Professor Reg Gubbins is the world’s premier Interweb Historian, an expert in his chosen field. During his extensive studies, he has left no hyperlink unvisited, no blog unread, no pictures of Lucy Pinder unseen. Here, he talks about BANANAS ABOUT MOVIES, it’s early genesis, and his subsequent meeting with Monkeyboy, an experience that would shake the very core of his beliefs, and make him look at online movie criticism in a whole new light.
The short version...
BANANAS ABOUT MOVIES is a movie review website, owned and run by Monkeyboy. Half boy, half monkey, the result of genetic experimentation by evil forces unknown, and creator (and eventual destroyer) of the hugely controversial Critique-o-matic, the little chappie reviews movies using the amazing Banana Rating System™ on a scale of 1 to 5 bananas, where 1 = rubbish, and 5 = amazing.
The long version...
For those wishing to dig deeper into the unusual mythos of Monkeyboy, here is a slightly longer version of the above for your delication. A more complete history can be gleaned from my book, “Man, Beast, or a little bit of both? The Story of Monkeyboy!”
Sadly, the book is now out of print, despite my best efforts. But fear not, for you may find the book in the most surprising of places. On such an occasion, I urge you to scoop that tome up, and retreat to a secluded corner for a veritable feast of sex, action, adventure, and bananas. Just make sure to look over your shoulder first, as there will be mysterious forces hard at work to stop you reading the sensational, anti-establishment text within.
The year is 1998...
1998 was an uneventful and boring year. Science has studied this year in great depth, and many men, far greater than I could ever be, have succumbed to an unavoidable malaise of the soul. Such is the tedium of the year 1998, that few venture there now, not afraid of what they will find, but of what they won’t find.
In the years that have followed, I believe 1998 has fallen victim to a “false history”, penned by shady government powers desperate to hide the horrifying emptiness of each of it’s 365 days. These so-called events are a sham, their aim to divert the attention of the unwary amateur historian from the terrible truth. That, in the year 1998, absolutely nothing happened.
It’s curious then, that these writers of 1998’s “false history” miss the one truthful, and incredibly exciting thing that happened during this year. For this was the year that MONKEYBOY ONLINE, a new movie review website was launched.
It was lauded by many as the best example of a website critiquing movies with a rating system based on bananas, rather than stars, in the world at that time. The Hollywood Elite could not get enough of the website, and Steven Spielberg is on record as saying, “I love Monkeyboy Online! It’s awesome! Please don’t hit me with that hammer. Has he gone? He’s there! Guards! Guards!”
After two years, the website changed its name to MONKEYBOY REVIEW, and soldiered on gamely for another 4 years, reviewing movies, tucked away in a dusty warehouse, sat on a server festooned with cobwebs, lights blinking in the dark. Sadly, the website came to an end when the warehouse was burnt down by junkies.
But this was not the end of the website, nor the end of it’s enigmatic creator, Monkeyboy.
Some say he was held captive by an evil scientist in a remote cliff top laboratory. As a half human, half monkey hybrid, he was perhaps of great interest to the dark machinations of such people. Others talk of his brief foray into Hollywood, his time as a stunt double for Cheetah in the Tarzan movies, and his many illicit affairs with some of the leading ladies of the movie world, leaving a string of broken hearts in his wake.
Cream teas and Robot Jody Banks
I approached this potted history of Monkeyboy with great excitement. Our first secretive meeting was at a hotel in Cornwall, England, where he was currently on the run from — amongst other things — government agencies, doomsday cults, and a clutch of angry husbands.
It was a crisp September morning, and whilst partaking of cream tea, and scones, on the hotel’s secluded garden terrace, he seemed in fine fettle. He was flanked by his bodyguard, an exact robotic replica (anatomically correct in every way) of Jody Banks from smash hit TV show, The Fall Guy, circa 1981. Designed to have the strength of ten men, talk about beauty and the beast. She was both!
Despite her presence, and her unwavering loyalty, Monkeyboy kept a loaded revolver next to him on the table, and whilst his nervousness, I’m sure, was mostly well disguised, he would occasionally shoot timorous glances at approaching hotel residents across the rim of his teacup.
It seemed to me that every person, no matter how innocuous, was a potential enemy, a discreet assassin with murder on their mind.
Banana Rating System
It was at this historic meeting, that he spoke of what was to be his relaunched website, and allowed me a glimpse into the thinking behind his famous Banana Rating System™, a system of scoring movies that is still sending ripples of controversy across the interweb pond to this very day. I present the system here in it’s entirety. Any similarities to rating systems based on stars is entirely coincidental.
- 5 BANANAS: This quite the little classic. You’ll probably watch it again, and again. But if you don’t, the blu-ray will at least look really cool on your shelf, winning you the admiration of other self-opinionated people.
- 4 BANANAS: An excellent film. Quite simply marvellous, you might say. But there’s something missing. Just something tiny that brings it short of classic status. Maybe if the director had just tried a little harder. Whatever. It was probably the writer’s fault anyway.
