July 31, 2012
serving time in internet jail
(We see a shot of the Holiday Inn and the subtitle ConBravo while we hear an applauding crowd before cutting to the Critic's hotel room)
Person in crowd (vo by Doug Walker): We love you, Angry Video Game Nerd !
NC: Ha ha ha. Well, that was fun, but I gotta say it's nice to get some rest and relaxa--
(We suddenly see Todd in the Shadows in the Critic's room)
NC: Ah! A masked intruder!
NC: Take whatever you want! Just please don't rape me!
NC: (starts walking toward Todd) OK. If that's the way it has to be. If you have to do what you have to do, I understand, I mean it is that way... (Swings at Todd) Ha ha! (Todd moves over and Critic falls to the ground and continues to cower)
Todd: Critic. It's-It's me, Todd.
NC: Oh, yeah, that's right. The mask thing. What are you doing here?
Todd: Remember? We're here to shoot a crossover. I scheduled it with your secretary, like a week ago.
(NC thinks for a minute as a letter appears to next to him)
Chester Bum (vo): Dear Nostalg-ima Critic. Do not forget about your appointment with Batman.
NC: Oh, yeah, yeah. (Gets up) It's just, you know, my schedule's been so crazy. I barely have time for crossovers anymore.
PawDugan: (emerges from the Critic's bathroom) Hey, don't forget, man. We're doing Pink Floyd's The Wall, five minutes.
NC: God. I'm doubting the security in this hotel. (NC and Todd both sit down on a couch) It's just that, you know, you review music, and, you know, music's just not really my thing.
Todd: Well, I review movies, too, if they're terrible and star a famous pop singer. And I have just the movie for us: Michael Jackson's magnum opus Moonwalker.
NC: Did it.
Todd: Cool As Ice.
NC: Did it.
NC: You did it.
Todd: Seriously? Man, I got to start watching my own stuff.
NC: Door's over there, Hamburglar.
Todd: No, wait. Wiz.
NC: You're a sick fuck with issues.
Todd: No, no. The movie The Wiz.
(The movie logo, clips and images appear as Todd narrates)
Todd (vo): In 1973, Broadway rolled out the smash hit musical The Wiz--a new musical version of The Wizard of Oz--and the twist, in this case, was that the soundtrack was funkier and the cast was all black. It was a smash hit. Black audiences loved it. White audiences loved it. Everyone loved it. Five years later, Motown Records got a hold of film rights and cast the two biggest singers on its roster: the legendary Diana Ross and the quickly-becoming legendary Michael Jackson. Not only that, they loaded it up with all the greatest black performers they could find: Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, that guy from The Match Game (Nipsey Russell), and that goes for the talent behind the camera, too. After all, who better to bring black America to the whimsical fantasy-scape of Oz then the director of angry social dramas, Sidney Lumet, and a screenplay from the guy who brought us the Bat Credit Card (Joel Schumacher)?
NC (vo): Oh God, Schumacher? Seriously?
NC: What, does he put bat nipples on the Tin Man?
Todd: Come on, it's a great play. It's a great, iconic story. Who could screw that up?
NC: Schumacher can find a way. Everything he touches turns to dick. (Addresses the camera) And that's not a reference to his homosexuality. I think he's just a terrible storyteller.
Todd: Well, come on. Let's watch the movie. (Singing) We're off to annoy the critic. Nostalgia Critic and... Let's watch the movie.
NC: (vo) So we open in...Harlem?
Todd: (vo) Wow, Toto, we really aren't in Kansas anymore. OK, apparently we see Dorothy's family eating dinner at a party and singing a song, but Dorothy instead sings a song about how she's scared and doesn't know why.
Dorothy: (sings) What am I afraid of? Don't know what I'm made of.
NC: (vo) OK, wait. Her first song is about being scared? This isn't exactly "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," is it?
Dorothy: (sings) Something tells me that it's more than I can deal with.
NC: (vo) In fact, it's exactly the opposite.
Clips of Disney's Beauty and the Beast start to play
NC: (vo) That's like if they remade Beauty and the Beast and instead of "Be Our Guest," they sung (as Lumiere) "Get the Fuck Out." (Castle door closes)
Todd: (vo) Also, she's a kindergarten teacher, but Auntie Em thinks she should teach high schoolers to make more money.
