Toys Preview

“Riiiich and Poooooe,” Jamie croons ethereally as a dope hip hop beat plays behind the track, “They’ll never diiieeeee, noooooo,” he continues while Rachel and Patrick sway to the ghostly high pitched sound of his falsetto. “No matter what you sawwwww, this game is canon and you can’t kill the lawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Rich and Poe, alive forever. Peace.” He finishes in a whisper. There isn’t a dry eye in the room. Jamie and Patrick shrug at each other, it’s worth a shot. Likely a tie-in FMV VR music video game isn’t actually canon, no matter how many times Jamie mentions it in the lyrics (28, by Patrick’s count). But the most important thing is to get this single on the airwaves and start the hype machine a-hummin’. As Jamie turns to the computer in order to begin crafting the email to WGRG, he bumps into the giant box again. “Gah,” he says in frustration and bangs his hand on the lid. “Don’t take it out on the box,” scolds Patrick as he inspects the completely useless box for damage. But Jamie is already waving off the dumb, useless box and shoots off the email to WGRG. Just as he and Patrick are about to high five in celebration they hear that distinctive “You Rang” notice from the JeevesMail. An email from WGRG sits in the inbox titled “Rad Dopness for sure… BUT” But what? Jame purses his lips. No one seems satisfied with all the hits he’s churning out lately. When he opens the email the WGRG manager suggests they send over some Rich & Poe merch as a prize for the premier of the song to “really hype the film for the millennial gucci crowd.” Not a bad point, but what R&P toy should they make? That’s right! We’re watching the Robin Williams classic Toys. Obviously we saw this as children and really not many times since then. So I’m interested in whether it is in fact a misunderstood masterpiece. Plausible. It also had a tie-in video game that is apparently just the worst. Let’s go!

Toys (1992) – BMeTric: 58.4; Notability: 77

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 1.6%; Notability: top 3.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 23.4% Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Pet Sematary II; Lower RT: Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Mom and Dad Save the World, Passed Away, Ladybugs, Claire of the Moon, Mr. Baseball, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, California Man, Mo’ Money, Class Act, Knight Moves, Freejack, Dr. Giggles, Blame It on the Bellboy and 16 more; Notes: My god, the highest notability of 1992. This was a huge film. Impressively low IMDb rating as well. Definitely a top bad movie from 1992.

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – “Toys” is visually one of the most extraordinary films I’ve seen, a delight for the eyes, a bright new world. It takes place within the entirely imaginary world of a giant toy corporation, which springs from a limitless grain field as if there were no other buildings on earth.

(Incredible. We really are on a roll of sneaky good films. The Bodyguard and Toys back to back? I can say that will confidence because I’ve seen Toys a bunch of times and loved it as a kid. So there is no way I don’t watch it now and at least love it due to nostalgia.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP-TU0P2Lw4/

(Great trailer. Shows off the crazy set pieces, doesn’t overdo the absolutely over-the-top performance by Robin Williams, gives a good perspective on the overarching story (without touching on the final act pretty much at all). Like, actually seems like a delightful movie.)

Directors – Barry Levinson – (Known For: Sleepers; Rain Man; Bugsy; Diner; Avalon; Disclosure; The Natural; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Bay; Wag the Dog; Young Sherlock Holmes; What Just Happened; Bandits; The Last Act; Tin Men; Liberty Heights; An Everlasting Piece; Future BMT: Rock the Kasbah; Sphere; Jimmy Hollywood; Man of the Year; BMT: Envy; Toys; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Toys in 1993; Notes: Was nominated for 5 Oscars (winning one for directing Rain Man) and 11 Emmys (winning 4 times, twice for writing on The Carol Burnett Show, for producing Displaced Person, and for directing Homicide: Life on the Street). Does a lot of television work now including the upcoming Dopesick.)

Writers – Valerie Curtin (written by) – (Known For: …and justice for all.; Inside Moves; Best Friends; Future BMT: Unfaithfully Yours; BMT: Toys; Notes: Was married to Barry Levinson until the mid-80s, nominated alongside him for …and justice for all. Was in the original cast of Three’s Company, but was replaced after the pilot was picked up.)

Barry Levinson (written by) – (Known For: Sleepers; Tootsie; Diner; Avalon; High Anxiety; The Bay; …and justice for all.; Silent Movie; Inside Moves; Tin Men; Best Friends; Liberty Heights; Street Girls; Future BMT: Jimmy Hollywood; Man of the Year; Unfaithfully Yours; BMT: Toys; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Toys in 1993; Notes: Wrote Paterno, the big television movie starring Al Pacino. And is writing an upcoming tv movie called Sheela, about the leader of the Rajneesh movement from the 1980s which was profiled in the Netflix series Wild Wild Country.)

Actors – Robin Williams – (Known For: Jumanji; Good Will Hunting; Dead Poets Society; Night at the Museum; Aladdin; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Mrs. Doubtfire; Insomnia; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Popeye; Robots; Awakenings; Night at the Museum 2; The Butler; What Dreams May Come; The Birdcage; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen; Happy Feet; The Fisher King; Good Morning, Vietnam; Future BMT: Flubber; R.V.: Runaway Vacation; Nine Months; Fathers’ Day; Jack; Club Paradise; The Night Listener; Man of the Year; The Best of Times; The Survivors; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Jakob the Liar; Hook; Patch Adams; Bicentennial Man; August Rush; BMT: Toys; License to Wed; Old Dogs; The Big Wedding; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2000 for Bicentennial Man, and Jakob the Liar; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Death to Smoochy in 2003; Notes: Notable for being a Juilliard trained actor who cut his teeth in the stand up comedy scene of the 70s. Committed suicide in 2014, apparently due to dementia. Was nominated for four Oscars, and won for Good Will Hunting.)

