I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Foodfight!

tn_foodfightWith the critical and commercial success of THE LEGO® MOVIE, Hollywood and corporate America are hard at work trying to figure out what other consumer products and trademarked property brands they can get away with adapting into feature film franchises. Recently for example we heard about plans for a movie based on Barbie dolls and even one based on Marshmallow Peeps candy. CHEETOS: RISE OF CHESTER and REVENGE OF THE NERDS™ CANDY can’t be far behind.

While THE LEGO® MOVIE is the most brazen product placement movie to be accepted by society, it is not the first one to be made. The innovator in this field is 2012’s computer animated feature FOODFIGHT!, the directorial debut of TRUE LIES and MORTAL KOMBAT executive producer Lawrence Kasanoff, who’d already helped pave the way for the hit  movie with a number of Lego®-based animated TV shows.
mp_foodfightThere’s a type of story for animated movies that’s kind of a tradition now, a high concept based around licensing. WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, maybe the originator of the formula, cleverly imagined a world where all the cartoon characters from the golden age of animation are living beings working as actors in a ghetto of Hollywood, filming their famous shorts on sets just like humans do. The leads are new characters from the fictional Maroon Cartoons studio, but Disney cleverly surrounded them with their past characters (Mickey Mouse, Dumbo, Snow White) and made deals to include characters from other studios, like Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Betty Boop and Droopy. A similar approach was applied to a world of living toys in the TOY STORYs (appearances by Mr. Potato Head and Barbie) and to video game characters in WRECK-IT RALPH (featuring Pac-Man ghosts and Q-Bert). THE LEGO® MOVIE took the idea to the next level of commercialism by having a whole world made entirely of the Lego® products and including the ones that are licensed from movie characters, so Batman and Star Wars and stuff show up in it. It’s a way to ground their story in a recognizable world and can be nostalgic for people who grew up with those characters.

This type of gimmick worked for cartoons, toys and video games, so Kasanoff and his studio, Threshold Animation, came up with another magical world to capture the imagination of children and the nostalgia of their parents: the mascots from food and cleaning products. Imagine a fantasy world where such beloved corporate logos as Charlie the Tuna, Twinkie the Kid and Mr. Clean all are living beings! Threshold apparently licensed over 200 of these mascots. The Hawaiian Punch Kid, the Tootsie Pop Owl, Mrs. Butterworth, uh… and I think that’s all I recognized. Chester the Cheetah was in the trailer but I didn’t see him in the movie. I bet he was flamin hot limon when his agent broke the news that he got cut. Seriously cheesed.

The story takes place in a grocery store which, as happens in modern society, is singlehandedly run by a kindly old man who dearly loves his job. And why not? This man sells people dreams. Or at least dryer sheets and toilet paper. At night he turns off all the lights and that’s when the magic happens. No, not waxing the floors and restocking… some shitty pop/punk/ska plays, the shelves turn into a city and the logos on the packages, called “ikes” (as in “icons” I guess), come alive and walk around and stuff.

Like ROGER RABBIT it’s supposed to be kind of a noir, so the hero is “Dexter Dogtective” (voice of Charlie Sheen), the made up mascot for, like… I wanna say maybe a cereal of some kind. He has a dog head and human body and because he’s a detective he dresses like Indiana Jones and he wears a holster with a price gun in it. (what?) But he’s also a regular guy, he’s planning on proposing to his girlfriend, Sunshine Goodness (Hilary Duff), a smiley human with cat ears who throws raisins into his mouth. But he misses his chance when she runs off to help his best friend Daredevil Dan (Wayne Brady), a wacky plane-crashing squirrel, and then it’s 8 years later and she’s missing. (?)

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Just as ROGER RABBIT had The Ink ‘n Paint Club, FOODFIGHT! has a night club where The California Raisins (no longer made of clay) perform and Dexter gets drunk off of milk (shout out to ALIEN NATION I guess). And just as ROGER RABBIT had the seductive, suggestive femme fatale type Jessica Rabbit, FOODFIGHT! has Lady X (Eva Longoria), who comes and does, uh… this kinda stuff:
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Also it has an evil weasel (weirdly shiny looking the way he’s animated) and Christopher Lloyd as the voice of a bad guy (mocapped by some guy who thinks exaggerating every movement by 400% will make it seem like real animation). He’s a human in the human world who storms into the grocery store and forces his “Brand X” products on the kindly old owner. Within the ike world this means that the ikes are dying and being replaced by other logos (maybe?), this is why Sunshine is missing. Brand X is run by Lady X and a comical Nazi-esque general, and they lead their stormtroopers in formation to catapult a bunch of food at the good guy logos.

(The weird thing – well, one of the thousands of weird things – is that there are already knock off characters like some fake Keebler elves in a fake Keebler tree. What happens when an off brand is replaced by Brand X?)

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That’s all extremely underwhelming, but I’m sure they were counting on getting by with all the world building. The frame is just alive with detail. For example, check it out, that’s none other than Mr. Clean walking by in the background right after the part where the frog wearing a crown farts!

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The next time somebody pulls that amateur move where they say some new big budget movie is “the worst movie I’ve ever seen” I’m gonna let ’em have it. Motherfucker, I’ve seen FOODFIGHT!. You’re gonna look me in the eye and tell me that NOAH is worse than FOODFIGHT!? Why would you disrespect me like that, after what I’ve been through? I want you to apologize and I want you to turn around and go home and not come out again until you’re ready to not talk about movies anymore. I will not be treated this way.

You guys know me, you know “worst movie ever” is not the type of hyperbole I throw around. “Best movie ever” is the type of hyperbole I throw around. But I do honestly believe that FOODFIGHT! has to be the worst movie I’ve watched all the way through. That is not to say that I’m not strangely, masochistically fascinated by its existence. I absolutely am. When I read about it I knew I had to see it, I bought myself a copy. It took me a long time to get all the way through it, I took a break for months and had to start over. I’m glad I have experienced it and will be loaning it to many friends or possibly donating it to charity. But it is not “so bad it’s good.” It’s not fun to watch. It’s actually upsetting.

There are so many different aspects to it to be angry about and insulted by. It’s just offensive on so many levels. #1, the very idea of making a movie based on the mascots from foods and cleaning products. #2, the inept and nonsensical execution of that terrible idea. #3, the extremely poor understanding of mascots from foods and cleaning products that leads to them doing such a piss-poor job of making up fictional ones. #4, the actual ugliest animation I have ever seen in a feature film, not nearly good enough for a student film. (I’m sure the animation was not completed as far as textures and everything, but I can’t imagine a more polished version of this thing would look much better.)

