30 April 2007

MST3K (1004)

1004 - Future War - I liked Mary Jo's description of the scene with the cardboard-and-tape "camera" carried by the movie's TV cameraman as "heartbreaking." It's sort of a good description of the entire movie. They tried -- they really did -- but just not very hard. Then again, the director was also the SFX guy who created the finger critter in Bride of Re-Animator, so he gets some bonus points for that.

"This is because Joel stopped by recently, isn't it?" quips Crow as Mike makes shadow puppets on the movie screen using toys during the credits of the film. Ah, I knew it! That's why Mike did the pool cue gag a couple of episodes ago. I wonder if, after 1001, the writers began reminiscing: "remember when Joel used to..."? I'm not complaining.

"A Macy's balloon! Oh, it's you." Pretty good riffing this time, though it seemed a tad lighter than recent episodes. Still, any crack about the beefy guys from the halfway house always got me to laugh. "May your road be paved with sausages."

"Fred Burroughs! Help me!" (7/10)

film d. Anthony Doublin (1994)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (25 Apr 1999)

29 April 2007

MST3K (1003)

1003 - Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders - Many years ago, after I'd successfully collected some of the Sci-Fi era episodes from reruns, I randomly grabbed this one off the shelf to show some friends. I'd had great success showing them perennial favorite Mitchell a few months prior. While I was converting Merlin to DVD, it looked like it might be fun, so I gave it a shot. It didn't disappoint. Though the copious bottles of beer may have helped, there was much laughter that night.

Sober, it doesn't disappoint, either. A completely goofy gestalt film starring Mermaid Man himself, there are ample subjects populating the film begging for riffing. "I'm Bob Jackass." My one complaint: the guys are a little hard on Merlin's wife Zurella. Aw, she just seemed like such a nice lady. No need to poke fun at her dog bed hat.

In a weird coincidence, the power went out while I was in the middle of this episode. Just like the kid in the framing segments --SNAP-- the TV and all of the lights shut off. I didn't have a grandfather handy to tell me about his failed movie scripts, so I settled for reading further in my collected Poe book by candlelight. "Emo," as the kids say, perhaps... but nifty all the same. Anyway, this makes 1003 the only episode to take me two whole days to watch.

"Merlin sends in his trained flatulence to scout the room." (9/10)

film d. Kenneth J. Berton (1995)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (18 Sep 1999)

OLR: 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

I'm more of a Something Wicked This Way Comes kind of guy, but this was some good fun. (7/10)

d. George Pal

[thanks for the recommend, Joel]

OLR: Masters of Horror: "The Fair-Haired Child" (2005)

Exquisitely plotted and shot, though I think Malone owes Chris Cunningham some royalties. (9/10)

d. William Malone

OLR: Masters of Horror: "Haeckel's Tale" (2005)

Veered dangerously close to Cryptkeeper territory, but who doesn't love a good corpse orgy? (7/10)

d. John McNaughton

27 April 2007

Star Trek: TOS 1.12: "The Conscience of the King"

Lenore gets angry with Kirk because he applied the ole Captain's charm just to get close to her father, but she's the one with Kirk on her "to kill" list. Then again, she was nuts.

yr: 2266
sd: 2817.6
ad: 8 Dec 1966

25 April 2007

Star Trek: TOS 1.11: "Miri"

McCoy effortlessly comes up with the cure to another unknown disease for the second time in five episode while on a planet that, for absolutely no reason outside of the budget, looks exactly like 1960s Earth. Worst. Episode. Ever. (up to this point)

yr: 2266
sd: 2713.5
ad: 27 Oct 1966

MST3K (1002)

1002 - Girl in Gold Boots - We haven't had a late-'60s-youth-gone-wild flick in a really, really long time. Like its predecessors, Gold Boots boldly defines the words sleazy and oily.

"I'm having Critter's varmint!" The riffing was much funnier than I remembered. Last time I watched this episode, I found it boring. I must have been sleepy, because the riffing was consistent and dead-on target for most of the episode. Season ten's off to a great start. "I'm gonna drive in reverse and get some of that gas back."

