Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm So MSTie Over You

Todays entry is practically a public service. If you’re like me (if you’re not you should aspire to be as I can be pretty awesome) Saturday mornings in the not too distant past consisted of plopping down in front of the tube with a mug of coffee and the most sickeningly sweet cold cereal you could find to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. For the uninitiated, MST3K was a show starring a guy and two robots that were forced to watch really bad films as some sort of experiment. Fortunately the robots had incredible senses of humor and they and the guy, originally portrayed by Joel Hodgson and followed by Mike J Nelson, spent the movie making bad puns, sarcastic one liners and throwing out more pop culture references than a library of Dennis Miller rants. It was the funniest thing on tv. The show ran from 1988-1999 for 199 episodes and I’ve seen each one at least twice. It’s true, even with the humor many of these films did everything in their power to put you to sleep, and there were more than one occasion where I swore I would have to practice defenestration (look it up you lazy bums) to save myself from the horrors of the film I was watching, but I came back week after week and like Beetlejuices take on the Exorcist it just got funnier and funnier. The day MST3K ended its run was the day laughter stopped, well it would have been if it wasn’t for CSpan.

I’m not just here to wax nostalgic though, no siree. The voices and writers behind one of the funniest shows ever are back as The Film Crew. There are no robots, no silhouettes, no Satellite of Love or invention exchanges, though there are still some lame interludes wisely kept to a minimum. The premise is much simpler; they provide audio commentary for films that never had one. Of course these films would have to be the scrapings below the bottom of the barrel. Mike is visually the only recognizable personality here, but once the film starts and the chatter begins it’s like old friends have come home. Kevin Murphy who voiced Tom Servo and Bill Corbett who was the 2nd voice of Crow T Robot are along for the ride.

Now don’t think they make the kind of jokes you’ll remember to impress your friends with your sharp wit. The humor is definitely dependent on the visuals from the films. This weekend I watched Killers From Space starring a young Peter Graves. One running gag is whenever the film shows Graves writing something they voice his internal musings as thinking of titles for shows he will later star in, “Let’s see, Mission Easy, no that’s not right.”. Killers From Space and Hollywood After Dark starring a very unsexy Rue Mclanahan as a stripper (she was hotter in Golden Girls, no lie) are the only two I have seen so far. Giant of Marathon and Wild Women of Wongo are the other two releases and are in my Netflix queue. I strongly urge you to seek these out, watch them, then invite some friends over to watch them again. If you don’t have friends, cats and action figures will suffice. Keep these guys making the funny, the fate of humor depends on it.

The Film Crew have another project called Rifftrax. For $4 or less you can download an MP3 audio track to provide commentary for a DVD you probably own. Films like Transformers, Spiderman and 300 as well as pilot episodes of Lost, Heroes and Greys Anatomy are available. There are 54 commentaries in total with more to come. If you watch films on your computer there is a beta player that will sync the audio and film up for you (currently windows only). I haven’t tried Rifftrax yet, but I’m thinking hey, I’m not doing anything else with Independence Day, am I?

I’ll let you know how it works out


Another Limited Rebellion said...

Also awesome is Joel and the Gang's new Cinematic Titanic project!

Charlie said...

I had planned on mentioning Cinematic Titanic, but like Rifftrax, I haven't really sampled it yet. The $16 price tag is kinda steep for an unknown. The film crew is widely accessible, and for 4 bucks I'll try at least one Rifftrax. Thanks for mentioning it though. If anyone gives it a try let me know how it is.