Monday, November 20, 2017

Turkey Gravy & Pumpkin Pie Chips


You knew your boy Brian wasn’t going to let the 2017 Holiday Season go by without reviewing these Thanksgiving-themed chips. Right, dawg? Oh, wait — people aren’t saying dawg anymore in 2017? Noted. Moving on: did he say Thanksgiving chips? Yes! Break out your best pilgrims and indians attire, break bread, cornbread ‘natch, and gather ‘round to hear tale of 2017’s most radical holiday-themed edibles. No, I’m not talking about Uncle Frank’s eggnog-flavored weed brownies either.


Coming up first is the main event. Thanksgiving’s signature dish. If this were Survivor Series this would be The Ultimate Warriors vs. The Heenan Family. In a beautiful brown bag bare witness to a succulent bird on a platter next to a gravy boat. Yes a gravy boat. I love it that that’s an actual thing. Where were your parents when they purchased their first gravy boat? Was it an unseasonably warm day? Were they shopping at JCPenney?


Behold the chips the fine folks at Boulder Canyon Authentic Foods bestowed upon us. This is the type of amazing that’ll make listening to relatives’ uncouth political punditry less punishing.


Joined by my brave daughter Yukari we both dug right in. No forks and sadly no stuffing or cranberry sauce within reach but what we discovered was tastier than we could have hoped for.


The verdict is in and these are astoundingly good. Like positively the best Thanksgiving-flavored foodstuff in recorded history. You can get the turkey seasoning upfront but it’s the gravy chaser that’s all the rage. I can say they somewhat resemble Lay’s Southern Biscuits & Gravy chips (which I also like) but are their own, unique thing. In terms of chip quality they’re fresh and crunchy, too. Just an all-around awesome snack that kept getting better the more we ate.


Then it was time for dessert and you know, love it or loathe it, Thanksgiving ain’t going to pass by without you seeing at least a dozen pumpkin pies in your vicinity. A nice light brown bag rocks a dish not dissimilar from grandma’s serving plates topped with a generous slice of pumpkin pie complete with a dollop of whipped cream.


These chips were a lot more colorful with an orangish shade that called to mind fall leaves and autumnal feels.


Wow! These things are insanely flavorful. Like they skipped right over subtle and used a sledgehammer. I can imagine the factory smelled like a nutmeg candle as they pumped these out. I’m someone who likes pumpkin pie just fine with copious amounts of whipped cream atop it so if you’re also not completely enthralled with pumpkin pie I’d say worry not. While sweet these chips aren’t overly strong in the pumpkin flavoring although it’s definitely there and there’s just a little bit of that salty chip aftertaste to cut through a bit of the sweeter notes. These were also wonderful but something I’d need to eat in small quantities.


After much deliberation we decided we needed to select one winner to carry on the candied yam crown. And we certainly didn’t mind another round of tastings as these chips are glorious.


We both picked Turkey & Gravy! Great minds think alike. I can’t gush over these enough. And trust me, if you bump into me at the store or library, I’m going to break out dogeared crinkled photos of these like they’re photos of grandchildren and pridefully show them to you. Halloween was stellar this year, and Christmas holds much promise and joy, but Thanksgiving won the holiday war this year with these delicious delights.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Hope it’s a wonderful day. I’m thankful for all of you and your support and friendship. Here’s some older RtW Thanksgiving fun: Thanksgiving Gumballs, Pomegranate 7 Up, and Bacon Soda.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mountain Dew Holiday Brew


I first came across this merry and mirthful beverage just yesterday while taking my daughter to get some Pokémon cards. I scanned the label with a speed not unlike Yuga Khan and was disappointed to see it wasn’t an entirely new recipe but instead a hybrid of two preexisting Dew flavors. I was hoping for a tart berry or splash of cinnamon. I’d dreamt of Linda Cardellini but woke up to Linda McMahon.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve tackled seasonal beverages on RtW. In fact they’ve become all the rage in recent years. Going way back I’ve investigated the mysterious Fred Claus Icee and would be remiss not to tip my hat to Pomegranate 7 Up. Labeled as the “Ultimate Holiday Blend” the Holiday Brew is a combo of Mountain Dew & Mountain Dew: Code Red. Code Red premiered in 2001 to acclaim infusing Dew with a “rush of cherry flavor”. It’s still around today and is as common in rec centers as false bravado.


