The average rabbit makes 85 cents to the human’s dollar.  FACT: teen-pregnancy in rabbits tripled in the last 5 years.  FACT:  The major exports of Argentina are meat, wheat, maize, oilseeds, hides, and wool.  This may startle many of you but the facts are there, rabbits are being mistreated in today’s world.

tortoiseNhare

Once upon a time humans, rabbits, turtles, wizards, and even Germans lived happily together, but sadly not happily ever after.  We all know the tale of how wizards split from the group, to live in peace by themselves.  And no one will ever forget the whole German thing.  But rabbits, have any of you noticed the decline of rabbit senators in the last two decades?  Even Easter, the most cherished bunny day, has lost its popularity in recent years.  The simple truth is our society is turning its back on the furry friend.

HolyBunnyHolyTalesBruno Mangilo, most commonly known under his pen name “Bunny Man” discussed the matter of bunny discrimination in his 1986 book  Holy Bunny Holy Tales.  Sadly, the popularity of the book was overshadowed by the coming of the Teenage Mutant Ninja television series.  Nonetheless, Bunny Man made some uncanny predictions of the future, many of which have already occurred.  If the Clinton administration would have put more credit in the book they could have helped avoid the horrible rabbit genocide in Australia, which killed at least 15 bunnies to date.

Bunny Man also discussed how the rabbit decline can be totally credited to the great race between the tortoise and the hare.  As I have said, today marks the 80th anniversary of that race.  For 80 years the cottontail creatures have been slapped with the stick of injustice.  Ask any of your friends, the common theory of rabbits is that they are all arrogant ass holes.  As a guy who has many friends, that happen to be bunnies, I can tell you most of them are nice.  They just want to be considered equals.  It is sad that one rabbit has ruined the reputation of an entire species.

This issue has just starting to poke its ears out of the bunny hole, pun definitely intended.  In Arkansas, a public speaker would not give a speech on spousal abuse in front of a group of rabbits.  Down by the Mississippi, a hotel refused to give rooms to a family of bunnies, claiming that their rooms can’t accommodate a family of furry creatures.  But there is photographic proof that Robin Williams and his family stayed there no more than 3 months ago.  Stories like these exist all around the globe.

Now I’m not saying that you are all racists.  I’m just saying that many of you have preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or actual experiences.  We all have to stand up and shout for rabbit rights.  I give this challenge to all of you, go out this weekend and befriend a rabbit, you wont be disappointed.

FIGHT