My Eleven Suggestions for The Nostalgia Critic to Review

For those of you not familiar, The Nostalgia Critic is a web-series about an American loud-mouthed film/TV critic who reviews media projects, most of which he grew up with/experienced through his earlier life. The Critic himself is more than just a media critic. He is actually a character portrayed by creator, Doug Walker, who expresses his nostalgic history on each media project through his reviews, adding in a series of rants, tantrums and comedy stints. The Nostalgia Critic was created in the late 2000s through the online channel known as Channel Awesome, also home to the Nostalgia Chick (a female version of the NC), Todd In The Shadows, The Angry Video Game Nerd, The Block-Buster Buster and Bum Reviews.

The Nostalgia Critic is one of my personal favourite web-series of all-time. Doug Walker is one of the people I used as inspiration for some of my previous posts and I had a lot of fun watching his reviews. Not only that, but he puts a lot of thought into them reviews. If Doug is still open for requests, I have a few suggestions for films that he could review.

I shall be keeping in mind that he did make clear about the films he was never going to review (even though for some, he did change his mind on), so like don’t worry, them films ain’t on the list below, nor are the ones he’s already done. These are my eleven suggestions on which films the Nostalgia Critic could review. Why eleven? Because I’m going one step beyond;

Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night (1987)

I remember the Nostalgia Critic reviewing Pinocchio through Disneycember and certain cartoons by the long-defunct Filmation. I think it’d be really interesting to see how he compares the Disney cartoon to this one considering that Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night was apparently an unofficial sequel to the Disney one.

Those who read my previous blogs will probably know by now that Pinocchio is my all-time favourite Disney movie. For me personally, Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night works somewhere in the middle. I shall try to keep this short, because I did write a large chunk of info when I ranked my personal Worst-To-Best Filmation Animated Features. I remember praising the songs and the villains, but bitching about certain plot-holes and Pinocchio’s allies, i.e. Gee Willikers(!). Speaking of which, I imagine Doug chanting for the toad to eat him and them other annoying bugs. Who knows?

Problem Child (1990)

I had just recently watched Dennis Dugan’s debut directorial feature and I’m like “What the hell was that!”. Before I saw it, I had a feeling that Junior, that’s the problem child in question, would have autism or some sort of mental disorder. Clearly he did not. He was just a destructive prankster who I’m assuming has a condition in relation to attention seeking as seems clear in the sequel.

Considering that Problem Child is over-filled with lavatory humour, obnoxiousness and a bit of swearing, it’s ironic that it’s classified with such a low certificate, i.e. PG, and is even considered a family movie. I’m certain the Nostalgia Critic would agree. After all, remember when he reviewed Kazaam and the Garbage Pale Kids movie? Well I’m so sure that Problem Child will wind him up further.

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Doug’s certainly reviewed some of Arnold Schwarzanegger’s films, but I’m quite surprised he didn’t review Kindergarten Cop – a film about a large hard-boiled detective who goes undercover as a school-teacher and get this, he’s teaching a kindergarten class, and which has been debated whether it’s that suitable for kids to be watching.

Personally I had fun watching Kindergarten Cop and found it to tell an amusing yet interesting story. Through past reviews, Doug did admit that he wasn’t a fan of Arnie and I estimate that he would question the film’s appeal to the target audience.

Jumanji (1995)

The sequel (Welcome To The Jungle), which I still have yet to see, will soon have been out for a year. I dunno what Doug’s thoughts are on that, possibly that Robin Williams would turn in his grave if he saw that, but I think it would be great for him to review another movie that Robin was in and one that was directed by Joe Johnston.

I recall the Nostalgia Critic making a fuss over Robin’s choices on which movies he appears in. He labelled Flubber and Patch Adams as his bad ones, Hook as good despite flaws, his thoughts on Jumanji?

Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero (1998)

Relating to Doug’s obsession with Batman, I think this animated feature could be a good one to review, because I think he also did the film that it followed; Mask Of The Phantasm.

For some reason, partially due to Mr. Freeze and Batgirl’s appearances, it felt to me as a follow-up to Batman & Robin, which is one of Doug’s least favourites. I can definitely understand that and boy I loved that review. But I’m sure he’d take this one any day over Batman & Robin. Only one way to find out.

Stuart Little (1999)

And we come to a film in which one of the Critic’s least favourite film-makers makes a contribution as a writer. I have to admit,  never liked Stuart Little that much. I remember questioning the synopsis which involves a human couple adopting a mouse for a son and wondering about certain plot-holes. Doug would certainly be downright annoyed if he ever saw the boat race scene, considering it involves his least favourite cliche, the bully.

If Doug does review Stuart Little, Shyamalan ought to make an appearance.

War Of The Worlds (2005)

I’m not sure whether Doug ever saw the original War Of The Worlds or heard Jeff Lynne’s awesome album of the same name, but I can definitely see him checking out this version directed by the one and only Steven Spielberg.

