2/29/08

Is It Poop-Related?

Whatever it is, Bill seems inordinately cheerful about it.Welcome, won't you?

Who knows what terrible form The Terrible Truth will take? Only the Shadow knows! And Mike Nelson! And Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. And you, for the low, low price of $0.99. This newly released educational short is now available in a variety of formats from Rifftrax On Demand--DRM-free, if you're one of the vocal few who care about that kind of thing. Expect a review in a couple of days.

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2/28/08

Let's Talk Politics

Why is the donkey on the right, and the elephant on the left?Welcome, won't you?

It's been a very slow week, news-wise. Even the normally productive Rifftrax has been quiet. In order to tide us over until the next release, they've riffed a set of political commercials on Youtube. Check them out here.

Are they funny? Probably. Youtube is blocked on my current computer, so I won't know for sure until I get home tonight.

(Update: Of course they're funny. My favorite is Hilary Clinton and her labeled Christmas presents, but most other people seem to like Barak Obama's crumpled dollar bill policy.)

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2/24/08

What Would Mr. Bungle Do?

...misterbunglemisterbunglemisterbunglemisterbunglemisterbungle...Welcome, won't you?

Today's Rifftrax short (review here) asks the all-important question referenced in the title. Would Mr. Bungle eat his carrots before his roast beef? Would he wear stripes or polka dots? Would he, under any circumstances, take out an adjustable rate mortgage? These are the sorts of questions that we need to be asking ourselves in our everyday lives--unceasingly, and in a semi-audible mumble.

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2/23/08

Will the Real Joel Hodson Stand Up Please?

Interesting but unofficial information abounds!Welcome, won't you?

I don't usually post links to articles and interviews unless they have new information about a future release, but this Q&A by Joel is actually pretty interesting, containing real, substantive answers to quite a few fan-written questions. Half the Q&A can be found on the Cinematic Titanic forums here. The other half on the MST3K Discussion Board here.

Also: in the "almost official" category, the very Princess Anne-esque Kevin Murphy did a recent Q&A at the Rifftrax blog in which someone asked about the future of The Film Crew, and it appears that MST3K's move to Shout! Factory has put the final nail in that project's coffin.

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Food Fight!

Mike's about to spew because he just took a big bite of that Kevin sandwich.Welcome, won't you?

Rifftrax has our emotional well-being in mind with another instructional video on how to behave in lunchroom settings. Beginning Responsibility: Lunchroom Manners is available now from Rifftrax On Demand for only ninety-nine cents. Review to come.

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2/21/08

This Post Will Totally Blow Your Mind

...and step and twirl and kick-ball-change.  Now promenade!Welcome, won't you?

You can't know for a fact whether or not I've posted my review of The Matrix Reloaded Rifftrax. Even if you clicked this link, there's still the possiblity that this entire site is all in your mind, cleverly introduced by my machine army, which even now is poised to rain death down upon you and your family...

That is, if your family is real. Who knows? They could be sentient programs planted to lull you into a sense of false security while I sap your precious life essence to restore my youth. All must be in readiness at the time of the great conjunction, when the Dark Crystal will at last sunder me from my more perfect self and grant me absolute dominion over all the...

Where was I? Oh, yes. Nothing is truly knowable, except the things that are, and maybe not even them. Now let's go out back and kick each other till we cry.

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RVOD016 Why Doesn’t Cathy Eat Breakfast? / Petaluma Chicken

(1972, Educational-ish/Short, color) / (1932, Industrial-esque/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

The prequel to “Who Cares?”

Rating: ***1/2

In a nutshell:

Short #1: Cathy doesn’t eat breakfast, and won’t say why.
Short #2: Giggly women make the largest omelet in the world.

Short Summary #1:

What happened to Bill's giant plywood spoon?In Why Doesn’t Cathy Eat Breakfast, a narrator wakes up twelve-year-old Cathy to grill her with the eponymous question. Cathy refuses comment while he tries to tempt her with a wide variety of foods, each accompanied by a tall, refreshing glass of milk. When he runs out of possible breakfast dishes—including pancakes, french fries, and ice cream sundaes—he starts to invent wild scenarios that would make her avoid the morning meal. Unruly siblings? Extreme poverty? An absent father? Cathy leaves for school without deigning to answer. The scene fades to black. A title card instructs the projectionist to stop the film and lead a discussion, presumably on the subject of Cathy’s breakfast-related reticence.

Short Summary #2:

In Petaluma Chicken, a troop of women presents Chef San Francisco with several thousand eggs. The chef demands the world’s largest omelet, so the girls chatter and start to break eggs. Before they can start cooking, though, the girls must do calisthenics in the frying pan for some reason. Then they dump in the eggs while Chef SF wanders around with an enormous plywood spoon. They sing and cook until several jarring jump cuts mean that the omelet is finished. Then they all chatter and eat in the shade of a giant papier-mâché chicken.

