5/5/10

RVOD107 Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Your Own Things

(1978, Educational/Short/Children, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

The original Toy Story was a lot grittier.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


A sloppy child gets nagged by his animate toys.

Summary:

Could you sleep at night, knowing your pillow was judging you?Reggie wishes his friends would visit more often, but every time they do, they get frustrated because his toys are all broken, missing pieces, or ruined. Sometimes he can’t find them at all. Reggie is, in short, irredeemably messy.

That night, his toys get together and decide to put a stop to this. The bed shakes him off, while the pillow sprouts eyes and lips to harangue him about his poor organization skills. A disheveled and remarkably calm Reggie complies with their demands—gathering, tidying and repairing his things as necessary. Despite the toys’ repeated requests to keep their sentience secret, Reggie spills the beans to his parents instantly. They don’t believe him, but offer him ice cream anyway.

Thoughts:

Reggie is an unkempt, soft-spoken child who seems destined, later in life, to grow a scraggly, salt-and-pepper beard and wear slippers and a bathrobe to work. He will, of course, run a vast, disordered used book store with aisles only eighteen inches wide between shelves that go up to the ceiling. It will have at least seventeen copies of every worthless seventies pulp novel ever written sprinkled throughout the shelves in no particular order. The kind of place you could spend days in, certain that it must have the one obscure book you’re looking for, if only because anyone else who wanted it must have given up by now. Yes, Reggie is that kind of child.

Mike, Bill and Kevin wedge themselves into the proceedings quite nicely. As night (actually, day) falls, Kevin narrates, “The powers of darkness emerged from Reggie’s Lincoln Logs.” When the toys start to talk amongst themselves, Bill notes, “His room’s been infested with bad voice actors.” Many of the sentient toys/clothes/pieces of furniture seem mellow to the point of dispirited. Mike notes this with, “His pajamas overdid it on the Quaaludes.” The film itself is earnest, inept and weird like a low-budget fever dream, and the commentary turns it into an absurd little treasure.