Aunt Em: Now, you take that new job and find a place for you and Toto. It's time for you to make a home of your own.
NC: Remember, there's no place like home. Unless you're 24 and you have a job, in which case, move out, you fucking free-loader!
Aunt Em: And whatever your fears are, well, they'll be defeated just by facin' up to 'em.
Todd: OK, I'm confused, 'cause I've seen The Wiz. My high school did a production of The Wiz. This is not The Wiz. I don't know what the hell this is.
Todd: (vo) It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure Dorothy was still a little girl and she definitely lived on a farm in Kansas, not New York. Why change that? Like, what the hell's the difference? To make it appeal to black people?
Todd: You know, there are black farmers, Schumacher, right?
NC: (vo) Well, here's something they didn't change: Toto is still the world's most suicidal dog forcing Dorothy to chase after him, so of course she then gets swept away by a...tornado...in New York...during a raging snowstorm.
Todd: You know, blizzard tornadoes. Happens all the time in New York, along with the earthquake volcanoes.
NC: (vo) Well, you know the drill: she's being swept away to the wonderful world of Oz. (Dorothy is transported to an ominous looking playground) Wait a minute, this is Oz? Munchkin Land is a lousy concrete playground?
Todd: (vo) Yeah, Oz looks kinda crappy. I mean, go back and look at the original. (The 1939 film plays) She lands in Oz, the world turns colorful, and there's this amazing new place. (Back to The Wiz) But this place looks like Gotham City in Joel Schumacher's Batman movies. Hey, maybe that's where he got the artistic directions for those buildings.
NC: (vo) What did we agree on?
Todd: (vo) No complimenting Joel Schumacher while you're still alive. And here we have this movie's version of the Munchkins, apparently played by the cast of What's Happening!! They were turned into graffiti but were saved when Dorothy recklessly manslaughtered the evil witch that cursed them. So, if you know the original, the plot of this one shouldn't be a surprise: they tell her that she should find the yellow brick road and find the Wiz. Not the Wizard. Just the Wiz.
Miss One: So I figured the odds are only the Wiz can decipher how to get you back to which ever place it is you came from.
Dorothy: The Wiz? What's a wiz?
NC: Well, I don't want to get too dirty but there's a reason the yellow brick road is yellow.
Cut to The Ren and Stimpy Show.
Announcer: (sings) Don't whiz on the Electric Fence!
NC: (vo) They sing a song about how great the Wiz is, but, OK, is it just me or does this song sound like it belongs on Sesame Street?
Munckins: (singing) He's the Wiz.
Miss One: (singing) He's the one, he's the only one who can give your wish right to ya.
Munckins: (singing) He's the Wizard.
Miss One: (singing) He can send you back through time by runnin' magic through ya.
NC and Todd: (singing) Because the Wiz is a person in your neighborhood. In your neighborhood. In your neighborhood.
Miss One: (singing) I'm sure he will understand.
All: (singing) He's the Wiz...
NC: (vo) You know, there's an urban legend that if you look closely in the background, you can actually see Motown's film division committing suicide.
Miss One: Follow the yellow brick road.
Dorothy: The yellow brick road?
Munchkins: Yeah! The yellow brick road!
NC: (vo) OK, so she knows what to do and now it's time to get the story going...
Dorothy: (singing) I'm acting just like a baby.
NC: (vo) Or stay in the exact same spot and sing some more.
Dorothy: (singing) I'm not sure that I'm aware if I'm up or down.
NC: (vo) Not in a hurry to get home, huh? Just going to see the Wiz when you're up and ready for it.
NC: Uh, again, not a slam to his homosexuality.
Dorothy: (singing) I'm so amazed at the things that I see here. Don't want to be afraid. I just don't want to be afraid. I just don't want to be here.
Todd: (vo) OK. I am really not feeling Diana Ross' Dorothy here. How did they take one of the most glamorous and beautiful women of the '70s and make her look that busted? I guess it doesn't help that she's always whimpering and simpering like that. I mean, look at that. It'd be one thing if she were a little girl like she was supposed to be, but she's not. She is clearly a woman in her mid-30s. "I want to go home. I want to go home." My God, you're a grown-ass human being. Man the fuck up!