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How the fuck did FOODFIGHT! happen? That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is that it was the passion project of a man whose only passion was to make a big movie. I think he probly knows alot about financing and money, but almost nothing about humans. The movie was conceived in 1999, announced in 2000, released in 2012 after the completion bond company got sick of waiting and auctioned it off. Kasanoff talked it up like it was a real movie people would want to watch, and until it was released industry papers took him at his word. In 2000 he told Daily Variety, “For us, this is CASABLANCA. It’s an epic film that just happens to be animated… FOODFIGHT! marks the culmination of all we’ve been working towards — a huge film, Web site, animation, toys — all financed and produced by Threshold Digital Research Labs and our partners.”  In 2003 he told USA Today “We want to be the next-generation Pixar.”

People must’ve believed he could deliver, so they went ahead and admired him as a pioneer. To be fair, Lions Gate Films Releasing president Tom Ortenberg, in a statement quoted by The Hollywood Reporter in 2005, did not talk about the movie as a piece of art. “We’re delighted that Lions Gate Family Entertainment is already feeding our pipeline with exciting new product,” he said, “and we’re thrilled to be in partnership with a singular talent and entrepreneur like Larry Kasanoff who is pushing the envelope of large-scale, quality feature film animation.”

Advertising industry magazine Adage wrote, “FOODFIGHT could be a test case for how multiple marketers are integrated into feature films and could serve as a template for how promotional partnerships are structured in such cases…[it] offers an embedded marketer a chance to play off the in-content integration for any consumer promotions it might create. There could be possibilities for ads that play off the movie, using the real and fictional icons.” (emphasis on dystopic lingo mine)

But that was the kind of thinking that caused this disaster in the first place. Kasanoff was putting the cart before the horse, and the cart was covered in logos like a NASCAR car. And there was no horse. He had this idea for a tie-in and he didn’t stop to notice that he didn’t have an idea for a story or characters. Years ago I proposed an animated movie about a sock trying to find his missing brother, and this makes that seem like a legitimate concept by comparison. (By the way, there’s a big scene where the dog and the squirrel are stuck inside a dryer.)

I mean, even a fantasy gimmick like this has to be grounded in some kind of truth and logic. In the world of ROGER RABBIT, the toons would logically be resented by some humans, they would have different abilities, live segregated, have cultural differences. The living toys in TOY STORY would face many dangers that are different from but have parallels to human experience: for example the kid that owns them will have to eventually grow up and stop playing with them. They will be forgotten and abandoned, maybe thrown out or at best given to a collector who will keep them in a box.

FOODFIGHT! doesn’t have that kind of thought put into its world. It doesn’t seem like making sense was a high priority. What is it saying about the human experience? That the worst thing that could happen would be for our favorite corporate products to be replaced by cheaper off brand copies. In fact, that this replacement would be comparable to WWII. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anybody that Brand X is a made up thing from old TV commercials to sell laundry detergent and aspirin and shit. It’s not a part of our actual reality and even in those commercials it was portrayed as a competing product, not something that was threatening to monopolize. Generic products are usually made by the chain stores themselves, and certainly don’t have an aggressive salesman who goes in person to smaller stores and threatens them to stop carrying Mrs. Butterworths and replace it with a ripoff. How are you gonna make the ROGER RABBIT of grocery store cartoons if you have an alien child’s understanding of how a grocery store works?

I wonder if Kasanoff even goes into grocery stores? Based on this movie I’m gonna have to guess he uses a personal shopper.

In some of the early reporting about the movie they claim that at some point someone broke in and stole all of Threshold’s hard drives, and they had to start the entire movie over from scratch. That sounds a little fishy to me, but you know what, I’m gonna go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that whatever was on there was amazing. I heard it was like if Pixar did CASABLANCA! Coming soon from the documentarians who did JODOROWSKY’S DUNE… it’s FOODFIGHT!: THE FIRST VERSION THAT WAS ON THE STOLEN HARD DRIVES. We gotta talk to everybody and find out what was on there. It coulda changed the world.

But instead we have this one. I will leave you with a few representative stills.

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I can’t help but feel for the Tootsie Pop Owl, though. Like David Caruso or Don Johnson, he deserved a better movie career than he got.

I’m sure your kids will love it though, especially if they have shown an early interest in intellectual property, corporate synergy, etc.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 at 11:57 am and is filed under Cartoons and Shit, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

86 Responses to “Foodfight!”

  1. I heard it was just made to launder Charlie Sheen’s money

  2. Those images are so ugly that they made me angry. And I didn’t have to watch the thing. Once again, Vern, you take one for the team. I kinda wish you didn’t feel the need to share it with us, though. It may haunt my dreams for years to come that something like this was actually made. Poor schlubs that had to take part in creating it because they’re in the union or just needed the money. You know they went home at night, drank themselves into a stupor and probably beat their spouse/kid/dog.

  3. I’ve seen some footage of this via the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it, and it’s a thousand times worse looking in motion.

  4. I’ve been meaning to watch this ever since I heard about its ungodly existence last year, but I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger on it. I don’t know what it is, but nine times out of ten these days I’d rather watch something I think might be good than something I know from the jump is gonna be a horrible piece of shit. Must be getting old.

    I’m a bit confused by the logistics here. Say there are 15 bottles of Mr. Clean on the shelf. Does that mean 15 Mr. Cleans come out after lights out every night? And if so, if “ikes” are linked to individual pieces of merchandise, then wouldn’t they get sold all the time and get replaced by identical-looking strangers and thus not be around eight years later to investigate their missing girlfriends? Or is it just one representative of the entire brand, so as long as the store continues selling it, there will always be the same Mr. Clean around, even as the stock keeps getting refreshed? And if that’s true, what happens when the mascots get revamped, as they do every few years? Do they magically transform one night into the more extreme, sunglasses-and-baggy pants versions of themselves? And what happens if the ikes go to a different store? Would they find themselves there, identical except for different memories? And what about at the factory? Are there millions of ikes running around, each a tabula rasa just waiting to be assigned to the retail outlet at which they will apparently spend all of eternity, or at least until the place gets bulldozed to put in a Costco?

    Shit. I’m gonna have to watch this movie, aren’t I?

