6/29/10

Whatever the Difference

That kid either has a fishtail or several knuckle's worth of Wolverine claws.Welcome, won't you?

Since the last update I've traveled X miles to visit Y relatives in a Z number of states. For the moment we've settled down a few days in Denver. While I was on the road, Rifftrax has released two new shorts, Individual Differences and Whatever the Weather. Someday (in a couple of weeks), I'll get a chance to watch and review them. In the meantime, you can grab them here.

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6/24/10

Yooouuu Shall Not Sing!

Finally, a Row of Faces(tm) poster that keeps its subjects busy.Welcome, won't you?

I've seen the Rifftrax for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and it is awesome. Did we really expect any less? Go buy it now. Review here.

And now it's road trip time. I'll be travelling more or less constantly for the next two weeks. I might check in a time or two from the road, but there won't be any new reviews before the middle of July. Play nice while I'm gone, kids.

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6/23/10

Co-Stars Mothra Jr.

It's a monster/babe extravaganza.Welcome, won't you?

Danger on Tiki Island review here. It's not their best work, and the movie's sound is pretty bad. Return of the King review coming tomorrow.

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6/22/10

RP21 The Lost Boys

(1987, Horror/Comedy, color)

Riffers:

Janet Varney and Cole Stratton

Antlers aren’t made out of wood, are they?

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


Teen misfits take on a gang of vampire bikers.

Summary:

Yes, Jason.  Those glasses -do- make you look fat.Surly teen Michael (Jason Patric) and his little brother Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) to stay with Grandpa (Barnard Hughes) after the divorce. Grandpa’s an eccentric hermit taxidermist with an off-color sense of humor and an antler-filled house near a touristy beach town. The three newcomers each head out into the Missing Person Poster-lined town in turn. Lucy finds a job at the local video store, working for the avuncular Max (Edward Herrmann), who immediately starts asking her out. Sam discovers a comic shop run by the vampire-obsessed Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander as Edgar and Alan Frog). Michael attends a greasy saxophone beach concert where he meets the lovely Star (Jami Gertz).

That’s a lot of character and actor names for one paragraph. Fortunately there’s only one more worth mentioning: the leather-clad David (Kiefer Sutherland), who heads the local teen biker gang. He’s already got some sort of claim on Star, and challenges Michael to ride with them. Michael successfully avoids going over the cliff at the end of their ride, and gets invited back to their clubhouse/cave. David and his gang feed him Chinese food that occasionally turns into maggots and worms. Despite Star’s warnings, they goad him into drinking an ornate bottle of something that at seems more or less wine-ish.

Michael begins to change. He becomes lethargic after sunrise and intolerant of daylight, wearing sunglasses even indoors. He had dreams of flying with David and the gang at night. He has trouble stomaching real food; his hunger to eat something else almost drives him to attack his brother Sam. Sam’s dog defends him, and when the fight’s over Sam points out that Michael’s image in the mirror is fading. Michael runs back to the vampire cave, where Star makes love to him in lieu of explaining what’s happened. Soon after, David and the gang take him to observe a punk beach party. Their eyes turn red and they grow fangs to rip the party goers apart while feasting on their blood. Michael’s fangs grow too, but he restrains himself.

Sam, in the meantime, has called the Frog brothers, who fill him in on the movie’s mythology. Michael is currently a half-vampire—i.e., someone who’s begun the change, but won’t be a real vampire until he makes his first kill. If Sam wants to turn him back to normal, he needs to kill the head vampire. For no apparent reason (aside from his apparent jealousy of the attention paid to his mother) Sam suspects Max. Max comes to dinner and endures the Frog brothers' occasionally messy vampire tests with reasonable good humor. It ends with Lucy’s date ruined and the Frog brothers concluding that he’s not the head vampire.

From right to left: Corey, Corey and low-rent Macchio.Determined to help the fellow half-vampire Star, Michael provides the Frogs with the vampire cave’s location. They go there by day and carry away Star and a half-vampire child named Laddie while the only marginally competent Frogs search for David’s sleeping gang. They put a stake through one, but the other three wake up and pursue. Everyone makes it to the sunlit exit before the vampires can catch them.