Although I personally liked it, I have heard a bit of criticism on the film, Tom Cruise getting a Razzie nomination, even the little girl being branded as irritating. Though I reckon the special effects deserve a bit of credit. Again, what are the Critic’s thoughts?

The Simpsons Movie (2007)

We saw his review on what he considered to be the top 11 episodes of the Simpsons. Let’s see what he thinks of the movie. What will be his thoughts on the epic animation, how many parodies are thrown in, the celebrity appearances, oh and did I mention that Bambi’s got a cameo?

Will the Critic find the movie as funny as the series or just as an extended episode? Let’s let him decide.

The Three Stooges (2012)

I would imagine Doug being a fan of the original Three Stooges. For one thing, he, his brother and Spooner once parodied the Three Stooges briefly before they reviewed Alone In The Dark. Obviously he loves Tom & Jerry, but he hates the movie.

As a long time fan of The Three Stooges, I didn’t expect the movie to be as good as the original series, but it could’ve been worse. The Critic will obviously be aware of the fact the original Stooges have long been dead, hence why there are actors portraying them, but would probably agree that some of the modern pop culture references seem forced and don’t get me started on the baby/urination scene. Actually, I’d especially love to see his reaction on the scene with the girl and the balloons.

Also, being that this movie was directed by the Farrelly Brothers, he’ll possibly remind us which movies they’re famous for, i.e. Dumb & Dumber, and question their involvement.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017)

This which I feel is my least-favourite movie so far. The Critic once reviewed Dreamworks’ animated features through a period he referred to as Dreamworks-Uary. Obviously, Captain Underpants is too new to have been reviewed back then.

My guess is that the Critic will give a similar-ish review on this pile of crap to when he reviewed the first Pokemon Movie. Not only that, I can imagine him giving the same reaction to the movie that I gave when I watched it; burying his heads in his hands in despair. And who would blame him? Especially to the farting version of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture (shudders).

Some James Bond movies

With that being said, I reckon he should do something similar with those movies to the way he reviewed the Disney movies for Disneycember, from Dr. No to Spectre. He has referenced James Bond a few times through previous reviews, though all I know at the moment is that he admired Pierce Bronson’s portrayal of Bond, but wasn’t keen on Daniel Craig, despite the quality of the films he was in.

So those were my eleven film review suggestions for the Nostalgia Critic. So of you would agree, some of you would not. Doug, if you’re reading this post, keeping in mind these are just requests. But as a long time fan, I truly love your show and I think you should keep them reviews coming!

Thank you for reading this post.

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The Vicar Of Dibley

In response to Emma Chambers’ passing from earlier this year, I thought it’d make sense that I write this review on the BBC sitcom in which she starred as Alice Tinker/Horton, that is; The Vicar Of Dibley.

The Vicar Of Dibley is set in a fictional village somewhere in the district of Oxfordshire. It centers on Geraldine Granger, played by Dawn French, a female dark-haired busty lefty vicar, who is hired to replace Reverend Pottle who dies straight after a sermon in the pilot episode. Geraldine lives with Alice, the lodger who represents a classic example of a ‘bimbo’. The other major characters include; David Horton – the conservative chairman of the Parrish council; Hugo Horton (James Fleet) – his son, and later, Alice’s husband; Jim Trott (Trevor Peacock) – a senior member with a stammer; Frank Pickle – an elderly secretary; Owen Newitt (Roger Lloyd Pack) – a junior-ish member of the council; and Letitia Cropley (Liz Smith) – a former church organist, who got killed off sometime after Season 1.

The Vicar Of Dibley is a comedy show which goes in the ‘okay’ section. Although I find that it does hold up, I don’t think it’s the strongest sitcom, and I of course am not a religious person. But then, I don’t think you have to be religious to understand The Vicar Of Dibley.

Let’s start with the themes. One recurring theme in The Vicar Of Dibley is Geraldine’s left-wing political views. Her’s conflict with the council’s, led by David, views. During the pilot, David questions having a female, who’s also quite chunky, take over as the pastor, considering that their previous one was male. Geraldine, of course, proves how capable women are in leadership and public speaking. She also teaches David a lesson after he is rude to Alice during a live recording of a quiz show, which also relates to another recurring theme involving her and David’s rivalry. Another example is during the episode Summer when Geraldine chains herself to a church and gets her colleagues to do the same in protest after hearing that the water company will destroy the village. Perhaps the most prominent example is during the finale of 2005’s special, Happy New Year, where Geraldine shows the others a short video produced as part of a Make Poverty History campaign. That is a very strong scene which I shall explore in more depth later on.