You gals and guys want to know how is tastes so let me don my Clark Kent investigative apparel and report the facts. I like it. I definitely found it more palatable and pleasurable than I’d expected. Sure, I would have loved a new holiday flavor, one that we’d look back on in tearful remembrance in a decade, but this not only tastes pretty good but also somehow captures a Christmas-y zest. It’s bright and bubbly. In the last year or so I’ve switched to diet sodas (Mellow Yellow Zero is solid if you’re into citrus pops) when I do imbibe in sugary or faux-sugary drinks but I drank this guilt free.


I even gave Yukari a sip. She doesn’t drink soda normally but was curious and feeling the giving holiday spirit I couldn’t resist. It’s not a drink to chug while washing down your sandwich or after a jog, it’s designed and done best when sipping sporadically, preferably within eyeshot of old-fashioned blinking Christmas lights, a model train, or while cruising in a warm car admiring people’s holiday lights and yard decorations.


This is a welcome edition to the blossoming 2017 holiday junk food scene and gives hope that Pepsi Co. will continue experimenting with holiday-specific beverages in the future. Grab a couple soon and open one up next time you pop in Christmas Evil on Blu-ray and kick up your pajama-ensconced legs.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Some of My Favorite Plush Toys

The idea for this article has been germinating for years until just recently I began building it like the Doozers constructing scaffolding throughout Fraggle Rock. I moved out of my parents’ for the first time in 2005 and since then have resided at various addresses from sundry apartment complexes to palatial suites and maybe even a flat above a duo Chinese takeout restaurant/laundromat. In white trash bags I’ve lugged dozens of stuffed animals and misc. plush dolls of a myriad sort. Most of these are from my youth or my teenage “collector” years where I actually had the disposable income to buy Super Mario stuff off eBay.

Like most boys of the ’80’s my real toy fascination sprung from that decade’s glorious array of action figures. From G.I. Joe, to Battle Beasts and Army Ants, even Food Fighters, a ragtag gang of anthropomorphic food adorned in military attire. I couldn’t have been the only boy who penned an ode to Burgerdier General, right? But I amassed an intriguing assortment of plush toys over the years as well. Many found a home in a net crudely hung like a hammock in the corner of my bedroom with various sports balls and a cylindrical poster container I’d often wear over my arm and pretend was a missile launcher or laser canon. Now they’ll finally see the light of day and get the reappraisal and appreciation they’ve richly deserved all these years. I have enough plush toys to do several installments so perhaps one day you’ll get the pleasure of meeting some more of my soft pals but for now meet the gang!



Back in 1988 everyone’s favorite cat-munching, wisecracking alien ALF invaded Burger King (here’s video evidence). You’d receive ALF in one of four themed outfits. Pictured here was the “Cookin’ With Alf” version (sans the pot of chili or feline stew or whatever the hell he was making). There was also “Beach Party” with Hawaiian shirt and surfboard, “Melmac Rock” with electric guitar, and “Take Me, Alf To the Ballgame” with a jersey and ball glove. My appreciation for ALF didn’t really blossom until much later in the mid-2000’s when I revisited it on DVD and totally fell in love with the show. It’s one of a small handful that really hold up in terms of entertainment value outside of nostalgia itself. I’d always wondered why he had a brown mustache and just solved that mystery for myself. He doesn’t rock facial hair in the other 3 versions nor on the show so I guess the designers just found it appropriately chef-like. I’ll have to pop my head back in the kitchen next time I’m at Red Lobster and see if the guy prepping the salads has a Rollie Fingers-like mustache.


Introducing Zugly! I don’t have a lot of vivid or specific memories attached to this one but he was around my room rubbing shoulders with Fozzy Bear and the like. Some quick research shows a lot of people received these as gifts around ’85-’87 and in reading forums many have held onto them all these years and have now passed them on to their own children! Monsters and other grotesqueries were all the rage in the 1980’s. There was My Pet Monster and Madballs, of course, and as this video shows Zugly wanted in on that action. Seeing my Zugly in his original packaging via a Google search calls to mind he’d previously been ensconced in a hot pink chain with lock and key I suppose to suppress him were he to give into his more savage tendencies or try to run off with your half-full pack of Watermelon Bonkers.