I think Joel's visit had a lasting affect into this episode. I betcha his really old habit of using props in the theater inspired Mike's gag with the pool cue in this one. Mike even admits to the bots that he's been saving it for "8 years," which is longer than he's been the host but not longer than he has been head writer.

The ACEG mentions that the whole "Mad Scientist Accreditation" thing was a result of a Sci-Fi mandated storyline arc for the season. I liked it, anyway. I've also come to the slow realization that Paul Chaplin is hilarious as a guest actor. This time, he plays a foppish mad scientist from the accreditation bureau. He's great in these bureaucratic roles. He was also a funny Observer back at the beginning of season 8.

Bill: you owe me a brainwashing. The image of Brain Guy dressed only in a gold mini dress, gold boots and too-tight tights dancing for the pleasure of Pearl and the mad scientist is going to weasel its way into my mind's eye repeatedly throughout the day, despite my attempts to block that memory from ever surfacing again. Sorry, I just can't accept Observer as a sexual being.

"Hey, my butt is drunk." (8/10)

film d. Ted V. Mikels (1968)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (18 Apr 1999)

24 April 2007

MST3K (1001)

1001 - Soultaker - Man, it was good to see Joel and Frank on the show again. After four-and-a-half years of Mike, I was starting to forget what Joel's goofy, easy-going demeanor was like. I miss him. Yeah, Joel seems a little out of practice at being on camera again. Big deal. Joel's weirdness-resulting-in-creativity Joelitude shines through all the same. And, Frank obviously had a lot of fun stepping back into the shoes of his former TV persona. He mugs for the camera just like he always used to, shoving his generous face too close to the lens and fixing it with his trademark benignly stupid appearance. Frank was good people.

A little dangerous for the newbies to be bringing back the old schoolers, though. "Oh yeah, I remember now when the show was like that..." might not be a good thing to bring up in the minds of the viewers if they prefer the old days to the new. This might be especially true to the Mad host segments. Frank and Dr. F. were about as good as those segments can possibly be.

"Man, that guy's got a small face!" There was some fine riffage going on in this episode as well. I didn't laugh as much as I was expecting to -- I already knew I liked this episode -- but that might be because I'm not feeling great today. And, on that note, I should cut this short.

"Being low class, we only had corncobs for windows." (8/10)

film d. Michael Rissi (1990)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (11 Apr 1999)

23 April 2007

OLR: Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

I would probably kneel before Colossus almost as quickly as I'd kneel before Zod. (8/10)

d. Joseph Sargent

[thanks for the recommend, Joel]

MST3K (season nine closing thoughts)

Goodbye, season nine.

Similar to my feelings on season four, the guys are now humming along like a well-oiled machine on their new network. Instead of a pointless storyline, there's good variety in the host segments. The riffing feels like it's more than second nature to the trio in the theater (one-and-a-half nature, nearly). I'm enjoying their creativity in dealing with some of the over-long, unriffable credits. Pearl testing for pain leakage, Servo singing a song to himself, and abusing a cardboard cutout of Rick Sloane were all three thousand times funnier than making fun of a list of names.

It's getting harder to keep myself on schedule. In the early months of this project, my attitude was generally "I need a laugh, let's watch an episode." Lately, I approach most episodes with a sigh and a "let's get this out of the way." Watching MST3K has become a job, which wasn't unexpected but still isn't very fun. Once I get an episode started, things are fine. I fall easily into the groove of the show and approach it open to laughter. Werewolf demonstrated to me that I haven't lost the ability to really enjoy the show when en episode calls for it.

Luckily, having seen many of the episodes already, I know season ten is solid stuff. I'm looking forward to Joel, Frank and Mitchell all coming back, Ernest Borgnine scaring the shit out of a little kid and Gypsy starting her own company. Mostly, though, I'm looking forward to being done. Freedom!