NC: Or woman the fuck up.
Todd: Grow some balls!
NC: Or parade your vagina.
Todd: Put some hair on your chest!
NC: Or...shave your tits.
Todd: (vo) Also, she can't catch a cab. Social commentary, everyone. Ha ha ha.
We then cut to what looks like a warehouse in a junkyard.
NC: (vo) Behold! The magical dream-like fantasy world of Oz!
Todd: (vo) I'm not sure how respectful it is to black audiences to make their version of Oz look like complete shit.
NC: (vo) It's almost as if Schumacher doesn't do adaptations well.
Todd: (vo) So Dorothy comes across a gang of crows. They're apparently taking a break from heckling Dumbo so that they can bother the Scarecrow, played by Michael Jackson, who at this point was still black enough to be in this movie.
Scarecrow: ...just to take a walk in my garden. Wouldn't that be terrific, fellas?
Crows: WALK? You can't walk. Why, you're just a straw paper dummy.
Todd: (vo) His deal is that the crows have destroyed his self-esteem by constantly telling him he's dumb and also that someday he'll look like this. (a picture of white Michael appears)
Scarecrow: Cicero. Why he says.
Crows: Cicero-row-row your boat!
Scarecrow: "More men ennobled by study than by nature."
Todd: (vo) In this movie, the scarecrow is also constantly pulling out quotes from his body.
NC: (vo) I don't want to see Michael Jackson pull out ANYTHING from his body.
Music sequence: "You Can't Win"
Crows: You got to look ready to be gained. Illucidate, reitterate, and syncopate.
Todd: Oh, hell yeah! Man, I can't wait to see what kind of dance moves Michael busts out on this one. Is he gonna do like the Moonwalk or the Thriller dance?
Scarecrow: (singing while stuck on his pole) People keep sayin' things are gonna change/ But they look just like they're staying the same.
Todd: (vo) Or he could bounce around on that pole. That's a great idea. Take one of the most exciting dancers of our generation and tie him to a pole.
NC: (vo) Here's my question: if this Oz is supposed to be a schizo version of New York, why is there a corn field?
Todd: (vo) You know. The 59th Street corn field, right next to the bridge.
NC: (vo) Oh, right.
Dorothy: Shoo! Shoo! Shoo! Shoo!
Todd (vo): Dorothy chases off the crows and promises him the Wiz can get him a brain so they go off to find him.
They approach two cabs that come out of nowhere, but they leave.
Dorothy: Hey, wait! Wait!
Todd: OK. Why exactly can't they catch a cab? Because they're black? But everyone's black in- Whatever.
Music sequence: "Ease on Down the Road"
Scarecrow: Woo! Come on, Dorothy! Come on! Woo!
Todd: And that will lead us to the play's best known, best loved, all-around best song Ease on Down the Road. God, I can't wait to see how they do this number.
Dorothy and Scarecrow: (singing; the musical sequence is shot from far away, so that only Dorothy and the Scarecrow's backs are seen) Ease on down, ease on down the road/Don't you carry nothing that might be a load/ Come on, ease on down/Ease on down, down the road.
NC: (vo) Well, you know the scene in the original movie with Dorothy and her friends skipping down the yellow brick road is just so iconic and amazing, but I've got this great idea about how to improve it. Uh. Why don't we film this scene 300 feet away and point the camera at their FUCKING BACKS?! I don't need to see their FACES! JUST THEIR BACKS! That's right. No camera motion. Just hold it completely still.
Todd: In fact, what are we doing so close to this camera? Why don't we just move to that far corner? (Cut to them in front of their hotel door facing away from the camera) Now this is how you do a review.
NC: (vo) You know what, actually? Let's see if we can get it even further away. (Screen moves away) Further. (Screen moves away again) Further.
Daffy Duck: A close-up, you jerk. A close up!
Dorothy and Scarecrow: (singing) Ease on down, ease on down/Down the road.
Todd: (vo) They then run across the Tin Man, who in this world is a piece of Coney Island animatronics. He's sad because he's being sat on by his giant, fat metal wife and also because he has no heart, which he expresses in song.
Tin Man: (singing without much melody) What would I do if I could suddenly feel/ And to know once again that what I feel is real?