  5. False class consciousness. They don’t know they is soylent green.
    http://youtu.be/n9QAPch2o6Q

  6. I watched the first ten or fifteen minutes of this movie while a friend of mine was hosting a “bad movie night.” (The bad movie wasn’t Foodfight!. She just threw it on because she had recently viewed it and had to show someone). Watching the movie actually made me feel physically sick. There’s just something about the terrible, terrible animation that made me queasy. The animation isn’t good enough to even approach the uncanny valley effect, but there’s something about it that’s just irrationally frightening. The strangely perverse sexuality in the film is also pretty gross. Bestiality is a seems to be a not so subtle subtext. It would make an interesting double feature with Zoo. (I still believe in the Horsefucker!). I don’t think I could actually go back and see this film straight through, and cudos to Vern for taking on this endurance test for the film community. Foodfight! might secretly be one of the most unsettling horror films made. It just happens to have been made for children.

  7. One Guy from Andromeda

    June 17th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Looking at this i would also put my bets on money laundering than on passion project. Animation is a genre that is FULL of films that exist purely to get rid of dirty money or save taxes on something else.

  8. I don’t know. If you were planning on doing something shady, why bring a bunch of major lawyer-having corporations into it and draw a bunch of attention to yourself? Wouldn’t you just pump out some knockoff fairytale piece of crap that no one will ever look twice at and cook the books so it looks like you spent a bunch of money on it? Getting all those companies to play nice must have took some serious effort. You don’t do that unless, somewhere along the line, you expected this cockamamie idea to work.

  9. I think beyond the flawed internal logic of Brand-X “ikes” (ugh) replacing “ikes” is the simple fact that cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck are actual characters with personalities, quirks, rivalries, etc (although WFRR didn’t use a lot of them to their best effect IMO). Whereas corporate mascots are just blatant mouthpieces for a catchphrase or two. I’ll admit Mr. Clean has a certain stoic presence, but who LOVES goddamn Charlie Tuna? No one. No. One.

  10. JonTron made a hilarious video about this movie, I highly recommend watching it.

    http://youtu.be/BGql8sKjJwA

  11. Curious, Vern… Did you like Lego Movie? I thought it was pretty tremendous, glorified commercial or not.

  12. I had first read about this in Nathan Rabin’s column on AV Club. It sounded like a suicide-inducing experience so kudos to Vern for actually making an attempt to watch and review this utterly deplorable exercise in terrible choices.

  13. The animation looks like those Disney and Dreamworks rip-offs that show up on NetFlix. I don’t know why, but those rip-off toons’ animations freak me out. There’s a Shrek one that is actually the story Don Quixote told trough the eyes of the donkey. Just creepy as fuck.

    I’m curious to know how Vern feels about the Lego movie, too, btw. I really liked it even though, yes, it just sells more toys. The basic concept and story behind it is classic children/family movie stuff, though.

  14. This movie was originally listed as having a budget of 35 million dollars. It could have been good if the brand x characters were the heroes and the brand names were the villains, but that could never happen because it’s the opposite of the film’s core purpose.

    The Lego Movie was pretty great. I saw it twice in theaters. However, it’s a harbinger of dark times to come. This is the new model. There is a Magic Kingdom movie about Disneyland come alive in the works. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Hasbro movie set in a toy factory with a Night at the Museum style approach. Or a Nintendo movie with a Tron style setup. (Or sega, or Xbox, or PS4).

    See, the ultimate problem with films like Lego Movie is that their subversive nature is a front. The film makes fun of the idea of product placement and advertising to preempt your ability to complain about the craven nature of the film. It’s old hat. Youths rebel against fashion authority by wearing torn jeans held together by safety pins. So, corporate bodies make $400 designer jeans with holes in them. This nullifies the protest and absorbs the counterculture.

    I really liked The Lego Movie, but it represents a sickness in Hollywood cinema.

  15. I did like LEGO®. It’s very funny, a clever concept, and great, unique visuals. I don’t love it as much as the rest of the internet though. In my opinion it does not earn the couple of parts where they act like you are seriously supposed to care about the emotions of these smiley faced toys. It’s not like TOY STORY where I empathize with some humanity in them, they’re just funny looking plastic joke engines. But many disagree (Filmcrit Hulk said he cried). Also in my opinion it doesn’t really hold up to feature length and would be much more satisfying as an hour long special.

    But it doesn’t really matter that other people think it’s Jesus reborn as a toy commercial while I only think it’s a good thing to watch once. I do think it’s good and would recommend it to anybody. In fact I would even go so far as to say you should watch it instead of FOODFIGHT! if you only have time for one of them.

  16. Since the Lego movie was insanely successful and only cost $60 million to make, we can expect to see lots more of this type of product. Characters introduced to culture through advertising as a form of a “pilot” then rejiggered into tv shows and feature films. (They actually tried this once with the creepy Burger King character with the creepy plastic face. Burger King signed a deal to make a $10 million pg-13 comedy based on those ads in the mid ’00s. Also: Cavemen, Max Headroom).

    Since the deal has been broken, people are now being trained to accept this type of premise. Lego movie was well liked, so audiences will likely be warmer toward the next 2-4 attempts. If these succeed and the Lego franchise can hold up in quality and grosses, we may find ourselves in a world where you can’t get a studio picture off the ground without a star, a clear poster concept/high concept, a tax rebate from a state with filming incentives, and a corporate co sponsor to give you some budget and cross promotion in exchange for prominent placement within the actual narrative. Movies like Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, but without the irony.

    Actually, come to think of it, Adam Sandler has followed this model for move a decade. Popeyes Chicken; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Applebee’s; Staples and many other brands are written as plot points in Little Nicky; Click; The Zookeeper and that twin movie, respectively.

    We laugh now, but FoodFight! May seem way ahead of its time in a few years.

  17. Maggie: Anger was my reaction too.

    Specifically, I was reminded of when I used to channel flip in the 90s and come across terrible CGI versions of Disney, Transformers and whathavyou that looked like they’d been made in 20 minutes on some nerd’s laptop.

    http://playrific.com/images/media/mickeymouse_clubhouse.png

    It felt like lazy corporate guys saying to the Youth Of The World FUCK YOU KIDS WE’RE MAKING THE CARTOON FOR A TENTH OF THE BUDGET AND SPENDING THE REST ON COKE AND HOOKERS HAVE FUN GROWING UP WITHOUT THE JOY AND CURIOUSITY WE COULDNT BE FUCKED FOSTERING IN YOU.