The Numbers

Total Length
20 hours, 45 minutes, 35 seconds
(92 min average for 13 episodes)
(18 min average for 3 specials)

Years Spanned
(1975 average)

Shorts Years Spanned
(1960 average)

Time to Watch
22 days
Time to Broadcast Originally
197 days

British Invasion
901, 905, 909 (23%)
Attack of the Mutant Animals
904, 905, 907, 909, 911 (38%)
Black and White to Color Ratio

Star Trek: TOS 1.10: "Dagger of the Mind"

Spock mind-melds with Dr. Van Gelder, becoming intimately familiar with what being a really sweaty man is like.

yr: 2266
sd: 2715.1
ad: 3 Nov 1966

MST3K (913)

913 - Quest of the Delta Knights - As with 611, a Mad takes a turn in the theater during the first section of the movie. For Pearl, this isn't technically a brand new concept. She visited during the 1st summer movie special and was rather annoyingly obsessed with George Clooney. For this episode, I think she did a slightly better job at the theater riffing than Frank did during his season six shot. It might just be that her delivery is closer to Mike's style than Frank's, is all. Still, for both episodes, I'm glad the Mad experiment only last for a part of the movie.

The riffing, with Mike or Pearl, was OK. I was surprised at their restraint: there was hardly any "huzzahs!" or references to sales of mugs made of tanned cow hide in the entire show.

Nice to see a visitor to the hexfield. Those are far too rare in the Mike era. The guest was even a character from the movie this time, traveling in an appropriately themed spaceship. Just like old times! Bill did great as the long-lived Leonardo da Vinci, currently a made man from Queens.

As for the movie itself: I have never seen that much urine thrown on someone in my entire life. Yuck.

"I accidentally put a sign on myself that read: 'slave for sale.'" (7/10)

film d. James Dodson (1993)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (26 Sep 1998)

22 April 2007

Star Trek: TOS 1.09: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

I wish I had Kirk around every time I have computer trouble. No one will ever be as good at talking computers to death than he was.

So, after this incident and and "The Enemy Within" issue, you'd think the crew of the Enterprise would devise some method of determining whether the captain was the captain or yet another evil twin. A pass phrase, a bio-scan, a tattoo on the real Kirk's thigh... something that's easy to check every time you run into the man to make sure he isn't evil. This would at least save some time when the Mirror Universe stuff goes down.

yr: 2266
sd: 2712.4
ad: 20 Oct 1966

20 April 2007


2nd Annual Mystery Science Theater 3000 Summer Blockbuster Review - Pretty much the same deal as last year's offering, though they covered twice as many movies:

Of those, I only own one on DVD: Halloween: Water, which was an OK horror sequel in my book. I have to say, 1998's summer offered a much better selection of movies than 1997. After seeing the clips in this special, I wouldn't mind rewatching several of these now. Also: Deep Impact > Armageddon.

They claimed that they weren't allowed to show any footage from Godzilla or even say its name for this show. I wonder if Sony, stinging from the massive failure of this film, wasn't about to allow a rinky-dink puppet show to throw more lemon juice in the wound? Or, it might've been that the MST3K crew was just funning around, making Godzilla the butt of the standard "hope we don't get sued" joke. I wish there was an ACEG for these specials for some behind-the-scenes info.

If MST3K were to have survived in a leaner form post-cancellation, specials like these would've been a fine way to go. There's no crew better to offer reviews of up-coming blockbusters and the shorter length of these specials is far friendlier to syndication, rerunning, and kids' short attention spans.

"I can only hear naked people." (7/10)

mst d. Michael J. Nelson (4 Sep 1998)

MST3K (912)

912 - The Screaming Skull (w/ A Gumby Adventure: "Robot Rumpus") - Ahh, I haven't seen a Gumby show in a long while. I forgot how cool those used to be. They're imaginative and fun and Gumby's illogical, nude design is neat. The riffing over the short is energetic and vicious. I think the guys really enjoyed this one: shorts are a rarity in the Sci-Fi era and this is their very first (and last) piece of animation. "Pokey left a big surprise in your begonias."

Unfortunately, the fun of the short lasts only six minutes. The rest of the episode is slow torture from a really bad haunted house flick. I could barely pay attention to this slice of tedium. This is the type of film that can't be rescued by funny comments, I don't think. Or, I'm just mad because the movie implied there was a significant risk of death from fright while watching it and the closest I came to the end of my life during this episode was the headrush from standing up too fast after it was finished.