Thoughts:

Two shorts this time, and each ostensibly on the subject of breakfast, though both seem to have ulterior motives. Why Doesn’t Cathy Eat Breakfast, for instance, tells you right up front that it’s from the National Dairy Council, and the ubiquitous tall, refreshing glasses of milk are obviously intended to make one thirsty. I’m not sure what they want us to discuss at the end, though, especially considering that Cathy has just spent the previous four minutes shooting down every plausible reason for her to skip the morning meal. If all they wanted was product placement, it would have made more sense (and probably cost less) to just hand out posters of dairy products for use in classrooms.

Divining the purpose of Petaluma Chicken requires a bit more invention. I assume it was made to promote the poultry industry of 1930s Sonoma County, though to go by the content of the short, it could just as easily have been made to fetishize eggs, or to recruit for some sort of depression-era lesbian omelet utopia.

Of note: Sonoma is my own home county, where I was raised and still live to this day. Each egg woman wears a beauty queen-esque banner proclaiming her city of origin. Most of these seem to be from nearby Petaluma, but a few can be seen sporting the name of my own hometown, Sebastopol. While Sebastopol isn’t really much of a lesbian omelet utopia these days, it has become an upscale haven for a wide variety of alternative lifestyles. This is a nice way of saying that many of its inhabitants stink and/or sell overpriced curios.

These are, hands down, the two strangest short subjects any MST3K alumni have riffed, and these are the people who’ve brought you A Case of Spring Fever, Once Upon a Honeymoon, and Design for Dreaming. At least the preceding had some sort of point; Why Doesn’t Cathy Eat Breakfast and Petaluma Chicken seem almost Dadaist in their pointlessness. Mike, Bill, and Kevin rise to the occasion to wonder what the hell is going on along with the rest of us. When the title card urges us to reflect on Cathy’s anti-breakfast ways, Mike notes, “No Country for Old Men had better closure,” while Kevin asks, “Is Cathy Keiser Soze?” Of Petaluma Chicken’s effort to make the world’s largest omelet, Mike speculates that those involved must be celebrating the recent creation of “the world’s largest pot brownie.” The shorts seem to revel in their strangeness, and Mike and company revel along with them, making this one of the funniest Rifftrax On Demand releases available.

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2/20/08

RVOD015 The Terrible Truth

(1951, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

I don't really have a problem with drugs; I just prefer them to living in the fifties.

Rating: **1/2

In a nutshell:

An elderly judge and a recovering addict decry the use of marijuana and heroin.

Summary:

So, going by this picture, Bill's on pot, Kevin's on H, and Mike is standing in as Judge Paranoid Q. Cinder Block.A cinder block-shaped judge expresses his profound disappointment in the youth of today (1951) who insist on embarrassing the other citizens of this proud nation with their unsightly drug habits. He goes to visit a young woman who has recently recovered from heroin addiction. She tells the story of how she got involved with boys in high school, who got her hooked on pot, which got her involved with a dealer, who got her hooked on heroin, which forced her to become a dealer herself in order to afford the habit, which led to her arrest and eventual detoxification. Judge Cinder Block finishes off the short by implying that addicts and dealers are communists.

Thoughts:

Okay, so drugs are unhealthy. Worse than that, a bad enough addiction to them can ruin your life and the lives of those you care about. Thus far, I find myself in agreement with the makers of the short.

Now that we’ve established this, Mr. Filmmakers, how on earth do you expect people to take your warnings seriously while you so clearly demonstrate a thorough ignorance of the subject? For those of you keeping track, this is the second Rifftrax On Demand release to depict marijuana as an upper, its users as depraved maniacs, and its dealers as impeccably dressed upper-class professionals. While The Terrible Truth doesn’t mine the subject of addiction for melodrama quite as deeply, it does take its paranoiac overtones a bit further with a ludicrous attempt to make the whole thing Russia’s fault. Far from keeping potential users on the straight and narrow, this short seems more like an excuse for them to laugh and say, “You just don’t get me, man.”

Thankfully, it’s also an excuse for us to laugh, with Mike, Bill, and Kevin on hand to point out the short’s absurdities. When the judge compares an addict’s life to a story by Poe, Kevin objects. “Edgar Allen Poe did more and better drugs than you'll ever know,” he says. When the former addict begins her story, Mike adds, “I don't really have a problem with drugs; I just prefer them to living in the fifties.” When she meets her officially dressed and middle-aged dealer Chuck, Bill explains, “Chuck was Secretary of Education.” It’s a sincere and competently made short, undermined by a painfully paranoid and ignorant worldview. The Rifftrax crew gets off several good jokes at its expense, but for some reason the commentary and the short never quite mesh. Still, the short’s ridiculous enough on its own, and the whole thing turns out at least passably amusing.

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2/19/08

Stay Tuned for Sex, Violence, and Interminable Metaphysics

Steel yourselves against the twenty-minute rave/orgy scene before viewing.Welcome, won't you?

The Matrix Reloaded is due for release any minute now, so keep watching the Rifftrax front page for updates. (Update: now available). I've already rented a copy of the film (Rifftrax or no, I refuse to own this one on principal) and will be posting my review sometime later this week.