    Knowing there is somehow a 2012 feature film that looks just like those awful “cartoons” fills me with equal parts curiosity and dread…

  18. *seel has been broken.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Super Bowl advertisement for say, McDonalds, that introduces a character created by a studio with the intent of taking it to series/ theaters if the character catches on. Then, when the movie comes, there is heavy cross promotion between the studio and McDonalds and at least one key scene set inside McDonalds that features “cute” callbacks to the commercial.

    This is seriously a real possibility. I know of several places where this is in development.

  19. http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/burger-king-movie-happening-after-all-17640

    This could/will also start with kids movies. You introduce a new sub-brand of Lucky Charms with a slew of ads cofunded by a studio and a brand. You pump the brand for a year or two, then mKe a cartoon series. If/when one of these is a hit, a film follows. If/when one of these films is a hit – or maybe during the prerelease push for the first high profile attempt,, the advertising agency will get an agent at CAA, WME etc. and sign a multi picture deal with a studio to develop their stable in “intellectual properties” into films. This happened with theme park rides after Pirates (leading to 3 sequels, a country bears movie, a haunted mansion movie with a coming reboot and the upcoming Magic Kingdom) and with toy companies after Transformers (leading to an aborted Ridley Scott take on Monopoly, a $7.5 million contract for Taylor Lautner to play Stretch Armstrong, an upcoming Oujia movie from Michael Bay’s company, an aborted Candyland feature, talks of a Rubix Cube feature, an unfortunately aborted Clue? Reboot from Gore Verbinski and, of course, Battleship). It’s bizarre and a little scary how big those directors are and how much money was spent on options and production budgets.

    If young kids grow up seeing characters shift from ads into their own shows, it will be normalized. Our generation might not like it, but the next one will see it as totally organic. And, given the $150-$200 million it costs to make a big budget animated film, and the $50-100 million it costs to market it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see executives demanding that all new potential animated franchises enter the market first as a lead in a commercial campaign for another product in order to “test” the viability and to raise preawareness numbers.

  20. I think/hope that the Lego movie and Pirates of the Caribbean are outliers. I’ve been reading about these board game movies for years, but I think the Battleship flop has finally stemmed the tide. When people hear about a Monopoly film, I think most people, hopefully, roll their eyes. As cynical as I can be sometimes, I don’t think more than one or two of these feature length advertisements can be released without people starting to take notice that they’re being force fed an hour and a half advertisement. Although, I think we can all agree that the 1980s Clue film was a goddamn masterpiece.

  21. THE LEGO MOVIE is a special case. People have an emotional, even visceral connection to Legos that stretches back decades. The brand name connotes imagination and ingenuity, concepts people can feel good about seeing a story about. Audiences are definitely gullible, but they’re not going to feel the same loyalty toward any old advertising mascot who gets his own movie, especially one with no nostalgic factor because it was just invented a few months ago specifically to get its own movie. Tawdry’s examples notably show that none of these advertising- or product-inspired movies actually got made. So obviously the idea of these things gives coked-up studio executives boners, but their market research must have shown that people aren’t actually into the idea of paying for two-hour versions of crap they’re already sick of in 30-second increments.

    Also, THE LEGO MOVIE has Batman in the same movie as Gandalf. It’s a delicious concept to have characters from different universes interact. THE BURGER KING MOVIE isn’t going to have that. It’s going to have a creepy guy who likes burgers. That’s somewhat less enticing to the average moviegoer, in my opinion.

  22. I sort of expected this to be a prank by the end of the review, I am shocked this is a real thing and those are real screen shots. Seems like rest won’t be an option for me now until I’ve seen this. Thanks for this review, I’m seriously taken aback by this

  23. Max Headroom had actually been the “star” of a TV-Movie and a Music Video/Chat Show on British TV before they character appeared in any advertising

  24. Sure, The Lego Movie was an outlier, for now. But Ouija comes out this Halloween with a Ringu style hook. It opens against Paranormal Activity 5, but PA4 and the PA spinoff might have killed that golden goose, leaving Halloween open for a new (potential) franchise. On September 23 2016 we have Ninjago – a spinoff of The Lego Movie that will open to at least $50 million minimum based solely on goodwill from the first movie. It might do more if it looks good because the toyline is quite popular and the release date has been successful for previous Sony Animation films (most notably, the sublime Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, also from Lord and Miller). Then on May 26, 2017 we have The Lego Movie 2, which will probably open to 80 million, unless Ninjago is a total misfire. Plus, we’ve got Trans4mers this summer, and that’s gonna do $250 million+ in the US and probably $850-1 billion worldwide.

    If Ouija doesn’t bomb, by 2017 we’ll have multiple successful franchises based on non-narrative toys. It seems like a suckers bet now, but so did Comic Book movies until Spider-Man rolled around. If the studios get enough of these early films right, audiences will become acclimated to the concept and suddenly there will be 5-6 non-narrative toy movies put into production for 2018-2019 release. And then it’s just an established genre and people won’t write off Monopoly Begins just because Rubix Cube: Origins sucked.

    Magic: The Gathering is coming. They just hired a writer last week. Happy Madison picked up the rights to Candyland and Tonka Trucks. Emmett/Furla signed a 3-picture deal in late 2012 for Monopoly, Action Man and Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Oh, and Sony is making a $100 million Trolls movie due out next September. Plus, Hasbro is producing John M. Cho’s Gem and the Holograms (didn’t know that was a toyline.) Furthermore: Transformers 4 and 5 (at least) and G.I. Joe 3 (probably) are coming too.

    And those are just the publicly announced movies. You’re telling me that Hot Wheels won’t make money WHEN they make it? Barbie will be a big hit if they get the right lead. And I’m honestly shocked we don’t already have a My Little Pony movie in the pipeline. Hell, Mouse Trap could work pretty well too. Even if none of the others go into production, by the end of 2016 we will have had FOURTEEN* movies based on board games/non-narrative toys released theatrically over a 10 year period. As of now, the average Worldwide gross for these films hovers around the $300-400 hundred million range. Even Battleship did $200 million overseas.

    Once the industry crosses that bridge, there is no coming back. If the financial rewards of adapting preexisting non-narrative properties as a way of spreading out the risk of production budgets, increasing ancillary sales, seizing preawareness numbers and perhaps even gaining valuable co-financers proves successful – and it already has to the tune of $1,000,000,000 grosses for two separate Transformers movies so far – then it simply will not stop. The behind the scenes math will have been rejiggered to *demand* such tie-ins.