Speaking of the risk of death, I did enjoy Servo's effort to claim a free coffin from AIP in the host segments. The was a definite glint of authenticity in Servo's change of heart when his prank call begins to go not quite as he planned. Also amusing was Mike's unending freak-out over Crow pretending to be a skull.

Useless trivia: on 31 Jan 2004, this episode became the last MST3K to ever air on television.

"That squares my breasts." (6/10)

film d. Alex Nicol (1958)
short d. Art Clokey (1957)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (29 Aug 1998)

Star Trek: TOS 1.08: "Balance of Terror"

The spiritual ancestor to the space battle in Wrath of Khan. Damn good stuff.

They might have taken the submarine metaphor a wee bit too far. When trying to hid from another ship in outer space, it's not gonna matter how much noise you make inside of your own little vessel. Ah well, it worked for the plot.

yr: 2266
sd: 1709.2
ad: 13 Dec 1966

19 April 2007

OLR: Logan's Run (1976)

There can be no other movie to watch on the day you turn 30. (8/10)

d. Michael Anderson

18 April 2007

Star Trek: TOS 1.07: "Charlie X"

"It's a Good Life" in space.

Omnipotent beings are such a plague in the Star Trek Universe. Starting on this stardate, the Federation should've immediately begun working to find some kind of variety of torpedo to shoot at these things. It would've come in handy many times over if they'd succeeded.

yr: 2266
sd: 1533.6
ad: 15 Sep 1966

MST3K (911)

911 - Devil Fish - "He's enjoying the bold, adventurous life of a TV repairman." Not so adventurous that it didn't almost put me to sleep in the middle of the afternoon, but pretty exciting by electrician standards, I'm sure. On paper, a giant shark-octopus with the powers of Lobo sounds like a good time. In practice, with the film budget clearly spend almost entirely on bribing the Coast Guard for the use of their helicopters in order to give the film an veneer of legitimacy, it's not so great. There's really no reason to watch a Bava movie with all of the gore and nudity snipped out, anyway.

Speaking of, a camera pointed up a ladder nearly gave us a shot of one of the male character's area as he climbed on down. Only a fortuitously place MST3K logo blocked out the offending organ. I guess that'll do the job. I liked it much better when Joel had to handle this issue the last time it came up. As Joel was wont to do back then, he got out of his seat and randomly decided that he needed to open an umbrella. This happened at the exact moment of onscreen nudity way back in 403, much to the bots' disappointment. That's the fun way to censor for TV.

Amazing: a Castle Forrester host segment that actually got me to laugh. I have no idea why, but I found the final segment pretty funny. In it, Pearl serves her cruise ship passengers "dinner with the captain." The captain is played by a costumed Bobo. Not having a good day, Bobo decides to go apeshit during the meal and begings destroying dishes, beating his chest and jumping on the table. Flying breakfast cereal and terrified passengers go well together, I think.

"Yes, here at W.O.I. we do this kind of thing." (6/10)

film d. Lamberto Bava [as John Old Jr.] (1984)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (15 Aug 1998)

17 April 2007

MST3K (910)

910 - The Final Sacrifice - Kind of a Canadian version of The Goonies, except that all but one of the kids has been replaced by a beer-swilling "uncooked bratwurst with hair." I haven't the slightest idea what the cult in the movie wanted, what that ancient city was all about, or why they killed the boy's dad. There was something about a map and a code to translate in there, too. I dunno. I just remember, fondly, that crazy old Red Green clone in the cabin. Derned varmints!

Given two characters with so much built-in potential for humor -- Zap Rowsdower and boy-geek Troy -- the riffing was a breeze for the guys. Rowsdower's hair, poor health, beverage of choice and butt shape all fall under the blade of the crew's wit. I think of him as the Canadian Mitchell. Also under attack were Troy's more than obvious loves of band camp, glee club and Counselor Troi, as well as his resultant experience with bullying. Too many sports references in the beginning, though. Who the frig is Larry Csonka?