Michael Gambon – (Known For: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Book of Eli; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The King’s Speech; Sleepy Hollow; Judy; Paddington 2; The Good Shepherd; Hail, Caesar!; Paddington; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; Gosford Park; Layer Cake; The Insider; Future BMT: The Omen; Mary Reilly; Mobsters; Clean Slate; BMT: Toys; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys, and was the replacement Dumbledore after Richard Harris passed away.)

Joan Cusack – (Known For: Sixteen Candles; Instant Family; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; Toy Story 4; School of Rock; Grosse Pointe Blank; Toy Story 3; High Fidelity; Say Anything…; Toy Story 2; Working Girl; Runaway Bride; Addams Family Values; Klaus; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; My Sister’s Keeper; Broadcast News; Let It Snow; Ice Princess; My Bodyguard; Future BMT: Snatched; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Mr. Wrong; Nine Months; Mars Needs Moms; Chicken Little; Raising Helen; Class; The Allnighter; Corrina, Corrina; Where the Heart Is; Martian Child; BMT: Toys; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for In & Out and Working Girl. Was apparently the first regular cast member of SNL to be nominated for an Oscar. Of the Cusack acting family, including her brother John Cusack.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $23,278,931 (Worldwide: $23,278,931)

(Oooof, that is a disaster. The budget is basically all production costs, which makes it all the worse. They apparently produced this stunning work of art from a production design perspective … and then the film was a totally mess and financial disaster. Too bad.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (8/27): Like a colorfully overengineered gewgaw on the shelf, Toys might look like fun, but its seemingly limitless possibilities lead mainly to confusion and disappointment.

(That is definitely true. As a kid it was a real spectacle and Robin Williams is obviously the best for kids. Reviewer Highlight: The failure of Barry Levinson’s Toys is of a different order: it’s the kind of folly only a very fine filmmaker could make, a labor of misguided love. – David Ansen, Newsweek)

Poster – Please Enjoys Toys

(Clever and actually does hint a little at the plot… or at least Barry Levinson’s perspective while making the film. Absolutely great great great custom font and it certainly is unique. I like it. Striking. Maybe a little more color theme, but good. B-)

Tagline(s) – Laughter is a state of mind. (D)

(I don’t know what this means. I guess maybe it’s playing on the poster itself. That Robin William’s mind in the film is a Russian nesting doll of himself? I don’t know. Nonsense. But at least it’s short nonsense.)

Keyword – inventor

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), The Dark Knight (2008), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Avengers Assemble (2012), The Goonies (1985), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), The Prestige (2006)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 65.0 Max Steel (2016), 57.1 Flubber (1997), 47.3 Blankman (1994), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 40.1 Paranoia (2013), 38.5 Two of a Kind (1983), 30.9 Van Helsing (2004), 30.4 Arthur and the Invisibles (2006);

BMT: Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Fantastic Four (2015), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Geostorm (2017), Masters of the Universe (1987), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Pixels (2015), Wild Wild West (1999), Tango & Cash (1989), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), Hudson Hawk (1991), Toys (1992), Jobs (2013), Envy (2004), A Sound of Thunder (2005), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)

(I’m here for the other Robin Williams inventor bad movie, Flubber. Mostly has been buoyed in recent years from Tony Stark and Beast in the new X-Men films from what I can tell.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: LL Cool J is No. 7 billed in Toys and No. 2 billed in Rollerball, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 7 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 12. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – Theatrical movie debut of Jamie Foxx (Baker).

It took writer, producer, and director Barry Levinson over ten years to develop this movie. It took ten months to shoot.

Much of the look drew its inspiration from surrealist painter René Magritte. This is most obvious in the break in scene where Leslie Zevo (Robin Williams) and Alsatia Zevo (Joan Cusack) pretend they’re doing a music video featuring raining men in the background.

As of May, 2001 the Zevo Tombstone (the stone elephant) resides at Planet Hollywood in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

The blue car that Leslie (Robin Williams) drove was a rare 1950 Muntz Jet, of which fewer than four hundred were made.

In the arcade sequence, where a child is shown playing one of the military games of a helicopter destroying civilian vehicles, a “kill” monitor is visible at the bottom of the screen listing the number of cars destroyed by model. Only the Volvo column is still at zero kills, an in-joke referring to the Volvo’s legendary safety and indestructibility.

The scene with Leslie Zevo (Robin Williams) addressing his troops was ad-libbed. Levinson kept a camera rolling everytime Williams was on-set.

The “electric jacket” worn by Robin Williams was created by Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini.

In the arcade scene, the introduction to “Tank Gunner” is actually the introduction to Absolute Entertainment’s Super Battletank. One year later, Absolute Entertainment released the video game adaptation for this movie. (Oooooooo I’m going to play that!!)

A long-cherished project for writer, producer, and director Barry Levinson, this was originally set to be his directorial debut.

The words used by Lieutenant General Leland Zevo (Sir Michael Gambon) in an attempt to stop the rampaging sea creature are “Klaatu, Barada, Nikto”, the same words used to command the robot Gort in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008). Also, these were the same words Ash (Bruce Campbell) was supposed to use in Army of Darkness (1992) prior to picking up the necronomicon. (That is a super fun fact)

Italian designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti spent over one year designing the sumptuous sets, which took over every soundstage at Twentieth Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles. (Awesome)

Robin Williams and Joan Cusack performed “The Mirror Song” themselves in the MTV scene. (Amazing)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Ferdinando Scarfiotti, Linda DeScenna, 1993)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Costume Design (Albert Wolsky, 1993)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Barry Levinson, 1993)

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