Teamworking Day: The Congo Trading Card Game

Here’s a fun fact about the 1995 film Congo: It rules. We already did a podcast discussing how and why, so that’s not why we’re here today. Today, we are looking at the Congo trading cards which represent the last of the bizarre decisions made by everyone involved in the 1995 film Congo

Brockway: Here’s another fun fact, that’s a fucking lie. Ernie Hudson would go on to star in Nosferajew, which was exactly what you think but somehow in 2009. I’m 60% sure I didn’t Photoshop this myself just to derail Seanbaby’s intro. 

Seanbaby: Holy fucking shit. Wait, that’s a series!? Not a 1996 MAD TV sket– no, stop, we have to get back to the madness of Congo. And in the spirit of that madness, we are shuffling the complete set of 90 Congo the Movie Trading Cards and playing a game we haven’t invented the rules for yet: Congo Poker.

We start by dealing five cards to the most handsome player, and already something has gone wrong because the first hand goes to Brockway:

Brockway: It doesn’t just count the handsomeness of your face, you fool. 

I know we haven’t established rules for this yet and it’s the first hand, but I have won the game. One dashing Bruce Campbell, one destroyed ghost-ape, a backpack! Two, count them two Ernies, Hudson. This is how you explain the concept of “domination” using only images a ghost-ape knows and fears. 

Seanbaby: My favorite fun fact of all the Congo fun facts is how Monroe Kelly was originally written for Sean Connery before he was replaced with Ernie Hudson. But instead of rewriting his scenes, they just added a little correction whenever someone mentioned his race. Which happened more often than you’d think. They should have made a trading card out of the script notes that led to this graceful introduction:

Oh, shit. I’m already off topic. Let me deal out my hand of Congo The Movie Trading Cards:

Seanbaby: I got two very sick gorillas and one Recondo which means I must have shuffled some GiJOE cards into the deck– perfectly within the rules. And here in the jungle, a Recondo counters at least one Ernie Hudson, even a ninja or cyborg variant.

Brockway: Fine, but there is no conventionally acknowledged strategy for defeating two Ernie Hudsons. Their teamwork would be unparalleled. He was the most accommodating actor they’d ever worked with, said the entire staff of Nosferajew, all now dead. 

Seanbaby: I’d actually really like it if Nosferajew was several Ernie Hudsons playing an entire family of Jewish vampi– no, damn it. Stop distracting me with 2009’s(!?) Nosferajew. Let’s get back to this Congo Poker matchup.

I’d hate to watch this fight, but my two sad, dying apes are more than a match for your startled gorilla already being killed by a machine gun. And I feel like my Guy Who Played Richard card matches up well against your Guy Making Soup card, so now we only have to decide who wins between my Kathleen Kennedy and your team of Bruce Campbell and Ernie Hudson. Every single one of them has spent thirty years making amazing movies followed by terrible movies, but Kathleen Kennedy is who you call when you want to spend $300 million on some Star Wars, and Bruce Campbell and Ernie Hudson are who you call when you’re crowdfunding a Buck Rogers in the 25th Century reboot. So, clear winner: Robert.

The score is Brockway: 1, Seanbaby: 0. Let’s deal hand #2:

Brockway: That’s my hand. Two robot gorillas and three Herkermers. It’s exactly the heist team I’d assemble if I was trying to steal two real gorillas from a bisexual zoo in a European country that never existed. 

Seanbaby: Wow. There’s only been three of them in history, but that’s the most impressive Congo Poker hand I’ve ever seen. That’s a Congo Poker full house, the Texas hold’em equivalent of the dealer sliding you a pair of their panties under five aces. I need a miracle. But one of the reasons I thought “Congo trading cards and nothing else” would somehow become an article is because I believe in miracles. Miracle, miracle, GO!

Brockway: Ha ha, you got a Dylan Walsh at his most damp and passive. If my hand is quint aces with rapidly disintegrating panties, you getting any hand with this Dylan Walsh card in it is like getting a two, a nine, the rules insert from Uno, a Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Card with no stamps on it, and this exact Dylan Walsh card again. 

Seanbaby: There’s no way to spin this. I got both of the endangered mountain gorilla cards and an apeless Dylan Walsh. What would you even call this poker hand? A pair of tragedies and a damp, passive Dylan Walsh high? This is the Congo Poker equivalent of hitting a foul ball into the head of your infant son. Ape fate has betrayed me.