I wonder if "I Wish I Was Back in Old Canada" got them any hate mail from north of the border?

"You know, he blends in. He looks like a sack of garbage." (8/10)

film d. Tjardus Greidanus (1988)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (25 Jul 1998)

16 April 2007

MST3K (909)

909 - Gorgo - If there's one thing MST3K has taught me about myself, it's that I don't like giant monster movies. "Filmed loudly and badly..." is about as accurate as the ACEG gets. All of these giant critter films are always hastily edited and full of noise. My memories of Gorgo, Gamera and Godzilla's cinematic appearances consist mainly of people running around screaming, guns firing uselessly at the titular monster and extremely annoying children. I don't think there's much more to them than that. There's also something about a guy slow-mo-walking in a rubber suit through miniature buildings that puts me right to sleep.

After the ribbing the guys gave him in Laserblast, I suppose it's kind of cool for Leonard Maltin to actually appear on the show. He never does explain why that previous film was rated 2.5 stars in his guide. Instead, he uses his screen time to hawk the new edition of his guide: "When we reviewed it for my number one, best-selling movie and video guide..." "Using my new update movie and video guide, we'll find the worst movie ever..." I dunno. This is not what I want to see on MST3K. Exchanging the grace of your presence for the opportunity to advertise your latest wares is something that should be confined to late night talk shows. If this is the price, I think guest stars should be avoided at all costs. Plus, Mary Jo just seemed really uncomfortable in her segments with the Famous Guy. I guess this explains her absence in the last episode, though.

The only part of the episode I rather liked was the host segment with the Nanites. In this entire post-TV's Frank era, the Nanites are the new additions that I enjoy. Maybe it's because they remind me of Sifl & Olly for some reason? I plain find them entertaining. "Our clown is dead!" Hehe.

"Need any freelance frogmanning services?" (6/10)

film d. Eugène Lourié (1961)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (18 Jul 1998)

14 April 2007

Guest OLR: Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Truly one of the most awkwardly constructed movies I have ever seen in my life. (3/10)

d. John Boorman

13 April 2007

MST3K (908)

908 - The Touch of Satan - "All the actors drink a quart of Robitussin before shooting?" You know, I kind of liked the pacing of the movie. It was slower than Sleep with about as much happening. I found it relaxing. It has this breeze-through-leaves, cool summer day vibe going on. I liked the fact that Luthor and Molly (the "parents") were never explained. Were they just random farmers? Maybe they were Melissa's children from 50 years ago? This is also, possibly, the only pro-witch burning movie of which I've ever seen or heard. If the village mob had only done their job properly, crazy grandma wouldn't have gotten to pitchfork/meathook anyone a century later. Slackers.

"She's gonna go buy a whole bunch of Procter & Gamble products." There were plenty of funny lines filled in the extended pauses in the dialogue. The filmmaker's bizarre choice to set the action on a walnut farm (?) led to some fun riffing. Mike and the bots wondered how many head of walnuts the ranch had, warn the main character not to spook them, and marveled at how much hay they required.

I wonder where Mary Jo was during this episode? Were the guys giving Beez a try-out to see if she'd work as the main antagonist of the host segments? Or, was Mary Jo just on vacation and this was all they could think of as a fill-in? Neat as Beez may be, I don't think I could take 1.5 more seasons of babysitter shtick. I feel more comfortable with the MST-standard mad scientist.

"Oh, and an extra dollar for the aliens in my head." (8/10)

film d. Tom Laughlin [as Don Henderson] (1971)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (11 Jul 1998)

11 April 2007

MST3K (907)

907 - Hobgoblins - The wacky adventures of Frankie, Sniffles, Bounce-Bounce and The Claw. It's the best Gremlins rip-off I've ever seen... which amounts to Troll 2 and this, basically. As far as bad '80s horror movies go, it's lacking. It really needed a dollop of Troma wackiness to spice things up. Roadrash getting dumped in a barrel of toxic waste, Kevin turning into a kabuki warrior, Amy going simultaneously blind and topless... stuff like that. The hobgoblins didn't even have some kind of gross slimey stuff coming out of their mouths! What a rip.