With Michael, Star and Laddie too tired to move until nightfall, Sam and the Frogs invent a pretext to send Grandpa and Lucy away. They fortify the house with garlic, crosses, stakes and a bathtub of holy water. Night falls, Michael and Star wake up, and so do David and his gang. The three vampires invade the house. The Frogs and Sam’s dog knock one into the tub of holy water, where he violently melts. Sam shoots one with a wood-tipped arrow; the wounded vampire stumbles backward into the stereo and is staked/electrocuted to death. Michael allows his vampire nature to emerge so that he can duel David, eventually impaling him on the horns of a stuffed antelope. The half-vampires were expecting to return to normal upon David’s death, but this doesn’t happen. Edgar Frog declares that they must have missed one.

Lucy arrives home with Max, and is shocked at the devastation in the house. Max inspects David’s corpse and apologizes that “his boys” got so far out of hand. Turns out he was the head vampire all along, planning to vampirize Lucy and her sons to help him civilize his own unruly vampire children. He threatens to kill Sam unless she joins him in vampire wedded bliss.

Just as she’s about to agree, Grandpa smashes his truck through the front door, wooden stakes tied to the hood. One of them pierces Max’s chest; he bursts into flames and dies. Grandpa gets out and picks his way to the fridge for a root beer. If there’s one thing about this town he can’t stand, he declares, it’s “all the damn vampires.”

Thoughts:

Queer Eye for the Undead Guy.Technically this is a horror film, but as Roger Ebert is fond of saying, it’s not what a movie is about, but rather, it’s how it’s about it. The Lost Boys is horror in subject matter, but like most of the horror I enjoy, it keeps the light tone of an adventure movie throughout. It suffers a bit from uneven writing, but the actors are engaging and the story is tightly plotted. I don’t consider it high cinematic literature; I do, however, consider it more enjoyable than most of the high cinematic literature I’ve seen. Or, to put it another way: there are lots of films I admire more, but most of them aren’t this much fun.

Odd, that this should have come from the mind of Joel Schumacher, a director now known for creating some of the most apocalyptically bad cinema in human history. I wish he’d go back and do some more of this.

A few favorite comments: When Janet questions the greased-up bodybuilder saxophone performance, Cole explains, “It’s part of the Beastmaster concert series.” While David’s gang circles the house menacingly, Janet says, “Motorcycles can’t come in unless you invite them in.” When Edgar Frog suggests that vampires and flies go together like bullets and guns, Janet asks, “Flies shoot out of the undead?” Once again, my enjoyment was marred by a movie that refused to stay in sync with the commentary. This time it may have been my own fault; the only rental copy I could find on short notice was a download from Xbox Live. Still, you’d think a movie downloaded to standard hardware would play at the right speed... Anyway, the movie’s almost half comedy already, which makes the riffing a little duplicative in spots. It’s funnier when they’re picking at the movie’s many inconsistencies (“Antlers aren’t made out of wood, are they?” asks Janet). Maybe I’d have had a better time with it if technical issues hadn’t screwed up the comic timing, but it was reasonably enjoyable regardless. The three stars above represent my best estimate of what an uninterrupted viewing might rate.

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Tricksy Hobbits

We're Roherim of the Round Table / We dance when'e'er we're able...Welcome, won't you?

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Rifftrax has been released. Grab it here. My tricksy hobbit buddies and I will be staying up way too late to see it tonight.

Also, it seems that Pearl of the Orient is a (relatively) famous 1955 educational film about the Philippines made by Coca Cola. It is also not the subject of this Rifftrax short (click for review). This was a source of some consternation to me while attempting to research the subject online. Imagine trying to research for last week’s Rifftrax Presents review in an alternate universe where Deep Impact and Armageddon were both named Meteor. Confusing.

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6/21/10

RVOD119 Mealtime Manners and Health

(1957, Educational-Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Bad manners cause cancer.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


Mealtime manners don’t happen at mealtime, and have little to do with health.