NC: (vo) Um, maybe instead of a heart, you should ask the Wiz for a singing voice.
Tin Man: What would I do if I could reach inside of me/ And to know how it feels to say I like what I see?
Todd: (vo) Motown, the legendary R&B record label, who had access to some of the greatest black musical talent that's ever existed casted this role with Nipsey Russell. The fuck?!
Tin Man: Once the fastest metal mouth on the midway! Frozen.
Charlie: (from Suburban Commando) Today!
Tin Man: A seat cushion for Teenie! Teenie! Teenie!
He repeats this several times with oil leaking out of his eyes. NC and Todd are horrified.
Chef: (from Star Wars Holiday Special) Stir whip. Stir whip. Whip! Whip! Stir! Wah!
NC: No, no! We're not doing that!
Todd: No, no, no, no, no, no.
Tin Man: (singing) Slide some oil to me.
NC: (vo) What? He gets another song? Yeah. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, gets one solo performance, but Nipsey Russell gets two in a row.
Dr. Jones Sr.: (from The Last Crusade) This is intolerable!
Todd: (vo) So then they travel to out front the Oz New York Library where...
The lion statue busts open to reveal the Cowardly Lion played by Ted Ross.
Lion: (singing) Say what you wanna, but I'm here to stay.
NC: (vo) Oh, Christ, another song already? Well, then again, I guess it has been under a minute.
Lion: (singing) Or I just might knock you down! (Snarl) I'm a mean ol' lion!
Todd: (vo) So ... is the Cowardly Lion supposed to be like ... a pimp? He's got the pimp boots and the fur coat?
NC: (vo) I really don't think that's what they're going with, Todd. Now shut up before you get us in trouble.
(The Cowardly Lion starts yelling after Toto bites him)
Todd: (vo) OK, even quivering-lower-lipped Dorothy figures out that the Lion's a wuss, so they add the lion to the group and they ease on down the road all the way down into the subway.
NC: (vo) But unfortunately, a creepy peddler decides to attack them.
The peddler's spring up dolls come to life and grow giant as our heroes (and reviewers) look with horror. They then run away.
NC: Oh my god! This is as scary as... an actual New York subway!
Todd (high voice): Mother!
The subway's pillars then come to life and surrond Dorothy.
NC: (vo) You know, I can't tell if this scene is really creative or especially lazy. I mean, it's kinda neat that parts of the subway come to life, but then again, it's just PARTS of the SUBWAY coming to life! You just put teeth on garbage cans. What's next? A drawer that eats people?
Cut to the Critic being "eaten" by his hotel drawer. (*If you look in the background, you can also see Pollo from Atop the Fourth Wall)
NC: Drawer! Drawer! Oh my God! A drawer! Drawer, drawer, drawer, drawer, drawer!
NC: (vo) OK, they escape the pointless obstacle, but unfortunately, this leads them to the BAD part of Oz. Well, a worse part of Oz, that is.
We see what looks like a night club populated by pink colored, scantily-clad women.
Todd: Ho, I'll get you my pretty.
NC: No place like hoes.
Todd: Hookers and hotties and babes.
NC and Todd: Oh my!
(Dorothy and the Lion are being sprinkled by some sort of sleeping glitter)
Scarecrow: Get away! Dorothy! Lion!
Todd: (vo) I guess the Donna Summer bad girls here are supposed to be the poppy fields because they make Dorothy and the Lion fall asleep, but then the other two rush in to save them.
Tin Man: Please don't be dead. Oh, please don't be dead. All is lost.
Todd: And now, a reprise of The Wiz's show-stopping, signature musical number: Teenie Teenie Teenie.
He repeats this as the Tin Man crys in sync.
NC: You know, it's not any better when you do it, Todd. In fact, I might even say that's a little annoying. SHUT UUUU-- (cut to commercial, then cuts back to the review) --UUUUP!!
NC: (vo) The Lion feels so bad that he totally botched that one, so Dorothy makes him feel better with--yeah, big shock, you're not gonna believe it--ANOTHER song.
Dorothy and Lion: (singing) And tryin' and tryin'/I'm a lion in my own way.
Lion: I'm a lion.
Scarecrow: A lion.
Tin Man: A lion.
Dorothy: A lion.
