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YMMV / The Brave Little Toaster

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Not everyone remembers the Disch book this was based on and even fewer are aware that the sequel is also based on a book, but that's not too surprising. According to Wikipedia, Disney had bought the movie rights to the first book before it was even able to get published! It doesn't help that both have since gone out of print.
  • All Animation Is Disney: This is where things get a little confusing. To make a long story short, it was supposed to be a Disney movie, but they shelved it, pushed it onto Hyperion (with Wang Film Productions in Taiwan handling most of the physical production. Director Jerry Reees and most of the American staff went to Taiwan for six months to supervise, however), then re-purchased and distributed it. The only part of the production Disney had was opticals, titles and lending out the Disney Chorus to sing on the soundtrack. Fox also financed some of the film in exchange for the foreign rights.
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  • Animation Age Ghetto: In his own words, Jerry Rees, along with his small team, set out to make a film that was sophisticated enough for adults to appreciate without relying on Beavis and Butt-Head-style humor, paying special attention to Character Development, using a professional Hollywood score (David Newman), and especially sound design (all of the sound effects are foley). Sadly, this trope still reared its ugly head when the film screened at Sundance and several judges told Jerry Rees point blank that it was the best film there, but they were afraid of losing credibility for giving the honor to a "cartoon."
  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack, from David Newman's gorgeous score to the musical numbers written by Van Dyke Parks. Also, if you listen closely to some parts of "Worthless" and "B-Movie" (most notably) you can hear spontaneous little bass guitar riffs that just make it THAT much more awesome (probably due to Parks' music background).
    • And of course, who can forget the Radio giving the appliances a "soul injection" from the be-bop master himself during the cleaning montage? "WAMP BAMALADA B-LAMP BAM BOO!"
    • The best part of the score is arguably that it knows when to stop, as some of the most compelling scenes have no music at all.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Blankey. His child-like personality is either endearing or annoying.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • To start, there is Toaster's nightmare with the Monster Clown. It's dark, terrifying, disturbing, and it has nothing to do with the main storyline. Toaster never even brings it up again for the rest of the film.
    • Much of the scene in the meadow doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the movie, except to give Toaster an encounter that leads to much-needed Character Development.
    • "It's A B-Movie Show". It has little to do with the main story, and is mostly an excuse to make horror movie references.
  • Cult Classic: Despite making virtually no money or impact on the general public due to how poorly it's distribution was handled, it is massively popular among children of the late 80s/early 90s who saw the film repeatedly on video and TV. Chances are, you've either never heard of this movie or you've seen it and love it. It helps that it's considered to otherwise be a top-notch movie in it's own right, meaning it has a healthy shelf life.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Radio, certainly.
    • Air Conditioner and the cars in Worthless seem pretty popular.
    • Some of the broken appliances from Elmo St. Peter's shop are also popular with the fandom.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Yeah, they're journeying to the "City of Light" to find "The Master". No room for overtones there.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some parts of the fanbase choose to ignore the second and third movies.
  • Faux Symbolism: The film is rife with Christian imagery.
  • First Installment Wins: While the sequels are considered decent by most, almost everyone will say that the first movie is far superior.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One scene in "Cutting Edge" featured a plane crashing through a building, saying "ACTUAL SIMULATION".
  • Genius Bonus: The glorious little scene where the Narcissus flower (here are some real ones) falls in love with its own reflection. Fridge Brilliance, for many.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Everything?
    • In particular, the violent death of Phil Hartman's Air Conditioner.
    • Both Hartman and the original author Thomas M. Disch died from a gunshot - the latter's death was a suicide (in 2008), giving the movie's bleak tone a rather depressing real-life element.
    • The little bit of trivia that Peter Lorre was a Jew who fled Nazi Germany can make his portrayal as a lampshade in this movie just a tiny bit unsettling. Not helped by being in the same movie as "to the showers!" and a scene of the heroes getting briefly trapped in an oven during a scary song.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "We are on the cutting edge." Also, the song "Cutting Edge" (sung by, among other things, a Tandy-style computer) was a satire of consumerism featuring modern technology singing their own praises. But to a modern audience, it's hilarious when you consider that nearly every single one of those cutting-edge appliances is now severely obsolete. The hilarious irony only grows with each passing year.
    • The younger master seen in the flashback still had red hair, but also wore a orange-and-pale yellow striped t-shirt and blue shorts.
    • A character named Kirby who sucks things up, eh? However, since Kirby vacuums existed decades before the game, it's probable Kirby's name comes from the vacuum.
    • A meta example: John Lasseter was fired from Disney for badgering them to make this film with hand drawn characters in a CG environment. which was not considered time- or cost-effective enough. A year before this film was released, The Great Mouse Detective used this exact method to huge success and it became one of their biggest assets for all of their future traditionally-animated films. And then Lasseter briefly became the CEO of the Mouse House, producing a string of computer-animated blockbusters.
