Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Childhood Going Hollywood

Earlier today, I was driving to the Georgia - South Carolina border to pick up my oldest daughter. I ejected the Pearl Jam CD to get ready for Tay to listen to one of her favorite pop stations. The DJ was talking about Rihanna coming to an agreement to act in her first film, a big screen adaption of the board game Battleship. The dearth of show business' creativity doesn't surprise me. What caught my attention was, the memory Battleship brought to me. We play the game in our home. My six and seven year old daughters will bury you malice and no mercy in Battleship. Do not play against them. You've been warned. I also thought about two other games or toys created and made popular in the 1970s, my early childhood; Rock Em Sock Robots and Stretch Armstrong. After I got home I looked all three 35 year old child's things on the internet and was really floored. All three are being developed into Hollywood movies, set to release this year or next. This made me blog. Let's break down Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship, toy vs. movie.

Rock Sock Em Robots

The game - You are presented with a plastic "boxing ring" or squared circle. On each side are joysticks that control the fighting robots. Depending on the dexterity of your thumbs, momentary blind rage, and quickness of your plastic badass, you have 3 to 4 minutes of entertainment where your opponents head is disengaged and the taunting begins. This small window of graphic emotion and quick climax prepare you for adulthood.

The movie - Titled Real Steel and allegedly set in the near future where human boxing has been banned, likely due to the pathetic state of the heavyweight division (I blame the Klitschko brothers), and now controlled by Robot Gladiators. First of all, I find this offensive. As a robot-human hybrid, I am concerned at the bigotry shown that Robots are incapable of intellectual pursuits like blogging or tweeting. Hugh "X-Men Wolverine" Jackman stars as a failed human boxer who manages and promotes the Robot fighters. Evangeline Lilly, formerly Kate on the tv show LOST, co stars as alove interest. Hopefully to one of the robot heavy hitters. First review of this film is negative. The robot stereotyping combined with making a two hour pursuit from a game that last, grand total, five minutes, is very risky. I'm avoiding this one.

Stretch Armstrong

The Toy/Action Figure - Blond, tanned, Venice Beach native, malleable dude that you can stretch to ridiculous proportions was a fun time at my house growing up. The main goal to owning Stretch Armstrong was the betterment of mankind scientific experiment of cutting open the stretchy guy to figure out what was inside. After realizing the gel looked and smelled like week old warm grape jelly, you taped Stretch back together and played a Cold War Spy cat and mouse game with your parents until they figured out you ruined your Christmas present and you begged them for another one for your birthday. Later, Stretch made a terrific door stop, paper weight, and extension cord holder.

The movie - Spikey haired, whackadoo movie producer Brian Grazer is getting this made. He may be friends with Ron "Opie Ritchie Cunningham" Howard but after a quote like this : "Stretch Armstrong is a character I have wanted to see on screen for a long time ... It’s a story about a guy stretching ... the limits of what is possible to become all that he can be." This film deserves to be scratched for the sake of all of our intelligence. The Taylor something or another kid with the abs who plays a werewolf in those chick vampire movies is set to star. Run, don't walk from this one. Now, I need to hit ebay and find a Stretch Armstrong for my girls.


The game -

I've already mentioned my family fondness for the board game. It teaches counting, memory, and aquatic navigation. I sank your Battleship stands the test of time better than Oh Snap or You Just Got Told.

The movie -

I'm looking forward to Rihanna winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for her movie anthem "I Sank Your Battleship". Liam Neeson stars as well. He's got a cool voice. He's very tall and rarely makes bad films. I'm assuming Rihanna, Liam, and co star Brooklyn Decker will be playing robust games of Battleship. If not, then I expect good special effects, ships blowing up, and a lot of action. I'm in like Huck Finn on this flick. The outlook is good and the water is warm.

I am writing a book and so is my wife. I'm sure our tomes would make better screenplays than the swill blogged about. How can toys with heydays in the 1970s make decent movies? The ideas may be absurd but the memories they have invoked and the fun that can be had with my kids make for a positive experience talking about Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship. E6, hit!

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Hmmm, maybe not 1 Corinthians 13:11

Today's song is about childish things like guilty pleasures. I don't like a lot of pop music but I listen to it with my wife and daughters. One of the songs we sing in the car sometimes is Rehab by Rihanna. It's catchy as can be, and hard to forget, Just like Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship. Maybe I need to go to Rehab for this blog. Judge me if you wish, here's Rihanna and JT.


  1. I can only hope the movie stays true to the original Battleship. If so, I'd imagine the dialogue to be something like:

    Blue Captain: "Officer Jones, I detect an enemy submarine at F-5. Fire torpedo!"

    Officer Jones: "But the enemy commander informed us that our torpedo shot at F-4 was a miss. Perhaps we should fire elsewhere."

    And so forth...

  2. I saw a trailer for Real Steel and it never occurred to me it was based on Rock 'em, Sock 'em. This changes everything!

    I'm beginning to wonder if anyone in Hollywood today has an original thought. Remakes, 'based-on's, it's getting ridiculous.

  3. I have spent more than a few hours on Venice Beach and never seen Stretch. Was there in the 70s, 80s, 90s and many times since. Sigh, they are destroying our childhood.

  4. Stretch Armstrong...I actually broke one of those, ripped his arm right off....

  5. Why does Hollywood want to ruin my childhood memories of awesome cartoons and make them into CGI movies?