Todd: Hey, wasn't there supposed to be a Wicked Witch somewhere?
NC: (vo) Apparently not because after that, it's smooth sailing for Dorothy and the crew. They get to the Emerald City and they get to meet the Wiz.
We see the Emerald City as a green colored disco hall with everybody dancing.
NC: (vo) OK, I know The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic, but you know what would make it more timeless and more classic? Shitty disco music.
Todd: (vo) OK, this song was not in the play. A bunch of these songs were not in the play. There are a lot more songs missing from the play. In fact, the movie only barely resembles the play. Why would they make a movie out of the play at all if they didn't like or even understand the play?
The Wiz (Richard Pryor): (vo) I thought it over and green is dead. Until I change my mind, the color is red.
NC: (vo) I don't even know what this dance number is about. They sing about the trendy color of the moment, then the Wiz changes the color, then they sing about that. I feel like this is a social commentary about something. I just have no idea what the fuck it is!
Todd: And while were ranting, what's with all the wide shots in this movie?
Todd: (vo) Why am I constantly looking at scenes with NOTHING fucking happening? Wide shots are supposed to have a point, damn it. Here, it's like the camera man was too lazy to walk the camera any closer.
NC: (vo) I guess they're there to show off the sets which are pretty amazing. By amazing, I mean amazingly big, but unfortunately, they're amazingly fake looking, too. They may as well just filmed this in a McDonald's play land.
Todd: (vo) Yeah, like go back and look at Munchkin Land. What the hell's going on back there? They're supposed to be in a black hovel? What's with the Emerald City? Do these people live anywere? They just stand here on this empty ass dance floor all day.
Dr. Jones, Sr: (from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) This is intolerable!
NC: (vo) Well, in one of the scenes from the source material that they managed NOT to screw up, they meet the Wiz, who tells them that if they want favors from him, they have to go kill the Wicked Witch, who the movie has finally remembered to put in.
The Wiz: The great Oz has spoken!
Dorothy and friends leave as we zoom in on the Wizard head and the Wiz pokes his head out.
Todd: (vo) Uh, spoilers movie. Jeez.
Cut to the Wicked Witch's sweat shop headquarters.
NC: (vo) Wow, she's hideous and she's so evil in this version, she runs a sweat shop in a horrible factory.
Witch: (sings) When I wake up in the afternoon, which it pleases me to do/You can be my best of friends as opposed to payin' dues/But don't nobody bring me no bad news.
NC and Todd are scared at first, but then actually start dancing to the song.
NC: Actually, this Wicked Witch seems like a lot of fun. Even her sweat shop really seems into it.
Todd: Yeah, I kinda want her to win.
Witch: (sings) So don't nobody bring me no bad news.
Todd: (vo) So she finds out about Dorothy and sends out her flying monkeys. The flying monkeys, for the record, is the name of a motorcycle gang in this movie. Why? Because this movie has committed to taking every single fantastical element of Oz and flushing it straight down the crapper.
(The Flying Monkeys chase down our heroes)
NC: (vo) The monkey bikers capture the four of them and bring them into the factory where, because this is a kids movie, the witch starts straight up torturing them.
(The Scarecrow is being sawed in half, Toto is being threatened to be grilled, and the Lion is being strung up by his tail)
Lion: Don't give up the shoes, Dorothy!
Todd: Well, that's gruesome.
NC: Yeah. I'm actually wondering how they're gonna get out of this.
Dorothy pulls a fire alarm setting off the sprinklers.
Witch: Don't touch that! No! It makes me melt! No, no! No!
She then melts, or sinks rather, into her throne.
NC: She pulls the fire alarm? THAT'S the solution?
NC: (vo) Yeah. The original Wicked Witch also got hit by water in her own castle, but it was a glass or a bucket. It was a small amount. It's not a giant ass sprinkler system installed frickin' everywhere. One of her own slaves could have taken her out by absent-mindedly tossing a cigarette in the garbage or something. Christ, in this highly funded musical, the way to fix the situation is the same way the ENERGIZER BUNNY took her out!
Cut to the Energizer commerical, where a sprinkler is taking out the Wicked Witch.
Wicked Witch: Aaahhhh! I'm melting! Melting!
Announcer: Still going.