"Our special tonight is poached go to hell." The riffing, like the movie, was alternatively dragging and entertaining. The guys would sometimes get on a roll and get some good lines going. "Nick's a smoking husk right now. He won't mind if we take his van." I am also always a fan of creative ways to deal with over-long credits. This time, they yank out a cardboard cutout of director Rick Sloane and lay into him far worse than Sandy Frank was ever abused. I wonder if Sloane ever commented on this episode?

Holy cow. Coming out this year is the sequel. Rick Sloane is back on crack, it would seem. Well, I hope we get a more in-depth look at the undoubtedly interesting back-story for Club Scum's lovable bouncer Roadrash.

"The crowd threw beef gravy on him." (7/10)

film d. Rick Sloane (1988)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (27 Jun 1998)

10 April 2007

MST3K (906)

906 - The Space Children (w/ Century 21 Calling…) - I don't think this is that bad of a movie. Compared to the complete crap the Japanese were making at the time, this "alien meets innocent children" flick is pretty good. Compared to the only other "alien destroys our nukes for us" movie I can think of, this is a masterpiece. It's a nice piece of Cold War-era hopefulness. I can see why Spielberg came out as a fan of this film in a recent TV special.

It's been years since we last had a short. The first of the Sci-Fi era was an appropriate choice about the past-future of telephones. Man, the advent of the personal computer really screwed with the telephone people's plans. Telephone-controlled appliances? Not quite.

Listening to this episode using headphones, this was the first time I really noticed that the show is in stereo. During the "(Model) Rocketry" segment, they really play around with their two channel power. As the bots hide off-screen at stage left on the SOL, their voices appropriately come from the left speaker. As Bobo spins in the out-of-control centrifuge, his screams begin in the left speaker, fly into the center and end up on the right. I had no idea they were putting this much work into the sound design of the show. Neat.

"C'mon! Let's go grope that Eskimo!" (7/10)

film d. Jack Arnold (1958)
short d. Robert Larsen (1962)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (13 Jun 1998)

09 April 2007

MST3K (905)

905 - The Deadly Bees - "Why didn't I marry a cigarette?" The riffing always goes a lot smoother when there's a great character to pick on. In this film, there's a host of surely English people to poke fun at and an incredibly dim leading lady. "Objection! Stupid hat!"

The host segments were not particularly memorable. I did like the sitcom-style prologue, in which the guys re-enact several TV clichés under the banner of "last time on..." Mike dressed as a bee was funny in and of itself, but the gag in which only Servo can understand his unique language hasn't worked since the days of R2-D2. "The Please Stay Operetta" was well-performed, but I'm not really into songs that veer heavily into stage-musical territory.

It's been six years since Crow fell in love with a character from the movie. He's still on a bad run, though. Mrs. Hargrove -- also known as "The Cigarette Hag" -- is probably an even more *ahem* interesting choice for a ladylove than dear, old Estelle. The actresses playing both, disturbingly, were long dead by the time MST3K rolled into town. I'm not sure what that says about Crow. I suppose these choices offer more comedic potential than the easy-to-like Kim, but still... c'mon, Crow.

"On a dare, this guy built his farm blindfolded." (7/10)

film d. Freddie Francis (1966)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (9 May 1998)

08 April 2007

OLR: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

A CliffsNotes version of the Singer movies, but with much more mass-murder. (6/10)

d. Brett Ratner

OLR: Fast Food Nation (2006)

The nonfictional book should've been made into a documentary. (6/10)

d. Richard Linklater

05 April 2007

MST3K (904)

904 - Werewolf - All of the main characters speaking like Valaria was a good omen. I couldn't tell you what the plot of Werewolf was and I don't care. This is a classically great bad movie. Incomprehensible, low-budget, terrible on both a technical and artistic level and starring an Estevez. You don't need much more than that.