Also: As was pointed out in the comments of the last post, my review of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie is fairly well hidden in the episode list for Season Seven, so if you're looking for it specifically, you'll have a difficult time. This has been corrected in the table of contests, wedging the link where it belongs, firmly between Seasons Six and Seven.

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2/18/08

As Long Foretold, It Has Come Again

Yes, the title says 'Slavered over by fans', but the cover says '$1 bin at Wal-Mart'.Welcome, won't you?

Old News: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie is finally being re-released on DVD. Judging by this cover, it's even more bare-bones than the last release.

New News: My out-of-print original release copy is probably no longer worth millions of dollars on eBay.

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2/14/08

Next Cinematic Titanic Coming, You Know, Whenever

Cinematic Titanic: Purveyor of non-substantive announcements since November of 2007.Welcome, won't you?

This might not even be worthy of its own post, but here we are anyway. Two days ago at the Cinematic Titanic shindig in Minnesota, Joel answered questions about the next release by saying it would be ready "around the end of next month." This would put it six weeks from now near the end of March. More, if they run into delays again. Read the full report at the Satellite News, here.

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2/13/08

The Digital Archive Project: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Please use responsibly.  Seriously, if you kill Cinematic Titanic with piracy, I will hunt you down, man.Welcome, won't you?

Yes, internet file-sharing is an unholy practice, and the programs that allow it are tools of the devil, but sometimes your favorite show just isn't otherwise available--or worse, due to a set of complicated rights issues, will never be otherwise available. For situations such as these we have The Digital Archive Project, a tireless group of men and women dedicated to keeping every unreleasable episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 alive on the web through the magic of eDonkey.

What's that you say? eDonkey is dead, and has been dead for years? Fear not, gentle reader. Fire up those bittorrent clients and click here to see how the DAP has finally embraced the future of file-sharing.

Please note that my position on the use of this program to pirate commercially available releases has not, and will not change. I'm trusting you all to use your bittorrent abilities for good, and not for evil.

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2/12/08

If My Deepest, Darkest Despair had Choreography...

What is the Rifftrax?Welcome, won't you?

There's a new Rifftrax a-comin', so y'all better bring in the livestock and head for shelter. Only the hardiest among ye will be able to withstand the terrible movie-show storm known as The Matrix Reloaded. Riffed by Mike, Bill, and Kevin. Due to arrive on Tuesday February 19, 2008.

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Forty Percent of All Accidents Account for Nearly Half of All Accidents

The deadliest invention known to man.Welcome, won't you?

Just one new host segment up at MST3K.com today, parodying the railroad-centric safety short Last Clear Chance. With enough practice you too can induce shame in your viewers with just a pencil, an engineer's hat, and a look of utter disdain. The Videos section of the MST3K.com Guide has been updated accordingly.

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2/8/08

I'm Afraid Those Things Will Harm Me, 'Cause They Sure Don't Act Like Barney...

...and they think that I'm their dinner, not their friend.Welcome, won't you?

It's time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea.

Good Idea: Cloning dinosaurs for study on a remote island.

Bad Idea: Parading human children in front of enormous carnivores.

Read my review of the Rifftrax for Jurassic Park here.

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2/5/08

And Thank You, Tommy Kirk, For Making Us Laugh About Love...Again

Creepy Girl / Won't you be mine...Welcome, won't you?

MST3K.com has updated the Videos section again with two more host segments depicting violent clothing accessories and adorable ordnance, as well as Tom Servo's no-holds-barred wedding to none other than Crow T. Robot. The "Legacy Videos" Guide has been updated accordingly.

Also:
The Jurassic Park Rifftrax (featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic) is mere hours away from release. (Update: now available.) Don't forget to pick yours up today.

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2/4/08

Guess My Emotional Age and Win a Prize!

Babies are such babies.Welcome, won't you?

Self-loathing is the same as emotional maturity, isn't it? After watching Act Your Age, I'm beginning to think that I don't hate myself enough. Do you? Hate me enough, that is? What about yourselves? Discuss.

Anyway, the review has been posted here.

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2/1/08

Are They Trying to Tell Us Something?

Welcome, won't you?

Released today without fanfare:
Act Your Age, a 15-minute educational short from the fifties urging the emotionally stunted youth of America to just grow up already. Newly riffed by Mike, Bill, and Kevin for our enjoyment. Available now for only 99 cents. Expect a review early next week.

Available now for free:

A rare instance of the video preview going up before the Rifftrax release date. Head on over to see a short clip of the Mike Nelson/Weird Al riff of Jurassic Park.

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Despite Our Best Efforts,The Dark Knight Returns

Welcome, won't you?

It obviously took a lot of effort, but there's no doubt it paid off. Joel Schumacher's hallucinogenic iteration of Batman and Robin fulfills his lifelong dream of making the Adam West series look like a model of dignity and restraint. As for the commentary, the fans wrote it, the folks at Riff Raff Theater compiled it, Mike and company performed it, and aside from a few lengthy silences near the end, it's every bit as good as the ones the Rifftrax crew write for themselves. Read the review here.

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