Pasqually E. Pieplate from Chuck E. Cheese’s! So right out the gate in my eyes and heart Chuck E. Cheese’s is an American institution. It deserves its own article in tribute or even more. But today I’m focusing on Pasqually. And I’ve got to tell you: going down the rabbit hole was deep and wondrous. A few searches later and I was inundated in Pasqually history, images of various animatronic iterations, and hours of crudely shot and uploaded video. Somewhere around the age of 19-21 I somewhat unironically held a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s for the first time in roughly 15 years. A group of a half-dozen friends joined me for pizza and arcade games and frankly it was freaking awesome. All you can eat salad bar, Cherry Coke, and Skee-ball beats out just about any other birthday combo. It was at this ersatz birthday shindig I plucked down my two bits and bought myself a Pasqually. It’s one of those love affairs and purchases that you can’t qualify or explain. I felt drawn to this ridiculous character, surely a legitimately offensive Italian stereotype, resplendent with bushy black mustache, handkerchief, and apron. Pasqually’s Tinder profile states that he’s also a pizza chef and an aspiring comedian but we all know him as the drummer for Munch’s Make Believe Band whom you’d better rush out and see in-person soon as rumors are the restaurant and fun zone may be retiring the animatronic characters permanently. For those needing a little more Pieplate fix I’ve got your video hook-up! Here’s a disturbing mustache fail, a pizza-making instructional, a Christmas tune about Sasquatch, and even Pasqually doing the Nae Nae. Now that’s a spicy meatball!


This next one I’ve cherished for years as a particularly unique item. Back in June of 2001 the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence hit theaters nationwide. Directed by Steven Spielberg it was famously a Stanely Kubrick project until he fell ill and handed it off in 1995. For a film to have toys released in the likeliness of its character is all too common and in fact toys of that ilk overrun the toy aisles at Target and elsewhere nowadays. But A.I. wasn’t your average, everyday family film. Coming in at a whopping 146 minutes this PG-13 sci-fi drama told the tale of a robotic boy named David longing to become “real” to regain the love of his human mother. It’s an often emotionally harrowing film dealing with complex themes like death and abandonment. So to have Teddy, David’s android teddy bear, still in (what’s left of its) original packaging is pretty cool and remarkable that it was made in the first place. Certainly this item wasn’t flying off store shelves and racks at KB Toys but likely found a home at specialty shops that were more collector-driven like Media Play or Suncoast Motion Picture Company inside malls. Somewhere I (hopefully still) have a smaller, keychain version of Teddy too!


Boink’rs! The name of a monstrous band of boxing buddies or the fraternity your nephew is presently pledging. This one is showing the ravages of time as its faded, dirty, but still in the fight. Doing some research these slugfest puppets came boxed with a “bop bag” one of those inflatable deals that you could hit, kick, and karate chop and it’d bounce right back for more. Growing up a fan of professional wrestling I’d often upgrade my offense to suplexes and slams until I eventually busted it. Advertised as “The Wacky Punchin’ Action Toy That Never Gets Out Of Hand!” it was surely utilized by big brothers and sisters to terrorize their smaller siblings. Looking, for the very first time, nearly 30 years later, at some of the other Boink’rs battlers I think we got the best one as the yellow, pink, and purple varieties, each sporting a unique sculpt and design, aren’t as appealing to me, although the light blue one does have four eyeballs. Would you rather go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson or break bread with the Boink’rs boxers?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Paqui Haunted Ghost Pepper Chips



We’re celebrating the spooky season with the hottest chips on the market! Paqui’s Haunted Ghost Pepper are scarier than a specter showing up at your soiree. The ghost pepper (also known as the ghost chili or Bhut jolokia) is rated at over 1 million on the Scoville heat scale — to give a comparison Tabasco sauce comes in at a mere 5000. Join Brian, DJ D, Will, & Vineet as we face our flaming fears. Also: bonus footage! We whipped up some hot apple cider as we continue our dive into all things autumnal.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

