I don't have anything to say about Homer or the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but the Sting/Feyd figure...
Isn't it great that David Lynch's Dune was heavily merchandised? Kenner or Hasbro or whoever must have been thrilled to win the license to make toys based on the notorious flop, because at the time, prior to the film's release, it must have seemed like a sure thing. After all, it was a mega-budgeted Sci-Fi extravaganza, absolutely brimming with space ships and zap guns, directed by an Academy Award nominated critics' darling, based on a beloved best seller, and featuring a star-studded cast which included a chart-topping rock star. What could possibly go wrong?
Can you imagine the looks on the toy company executives' faces when they finally saw the thing? They had really gone to town, as you can see here, and legend tells that the production runs were huge so as to not be in short supply. They weren't going to be caught with empty shelves at the shops like Kenner had with their Star Wars toys, no sir!
Slow-moving, drab, philosophical and ponderous, kids hated Dune (I loved it). They had no desire to play spice mining in the sandbox. They did not want an obese action figure covered in boils and pustules. I remember purchasing the above Feyd doll –sorry, action figure– for 50¢ from a clearance shelf crowded with rejected David Lynch toys. Wow, I wish I had bought the Sandworm! Sting/Feyd is carrying a fabulous accessory, an emaciated cat in a little cage; the story goes that he just poisoned the Mentat guy who then has to milk the mutant cat for the antidote. And yet children did not want this toy! Kids are so fickle.
But the saddest souvenir I have from Dune is the Making of Dune paperback, an absolute must for David Lynch fans. It's hilarious because even though the book is written by the movie's publicist, you can still tell how absolutely everything went wrong in the course of making the film. You feel like you are there as disastrous decisions are being made! Saddest of all, you have everybody raving about how great it's going to turn out and accepting the movie's future blockbuster performance as a given, a no-brainer. David Lynch, for instance, talks about how he's already writing the script for the first of many sequels, and he's so excited that it just breaks your heart. Thank goodness he also mentions in passing another idea knocking around in his head, a script called Blue Velvet.
As for the film itself, I think of Dune as being a fascinating, beautiful failure. It seems long but wants to be much longer, because it never quite manages to be truly mesmerizing. The production design is uniformly gorgeous, and alone makes it worth seeing. The movie is fatally sabotaged by terrible acting, performances which range from bland (Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis) to conventionally bad (Everett McGill, Patrick Stewart) to shamelessly swinging from the chandeliers (Linda Hunt, Brad Dourif, all the bald ladies). Lynch's script is caught between abstraction and story telling and in the process somehow became neither. Characters leave and then show up 90 minutes later, ominous portents lead nowhere, feeble attempts at humor induce cringes, tiny Alicia Witt gets thrown in as an afterthought, everything comes to a grinding halt for beautiful sequences which make no sense, etc. This is asking a lot from film-goers looking for something more along the lines of Buck Rogers.
EDIT: Ooh, you know what would have been better? If Lynch had edited the movie down to a series of stills with a voice-over, a la La Jetée.
All in all, though, Dune sure is a hell of a lot more interesting than Star Wars.