I also got a Wildstorm Lingerie Zealot card, and it looks like she’s attached her underpants with wood screws? And fucking Extendar? A He-Man character I don’t remember with the power of extendable shins? I bet Extendar’s creator probably thought, “It can’t get any sadder than this.” But look at Extendar now, you fool. He is barely a footnote in this epic tale of sadness. If the 1992 Chinese Olympic basketball team was five pandas and Scottie Pippen choked each of them to death, the broadcasters would say, “We’re witnessing the most tragic defeat in any era of sports history, at least until the second round of Seanbaby vs. Brockway: Congo Poker 2022.”

The score is Brockway: 2, Seanbaby: -1. Let’s deal hand #3:

Brockway: The only good Dylan Walsh card is the one where he’s getting cucked by a silverback, and I got it! This game needs to catch on, I’m so fucking good at it. I should be a pro. I should be sitting in a half-empty reservation casino getting more COVID by the second, letting my opponents see their own heartbreak in my mirrored aviators as I slide a hippo attack and Ernie Hudson’s most awkward moment on set across the table.

Seanbaby: I got Peter and his gorilla giving each other flowers, which isn’t going to help me win, but I take as the game’s way of saying sorry. Then it immediately betrayed me by giving me Boat Ride, Finding a Dead Ape, and Phone Call. Jesus. Who decided which Congo moments should go on these? This is a movie where two different jungle expeditions get torn apart by a lost species of guard apes. It’s a movie where a hundred gorillas lose a gymnastics competition to a volcano. It’s a movie that adapted one third of a novel with no lasers into absolutely lasers. It’s a masterpiece, and they dedicated 4% of its trading card set to the time Joe Don Baker called Laura Linney just to check in. You know what Joe Don Baker can do? What Dylan Walsh and his sweet gorilla can do? Get cut in half by a laser or get the fuck off my collectible cards!

The score is now goddamn Brockway: 3, Seanbaby: -1. There is no coming back from this and hand #4 is purely academic:

Brockway: I deserve all of this comeuppance. 

A robot ape sipping a martini on a private plane can, at best, cancel two Dylan Walshs but not if all three of them are apologizing. 

Listen, I was high on victory, my favorite and most abused drug. But Seanbaby’s been right all along – these are the worst trading cards I’ve ever seen. In the movie Congo an ape throws a human eyeball at Bruce Campbell in the first three minutes. Why are we commemorating the time Dylan Walsh didn’t know where to put his hands on the airport golf cart ride?

Seanbaby: Okay, this is bullshit. The on-set dentist for the robot hippo got a card? Which will go great with the fucking two different Dylan Walsh conversations with side characters about logistic budgets! And I don’t know how this got in there, but the one on the bottom left is “Faithful to the End” from a 1986 set of Civil War cards from De-Lish-Us Potato Chips. So a snack company commissioned a clumsy painting of a dead racist’s dog wondering how long you’re supposed to wait before you eat your owner, and it’s still not my least favorite. Make it official: Congo The Movie Trading Cards are worse than a golden retriever dog eating Civil War corpses.

Brockway: I don’t know how you take something this fun and sift all the awesome out. It’s like panning for gold and only keeping the fossilized dogshit. If these cards hadn’t proved it, I would’ve told you there aren’t five bad frames in all of Congo. But I guess you forgive the twelve-minute long satellite phone call management scene when it’s bookended by ape death. 

We have to hold strong, you know which cards are coming and we both know they’re coming to me. I cannot wait, I cannot wait to dominate you with a sideways flipping volcano ape as you pathetically drop a Dylan Wash Shares a Sexually Charged Moment with a Robot Gorilla (17 of 165). 

Seanbaby: As has always been part of the rules, I cheated and looked through the rest of the deck. They basically ignore the entire final third of the movie. No volcano massacre. No laser fight. So fuck this, I hate this game, all rules are off– we are making our own Congo cards.

Brockway: Fuck yes, I only wish this came before I got too excited and bought the entire set of Corgo trading cards off “ruBay” for for 3,900 kopecks. Which I just looked up and I guess it’s like .64 cents but that’s still a ripoff.

Seanbaby: For 1100 kopecks, Dylan Walsh will have a sexually charged moment with any puppet or animatronic over Skype. Anyway, the score is You: 4, Me: -1, and you may deal yourself any five Congo cards you want.

