Monday, December 31, 2007

Unreleased Reviews Circa 2003

(This was originally intended to be the final Review the World article when I temp. shut the site down briefly going into 2008. Still, I love the piece, as it gave me a vehicle to finally immortalize a bunch of the junk we found that originally inspired this site. Enjoy!)

Seeing as how the site will be closing soon, I’d been giving some thought as to what I’d like to post as the final article to ever be featured on Review the World.  Recognize the image above?  I didn’t think so.  It’s the original logo, circa fall of ‘03 that appeared on the original Review the World.  Below are many reviews, none of which ever saw the light of day, neither on this incarnation of RtW nor the original.  A large majority of these shots were taken on the same night, a night I’ll likely never forget.  It took place when site co-creator Nick and I were so exuberant and excited about the idea of the site.  We rushed out to dollar stores and dilapidated groceries, bought a bunch of junk, and in one ridiculous night, tried it all out in what we planned to be material for our first batch of reviews.  No reviews were ever written for these items, though; however, I’ve taken the liberty to now do so, and even added the standard grading method of RTW.  But, these grades won’t represent quality as per the norm, but instead, a biased nostalgic grade, determined on how much fun we had with the item reviewed.


If I had to pinpoint one material item that most accurately describes the charm of this site, I’d easily pick Fizzurps.  We loved these awful things, and wanted to have them linked to our site and us.  We found them in a dollar store, and originally bought them under the impression they might not be half-bad.

Their gimmick was, you’d insert this little candy disk into a “crazy straw,” allowing you to magically turn tap water into soda pop.  The results were disastrous.

Nick tried the blue first, at this point, still under the impression that these could possibly be an amazing find.  Immediately after, as evidenced by the picture on the right, he was ashamed.

I went next, trying the green, and as evidenced by the picture, quickly spit it back up into the glass whence it came.

We were crushed, but not defeated, and opted to team together to tackle the red variety.

I started to lose my mind while Nick laughed uncontrollably at how awful they were.

Finally, in a fit of creativity and sheer insanity, we mixed all three hideous flavors together to create a crappy concoction.  Yes, we invented a totally new flavor, black.  To drink it, we had to enter a different mindset altogether, thus, you see Nick adorning a bandana for strength.

While I opted to go shirtless, and be helped by my brother Dennis in case I were to lose consciousness. 

Overall Grade: A+

X-Men Bite Size Crisps: Ranch Flavor

I don’t know whose idea it was to market ranch-flavored crisps snacks with the image of Wolverine on the box, but I’d like to personally call them “motherfucker” and say, “I hate you.”  I guess I can’t speak for everyone, though.  I imagine somewhere out there, sitting on a couch playing Pole Position, is a guy who loves comics so much he’ll force these pungent pieces of shit down without complaint.  I’m not that guy, though, as after one of these I was ready to rinse my mouth out, call Professor X, and tell him of this atrocity. 

Overall Grade: B+

Finger Football toy

Nick was always a big spots fan, and for a measly buck, snagged up this cheaply made toy capitalizing on the middle school phenomenon of the ‘90’s, finger football.

On the left, we posed all of the items together to showcase what was offered, and on the right, we see the item tested out in-action.  I can’t speak for the overall quality of it, but thought the general idea was cool enough to warrant some consideration. 

Overall Grade: B

Mr. Brown Iced Cappuccino Coffee

This was purchased at CAM Asian Supermarket in Evendale, OH.  I think it caught our eye due to having more caffeine than multiples of any other drink combined.  It was my brother’s purchase, so he got first dibs.  We were expecting something more offensive, but found it to be pretty palatable.  Those with a good eye will notice the character hanging out of my shirt from my old Action Wrestlers article. 

Overall Grade: B

Rally's combo meal

This photo was taken at a different time.  I guess I was going to do a review on Rally’s.  I don’t know which combo meal this was specifically, but recognize their patented fries, a Rallyburger, and a soft drink that’s likely Coca-Cola.  Our aspirations of reviewing everything definitely included fast food. 

Overall Grade: B

Shasta Shortz: Bubble Gum

Another thing we really fell in love with was Shasta Shortz.  They were a short-lived lineup of around six or so flavors of pop.  The cans were tiny, and all featured different artwork depicting the drink’s name and flavor, generally on backgrounds like denim or camouflage to follow the “shorts” motif.  This was Bubble Gum, which wasn’t too special; we championed the uniquely titled Red Grape Stain as our favorite.  I’d suggest trying to find some of these as collectibles. 