Summary:

The offspring of grant money and a deadline.Phil says “please” and “thank you” to the lunch ladies in the school cafeteria, but this token display of manners isn’t enough to get him a coveted invitation to sit with children many years his junior. Phil becomes morose upon being passed over for this great honor. He walks home slowly, arriving too late to eat with the rest of the family.

His father makes him change to a different television station while he eats, then makes him turn it off entirely. They have a heart to heart talk about nothing in particular that changes Phil’s whole outlook on life. Suddenly he’s doing dishes, chatting up his tablemates and holding the chair for his mother. His mealtime conscientiousness spills over into all aspects of his life in seemingly arbitrary ways, and eventually the powerful School Mealtime Seating Arrangements cartel takes notice. They call to offer him a prestigious position as a Parents’ Night Dinner server.

Thoughts:

This isn’t one of those anti-education films that barrage you with a jumble of information and force you to “draw your own conclusions.” Mealtimes Manners and Health very clearly says what it wants you to do, and how you should go about doing it. Or, more accurately, it very clearly says that it wants you to do something, and that there are ways to do the thing that it wants you to do.

As to the exact nature of this “thing,” well, I’m not sure, but I think that the message is, “Being considerate of others helps you digest.” The examples they show have to do with... Being able to sit with the little kids in the lunch room? Watching educational programs instead of Westerns? Watching nothing instead of educational programs? Currying favor to gain extracurricular scholastic mealtime responsibilities? Oh, well. I guess the title is accurate in that the short depicts several mealtimes, touches lightly on the subject of manners, and once or twice somebody mentions health.

A few favorite comments: As the narrator goes on and on about the requirements of mealtime manners, Bill reminds him, “Food also helps.” After the narrator declares that an information-free father-son chat and an inexplicable shot of a rabbit has changed Phil’s whole outlook on life, Mike adds, “The rabbit footage awakened his inner Furry.” As Phil struggles to expand his set of acceptable situations to apply mealtime manners, Kevin says, “Mealtime manners consumed every facet of Phil’s life.” On its own, the short is dull in an incoherent sort of way. With the rifftrax crew to spice up the dull part a little, it turns out fairly decent.

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RVOD118 Are People All the Same?

(1970s-ish, Educational-Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Except Wayans Brothers; they’re interchangeable.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


No they’re not, and that’s okay.

Summary:

One of those little girls is named 'Jason.'Are All People the Same starts off by asking what “race” means. After numerous erroneous guesses, mostly relating to contests of speed, the narrator sets us straight with an odd stop motion paper doll that periodically sprouts horns, wings and eventually legs. Somehow this leads to a lot of multicolored doll heads on toilet paper tubes.

Now the short challenges the old racist saying, “all Asians look alike.” It does this by quick cutting between pairs of Asians, challenging us to tell the difference. What remains is some overheard domestic abuse, a lot of graffiti, a few afros and a mystifying multicultural birthday party.

Thoughts:

Lots of things about this short are odd and off-putting, but the Asian face montage baffles me in particular. No, I can’t tell which ones are Japanese and which ones are from China from a series of three-second glimpses. Does this make me racist? Show me a similar line-up of Caucasians and I won’t be able to tell you which ones are from Dubuque and which ones from Pasadena.

Favorite comments: When the narrator asks what “race” is, Mike guesses, “Johnny Quest’s adult male pal?” When the narrator explains that race is one of the ways we group people together, Kevin adds, “We call this ‘profiling.’” When the short pauses for a long-ish time near the middle, Bill cries, “Some sneaky ethnic person cut our power!” The short’s noble goals might be undermined by incoherent execution, but the riffers insert themselves into the jarring oddness well enough shake a fair amount humor out of it.

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RVOD117 Building Better Paragraphs

(1953, Educational-Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

A follow-up to Making Paragraphs Worse.

Rating: **1/2

In a Nutshell:


Three school kids write about a dog show.

