7/15/09

Comic-Con Rifftrax Panel, July 25, 2009 (by guest correspondent E.P. Haury)

The great eye sees all!As much as I might wish things were otherwise, I don't have the funds or free time available to attend events further away than San Francisco. Thankfully, reader E.P. Haury managed to to attend the Rifftrax Panel at Comic-Con 2009, and reported the following:

I’m in San Diego for the big convention, and earlier today I attended the Rifftrax panel. Instead of Q&A, they did a live riff (Shake Hands with Danger, again) and then had a competition to suggest what they would riff sorta next. (Not inherently the next riff, but pretty soon.)

Each person who went up to the microphone was given 30 seconds to make their case.

I suggested “Speed Racer,” and for my efforts was told to “Go to Hell” by Mike (having taken some time to consider the advice, I have chosen not to follow it) and was given as a gift Mike’s allegedly precious copy of the German film “Liane Jungle Goddess.” I was awarded this for my enthusiasm in making my case. The crazy tracks, the names, the live monkey, John Goodman (who they made fun of in films he wasn’t even in), I didn’t have time to mention the guy from Lost or the editing style. Basically, I thought there were so many things to make riffs about. Kevin interpreted my argument as code for saying “Christina Ricci is hot,” which I would argue isn’t true. (The idea that that was what I was saying; I make no comment here as to the accuracy of Kevin’s statement.)

Several others were given other prizes for notable arguments. One fellow suggested they riff “Troll 2,” and they demanded a reward from him for already having done it. He’d not known that. Anyway, after about 20-30 suggestions, the boys narrowed it down to a few for the audience to choose from. The final selection was “Dragon Wars,” a low-budget Korean film set in Los Angeles.

Some links:
About Dragon Wars: http://www.dvdcult.com/BR_DWars.htm
Another review: http://www.deadregime.com/2009/03/awesomely-bad-dragon-wars.html
Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-War
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Wars-D-War-Amanda-Brooks/dp/B000YDOOEQ

Anyway, “Dragon Wars” is coming up. And don’t expect them to do “Speed Racer,” even though I still think they should. Just thought you might like to know.

Skenderberg again: When I asked Mr. Haury for permission to post the text of his email, he agreed and provided additional details as follows:

—While I was part of the long line for the Rifftrax panel -- actually for the panel before the Rifftrax panel; that the way to ensure one makes it into the panels one wants to at this convention -- suddenly Mike and Bridget walked past us. It sort of stunned us, as we weren’t expecting it. A few seconds later, Kevin and Bill followed them and gave out willing high fives. I called out after them asking if that was the entire panel. I got no response, but thankfully the answer was no.

—The panel was hosted by a woman named Veronica Belmont (host of Tekzilla on Revision3 and Qore on the PlayStation Network), and she confessed before the guys appeared to having a “fangirl moment” about this panel. She gave enthusiastic support for their riffing Dragon Wars, when it was first suggested, saying that she’d seen it and that their riff of it would sell more copies than it did on it own. (Apparently, it was a blockbuster in Korea, but we’ll assume she was speaking of the North American Market) She may have been a major factor in getting “Dragon Wars” to the finals.

—At the end, the choice was between “Dragon Wars” and “Highlander 2.” Whenever someone said “Highlander 2,” he added “The Quickening.” After Mike determined that “Dragon Wars” had won, Bill said “Dragon Wars: The Quickening.”

—Before the boys showed up, the convention showed a collection of clips from several different Rifftrax, including Twilight (carrying her up the hill), The Phantom Menace (Sand People shooting at pod racers), Planet of Dinosaurs (“Everybody splay”), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Philosopher’s Stone (owls in Diagon Alley), and the Star Wars Holiday Special (Lumpy opening his present).

—The long list of suggestions is a bit of a blur for me now. But I can remember:

*The Shawshank Redemption (first suggestion)
*Commando (with Schwarzenegger)
*The Duchess (a Keira Knightley historical drama)
*MST3K—The Movie (led to pointed questions about why this was worthy of being riffed and concerns about excessive meta-commentary. Would this riff riffed later be riffed?)
*Manos—The Hands of Fate (similar questions about meta-commentary. But if Joel can re-riff Santa Claus vs. the Martians...)
*Footloose (led to the boys getting people to clap to the song)
*Alone in the Dark (Mike didn’t think there were enough copies in existence.)
*Starcrash (an Italian 70s Star Wars rip-off with an appearance by David Hasselhoff)

There was also at least one Stallone movie, a film with Raymond Burr, and a few other Asian films, including one Samurai movie.

Skenderberg again: Dragon Wars, huh? I dunno about that one. The best riffing generally needs some sort of fertile soil to take root in. You know, something to make fun of. By most accounts, Dragon Wars makes no sense whatsowhoever, and the guys have struggled in the past while attempting to riff films that amount to unstructured nonsense.

That said, I vastly prefer it to the ugly mess that is Highlander 2, so given the choices, this is probably the best-case scenario. Bring on the D-Wars!