Todd: (vo) And Dorothy was RIGHT THERE! The Wicked Witch intentionally plopped her right on that spot with the fire alarm in plain view of everyone. And get this: her throne is a giant toilet. God, and I thought the aliens from Signs were stupid!
Cut to a clip from the Critic's Signs review. Everyone in the sweat shop cheers and sings as NC and Todd dance along.
Todd: You know, I'm actually starting to feel this movie. Like everyone's happy. Everyone's dancing. There's a lot of energy. Diana Ross has finally lost that whivle whivle whivle look on her face. You know, I'm starting to get into this finally.
Then everyone starts ... shedding their clothes off? And they dance in their underwear.
NC: (horrified) What the hell's going on?
Todd: (kid voice) I need an adult.
NC: (vo) They unzip their own skin and dance around in diapers? Why? Why am I looking at a giant mass of black people in loincloths?
Todd: (vo) OK, I can only assume Dorothy and everyone leaves before the orgy commences in full and they sneak the back way into the Wizard's room where they find out the awful truth: the Wiz is just a stand-up comedian with a well publicized cocaine problem (Richard Pryor).
The Wiz: Sorry, I'm sorry! Sorry! Sorry! I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Everything they say about me is true. I'm a phony.
NC: (imitating Pryor) And then Superman showed up and he was like...
Clip of Superman 3.
Gus Gorman: And he landed right in the middle of this plane.
NC: (vo) So then Dorothy realizes that they had what they needed all along and she sings about believing in yourself and then Glinda the Good Witch finally shows up. Just right the fuck out of nowhere. And then SHE sings a song about believing in yourself. God, movie, quit dragging it out!
Glinda: (singing) Believe you can float on air/Yes, click your heels three times.
Todd: (vo) Uh, did she pin babies to the wall?
NC: (vo) Yep. Those are definitely babies. Believe in yourself. Pin babies to the wall. Obviously.
Dorothy: I don't know what's in you. You'll have to find that out for yourself. You'll never find it in the safety of this room. There's a whole world out there, and you'll begin by letting people see who you really are.
NC: (as Dorothy) Wait, actually now that I think about it, when I ventured out into the world, it was full of killer subways and garbage. You know what? Just stay in here and don't ever leave. It's safe. You got air conditioning. You've got it good.
Dorothy: I'm ready now.
Todd: (vo) And we move on, finally, to the last musical number, which is amazingly the most incompetently staged of them all. It's just Diana Ross staring directly into your soul with nothing but inky blackness behind her background.
Dorothy: (vo) Wind that makes the tall trees bend into leaning/Suddenly the snowflakes that fall have a meaning.
NC: God. This is worse than the Diane Carol bit from the Star Wars Holiday Special. I just hope Chewbacca's dad isn't watching and jerking off. You know, how is it The Wiz brought out two Star Wars Holiday Special references in this?
Dorothy clicks her heels together and ends up back home.
Todd: (Dorothy) Oh, Auntie Em. I had the most awful dream. And you weren't there. And you weren't there. None of you were there. Oh, I'm so glad to be home.
NC: (Aunt Em) Are you still here? Why haven't you moved out yet?
Todd: So that was The Wiz. It sucked.
NC: It sucked.
Todd: It sucked.
Todd: (vo) This movie was a huge flop at the time and I can see why. I know there's a lot of people who have fond memories of this movie, but honestly, I thought it was completely awful from beginning to end. It made a bunch of bullshit changes to the original story and every single one of them is for the worse. Dorothy is awful, the direction is awful, and the story is bogged down by a bunch of dragging, slow musical numbers.
NC: (vo) I did like some of the songs, I guess, but for the most part, it just blew. It's lame. It's dated. It's butt-ugly. And it makes no goddamn sense. It fails to understand The Wizard of Oz so hard that it doesn't even get the moral right.
Todd: (extending his hand) Well, thanks for doing the review.
NC: (shakes Todd's hand) Absolutely. Any time. Get out.
Todd: OK. (He leaves)
NC: Uh, maybe now I can get some rest and relax-frickin-ation.
NC punches him and the screen goes black.
End Credits, followed by an outtake.
Doug: Good. (Todd is still dancing) Stop it.
Tin Man: Teenie, Teenie, Teenie!