"I replaced my toes with grapes." The guys seemed to have more fun in this episode than they've had in a while. The riffing was nice-n-goofy and consistently got me laughing loudly. I'm not usually too big of a fan of the "point out the technical flaws of the filmmakers" brand of riffing, but -- probably because this film was so incredibly ineptly constructed -- it worked in this episode. Pointing out the changing werewolf masks, the impossibly bad audio for dialog, the don't-give-a-damn composition and utter lack of direction in the plot was worth some laughs.

The host segments were surprisingly lively as well. Mike whimsically scales a long ladder from Earth's orbit, only to find himself climbing through the ceiling Castle Forrester. The "drawings slideshow"-style segment makes a return in the following segment, with Servo and Mike displaying portraits of people they'd cast in a werewolf movie. The show gets slightly self-reflexive when Crow bows out. He just can't think of anything for this latest slideshow. More self-reflexiveness follows when, after singing their first song of the season, the guys seem a bit weirded out with themselves. Sitting there, dressed as 1950s teenage girls, singing about a werewolf getting into a fatal car accident... I suppose they should be. Mike dressed as a werecrow? Great stuff. (And, I just knew Mike would replace Jack Perkins for James Lipton someday)

"Weasels ripped my flesh again." (9/10)

film d. Tony Zarindast (1995)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (18 Apr 1998)

Star Trek: TOS 1.06: "The Naked Time"

Can you infer anything about the people who were not infected? After all, you have to touch other people to catch it... you need to swap perspiration. This implies that Scotty, McCoy, Uhura and Rand didn't come into contact with another human for 72 hours. Maybe they have Howie Mandel disease?

Kicks the royal hell out of the TNG remake.

yr: 2266
sd: 1704.2
ad: 29 Sep 1966

03 April 2007

MST3K (903)

903 - The Pumaman - Such restraint. No references to "Pyooma?" from 206? Too long ago? I guess Donald Pleasence covered that pronunciation in the movie for them. Still, there was a time when they couldn't go two experiments without referencing that riff.

"You the guy that's been writing anti-Aztec stuff on the bathroom walls?" The riffing had several spots where it was very funny. Crow was especially on fire in this episode; my out loud laughing was courtesy of his quips, mostly. I think this is the first time I've felt that he has really staked a claim on the in-theater character, separate from Trace's Crow. The episode did suffer from some periodic slow parts in the comedy. It wasn't quite the slam-dunk I was hoping for based on what I'd read of it. Still, the movie was incredibly goofy and it was all in good fun. I think I'll make a friend or two watch this one with me again in the future.

Who the frig is Roger Whitaker? Ugh, so now that we're earthbound again, we're back to wasting multiple host segments on pop culture personalities that have nothing to do with the movie? I'd rather be stuck on the monkey planet. What they really need are some new host segment characters. They keep dragging poor Ortega out whenever they need a guest. He's fine, I suppose, but he ain't Torgo, Mr. B or even Pitch. How about Big McLargehuge from Space Mutiny, the ugly stepsister from Jack Frost, or the disgusting redneck from The Giant Spider Invasion for new visitors? There are tons of cool characters that could be brought onto the show. C'mon guys!

"This always happens! People throw me out the window, tell me I'm Pumaman, then leave!" (7/10)

film d. Alberto De Martino (1980)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (4 Apr 1998)

02 April 2007

MST3K (902)

902 - The Phantom Planet - I wish this had been directed by the cool Bill Marshall. This Bill managed to take some interesting ideas -- an asteroid floating around Earth's neighborhood with tiny people on them is kind of neat -- and turn it into a yawnfest. Take out the dog aliens and next to nothing happens in the movie outside of people yakking about technobabble, goodness and beauty.

Three sections of the riffing got me to laugh a little. The dog jokes during the attack of the Solarites were fun. The Solarites were at once a freaky design and a completely ridiculous rubber suit monster. I liked the various food items the guys came up with to compare to the chicken nuggetish phantom planet. My stomach is growling just recalling them. My favorite bit was during Frank's first fainting spell after he crashes on the planet. As he flashes back to things that happened in the movie just ten seconds ago, the guys provide him with a sadder back story. "Wake up Frank, you wet the bed." "Frank, you're the worst party clown we ever had."