Being that The Vicar Of Dibley is about a vicar, as is obviously stated in the title, religious themes and traditions are also covered. There were a hell load of Christmas Specials that were broadcast, which is the same with a lot of other British sitcoms. But many of them still relate to the meaning of Christmas. Winter, which I personally regard as one of the series’ best episodes, had the main cast performing their own version of the nativity play, in a rather pantomimic fashion. Remember when David played Herod and after stating his ‘hatred to children’, he tossed some candy to the kids in the audience? Or the location which was a real-life farm? This is an incredibly memorable sequence in comedy history, considering that Alice is due to give birth, so it was pretty handy that she had to play Mary, wasn’t it? There was also an Easter special in which the council members each give up something for Lent, i.e. Owen must avoid swearing, oh and Geraldine dresses up as the Easter Bunny. Also covered are sermons and of course weddings.

My next topic for this review is the cast of characters. Geraldine Granger is an incredibly strong character. I admire her for her moral values and I feel she’s a great role model for the village’s residents and viewers, though I do question her sense of humour. As a kid, my favourite character was Jim Trott, the one who I always thought sounded like Krusty The Clown. His habit of repeating the words ‘no’ and ‘yes’ in-between sentences always cracked a smile. David Horton is fine, though he could’ve been more interesting as a truly villainous character like Mr. Burns. His son Hugo, I thought was a bit of a cardboard cut-out and represented the classic dumb guy which sells him short. The Three Stooges are dumb too, but they always had a lot of personality. My parents remember the character of Letitia Cropley, but unfortunately I don’t. The fact that she only appeared in Season 1 is part of the reason. As for Owen Newitt and Frank Pickle, I don’t remember them as well as most of the others.

And yes, let’s go straight onto Alice Tinker (later Horton). I was going to leave her till last since it is Emma Chambers’ character. As I mentioned above, she’s Geraldine’s verger, seemingly like the Odd Couple in a way, since Geraldine is the ‘brains’ in the household, whereas Alice is, as I described her, a bimbo. Some viewers/critics have described her as ‘gormless’, ‘clueless’ and ‘a dim-wit’ and who can blame them? She may be cute and naive, but as Geraldine at one time quotes, she simply has the ‘intellectual capacity and charisma of a cactus’. In other words, she does appear too much on the pastiche of the classic dumb character. She’s certainly very much a lady-child, if that is such a word. She believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and even the tooth fairy and get this; during her wedding, her bridesmaids are dressed as a couple of characters from Teletubbies. It’s like they’re just creating a British Female version of Ralph Wiggum. Speaking of which, if I was to compare this show to The Simpsons, I’d say that the latter handled many of their dumber characters really well and put a lot of thought into them.

And finally, let’s bring on the humour. I sometimes wonder whether The Vicar Of Dibley works as a comedy or if it’d be better off as a drama. Each episode ends with Geraldine telling Alice a joke at candlelight, each one which Alice fails to understand, even if they’re the simplest ones. Either that or they have a different sense of humour. Those work. I especially loved the interrupting animal/knock-knock joke from the episode, The Christmas Lunch Incident, where Alice attempts to tell the interrupting rabbit joke, only to forget what sound a rabbit makes.

But aside from that and Jim’s stammering, which is always fun, the humour in The Vicar Of Dibley seems kind of forced. As I was saying about Geraldine and her humorous moments, there are occasions where she laughs hysterically or when she would just literally belt something out. This is almost too similar to Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous – she just cusses in-between her sentences and just raises her voice as if the viewers didn’t get the message and I’m sorry. That really takes us out of the comedy spirit. It’s almost like they rely too much on the humour, unlike other comedy shows such as One Foot In The Grave and of course The Simpsons.

But I will say this. There were occasional dramatic moments in The Vicar Of Dibley. And by far my favourite sequence in the whole sitcom is during the ending of Happy New Year when Geraldine shows the council members a video made for the Make Poverty History charity. The video plays for a couple of minutes showing a couple of orphan kids mourning over the loss of their parents. Afterwards there is a bit of silence expect for a few words from Geraldine apologising for the serious content, David solemnly expressing his understanding of the situation and Jim agreeing. Then the episode ends without the credits and with a mid-shot of each character staring pensively at the screen one-by-one. That sequence is brilliant. Kind of like the ending of BlackAdder Goes Fourth, except that there was more action in it, but what do you expect from a war-related show?

As I say, The Vicar Of Dibley is okay, just not in my personal Top 10 list of comedy shows or shows in general. I think Richard Curtis did make a good effort writing the hymns, I mean scripts, for this one. I enjoyed it better as a kid. It does still get some laughs, even if some of the humour is cliched and/or forced. But what really stands out are the liberal values and Geraldine’s campaigning efforts. I’m glad I saw it and I’m sure you will too. What you see is what you get. But you shalt easily get into the spirit.

Before I say amen to this review, one interesting fact to point out; apparently Dawn French hoped to make a return to the show, this time as the ‘Bishop of Dibley’. However I and probably quite a lot of people doubt that it may happen, considering that some of the original cast members are resting in heaven – Roger Lloyd Pack, Liz Smith, and now Emma Chambers.

Emma Chambers RIP 1964 – 2018