90s Movies .net: Revisiting and recollecting the pieces of childhood. Topics include: 90s movies, songs, television shows, commercials, cartoons, comics, photographs, old advertisements, toys, and video games that remind me of simpler times.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an American live-action children’s television series about transforming teen superheroes who pilot giant prehistoric-themed robot animals that can form together into a giant robot called a Megazord. With help from a creepy robot named Alpha and his floating head master Zordon, the Power Rangers battle enemies like Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, and all of their monstrous henchmen.
At the height of its popularity, the show appealed to kids of all ages and invited them into its world of colorful martial arts and slapstick comedy. With this success came all types of toys, video games, apparel, and various other merchandise with the Power Rangers logo plastered all over it. Being at the perfect age for full indoctrination when the show first premiered on Saturday morning Fox, I was hypnotized and engrossed. I even saw the abysmal feature film in theaters on opening night and scored myself a free poster.
On a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon, children can be a real handful. They’re whiney, agitated and complaining about how bored they are and how all of their thousands of dollars worth of board games, video games, and action figures “suck.” What in the name of shutting them the fuck up can you do to appease them? That’s where family fun centers shine like a beacon of hope in a sea of destructive thoughts like “Why the fuck did we ever decide to have kids?” and “Could we get away with murdering them?” Family fun centers are the answer.
However, the best family fun center ever invented closed its doors in 1996 due to bankruptcy. Their bottom line was stretched to the point of collapse with each new expansion the company made and it finally had to close its doors and hand over the keys to the far inferior wasteland of broken dreams and shitty arcade machines known as Chuck E. Cheese.
It’s easy to gaze into the past and see things that you used to love as a child and to cherish them into adulthood because of your previous association and affection for them, but sometimes looking backwards in time through rose colored glasses doesn’t work. Maybe there are just some pieces of consumable media that, for whatever reason, you loved as a kid, but you grow up and realize that they’re absolute trash. Disney’s Blank Check is a perfect example of this duality of taste.
Blank Check, at its most stripped-down definition, is a film about a 12-year-old boy named Preston is given a blank check after his bike is destroyed. After doing the good, honest thing and forging the check to read $1,000,000, Preston has a ball spending the money until the gangsters he ripped off come looking for him.
However, what seems like a somewhat original premise is executed in the most paint-by-numbers, obscenely trite way onscreen.
The characters make absolutely no sense and their motivations are so muddled. Preston’s dad, for instance, is incredibly hard on the boy for not being an entrepreneur at 12 years old. His two older, meathead brothers have started their own business, but they don’t even know how to use a computer. Preston’s father lays on plenty of guilt for his lack of business savvy because, y’know, 12 year olds should be trading on Wall Street and shit.
They went to school and whispered about the Spice Girls and the two boys in town behind their seemingly nonexistent teachers’ backs. They went home in a giant shoebox-schoolbus, and by the time they hit the first bus stop, the bus’s contents had shifted considerably. The school was always right by the nice part of town, so the popular girls—Polly with the blonde pigtails, Polly in the pink minidress, Polly’s brunette friend who always wore a swimsuit to school—were the first ones off the bus. I could have made them go home and do their homework, but after they finished cheerleading practice, it was usually partytime (whatever 7-year-old me thought cool teenagers did at parties).
Of all the cartoon shows that turned me into the twisted, spontaneous person that I am today, the Ren and Stimpy Show affected me most as a child. Really having no place in the safe, family environment of the Nicktoons lineup that consisted of Doug and Rugrats, I have absolutely no idea how the Ren and Stimpy Show crash landed onto the kid-friendly network known as Nickelodeon.
It was no surprise that young, impressionable me was drawn to the violence, gross out humor, and off-the-wall antics of the dimwitted Stimpson J. Cat and the hot-headed, Peter-Lorre-inspired Ren Hoek. I owe much of my most demented imaginings to this gem of a show, and I vow that I will dedicate a fully-fleshed article to its magnificence at a later date.
Until then, however, I am content just talking about one of my favorite aspects of the Ren and Stimpy Show. A character whose cameo appearances always left me befuddled, but filled me with laughter all the same. A conundrum wrapped in a breakfast treat. Yes, I’m talking about the unforgettable face of all that is good in the world known as Powdered Toast Man!
Powdered Toast Man is a well-meaning, yet oblivious kind-of-superhero who also doubles as the spokesperson and mascot for Powdered Toast, a staple of the breakfast table that is often described as tasting just like sawdust.