Overall Grade: A

Asian Pokémon gummies

I never really got into the popular Pokémon games or cartoon, although, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it.  I did have a strange infatuation with Snorlax and Ivysaur.  We also purchased these at the Asian grocery.  I can’t remember the taste or texture well, but remember thinking they were a really cool find. 

Overall Grade: B+

Sylvester Cherry gummy

You would have no idea this was cherry-flavored had the package not pointed it out.  I never tasted it, but I’ll never forget watching Nick’s experience.  His first, and only, bite was extremely hard, as he pulled on this thing and it stretched comically until finally snapping.  It was ancient.

I freaking love this picture.  The putrid look on Nick’s face as he tries to swallow this edible oddity is one I’ll never forget. 

Overall Grade: A-

Wrestling Watch-It: Diamond Dallas Page

This was a ridiculous key chain/watch combination.  To make matters worse, they associated it with professional wrestling, which was on an upward swing in popularity in the late-'90s, when the item was apparently produced.

They advertised it as being able to clip “to most everything.”  We decided to put that to the test.  So, Nick attached it to a spoon while eating soup, a cellular phone when calling his pimp, and a pencil while sharpening it.

This thing was atrociously lame, and it didn’t help matters we picked out the Diamond Dallas Page version, as he’s also a giant tool with leathery skin and bad catchphrases. 

Overall Grade: B+

Doritos: Spicier Nacho!

I don’t know if I bought these because I didn’t think they’d be around for long, or if it was just another attempt in our immerse reviewing the entire world concept.  I never did get around to writing about them, but for the record, I’d recommend them for late-night snacking. 

Overall Grade: C+

Panda Ice Cooler

Yet another Asian grocery store find, Nick tried this kid’s drink of his own consent.  The image above of a panda holding a cornucopia of fruits is just plain silly.  They also point out “natural flavor” although I don’t know too many things that naturally produce a translucent blue-hued sticky liquid. 

We tried to recreate the shot on the left from the package with moderately good results.  If only Nick’s hair were blonde and he’d been wearing a stupid green shirt.

After one drink, Nick looked at this item in disbelief, and then poured it down the drain.

Overall Grade: B

Lollipop Paint Shop Doubles

One of the things I loved about doing this site, from back then during the inaugural hunt, up until the very end, was going to stores and looking at the ridiculous candy, especially ones with gimmicks.  The flavor was strawberry cheesecake and I recall it being surprisingly awesome.  Still, it’s not even so much the particular item to me, but more just the idea of these eye-catching candies that’ll leave a lasting impression on me.

Overall Grade: A- 

Tubz Rootbeer

This was from I believe Save-A-Lot groceries, a really cheap alternative to the larger conglomerates.  Something I wish I would have done more on the site was review tons of cheap sodas, especially the obvious knock-offs of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew (we tried “Mountain Holler” on the Review the World TV pilot).  Nick and I are both big root beer fans per general, so this was right up our alley.

Fond memories and remembrances of old days sweep over me when I look at these images.  This, in a nutshell, was what the site was supposed to be all about.  Two regular guys, no frills, no fancy HTML, were reviewing everything (with a special nod to the obscure).

I quote the song Malt Liquor Tastes Better When You've Got Problems by Less Than Jake when I say, "So I say 'Hello to wasted hours' and I say 'bottoms up to better days'." 

Overall Grade: A 

Misc. stuff

Here’s some other random items we never got to, including blueberry soda by Faygo, Fizzy Kola hard candies from the orient, and cool Futurama metal figurines.

These photos are just three of a story/review where Super Mario encouraged me to try a tangerine/lime sparkling water and my eventual attempt at homicide.

These images are from what was supposed to be an ongoing series of articles where the odd team of Master Li Mu Bai (from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Pasqually (member of Munch’s Make Believe Band at Chuck E. Cheese’s), and Donatello (in “Peeping Tom” gear) were trying to get me to try a bunch of foreign jelly drinks.

After trying the first (orange) I couldn’t continue, thus negating the series, and seeing me dump a bunch of these in the garbage.  The texture, as evidenced by the photo above on the right, was like eating a porn star’s lubricant thinly veiled as fruit-flavored fun.

The last image of that piece saw Pinhead (of Puppet Master fame) waving goodbye, while mischievously holding my next jelly drink.  And now, a little over four years later, that image has a bittersweet connotation, as Pinhead waving goodbye metaphorically represents me waving goodbye to all of you. (2013 Edit: Over six years later and we're still going stronger than ever!)