RtW & Pals Fave Childhood Halloween Costumes



Brian is joined by blogging buddies Will (of Casserole of Disaster) and David (of Retro Ghouls) to discuss some of our favorite childhood Halloween costume memories! We discuss some of our earliest costumes, most embarrassing ones, parental ingenuity, and run the gamut from robots to iconic movie characters and serial killers plus more! Embrace the Halloween season and join us for this jaunt down memory lane! Video best enjoyed while wearing an uncomfortable mask.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

RtW Live Chat!


This Saturday night! Head over to the RtW Facebook around 11P EST and join us! It's not Sarahah but you can interact and ask questions live. We may even kill David of Dark Entries with hot sauce + cameos from Will’s dozen pets.

Here's the archived video!:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Elderflower Lemonade & Lemoncocco



Sat amongst donkeys and bulls and chomping on tacos RtW mastermind Brian is joined by Texas pal Toby to drink two completely randomly selected soft drinks. Elderflower Lemonade is a new floral twist on an old summertime treat and Lemoncocco an Italian favorite. Will our fearless flavor trendsetters approve of these unique beverages? Will they conduct a science experiment? Tune in and find out!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lemon & Chile Picante Plantain Chips



Plantain in the membrane! While visiting my pal Toby in Texas I stumbled across two curious flavors of plantain chip: Lemon and Chile Picante! The two of us braved our taste buds and chomped on some seasoned cardboard, I mean, treats! Watch us marvel at fruit flavored fruit, encounter "acid lovers", prove ourselves, and share a spice for life!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bag of Random 2006 Mementos



Aloha! This summer I’ll be traveling all across the country visiting and filming with various blogging buddies. That means super fun times for yours truly but also deliciously handcrafted content for you the RtW fans. In the interim I shot this crazily impromptu video where I examine the contents of a bag containing random junk, personal artifacts, and bric-a-brac a lot of which dates back to 2006 or thereabouts. So, grab a root beer or your favorite snack or legumes and spend some time with me as I whip out a dollop of detritus from the past!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Christmas Box of Crap

Greetings gang! Recently I stormed social media via the RtW Facebook & Twitter to poll fans, followers, and freaks on what they want to see here on Review the World. There was an overwhelming support for more written articles a la RtW's early days so I'm dusting off either my typewriter or ink and quill then reciting my prose to a stenographer who'll type it all up in a palatable digital form and ensure it gets delivered to each and every one of your eyes!

To shake off the cobwebs I'm opening a file of an unused, untouched article I'd started a draft of the first week of 2017 then left to rot while I doodled Street Sharks on scrap paper and made long distance phone calls. And to think I thought the Hulk Hogan Hotline was still in service!



This past Christmas I got a very pleasant surprise. While attending the annual Christmas party for my wife's side of the family I received a box of pure unadulterated pop ephemera and utter junk. The family's a large crowd so we draw names and exchange gifts. Typically this yields in either A) me getting a Best Buy or Amazon gift card because I love movies but who can keep track of what I've seen and/or already own, or B) a restaurant gift card because I also dig sustenance.

But kudos go out to Heather who was incredibly thoughtful and handpicked a box full of just the sort of randomness that makes RtW's neon green heart tick. Not only was it an odd assortment of clearance bin detritus but it was also in a box with an old school Review the World logo adorning the side!

This was really one of my favorite gifts this past Christmas period. I decided I'd give it tribute by embarking on a full-scale review of its cluttered contents. But here's the thing: that was four months ago and after only taking a handful of pictures of individual items and being intermittently low on groceries or snacks at home I ended up enjoying most of it all by my lonesome. So while it deserved an in-depth review I'll have to pay my respects via crude macaroni art I'll cobble together while watching that zany Robin Williams' poop scene in RV and the meager offerings below.


Seasonally appropriate here's Herr's Peppermint Puffs! Right away I knew I was in good hands. See, Herr's and RtW are no strangers: we've reviewed their Bacon Cheddar Cheese Curls and their Buffalo Blue Cheese Curls. And quite frankly I love their stuff. Vastly underrated in the snacking department. And it's generally cheaply priced to boot.