Other than this, the episode was just not great. Most of the riffing failed to get me to even smile. The host segments were especially non-special this time out. Season nine's off to a poor start. Hopefully, the next two infamous episodes will liven things up.

"I'm just gonna beat up his left eye." (6/10)

film d. William Marshall (1961)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (21 Mar 1998)


MST3K's Academy of Robots' Choice Awards Special - Three years after their last Oscar special, Mike and the bots return to molest the nominated movies from 1997. Like the similar Summer Blockbuster Review, the guys riff on promotional clips from the featured films. It's a fun diversion from the regular flow of episodes. The guys getting to dig into big-budget Hollywood fare is always a treat.

As with the Playstation Underground short, the guys modify their shout of "movie sign!" This time, it's "Oscar sign!" What next? "Sunburn sign!"? After a decade, I suppose they're allowed to play around.

"Absolutely, future President Gore," says Crow to the then-Vice President over the phone. That takes on a little bit of a stranger meaning in this post-Bush v. Gore world. Ah, what an innocent world those 1998ers lived in.

"The battlefield smells delicious, gentlemen. Now drop the drawn butter." (7/10)

mst d. Kevin Murphy (19 Mar 1998)

MST3K (901)

901 - The Projected Man - "Funding intrigue!" The pretty much describes the entire movie. It's the thrilling excitement of Brute Man-style "monster aimlessly wanders a city" action combined with the thrilling excitement of scientists applying for grants. I could barely keep my eyes open. I remember having the same problem the last time I watched this one. I don't imagine I'll ever be giving this a third try. Why this was picked as the season opener, I have no idea.

Ahh, the host segments are back to normal. That's nice. Pearl's converted herself to a mad scientist. Everyone is back on Earth (or Earth's orbit) in the present time. Mike and the bots are basing their host segments on small bits of weirdness picked out of the movie. It all feels right. I especially liked the "Calling Lembach" host segment, which felt old school. It wasn't as fun as their call to Megaweapon (what a great guy), but it was in that vein. If only Lembach had stayed!

"Your knickers, perhaps?" (6/10)

film d. Ian Curteis & John Croydon [as Ian Curteis] (1966)
mst d. Michael J. Nelson (14 Mar 1998)


Playstation Underground - Long, long ago, before video game consoles were online and beharddrived, games fans would have to seek out plastic discs with bits and bytes written on them in order to experience previews of games not yet released. Playstation Underground was one source of such things. Like a magazine, a gamer could subscribe and receive a pair of CD-ROMs in the mail every month filled with demos, behind-the-scenes videos and other goodies. Once upon time, they somehow convinced BBI that Mike and the bots should riffs on some of the previous year's content for the first CD-ROM of 1998. The result was instantly forgettable, except for some surprisingly nice shots of the sets and work areas at BBI's office.

The ten minute video is structured a bit like a mini-episode of the show. It begins with host segment featuring Mike and the bots on the bridge of the SOL. Each is playing their own Playstation console. Mike enjoys NHL FaceOff '98, Tom is messing around with PaRappa the Rapper and Crow is doing poorly in Crash Bandicoot. Not coincidentally, these are all games published by SCEA, better known as Sony.

When the movie sign siren goes off, the guys shout "Underground sign!" instead as they rush off screen. In the theater, they are presented with a couple of introductory CGI cut scenes from old PU discs and some bloopers from a Playstation TV spot. The bloopers take up the majority of the theater time. It's five long minutes of two old people continually screwing up their lines. It quickly wears out its welcome. It's also a weird thing for the guys to be riffing on. They're riffing bloopers? People making supposedly funny mistakes on their own need additional funny comments? It doesn't work.

As most will say, the only decent bit of this short is the final three minutes. As the PU credits roll, we're treated to tons of behind-the-scenes looks at different areas of BBI. We see the theater scenes being shot, the writers working on jokes, Mike playing a PS1 baseball game and there's even a glimpse of Castle Forrester (firmly placing this in the season nine era). Skip the riffing and watch the credits.

"I majored in Sitting on My Can and Not Getting a Damned Thing Done." (6/10)

mst d. ?? (Feb 1998)