    After all the ‘big’ toys/board games are exhausted, the financial landscape will not bounce back. It will just continue to dig, looking for new avenues for well known brands to exploit. And even the movies not directly based on brands will be forced to include major cross-promotion tie-ins as a prerequisite for a green light.

    Remember how Disney used to have a rule that they wouldn’t make an animated film unless it had a Halloween costume for a little girl? Well, we’re about to enter a world where no major studio will make a movie unless it has a commercial licensing partner. You say I’m crazy, but remember how there used to be a time when they made blockbusters as standalone movies instead of chapters in a serial? Almost no movie has an ending anymore. Everything is left open for a sequel. This is the same thing, potentially.

    *Transformers 1-4mer
    GI Joe 1-2
    Battleship
    Lego Movie
    Ninjago
    Bratz
    Dungeons and Dragons
    Gem and the Holograms

  25. It’s Jem, Tawdry. And she is truly, truly, truly outrageous. Certainly outrageous enough to merit her own chapter in the Chuniverse.

    I’ve actually seen the NINJAGO cartoon (my nieces love it, which is pretty rad in my opinion) and it’s actually pretty good. It has a continuing storyline with a surprisingly large amount of moral ambiguity, as well as some fairly sophisticated storytelling involving flashbacks, time travel, prophecy, etc. Every episode I see has at least one moment where I’m like “That’s actually a pretty heavy development for a show about plastic ninjas.” The funny part is, the fact that everyone is made of Legos is never mentioned and has no bearing on the show whatsoever. I assume the toys came first, but it’s now a franchise that has outgrown its mercenary origins.

    I mean, you’re totally right, Tawdry, IF these things make money. After BATTLESHIP, a seeming no-brainer, I don’t think that’s a sure thing.

  26. There’s only ever gonna be one Ouija movie. its called Witchboard and its awesome.

  27. grimgrinningchris

    June 18th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I hoped for years that this would at least be decent as my friend Daniel is in it (voice and mo-cap for ehemmm… Cheasel T Weasel…) and he was so excited about it when he told me about it (damn, apparently over a decade ago) and how much fun he had with it… But I knew it was doomed when it never came out and then more so when I saw the first still a couple years ago of what looked liked the ugliest CG ever seen.
    Oh well… He’s in Don’t Mess With The Zohan too and I certainly don’t pretend to like that either.

  28. The Original Paul

    June 18th, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Ok… so last year, I made the decision to go and see what Roger Ebert referred to as “the worst movie he’s ever seen” and compared infavourably to “Freddie Got Fingered”. That, of course, was “Movie 43”, and, as some of you will doubtless recall, it was my pick for “worst film of last year”.

    Now you guys will have gathered by now that it’s unusual for me to even go and see a movie unless it’s in a genre I really love or it’s got a wealth of good reviews. So why did I go see “Movie 43”? Because I felt that I was being too hard on movies at the start of 2013. I’d gotten too used to the really good ones, especially after an excellent 2012, so I was getting too “nitpicky” and letting the movies’ flaws affect me too much. How do you remedy this? Simple – go and see the absolute worst movie you possibly can, and use it as a basis for comparison. Because anything else has GOT to be better, right?

    I mention this here because it’s the only reason I can imagine for Vern actually going to see “Foodfight”. And honestly the psychology behind the people who make and watch films like this is often a lot more compelling than the films themselves, which I imagine is the case here. Vern, was that it? Was it a compulsion to see a film that literally doesn’t have a positive review anywhere, because maybe you felt like you were a little nitpicky yourself in one or two past reviews and you wanted a basis of comparison for what “terrible” really is? (I’ve been there, I know how that feels.) Was it just morbid curiosity about the absolute worst of the worst? Or was there something else driving you to see this one? I’d like to know.

    I’d like to know, as well, what exactly went into making a film like this. What processes failed, what the creators were thinking when they saw what they’d done, what went through their minds when actually making the thing? Were they instructed to fail as part of some bizarre money-laundering scheme? Were they trying to make something good initially, but then something happened – stuff got lost or stolen, the producers changed the scheduling, etc? All of these things have been suggested in the review and comments. To put it as succinctly as possible: how did something like this come to exist?

    I think there should be a study done or something on the subject, then put to film. (Hey, I’d pay to see it in the cinema.) I understand exactly why “Movie 43” was what it was. But for the life of me, I don’t understand “Foodfight”. Even on the most basic level all I can come up with is unsubstantiated ideas for what went wrong with it. It’d be fascinating to see a proper analysis for the creation of one of the most notoriously bad movies ever made.

  29. I doubt it was just a desire to see the worst movie he could think of. THE ROOM and BIRDEMIC have been legendary for years and Vern hasn’t touched them. I’d imagine it’s the unholy alliance of shameless commerce and brazen incompetence that made him unable to look away.

  30. Tawdry, thanks for the journalism.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised to see executives demanding that all new potential animated franchises enter the market first as a lead in a commercial campaign for another product”

    Do you think that this speaks towards dark tidings about how films are made, or really just how they are advertised? Is there a substantial difference between putting characters in your movie in order to later sell toys based on them, versus selling toys in order to later put them in your movie? And isn’t buying a soda at Dominos with The Dark Knight on the cup roughly equivalent to the sort of marketing you’re predicting?

    Also, is this Magic Kingdom film you’re referring to Tomorrowland? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1964418/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_2

    (eg does it matter what the film is based upon so long as it’s the new Brad Bird)

  31. it’s just so fucking ugly, it literally looks like Satan created it, I’m guessing that it’s nothing more than the animatics that someone decided to release as the “finished” film

    also I admit to being a little bummed out to hear that the Clue remake is not happening considering Gore Verbinski was going to direct it (I mean he basically already turned Mousetrap into a movie), but at the same time I don’t see how you can improve on the 80’s one, I mean we all know any modern version would not have 80’s Colleen Camp’s boobs practically falling out of her maid outfit, so why bother?

  32. That would have been a great combination of filmmaker and project. He could have had Johnny Depp as Mr. Body. He’d show up, say two lines, die, and spend the rest of the film as a much-abused slapstick prop. I bet he’d love that.