This is also not the first time I've had their balls in my mouth. I mean -- well, er, let's start over. I've had their Cotton Candy Snack Balls which are royal blue and in no way resemble anything you should actually be ingesting but are surprisingly not loathsome. These are also pretty rad in the visual department with the red speckling on white calling to mind PEPPERMINT in all caps and/or Lady Snowblood depending on your cultural cache.



I even brought the kids in for the taste test and they got the big 'ol Siskel & Ebert two thumbs up! Again, Herr's, an unsung hero in the snack aisle. Definitely seek their stuff out or if unavailable locally find a spot to order online. Their cheese curls will one day be our currency.


So here's one you can likely find within 5 min. from home at your nearest grocery or corner store. But at the time these were brand-spanking new to store shelves. Also available in a mint variety I've sadly yet to try, these candy bars by the cats at Hershey's promise the melding of said candy bar with cookies. In theory? A dope idea.


In execution? Nailed it. In fact I just had one of these last week. My local Kroger grocery had a bunch of discounted candy bars near the entrance for fifty cents and I procured a few for standby snacking. Those six-hour UFC event telecasts offer ample opportunities for sensational snacking. And if you're wanting to know how it tastes I'll certainly vouch for some of the better caramel seen inside candy bars in recent memory plus the mixture of crunchy cookie bits with luscious gooey caramel is a win for all.


These blind bag (or box) tiny toys are available in nearly hundreds of different varieties with almost every property imaginable having its own iteration. So whether you like princesses, LEGO, horror icons, etc. there's a set for you to buy relentlessly until you eventually find the one figurine you've been chasing.


Fighting video games were always more of my brother's passion but I always had fun with them while never mastering a fighter's repertoire or even being particularly good at them aside from wildly mashing buttons on Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes at the arcade once and making it to the final boss. Here's the dilemma with these blind bags: looking at the possible ten figurines on the back there was only one I didn't want and wouldn't you guess it?



I got the only one I wasn't interested in. Now to be fair this is not indicative of the character's worth or intrinsic value just my unfamiliarity with him. Who even is he? Seth. No I'm not kidding. Really, I'm not joking, please stop guffawing. That's the name of this wildly alien-like character. Seth. Sounds like the kid that sat behind you in science class in seventh grade. Apparently he's a silver synthetic being who debuted in Street Fighter IV. Looking like a cross between Doctor Manhattan and Silver Surfer he's 100% stupid and 100% mine. My kingdom for a Zangief.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Grass & Dirt Soda



Ever mow the lawn with your mouth? Now you can theoretically do just that — or wisely don’t and just allow RtW’s brave leader Brian and his hand-selected merry band of pranksters Will and DJ D to do the dirty work! We do a taste test on Grass and Dirt flavored soda pop. So break out the pruning saw, rake, and gardening gloves and join us out in the front lawn for a swig!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Brian's Top 50 Films of 2016

I must admit halfway through the year I brazenly sulked, thinking, comparatively speaking, 2016 hadn’t thus far came close to the cinematic riches 2015 brought. But by year’s end, compiling recommendations both big and small, from across the globe, my list began to populate exponentially and suddenly I found myself ashamed of my lack of faith just months prior. I suppose it's true that each and every year is a fabulous year for cinema if you take the time to seek it out. This year’s list runs a spectacular gamut from activism to escapism, corpse erections to food truck findings, jazz to punk rock, superficiality to spirituality, but most of all — human connection.

