Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1992) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1992)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

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Danny LIKEAllow me to be nostalgic for a little bit. My elementary school years are a blur of cheesy cartoons and mutant ninjas of all kinds. But the stuff that really stuck with me turned out the be the cartoons of the time that came from the guiding force from the then (and still rather currently) untouchable Steven Spielberg.

His magic touch was bestowed on a certain cornerstone of my childhood, a reimagining of the Looney Tunes into something free of forty years of baggage and with a modern twist. "Tiny Toon Adventures" is the result. Besides the smart move of de-aging and diversifying the Toons, it also wisely keeps the anarchic chic that made the original Looney Toons great, as well as updating it's cultural touchstones for a new generation. 

So now I'm here praising a kids cartoon, so obviously my next sentence should probably involve the phrase "raping my childhood" or that they just don't make shows like that any more. And I should probably invoke the words 'subversive' and 'genius' lest I not make the show sound like the most important thing that's ever happened in the history of a pencil put to paper.

But I'll be nice and spare you that. "Tiny Toon Adventures" meant a lot to me as a kid, and this whole review is going to be so rose tinted to the point that you'll think your monitor is broken, take it in for repairs, and get stuck for a $100 bill. And I'm sorry for that, I am.

I'll try and stray a little to the right and take you to Tiny Toon's one foray into a direct-to-video feature, Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation. For a seventy-two minute film, we trace a half a dozen plotlines and all of the characters on the show as they endure various crazy situations.

The most compelling and best is Plucky Duck's, as he joins his best friend's family on a cross-country road trip to Happy World Land, "where all your dreams come true." He joins Hampton Pig's family, a straight-laced clan that almost immediately manage to drive him up the wall. When Plucky craves drive-in food, he instead watches in horror as the family orders five cups of water and supplies their own cream cheese and mayo sandwiches. Yum.

Meanwhile, the two main characters, Buster and Babs, engage in a water gun fight that leads to a tsunami and a trip down the Mississippi River. Babs labels this journey as "downright Twainian in a Hitchcockian sort of way", which I obviously couldn't say better myself.

You also have a plot about animal-crazy Elvira trying to find a new kitty, Fifi the skunk trying to meet her celebrity idol, Foulmouth the chicken is taking a girl to the movies (and talking through it), and Dizzy the Tasmanian devil turns out to have a problem with shedding during the summertime.

These plots overlap and crisscross in an Altman-esque fashion, though I'm not entirely sure he won't rise from his grave to get me after typing out those words.

Plucky's is the most easily to relate to, as I've always found vacations with other people's families to be just about as bizarre and painful as his is. Some moments seem to come directly from my life, like when Plucky questions why the family is singing "99 Bottles of Non-Alcoholic Beverage on the Wall," and is given a curt reply of, "We don't drink in our family, Plucky."

Buster and Babs have their moments, too, from a tongue/banjo duet to running into a host of characters who think that they look delicious. The duo are given plenty of clever dialogue, like in this exchange:

"I told you music was the universal language."
"And here I thought it was Esperanto."

How many of us knew what Esperanto was when you were in your early teens? How many of you know now? (Mind you, I only knew of the language because of a severe over-familiarity with the career of William Shatner.)

The movie isn't afraid to throw out some obscure lines and references, though the pop culture stuff can be a little crazy sometimes; I'm glad the Roseanne Barr gag works without any knowledge of her disastrous singing of the national anthem, but Arsenio Hall's presence will probably be baffling to anyone who wasn't around in the early 1990's.

Regardless, the film is still filled with slapstick, wit, and just enough truth to make me remember all the good summers I've had. It's good for the youngin' in the family, and probably won't kill any adult to sit through, either.

Especially if they read the end credits and find the moral of the story is not to pick up any chainsaw-wielding hitchhikers. That should help a lot.

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Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1992)

This film is not currently available on DVD, but you should be able to find it on YouTube, and quite possibly even here.

Directed by Rich Arons and Ken Boyer
Written by Paul Dini and Nicholas Hollander
Starring Charles Adler, Tress MacNeille, and Joe Alaskey

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EsperantoHow many

Posted by Danny

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