  33. Battleship was the wrong property. But it still did crazy bank overseas.

  34. every movie does crazy bank overseas these days, that’s why Hollywood is dying, because they don’t have to try anymore, they can just crap out anything and if they release it in enough theaters it’ll still make money just through sheer statistics, so it does not surprise me that soon we’ll see basically “COMMERCIAL: THE MOVIE” because a billion Chinamen will see anything regardless of what it actually is just to alleviate the pain of living under the totalitarian communist Government

    I basically don’t give a shit anymore, the way I see it there’s countless movies from yesteryear that I’ve never seen that I could spend the rest of my life watching, it’s a phenomena that applies to almost everything in the 21st century where new worthwhile things are drying up but it’s now easier to access worthwhile things from yesteryear than it’s ever been

  35. Griff – its like how WB last year had a super flop in JACK THE GIANT SLAYER and Disney before that had JOHN CARTER. And…what happened? Disney’s studio chief got fired (who didn’t even greenlight JOHN CARTER) but that’s it.

    The machine grinds on!

  36. Griff:

    We do not use words like “Chinaman” in this house.

  37. sorry, I’m just joking around

    but did either of those movies actually lose a significant amount of money? they may not have been runaway hits but I don’t any studio is going bankrupt over them

  38. Griff:

    I know it was a joke, but you’re better than that. Ironic racism is racism. Full stop.

  39. grimgrinningchris

    June 18th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I saw Colleen Camp in something recently and now I can’t remember what, but how old she looked (like old lady old) made me realize how old I am – unlerlined BIG TIME since the last thing I had seen her in was having rewatched CLUE (and yes it is brilliant and a perfect mashup of whodunit and old school screwball comedy) a few weeks ago and being reintroduced to how smoking fucking hot she was in that movie.

  40. I’ll never forget the morning I discovered CLUE on Comedy Central as a kid, it was like “you’re telling me there’s a hilarious comedy starring both Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd and there’s an actress who wears a cleavage baring maid uniform the whole time!?”, great movie…..

    and speaking of Christopher Lloyd, what the hell happened to his career? he’s both FOODFIGHT and movies like THE OOGIELOVES IN THE BIG BALLOON ADVENTURE, poor guy…..

  41. Griff – what I find more shocking is that CLUE flopped and got (if I remember right) not so good reviews. I mean I remember reading Ebert’s not-so-nice review and I thought did we even watch the same film? Great cast, good chemistry, Tim Curry being AWESOME, funny shit.

  42. CLUE is one of those movies you can pop in no matter the crowd & it’ll fly. It’s probably one of the most quotable movies amongst several different groups of friends.

  43. My girlfriend has no knowledge of pop culture. Like, I recently informed her that there are TWO members of Outkast.

    And yet, she excitedly bought tickets to a midnight screening of Clue? and talked about it excitedly for weeks ahead of time.

  44. In her worldview;

    1) Rza is a film actor/director.
    2) Eminem is a David LaChappelle model.
    3) Snoop Dogg is a clothing purveyor.
    4) Biggie Smalls is a guy who used to hang out at the Auto Museum in Beverly Hills.

    She was also a member of the Federalists Society in law school and respects sotamoyor and Scalia in equal measure.

  45. hmmm, I knew the movie was a cult classic, not a comedy that everyone has seen like NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, but I had no idea it flat out flopped as well as got bad reviews, it’s especially disappointing when you see that Ebert gave a great movie a bad review, like did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed that day?

    at any rate I’m glad we’re now talking about an awesome movie like CLUE as opposed to a Godawful one like FOODFIGHT

  46. oh jeez, I screwed that post up, let me try again

    “Griff – what I find more shocking is that CLUE flopped and got (if I remember right) not so good reviews. I mean I remember reading Ebert’s not-so-nice review and I thought did we even watch the same film? Great cast, good chemistry, Tim Curry being AWESOME, funny shit.”

    hmmm, I knew the movie was a cult classic, not a comedy that everyone has seen like NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, but I had no idea it flat out flopped as well as got bad reviews, it’s especially disappointing when you see that Ebert gave a great movie a bad review, like did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed that day?

    at any rate I’m glad we’re now talking about an awesome movie like CLUE as opposed to a Godawful one like FOODFIGHT

  47. Has anyone seen that movie FATEFUL FINDINGS? It seems pretty intriguing from the trailer, but I’m always wary of any movie that comes pre-packaged as a “cult classic”, especially when I hear phrases like “the next THE ROOM”

  48. Faithful Findings has more wanton destruction of electronics than the last 5 minutes of Escape From LA.

  49. Randy – Witchboard 2 right here, Starring Micky Dolenz’ daughter -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eEBoSNzo3M

  50. Dude. Witchboard? Wtf? Is that a movie other people know of? My best female friend’s father is the evil dude in that movie. In reality, he’s the sweetest old hippie in the world.

    I didn’t know that movie had any cult following whatsoever.

  51. It has a cult following of me since I found it on Youtube…

    Tawdry you should totally campaign for this to be features in Slasher Search

  52. Speaking of Slasher Search…

    Vern, I’m calling you out. You can’t proclaim any movie the worst ever if you haven’t seen BOARDINGHOUSE. You can’t duck it on the basis that it’s campy “bad movie nite” trash like THE ROOM – this is a legit exploitation film from the ’80s in a Vern-approved genre. It just happens to be mind-warpingly horrible.

    Time to step up friend.

  53. Man, Witchboard is the shit!! Kevin S. Tenney is super underrated. I’m sort of down with the sequels, but the first one, along with WitchHunt (NOT A SEQUEL TO WITCHBOARD, the box says, many times) and Night of the Demons, are all super excellent in my opinion. Maybe they should just reboot that franchise or better yet, make a new installment and release it theatrically. Someday, someone will do that.

  54. I’m pretty sure Scream Factory just released it on bluray, too, as well as Night of the Demons. Just found a copy of Peace Maker on vhs, actually. That one rules, too! Tenney actually puts in a Hitchcock-esque walking the dog cameo in that one. The balls on that guy!

    But yeah, it will take a miracle for them to make a better Ouija movie than that one.

  55. The Witchboard movies were a staple of early-90’s junior high sleepovers. My friends and I wanted the scribbling pen ouija from the second movie. The movies were much beloved among my group of giggly twelve-year-old friends.

    Clue, though, was the movie that really taught me what having an affair meant because as a little girl my mom caught me pretending to be Mrs. White (because Madeline Khan) writing letters about her flaming hatred of Yvette. She had to explain why that probably wasn’t the most appropriate game for me to play. It was an akward conversation.

  56. This is a year old but still a good article about CLUE:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/something-terrible-has-happened-here-the-crazy-story-of-how

    Also I am sorry to say but “member of the Federalist Society” is a giant big red flashing alarm that you ignore at your own peril!

