regarding dangly ankh earrings and the 18 year-olds who wore them in 1990

I shoot Big Bang Theory on Monday before I go back to Vancouver to finish out the fourth season of Eureka, so I have scored an entirely unexpected bonus weekend at home with my wife.

Yesterday, we heard that Toy Soldiers was playing on local station KDOC (which was one of the truly great UHF stations here for my entire childhood). Anne told me that she'd never seen it before, so we flipped to channel 56 and began to watch.

We picked it up somewhere toward the middle, in a scene where we're all sitting around in our underwear at night.

"Why are you in your underwear?" Anne asked.

"Because that's what dudes do," I said.

She frowned for a moment, thinking, and then said, "how long did it take you to choreograph the upcoming sword fight?"

"Not long at all," I said. "Turns out it was a class feature."

She gave me a blank look.

"D&D reference."

She nodded, patiently, and turned her attention back to the movie.

I don't remember the exact line, but in the theatrical version, I say something like, "We should get a fucking machine gun, Billy. Wid a machine gun, we could shred dees muddafuckas!"

FUN FACT: Dan Petrie, the director, asked me to do some kind of New York accent for the movie. I was only 18, and didn't think to actually study up on a specific one, so I just did what sounded right in my head, and asked Dan to ensure that I never sounded "like Corey Feldman in Lost Boys." Dan has always said that he thought it sounded fine, but I'm not so sure. I trust and respect him, though, so I'm willing to accept that I hear (and see) this movie through a lens of self-consciousness that exists only in my mind.

The version we were watching, though, was the TV edit, so I actually say something like, "We should get a [jarring edit] machine gun, Billy! Wid a machine gun, we could [jarring edit] these money finders!"

Because, you know, that's how rebel dudes in bording schools talk to each other.

"Hey, what's up, money finder?"

"Oh, you know, just flipping around."

"Did you see those girls from Delta house last night? They were flipping hot!"

"Yeah, I totally flipped that girl Gina. Flipped her [jarring edit] yeah!"

"You lucky bad man! Well, see you later, money finder. I'm going to go get some ponies and get flipped up."

I've often thought that the TV edits of movies are pretty silly. At the End of Stand By Me, Ace says, "You going to kill us all?" Gordie replies, "Just you, Ace [jarring edit] you cheap dimestore hood." OHHH BURN! You can see that Ace is so horrified by what a mother flipping bad man Gordie is, he has no choice but to back down.

Anyway, we had a really good time watching the rest of the movie, Anne just enjoying the 1990 time capsule, me watching 18 year-old me and his painful fashion choices though the spread fingers of a facepalm.

Speaking of facepalm, I paused the movie right after Joey died (SPOILER ALERT – he couldn't handle a flipping machine gun, and didn't shred a single monkeyflapper) so I could share this with the world:

Facepalmankh

Though I give myself a lot of shit for things like my accent, the dangly ankh earring, and the endless scenes of underwear-clad dudes who were totally not gay, I should point out, and make very clear, that I like Toy Soldiers a lot. Even though it's incredibly dated, I'm proud to be part of it. I had a great time working on it, made some good friends during production, and gained several levels in acting and being an adult while we were on location.

Anne and I had a surprisingly good time watching it, and it seemed like every scene prompted a memory that I hadn't thought of in years. I had so much fun recalling them, I'm considering making my own commentary track as an mp3 and selling it at Lulu for a few bucks. You know, in all my vast amounts of free time.

If you want to watch Toy Soldiers in all its non-TV-edited glory, you can stream it from Netflix, or you could always buy the DVD … though I think it really needs to be viewed on VHS for maximum authenticity.

106 thoughts on “regarding dangly ankh earrings and the 18 year-olds who wore them in 1990”

  1. Toy Soliders, talk about trip down memory lane. Truth time, had to Google it, but as soon as I started reading about it on Wikipedia I remembered. Embarrassing moment, had a mad crush on Sean Astin (and Wil Wheaton **said looking at floor and blushing**) so of course I saw this. And everyone sits around in their underwear with their friends. It is totally normal…

  2. Ha, I have this on VHS. I remember when it came out and my cousin rented it for us to watch. I think we were in 7th grade. The movie scared me to death at the time but as I grew older I came to appreciate it. I’ll have to re-watch it soon!

  3. Wil, I never owned a pair of ankh earrings, but I definitely owned an ankh necklace (and wore it on a leather cord, naturally!). Thank you for the incredible trip down memory lane with “Toy Soldiers.” My cousin Annie and I were obsessed with the movie and rented it countless times–we would always watch it back to back with “Point Break!” Gordie LaChance will always be my favorite role of yours, but Joey Trotta comes in a close second. It must have been an amazing experience to act with Jerry Orbach. I am so happy to see your acting career is still thriving.

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