    • Rob snarks to his worrisome mother that he's "not going to Jupiter," just college. Indeed, he didn't go to Jupiter, but the appliances... Well...
  • Iron Woobie: All of the Five-Man Band have survived things that no appliance should.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Air Conditioner. Sure, he's not really nice to the other appliances, but he's also deeply insecure about how his purpose for being requires him to be stuck in a wall forever, so much so that he rages himself to death over it. Heck, it's practically stated word-for-word in the movie.
    Toaster: I didn't know he'd take it so hard.
    Kirby: Well, he was a jerk anyway.
    (Glances back at AC, clearly feeling a little sorry for him)
  • LGBT Fanbase: Has gained one in The New '10s due to the titular character's Ambiguous Gender, with many interpreting Toaster as non-binary.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The electromagnet crane could probably qualify as Punch-Clock Villain, but when it continues its pursuit of the protagonists even after they were claimed by the Master, going so far as to nearly kill him in the process, all bets are off.
  • Older Than They Think: Watch Toy Story 3, and then watch The Brave Little Toaster. See any similarities?note  Several people who worked on this film would later be integral at Pixar, like John Lasseter and Joe Ranft. It doesn't hurt Pixar's logo resembles one of the main characters.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The air conditioner.
    • Technically a TWO Scene Wonder where the Master fixes him up.
    • The flower. Notable for being on-screen for less than one minute, having no lines whatsoever, and making people bawl their eyes out.
    • The Monster Clown in Toaster's nightmare has just a few seconds of screentime, but is one of the most remembered characters, for good reason.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The magnet crane. An angry creature from above, chasing you wherever you hide...
  • Retroactive Recognition: Immediately after recording all of their lines, both Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman were cast on Saturday Night Live, where they became two of the most popular comic actors of the '90s.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Not so much the movie itself as an element: the fact that Rob and Chris are a mixed-race couple. For viewers in the 21st century (including those who perhaps grew up in the 90s seeing the movie), it might not initially seem like that big a deal, and modern viewers are likely to think it's cute and a nice little thumbing of the nose at latent white supremacy. The movie was made in 1987, however - this was a mere two exact decades after Loving v. Virginia overthrew miscegnation laws across the U.S., and only 23 years after the Civil Rights Act. While the idea of interracial couples was gaining traction at the time, having Rob and Chris together as casually and naturally as they were was a pretty big statement still, especially in a work that would have a large audience of children. It may well have even contributed to 90s kids who saw the film being a-okay with couples being together regardless of skin color!
    • More conventionally, the "Cutting Edge" sequence loses some of its visual punch because all of the "new" appliances will look completely mundane and even rather outdated to 21st century viewers (the not-Tandy computer gets hit with this especially hard). Of course, given what it means, this actually makes it kinda funny to a modern viewer.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Air Conditioner self-terminating.
    • The clown for the pure, unadulterated Nightmare Fuel.
    • The tragedy of the flower.
    • "It's A B-Movie".
    • The junkyard scene and the accompanying song "Worthless".
  • Signature Song: "Worthless" and "It's A B-Movie Show" are the most memorable songs from the film.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The song "Cutting Edge" is a pretty blatant satire of the consumer culture of the 1980s. "An ultra-nylon life of ease" = "A synthetic life of instant gratification."
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • The Polish version. The voices for most part are excellently cast. The songs are very well translated, giving the characters new dimensions and the lyrics in the latter three songs, "It's a B Movie", "Cutting Edge" and "Worthless" a Darker and Edgier feel.
    • The Hebrew version (yes, it exists) of the song "It's a B Movie" conveys a message of "Let's just enjoy ourselves while we still can" instead of all the B-Movie references. The song "Worthless" changed a lot - the 'Texan Wedding car' sings about the happily married couples she took to weddings,the hearse simply states 'I took people to the graves, I guess now it's my turn', the last pickup truck sings about 'kids that he drove to schools and how he hopes they remember him now that they're all grown up', the 'surfer car' sings about how much she loved the sunsets at the beach, and the Indy 500 race car sings "I was a great race car, they no longer make them like that'.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Averted in the film itself; played painfully straight in the VHS artwork.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: The titular toaster. Their voice is rather androgynous and they're only referred to by male pronouns once in the film ("Where's Toaster?" "He sank!"), though the character's actress referred to them as "she" in one interview, and the director referred to Toaster as a girl both in an interview and a Reddit AMA. This is wholly avoided in the book, where the appliances characters are all referred to as the genderless "it."
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The lengthy Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker pages will no doubt provoke this question. Not to mention the fact that it aired on Sprout of all places during President's Day 2017.
  • The Woobie: All of the Five-Man Band, but Blanky is the best example.
    • And despite the fact that they are all very minor characters, the Narcissus flower, the blender, and the junkyard cars certainly qualify.


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