Summary:

A kid standing next to the teacher.  This is about as exciting as it gets.A schoolgirl and her dog win a trophy at the local dog show, and she’s so excited that she brings the trophy to class. Her admiring classmates suggest she write an article about it for the school paper. She becomes shy and unwilling. The teacher asks for volunteers to write the article for her. Janet, Bill and Charlie offer their services.

Janet, Bill and Charlie interview the dog trophy winner, then throw a bunch of random information in a pile and call it good. The teacher looks it over and guides them in pruning out the unnecessary facts while arranging the rest in chronological order. A bit more tweaking and a snazzy concluding sentence (for a given value of “snazzy”) and their work is done. On that one paragraph. Now they have to write four more. D’oh!

The teacher invites the audience at home to help them write the rest of the article, using the paragraph-building principles demonstrated.

Thoughts:

I enjoy building paragraphs of my own from time to time, but as a visual subject it’s not all that interesting. Spicing it up with dogs and photograph arrangement doesn’t seem to help as much as the filmmakers thought it would. Maybe a few car chases? A homicidal maniac or two? Perhaps at the end, Major the dog could be turn out to be a slavering Marmaduke-esque fiend from hell, hungry for human flesh. That’d make a great concluding sentence.

A few favorite comments: When the children read through their feeble first effort, the teacher says, “There’s something wrong with it. What is it?” “The incredibly dull topic?” Mike suggests. While they iron out the paragraph’s chronology, Bill advises, “Remember, a bland sentence is a happy sentence.” Near the end, Kevin thinks that the end result will “blow the lid off blood doping at community dog shows.” The short clearly demonstrates that creating paragraphs is more enjoyable than watching others create them, and the riffers don’t quite overcome this.

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RVOD116 Whatever the Weather

(1950s-ish, Educational-Short, color-ish)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

So far this is no help in building a supervillain’s weather control machine.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:

Kids in hats and dreamy rhymes.

Summary:

And that's fun because...Kids in hats romp through the landscape while a narrator spins a meandering rhyme. Each hat represents a different season, if I’m not mistaken (and I very easily could be). The knit cap with ear flaps is obviously winter, and I’m pretty sure the rain hat is spring. The baseball cap and cowboy hat represent summer and autumn, respectively. Or was it the other way round? The wind plays a rather large role for some reason. So do kites.

Thoughts:

I think the narrator’s rhyme is weather-related. That’s what the title implies, anyway. It sounds more season-related to me, but to be honest, I’m not quite sure. It’s the sort of thing you might get if Dr. Seuss smoked a bale of cannabis and tried to write through the resulting semi-catatonic stupor.

Here’s a few of my favorite lines: as the narrator extols the joys of kite-flying, Bill warns, “Most of the time it’ll just flop in the mud and you’ll wonder why this is supposed to be fun.” Later, the narrator notes how the wind makes flags fly in the breeze, and Mike says, “Communist flags make the wind stop and cry.” When we finally get to winter, the narrator notes small trees in the snow. “They’re small, and of no account,” Kevin reminds us. The riffers get most of their laughs by inserting their own rhyming lines into the pause-drenched haze, but that’s hard to quote in a review like this. The rifftrax/short combination made me laugh several times, but never really got me to sit up and pay attention. It’s funny, but not especially memorable.

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6/20/10

RVOD015 Individual Differences

(1953? Educational/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Pity the different, for they are weak.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


Miss Hart alternately builds up her students and scars them for life.

Summary:

A young and chubby Yahoo Serious.The “How Not to Do It” section of this teacher instruction film comes first. Miss Hart welcomes her students to class on the first day of school. One of her charges is a boy named Roy, whose older brother George was a star pupil in previous years. Miss Hart welcomes Roy and challenges him to live up to the very high bar set by his brother. She spends the rest of the year putting him on the spot, shaming and belittling him in front of his peers after every failure. Deciding that he needs to overcome his natural shyness, she railroads him into performing a large role in the school play. Roy stumbles over half his first line and then flees in tears.