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50. A Bigger Splash (Guadagnino)


49. The Club (Larraín)


48. Givertaker (Gandersman)


47. The Love Witch (Biller)




46. The Lobster (Lanthimos)


45. Louder Than Bombs (Trier)


44. No Home Movie (Akerman)


43. Aferim! (Jude)


42. Dheepan (Audiard)


Two Sides of China Documentary Double-Header

41. Hooligan Sparrow (Wang) / Paths of the Soul (Yang)



40. Swiss Army Man (Kwan, Scheinert)


39. Finding Dory (Stanton, MacLane)


38. Elle (Verhoeven)


37. Spa Night (Ahn)


Films About Filmmakers Three-Way Tie

36. De Palma (Baumvach, Paltrow 2015) / Jia Zhangke, a Guy From Fenyang (Salles) / Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny (Black, Bernstein)


35. Take Me to the River (Sobel)


34. City of Gold (Gabbert)


33. Cosmos (Zulawski)


32. Sunset Song (Davies)


31. Morris from America (Hartigan)


30. The Handmaiden (Chan-wook)


29. Born to Be Blue (Budreau)



28. La La Land (Chazelle)



27. The Birth of a Nation (Parker)


26. The Treasure (Porumboiu)

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25. The Invitation (Kusama)


24. The Neon Demon (Refn)


23. Christine (Campos)


22. Men Go to Battle (Treitz)


21. Embrace of the Serpent (Guerra)


20. 20th Century Women (Mills)


19. Everybody Wants Some!! (Linklater)


18. Miss Stevens (Hart)


17. The Witch (Eggers)


16. Jackie (Larraín)



15. Naz & Maalik (Dockendorf)


14. The Edge of Seventeen (Craig)


13. Green Room (Saulnier)


12. The Fits (Holmer)


11. Manchester by the Sea (Lonegran)


10. American Honey (Arnold)


9. Mountains May Depart (Zhangke)


8. Henry Gamble's Birthday Party (Cone)


7. Paterson (Jarmusch)



6. Cemetery of Splendor (Weerasethakul)


5. Moonlight (Jenkins)


4. Silence (Scorsese)


3. Knight of Cups (Malick)


2. Blue Jay (Lehmann)


1. Certain Women (Reichardt)

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Movies Formerly on the List: These are films that were previously on the list during earlier iterations but ultimately didn’t make the final cut. All are certainly worthy of your time and are also recommended. Last Days in the Desert (García), Rams (Hákonarson), Tikkun (Sivan), Under the Shadow (Anvari), Lion (Davis), Arrival (Villeneuve), Hell or High Water (Mackenzie), Francofonia (Sokurov), O.J.: Made in America (Edelman), and Joshy (Baena).

Blindspots: For a variety of reasons there are dozens of movies I desperately wanted to watch but was unable to see before publishing my list. Last year I drug this out until March and didn’t want to repeat that. Three weeks into 2017 I’ve already seen 80+ films but there’s still much I’ve yet to have the pleasure of experiencing. There are films that will be opening in my hometown in the weeks ahead such as The Salesman (Farhadi), Neruda (Larraín), Julieta (Almodóvar), Toni Erdmann (Ade), and I Am Not Your Negro (Peck). Films that I missed while they were playing here Demon (Wrona) and Our Little Sister (Koreeda). Movies I didn’t find time for, be it from my local library such as Indignation (Schamus), The Innocents (Fontaine), The Last Man on the Moon (Craig), Love & Friendship (Stillman) or many titles available via streaming like Aquarius (Filho), Ixcanul (Bustamante), The Wailing (Hong-jin), Other People (Kelly), Little Men (Sachs), The Childhood of a Leader (Corbet), The Measure of a Man (Brizé), The Phenom (Buschel), My Golden Days (Desplechin), SPL II: A Time for Consequences (Pou-soi), Closet Monster (Dunn), and Neon Bull (Mascaro). Lastly, a slate of movies that both didn’t play here nor were easily available for home viewing including Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (Malick), Kaili Blues (Gan), Tower (Maitland), Cameraperson (Johnson), The Alchemist Cookbook (Potrykus), The Illinois Parables (Stratman), Krisha (Shults), Happy Hour (Hamaguchi), The Ornithologist (Rodrigues), Right Now, Wrong Then (Sang-soo), Fire at Sea (Rosi), and Creepy (Kurosawa). This is a long list but also serves a purpose for me personally of films I will need to catch up to in the months ahead.


If you’d like to comment, share your own favorites, champion or ridicule mine, feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, or get at yours truly, the Big Bad Bionic Boy Brian, via the RtW Twitter or Facebook. Be well.