It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas, probably. Somewhere. There’s a plague on, I haven’t checked. But I’m sure somebody’s still trying to put on a Christmas to cap off this horrible, insane year full of garbage and terror, so it’s only appropriate that our Christmas movie be The Rapsittie Street Kids Believe in Santa — a horrible, insane movie full of garbage and terror. If you had to guess when this was made based solely off of the cover, what would you say?
Maybe 1987, with the stipulation that it was programmed by amateur PC enthusiasts trying and failing to prove that computers could do art better than a 2nd grader? Like a Kasparov vs. Deep Blue situation, but for slow children? Nope! This was made in 2002 by Wolf Tracer Studios. That may seem like ancient history for some of our younger readers, whose blood I want to steal to revive this decaying body, but keep in mind Toy Story 2 was 1999. Monsters, Inc. and Shrek were released in 2001. For reference, here’s a screengrab from Shrek somehow looking at the abominations from Rapsittie.
Maybe CGI wasn’t super great in 2002, but it was way better than this.
Even putting aside that the kid looks like E.T. in blackface and moves like a robot programmed to mock somebody discovering the wonder of dance, this was still an exceptionally bad effort. And remember: This wasn’t an art project by an emotionally scarred head trauma patient trying to communicate the dumb lens of horror through which he now sees the world — this was an actual movie with an actual budget. It had a solid cast: the voices of Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Nancy Cartwright from The Simpsons, and Mark Hamill! That’s right: motherfucking Wing Commander himself was in this!
Rapsittie Street Kids Believe in Santa aired nationally!
On multiple major networks!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re out there studying your craft and diligently working your way up the Hollywood ladder hoping you’ll one day earn that lottery ticket to maybe get into filmmaking… you can eat shit until you get shit poisoning. These are the movies that get made.
That’s Ricky “Rhymemaster” Rodgers, and he raps like he graduated from the Will Smith College of Harmless Slang and Funky Noises, where his thesis statement was rhyming “ya boo” with “haha woo!” Ricky isn’t always rapping, but every time Ricky is onscreen these gentle, hesitant beats play in the background, like the music director was a well-meaning racist who thinks he should always be ready in case black people start freestyling.
Here’s Ricky’s great-grandmother:
She speaks every line like she’s voiced by three different old women having an argument, and it comes across like she’s doing a Lil Wayne impression through a stroke. It is never explained why she talks like you’re playing a particularly violent episode of The View backwards to summon a Geriatric Bitch Demon. It is but one of many insane decisions that make up Rapsittie Street Kids Believe in Santa. Here’s another:
Look at those poor children in the last stages of drowning, their little legs twitching uselessly as their brains shut down; as the cold currents whisk them away to an unacknowledged grave.
Those kids are supposed to be ice skating. Not only did Wolf Tracer not animate an ice skating motion, they didn’t bother rendering ice skates, which would be as simple as “line under normal shoe.” It’s not like they spent that saved time on the story. The plot of Rapsittie Street Kids is almost as terrible as everything else in Rapsittie Street Kids. Young Ricky’s main goal in life is to get with “beautiful Nicole” who looks like this:
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that’s good, since she’s got the eyes of a Beholder. Why do all of the children look like 53-year old Steve Buscemi in the ReBoot universe?
That’s Ricky’s best friend, Smithy, who’s supposed to be fat, but that’s hard to render so he’s just a slightly wider tube. Also mouths are hard to render, so he doesn’t have one. He is always carrying a sandwich and all of his lines are about food, but he does not physically try to eat another child, so this is actually quite a sensitive portrayal of an overweight kid by early 2000s standards.
Ricky is plagued by what I think are supposed to be bullies, and here they’re doing what I think is supposed to be laughing. But while real middle school bullies try to carve slurs into the bellies of children foolish enough to display feelings, these bullies mostly mildly heckle Ricky’s hasty raps. It’s a very privileged dickhead’s idea of what bullying might have been like for the people he bullied.
In order to Bang the Beholder (capitalized because that’s obviously going to be the name of my next DnD campaign) Ricky wants to get Nicole the perfect gift. But he doesn’t have any money. This is a problem because Nicole only likes money. Not the things it can buy, or the status it brings. She just likes the idea of stuff costing other stuff. She repeats, several times, that she only likes objects because they may have been purchased at the mall. She also repeats, several times, that she does not like Ricky.
So Ricky, who is poor, and in love with this girl whose only two personality traits are “likes money” and “does not like Ricky,” decides that the perfect gift for her is the old teddy bear that his dead mother gave him. A gift that Nicole is guaranteed to hate, from a person she already hates, that also disrespects his mother’s legacy. Even if none of that was true, a teddy bear is still a terrible gift for any middle school girl who doesn’t have to wear a purity ring with their father’s name engraved inside the band.