Brockway: In the world of professional Congo Hold ‘Em this is called an Ape Hubris and it has never been beaten.  

Seanbaby: I love this game! I can’t wait to see mine!

Seanbaby: Holy crap! I got Herkermer Homolka’s death scene! The whole thing, perfectly captured on trading card! He tried to slink away from a horde of killer gorillas and barely had time to scream before he was bashed inside out. Most movies wouldn’t cartoonishly pulverize their best character into raspberry jam, but Congo did! It can’t beat laser apes, but with this hand, I finally look like a professional Congo Poker player.

Brockway: Can I have that Photoshop template? I want to change all the captions to be in one of Herkermer’s six accents. 

Seanbaby: Sure. The score is now Brockway: 5 and Seanbaby: 0 because I gave myself a point for coming up with the idea of putting the good parts of Congo on the Congo trading cards. Let’s see your final hand:

Brockway: This scene is how philosophers proved there is a god and he loves us. It’s called Lava Ape’s Gambit, and the gist of it is that all of human creation did lead up to this one moment, so it’s smarter to cut the big guy some fuckin’ slack on the plague stuff.

Seanbaby: Glorious. And decisive. We should call the game now. I’m down by five points and you just fielded a lost society of great apes being eaten by a volcano. There is virtually no way I can win this thing. But what the hell; I’ll deal out my final hand:

Seanbaby: What’s this? Snout Spout? Five Snout Spouts!? Do you know what the odds are of me drawing five copies of the He-Man guy who shoots water out of his elephant robot head? One in seven! Which means against all odds, I did it! I won! I won!

Brockway: My god, the only hand that can beat an Ape Hubris. I like how he doesn’t have the trunk strength to manage his own blasts so he has to hand-wrangle it like it’s a jumping cock. I also like that he comes with a little camping ax because let’s face it, blasting enemies with his facehog was never about winning battles. 

I say I like it but I hate it, and I of course vow revenge.

7 replies on “Teamworking Day: The Congo Trading Card Game”

My favourite Ernie Hudson fact is that in Torchwood: Miracle Day (the Starz miniseries in which a massive underground alien wall of meat makes death illegal), Ernie plays a corporate whistleblower who explains the entire central conspiracy to John Barrowman at dinner via a nail-biting twenty minute monologue of batshit interrupted only by Captain Jack Harkness going, “Huh, really?!”.

I wish all scriptwriters fixed plot holes with Ernie Hudson calmly explaining to the protagonist everything they need to know while they share a meal and it should take up at least 35% of the script.

I forgot about this!! Thank you for the reminder but I dont know if I can rewatch Torchwood, Owen is such a tool.

I can’t believe Seanbaby got a Herkermer Exodia and still lost. Ape Hubris is crazy OP.

I did a collector show (or it might have been Comic-Con — I can’t remember) with Ernie Hudson, Elvira, Marina Sirtis, and a few other semi-sorta-famous people. We were stuck out in the boondocks, everyone but me signing photos. Ernie was the only friendly one and we spent the whole time small-talking, because we were so far out in the nowhere of the exhibition-plex that there were hardly any people coming to the tables. Ernie Hudson is a mensch. I would explore a volcano jungle full of starving ancient cannibapes with him any time.

Came for Congo, got some EXTENDAR! Yay yay yay!
Extendar: To most (including adult me) he is a sign that creativity in the brand was incredibly low at the time, and a really flimsy toy as well. in a like of stout figures that can take a beating.
But to little me, he was motherfucking EXTENDAR! The undisputed, uninspiring CHAMPION OF THE TOYBOX WRESTLING FEDERATION!
Extendar DOMINATED the big blue WWE ring with only one rope left that hadnt broken. Took on all challengers, from The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak (arattatatatata arattatta) to Shredder to Perceptor to nonarticulated rubber Andre the Giant. Didnt always win, but never really lost. Extendar was never averse to walking away and getting counted out to protect his reign. His career highlight was a match against Omega Supreme wherein he defeated his much larger opponent by literally tearing off his arms and legs and throwing him outside the ring to get counted out Berzerker style.
Thank you for sending me down that fun little memory road!
5 Snout Spouts could have wrecked him though.

If only they made playing cards that are Congo and Hunk themed, it’s such an obvious combination.

Brockway wasted a massive opportunity by not bringing back the bitch of bing khan game piece during the several times all rules spontaneously combusted.

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