  57. That was an interesting article, M. Casey. I didn’t know, or had forgotten, that it was released with the different endings in different theaters. That’s a shame that a stupid marketing ploy sunk a good movie. I saw it afterward on video – not nearly as late as the article talks about it having a resurgence. I know it was popular with me and my friends just a couple years after it’s release.

    Also, Lynn obviously should’ve let Madeline Kahn (at the least) off the chain more, since the only ad libbed part was her awesome hatred fugue.

  58. The Original Paul

    June 22nd, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Man, I want to rewatch “Clue” now. For about the eightieth time, by the way.

  59. MMP: Yeah, it must’ve been a mess. I was too young to catch the theatrical release but I imagine it would’ve been frustrating. Still, I give them credit for trying something new that was thematically appropriate to the game it was based on.

  60. I can understand why people would get upset at the gimmick at the time. But I think the multiple endings work really well on video/DVD. I remember thinking that it was really clever for them to run through a few possibilities before giving us the “real” ending, and this was long before I realized that the theatrical release had different endings.

  61. Jareth Cutestory

    June 23rd, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Paul: I thought the trailer for A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST was hilarious. I was surprised that the reviews for the film have been so brutal, especially the review by the Red Letter Media guys. I even watched the trailer again and still find it funny. So I’m probably going to sit through the damn movie to try to figure out the source of this disparity. Is it just a case of all the best jokes being in the trailer? Maybe. Or maybe I have terrible taste. After all, the movie that this FOODFIGHT film is being compared to – ROGER RABBIT – is a beloved film that I utterly loathe.

    So I agree with you that the exercise of viewing terrible films in an introspective manner (as opposed to ironically) is worthwhile.

  62. Jareth, I thought AMWTDITW (lets just call it WEST) was hilarious, and I’m not a fan of Family Guy or Seth McFartin in particular. My teenage sons used to watch the FG dvds all the time and I found them mildly amusing at best. WEST reminded me a bit of Mel Brooks BLAZING SADDLES. The humor was pretty broad, it had one absurd musical number about men who wear mustaches which was classic, and it commented on black racism by being as crudely racist as it could be, to then end the film with one of the best cameo’s of A Recent Iconic Figure who says fuck you to racism, try these hairy balls on for size.

  63. AMWTDITW looks kinda funny to me too, I think there’s just something about Seth MacFarlane that pisses people off

  64. Darren – WEST to me was just a few good laughs surrounded by long long long stretches of silence, despite the movie firing gags different ways every minute and having a really good supporting cast. Maybe people are targeting McFarlane’s acting too hard, but maybe he’s just not cut out for lead roles? I mean you bring up Mel Brooks, but most of his best movies he didn’t play the lead but instead a supporting part where he wasn’t the center of the film. Did he even act in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN? I can’t remember.

    That said, I enjoyed McFarlane voicing that German ghost scientist in HELLBOY 2. He was funny too in TED.

    I can’t remember which blogger it was, maybe Faraci or McWeeny who summed up WEST as being “Gene Wilder saying “Jesus that’s racist!” for 2 hours.” That surprisingly sums up the movie well. Where’s the wit? The Silverman/Ribisi stuff was funny though, if only in the absurdity of him worrying about her getting back to the whorehouse on time for that anal apointment with that customer.

    Or put it another way, the 22 JUMP STREET trailer in front of WEST got more laughs from my crowd than the movie did.

  65. McF is clearly no leading man(his eyebrows are too far apart and finely plucked to be masculine, and I can’t seperate his voice from Brian the dog) but his humor in WEST mostly worked for me. Yeah a bit indulgent at times, like the showdown with NP Harris, but damn if I didnt laugh like an idiot at the excess of the *literal* toilet humor in that scene. But yeah, McF is good at creating comedic worlds, like Brooks, but not necessarily leading.

  66. Back up, somebody *loathes* ROGER RABBIT?

  67. yeah, ROGER RABBIT has to be one of the most un-loatheable movies ever made, what’s not to like? for one thing it literally single handily fucking saved western animation

  68. Darren – looks isn’t necessarily that important for a lead. Hell Woody Allen was the lead for the longest time in his own movies as the neurotic nerdy Jew and it worked woders. You just have to have that charisma to carry a movie on your back. Seth clearly I thought didn’t have that.

    Of course to be fair, even if you had a good lead in that part, would it have really been better? I mean I thought that the movie for the most part wasted Neil Patrick Harris, who has charisma. (Hell I’ve thought he could be a terrific Flash if they ever make those movies.)

  69. How is MacFarlane supposed to compete in a marketplace dominated by comedic hunks like Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Jonah Hill?

  70. I used to absolutely loathe McFarlane. I though FAMILY GUY was funny for a couple seasons, mostly in that it did an OK job taking the absurdist streak of humor from the SIMPSONS and pushing it as far as it was possible to go. But after it came back, and especially after watching their disastrous “movie,” I realized the show had nowhere to go, and it quickly disappeared up its own asshole. His subsequent shows just proved how shockingly limited the range of his humor (and his ugly animation style) was. He even kinda annoyed me in HELLBOY 2, with his lame overdone German accent. Really guy, wacky accents, that’s what we’re doing now?

    But then, he brought back COSMOS. And I read some interviews with him, and he just seemed like a real nice, thoughtful guy. I mean, I just couldn’t really hate him anymore. In fact, now I’m kinda rooting for him to make something I actually enjoy. Judging from the reviews, AMWTDITW ain’t it, but maybe someone here can change my mind?

  71. One thing about McF’s live action films TED and WEST is that he’s used the Family Guy model of throwing in all these tangents and pop culture references to the mix, and mostly succeeded to be funny in my opinion. The Indian/peyote dream sequence in WEST and the classic Mustache song, Flash Gordon in TED. They’re not used as relentlessly in his live action as they are in his cartoons, which makes the longer dialogue stretches in WEST for example seem boring in comparison.

    I like absurdity in my humor, which is why I compared it to BLAZING SADDLES. And yeah RRA, there is a charisma deficiency in McF as a leading man. His talent is in his ideas. He has the face of a cherub-y choirboy, which conflicts with the vulgarism of his works. Or maybe that could work for him if he were to play a serial killer. The Baby-Face Killer or something. I reckon he could be pretty scary.