I shouldn’t even have to type this, but of course Nicole throws the bear in the garbage.
Heartbroken, Ricky runs home to write to Santa and ask for “a videobox,” an old person’s understanding of what a game console might be. Oh, and he also tacks on that he would like the other kids to get good presents, too, and further writes in the bear incident with Nicole, possibly just to lowkey snitch her out. He goes to mail the letter but loses it, and because a Christmas miracle looks a lot like hack writing, it blows over to Nicole who reads it and has a change of heart. She heads back to retrieve the bear from the garbage, only to find Smithy and Lenee already digging through part of a Quake map I made in 1996 that #gameboyzzz on IRC called “pretty bad, even for a f*****t.”
But it’s not there, so they do the next logical thing: head to the school’s basement. Since that’s… where the trash goes? After you put it in the dumpster outside? I don’t know what kind of person doesn’t know how garbage works, and I cannot fathom why their first wild guess as to where it goes to die is the basement of a children’s school, but here’s that cluttered trash-heap with all four of its loose objects.
I hope you appreciated the lushness of that scene. That’s what Rapsittie blew all of its budget on. You will not see its like again.
The bear isn’t down there (it wasn’t in the box, or even on the desk!) so the kids head to the junkyard — again, not where trash goes. This was 2002, we had the internet. Our pornography was unacceptably slow and unbearably puritan with nary a stepsister to be found, but you could still Altavista up what a dump was. Or you could at least ask any other human being what happens to garbage when you’re not looking at it. But no: Nobody involved in the making of this movie knew what to do with trash, which probably explains why they left all of Rapsittie Street Kids in Rapsittie Street Kids.
Only after writing down “EXT. THE JUNKYARD” did Wolf Tracer realize they would have to render maybe six boxes this time. Oh god, two stacks of chairs! A task so beyond their meager abilities they didn’t even try:
What happened here? You couldn’t put together three cars, the objects made out of straight lines and boxes? You couldn’t even find a picture of a car? You couldn’t even find a 6 year old willing to draw you a picture of a car who didn’t have lobster hands and child glaucoma? You really exploited Lippo the Lobster Boy’s poor vision and trusting nature to pay him 40 dollars in monopoly money for this establishing shot of a junkyard starring one legible carblob and two more carblobs that might actually be horseblob and mommyblob, now that I look closer?
You might have spied one of the gentle bullies hiding in that scene, waiting in ambush. Now, if my childhood bully found me in a junkyard I would have to eat a catalytic converter and walk home with my dick out, but their plan is to wait for Nicole, Smithy and Lenee to get there and “find the best junk” so they can “take the good stuff.” There is junk all around you. This is it. This is the whole of the junkyard; there is no backroom. Why is garbage such a mystery to this film that I would have sworn was magicked into life by a Garbagemancer?
Anyway, Smithy saves the day by hurling his precious sandwich at the bullies, which causes the guard dogs to chase them off. My god, Wolf Tracer. Why do you set goals you have no intention of meeting?
Those look like leaked screenshots of Spore from around the time when we all started to get worried about Spore. This isn’t just poorly done, it is actually madness. Why do they have eyestalks when they don’t have eyes? How is a paw a suction cup? If you truly can’t draw shit, a paw can just be a round blob – ask Lippo to draw Floofers, his only friend. He’ll show you. Just don’t tell him Floofers is taxidermied. You’ll set off another of what Dr. Bobbi fearfully calls “the pinchstorms.”
The kids find the bear in a weirdly prominent spot, and Nicole returns triumphant. She tries to give back the only memento Ricky has of his dead mother, but he wants to make them eyestalks roll so bad he insists she keep it.
That seems ridiculous even by the standards of Christmas specials, where a murderer’s heart can be changed by a really fancy bow, but wait — we’re going somewhere. Nicole’s grandmother gets her a Videobox. That’s the very expensive gift that Ricky wanted! Nicole, having recently learned the spirit of the season by visiting up to two locations where garbage is not, immediately regifts the console to Ricky.
And he accepts it! None of this “I couldn’t possibly, your friendship is enough” crap. He yoinks that console with a sinister grin that tells you his plan came together just like he and Nicole will tonight, but her eyeballs never will.
Because this was all his plan. Whose letter miraculously made its way to the rich girl? Who took the bear out of the dumpster, but nothing else? Who put it in a junkyard? In a safe, easily findable spot? That’s the real lesson Rapsittie Street Kids Believe in Santa wants to teach us: how to emotionally exploit the wealthy into buying us videogame consoles. PS5s are still going for like 20 grand on eBay.
You know what you have to do.
This post was brought to you by a Hot Tip from Hot Dog It’s Matthew Byas, and by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme, Lyman: A level 17 Bangbard whose cantrips are Vicious Muffery and Prestidongitation.