- 3 BANANAS: By no means excellent, this is a film that’ll make you say to a friend, “You know how you like action/romcom/weird midget movies? Well, this is an action/romcom/weird midget movie you will enjoy. It’s good, but undemanding.”
- 2 BANANAS: Oh, what’s going on here? This film isn’t very good. It’s distinctly average. You feel like you’ve wasted your time watching it. But not as much time as the people who made it.
- 1 BANANA: Sweet Jumping Jesus, this film is terrible. Why did anyone even bother? The entire crew should be lined up, hogtied, and bounced off a diving board one by one into an electrified swimming pool. Or at the very least, someone should just run up to them, and say, “Hey, you’re rubbish!” Then run away.
So, where does one go after creating the Banana Rating System™, the most revolutionary and foolproof system of scoring movies in the world today?
There is only one way to go. And that is to build a machine that bypasses the critic completely!
Is such a machine possible? Yes, because Monkeyboy invented it. It was called, quite simply, the Critique-o-matic. He devised the machine in 1975 but, fearing that his invention was ahead of it’s time, he suppressed the idea, burning all copies of the blueprints. Or so he thought.
For there existed one final blueprint. The one in his head!
In the year 2005, fuelled by 30 years of myth and rumour, a cabal of internet nerds (a plain old cabal of nerds, pre-interweb) — upset that their favourite movies were being sniffily marked down by newspaper critics and faceless online arbiters of cinematic taste — set out to prove once and for all that the Critique-o-matic was real.
So they kidnapped Monkeyboy. Their aim? To force him to give up the secrets of the Critique-o-matic, and to make him continue work on the device. Ultimately, they wanted nothing less than the utter humiliation and redunancy of every critic in the entire world. A movie critic disaster of global proportions to rival even the most outlandish Bond film.
However, it didn't stop there. They also intended to pervert the machine’s original remit — the creation of infallible movie criticism at the press of a button — into something altogether darker.
In 2006, the final prototype was unveiled before an audience of the world’s most renowned movie critics. One by one, films were fed into the machine. And one by one, the results proved unassailable. And then it came to the final film, a long time favourite of the leader of the cabal of internet nerds.
That film was Police Academy: Mission to Moscow.
The Critique-o-matic returned a score of 6 out of 5.
Destroy the Critique-o-matic!
Under normal circumstances, such a score would be rightly ridiculed. However, the circumstances were far from normal, and the cabal of internet nerds knew this. The assembled critics threw their hands up in the air, and admitted defeat.
Here was a machine, created from blueprints devised by Monkeyboy himself, creator of the legendary Banana Rating System™. With such credentials, how could the machine possibly be wrong?
The future seemed grim. The critics could have rushed the stage, destroyed the machine, and saved their livelihoods. However, the late nights, coffee, lack of exercise, and poor diet left them at a disadvantage. It was with heavy, fat clogged hearts, that they began telephoning their editors to proffer their resignations.
But it seemed all was not lost. There are various stories of what happened next, but through rigorous collection, and cross checking, of eye witness reports, I have come to the eventual conclusion that the wall at the back of the stage was torn open by a huge explosion. Stepping through the debris, came a shadowy figure wearing a tight-fitting blue jumpsuit.
As the smoke cleared, Robot Jody Banks stood before the amazed critics, and the shocked nerds. Without saying a word, she focused her attention on the Critique-o-matic. Her eyes glowed red, and searing hot lasers shot from them, striking the cursed machine, and melting it into worthless goop.
Through the hole in the wall could be glimpsed Monkeyboy himself in a waiting car, and beyond that the laboratory where he’d been held captive for a year. The building was alive with fire and black smoke.
As Robot Jody Banks strode back to the car, blonde hair streaming behind her, Monkeyboy raised his arm in the air, and proclaimed, “Critics of the world, hear this! In my efforts to create the perfect movie review, I invented a machine that could do no wrong. I did so, with the noblest of intentions. But you see here today, the corruption of that ideal. Movies cannot be reviewed by machine. It is a cold, lifeless thing. It lacks the one thing that makes us great! A heart! I say to you, critics of the world, follow your hearts, as all good men do. And when Michael Bay releases a new movie, be not afraid to stick the boot in! Farewell, my friends. And good luck!”
Monkeyboy, the hunted
Monkeyboy, hitting the road with with his ever loyal companion, Robot Jody Banks, was — more than ever — a hunted creature. He now wanders the roads of Great Britain, moving from town to town, village to village, getting into adventures, and helping those less fortunate than himself. When he grabs a spare moment, he watches movies, and rates them, as ever, with the amazing Banana Rating System™.
For that, we can be eternally thankful.
– Professor Reg Gubbins, September 20th 2010
Monkeyboy's Addendum: Since this potted history was written, Professor Reginald Gubbins’ car was found burnt out at the bottom of an abandoned quarry. No body was found at the scene. He is still missing to this day.