  72. TED was one of the very few movies, that I just couldn’t watch to the end. During its course I laughed exactly once (when they had to clean up the poop that the hooker left on the floor and the really funny part of it was Wahlberg’s behaviour in this scene) and once Sam J. Jones appeared for the tired B-or-C-lister-plays-wacky-caricature-of-himself joke, I just realized that I didn’t care for anything that happened in that movie. (Note: I watched MOVIE 43 a few days ago and laughed very hard, but at least chuckled at a surpriing amount of gags in that one.)

    Later I caught the last few minutes on TV, which of course included that absolutey mean-spirited and unnecessary rant against Brandon Routh, which reminded me why I didn’t care for Seth McFarlane in the first place.

  73. The Original... Paul

    June 25th, 2014 at 11:08 am

    CJ:

    “Note: I watched MOVIE 43 a few days ago and laughed very hard, but at least chuckled at a surpriing amount of gags in that one.”

    Yeah… my jaw hit the floor at that one. I think it’s kinda interesting as a sociological artefact, and there were one or two bits where I kinda chuckled (mainly the best friend who advises the guy how to poop on his girlfriend), but mostly… it inspired just bafflement. And some slight nausea. Honestly I can think of at least seven or eight scenes that would make you want to vomit, but the Hugh-Jackman-in-soup, Halle-Berry-after-surgery and Chloe Moretz… just Chloe Moretz… were the worst for me. And I STILL can’t believe who’s in it. How?!

    I haven’t seen “Ted”. No plans.

  74. I read a while ago an interview with one of the producers of MOVIE 43, how he told pretty amused that many actors (like Richard Gere) kinda agreed to be in it, because he was a friend (or they had common friends), but more in a polite “Yeah, if I can squeeze it into my shedule, I do it” way, obviously hoping that schedule never worked out. But since the movie was shot over the course of four years by a whole army of different people, only very few could escape.

    Interesting enough, apparently the Jackman/Winslet segment was shot first and both agreed, because they thought it was funny.

    And yeah, humor is difficult. Most shit on ADULT SWIM is completely unfunny for me and so is what MacFarlane produces. Yet Movie 43? I laughed! (Also the Leprechaun was probably Gerard Butler’s best performance ever!)

  75. Seth McFarlane is hit and miss with me. At times I’ve thought he was hilarious, tedious, or repulsive. I absolutely hate how he thinks it’s funny to drag an annoying joke on and on and on until I just want to turn it off to make it end.

    He does seem like a really intelligent and nice guy, but then his humor is often so douchey or cruel. I have a pretty dark sense of humor, but I draw the line at laughing about child rape. In real life he’s a big feminist and proponent of women’s rights, but then he makes jokes about Elizabeth Smart. I dunno, man, it’s not cool to crack a joke at some poor girl (as in child – not adult, not that being an adult would make it okay, either, really) getting kidnapped and repeatedly raped.

  76. The Original... Paul

    June 25th, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Maggie – I don’t know if there’s ANY subject that’s truly “taboo”. What I don’t think you should ever do, though, is make light of a subject like rape. I think it’s ok to use it for humour as long as you don’t try and remove the gravity of it in the process. There’s a skill to doing that, and if you get it wrong then the results can be… obnoxious.

    This is why the endings of “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Forty Days and Forty Nights”, and pretty much the entirety of “The Loser”, always bothered me. Looking back, a lot of Bond films also have an element that you could argue would be a lot more unpleasant than I’d given them credit for when I was younger – the judo “seduction” in “Goldfinger” and the sexual blackmail of the nurse in “Thunderball” immediately come to mind. And of course the latest film’s shower scene, which is in really poor taste.

    I can’t say I have any opinion on McFarlane… I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve seen of “Family Guy” and “American Dad” but I haven’t a clue what seasons I’ve been watching or anything.

  77. Maggie — 100% agree. It seems really weird that his sense of humor seems so bizarrely at odds with his actual beliefs and personality. I wonder if he just figured out what sells in America, and is willing to go for it if it makes money? Interestingly, I’ve never once read anything with him talking about the actual comedy, or what his philosophy is on the artform. Maybe he’s just a showman and likes to get the easy laughs where he can, which is mostly in nonsequitors and ultra-lowbrow shock tactics. It’s made him a pile of money and got us a new version of COSMOS, so I guess I can’t really complain, but man, some of that stuff is pretty shameful now that you’ve got me thinking about it. Why would such a smart guy make such dumb art? Surely he can’t really feel very gratified by it?

  78. That’s actually the thing that I hate about the McFarlanetoons and many other cartoons “for adults” these days. They go for simple shock value, without anything to say.

    I believe too, that EVERY topic can be used for a good joke. And here is the thing: GOOD jokes! Not just “Oh no, I can’t believe he said it!” There is a reason why even today people still laugh about THE GREAT DICTATOR, TO BE OR NOT TO BE or even just THE PRODUCERS, but stuff like FAMILY GUY never really entered the popcultural concious, despite being a huge success. There is a HUGE difference between Michael Richards calling an audience member by the N-word and then later explaining that he was trying to make fun of racism with it and Louis CK saying the word to explain in a hilarious and smart way, why he thinks it’s even worse to just say “The n-word” instead of the real word.

  79. The Original... Paul

    June 25th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Yeah upon further reflection I’d like to change what I wrote up there a bit. I don’t think there’s any SUBJECT that’s taboo. Singling out a particular rape victim and making a joke out of it though… that’s pretty bad. I should point out here that I don’t know what he actually said about Smart so I can’t judge the specific occurrence. But in general… that’s bad.

  80. The Original... Paul

    June 25th, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    And how the heck did we get from “Foodfight” to rape jokes?!

  81. Foodfight raped our eyeballs.

  82. Yeah, it’s not the subject so much as the personalization that I found offensive.

    It was some throwaway scene with Elizabeth Smart playing her harp a lot after being rescued and then they said, “All of the songs are about rape, though.” I could see the satirical point they were maybe going for in that society wanted to brush the horrible details of it all under the rug and focus on more pleasant things, but I am not sure about making that point between a fart joke and a STAR WARS reference on your cartoon.

  83. In case Vern had too much aspirin in his cabinets and needed an excuse to drain the supply this December…

    http://www.thewrap.com/kirk-camerons-saving-christmas-sinks-to-worst-imdb-rating-in-sites-history/

  84. FOODFIGHT! is standing tall at 2.1 —

    yet only 6 acknowledged critics have officially registered their opinions, so the margin of error has to be high, and who knows,
    maybe this film will prove to be a misunderstood gem for which American audiences just weren’t ready:

    The few, the proud, the FOODFIGHT! reviewers.

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