The next section repeats the first, diverging at the point where Miss Hart sends her best wishes to Roy’s brother instead of challenging Roy to do better. Throughout the year, she accepts what Roy’s abilities allow him to do and encourages him improve rather than trying to force him to follow her own agenda. The school play rolls around, and rather than humiliate Roy with a speaking role, she has him use his piano skills for the incidental music.

Thoughts:

For the most part this is some of the dullest, most obvious cinematic advice you could offer anyone, let alone a teacher. If there’s any humor to be found at all, it’s in the ridiculously wide range of teacher behavior on display: the bad examples are unmistakably evil and the good examples improbably benevolent. I said “most obvious” earlier, but that’s with the acknowledgement that some people need the obvious spelled out for them. But then, the kind of person who needs this sort of thing spelled out is probably also the kind of person who thinks it doesn’t apply to them. Which makes this one of many, many training films I’ve seen, both at Rifftrax and elsewhere, produced for the sole purpose of setting up an administrative “I told you so” somewhere down the road.

A few favorite comments: When Miss Hart drills the class on the major exports of Massachusetts, Bill guesses, “Kennedys?” While Miss Hart waxes eloquent about Roy’s failures in comparison with his older brother, Mike says, “He was blameless and holy.” Somewhere around the middle of an endless scolding, Kevin speculates, “The song Do You Know the Muffin Man is running endlessly through [Roy’s] head,” and then hums it to himself at intervals thereafter. You’d think that twenty-five minutes of dull, obvious advice would feel like a living death, but the riffers keep it lively. It’s not the funniest short in recent memory, but Mike, Bill and Kevin have made it far funnier than it deserves to be.

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6/18/10

Sadly, Not Referring to Pearl Forrester

Hopefully not in the Steinbeck sense.Welcome, won't you?

Not willing to let Cinematic Titanic run away with all the Filipino riffing action, the Rifftrax crew dedicates today's short subject to the islands known as Pearl of the Orient. And by "dedicate" I mean "mock mercilessly." Grab it here.

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6/17/10

Children Are Inherently Immoral

Into the Guiltmobile, away!Welcome, won't you?

Are you a child? If so, did you ever stop to reflect on your own selfishness and/or general worthlessness as a human being? According to Family Teamwork, we should be encouraging kids to do this more often. I guess it builds character. Review here.

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6/16/10

This Is Not the End

Looks like Sauron ought to be banging coconuts together for Aragorn.Welcome, won't you?

In a display of awesome and terrible synergy, Rifftrax and Rifftrax Presents both give us huge, lengthy films that end six to twelve times beyond their natural conclusions. Each. Let's break it down:

1) Here's my review of the Matthew Elliott Rifftrax Presents commentary for Armageddon, a nine-hour machismo fest cut like a movie trailer. Mr. Elliott fills the brief silences between explosions rather neatly.

2) Coming next Tuesday (June 22, 2010) the main Rifftrax crew undertakes the final entry in Peter Jackson's magnum opus with a riff for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I'm trying to think of something snarky to say, but I'm just too excited to manage it.

Also:

3) The prematurely leaked word is that the next Rifftrax Live broadcast will be August 19, 2010, featuring yet another version of the Reefer Madness riff.

4) The Rifftrax Powers That Be have promised an official guide to episode numbering, one that apparently only almost matches the one I've been using thus far. The Rifftrax Table of Contents was getting unwieldy anyway. If they actually release such a list, you can expect a brief transitional period while I adjust the guide accordingly.

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6/15/10

You Talkin' To Me?

Don't start that car!Welcome, won't you?

The Rifftrax shorts deluge continues after a brief Rifftrax Presents break with Family Teamwork. Sounds a bit like a mafia training film to me. Here's hoping we hear Bill's Italian-American wise guy routine at some point. Grab it here.

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Beach Blanket Human Sacrifice-ylon

An early precursor to Japanese tentacle porn.Welcome, won't you?

If you like to watch hot naked women get torn limb from limb, Cinematic Titanic's Danger on Tiki Island is here to help. Throw some tentacle trees into the mix, and it's hard to see it as anything other than a carefully sanitized manifestation of someone's unspeakably perverted fetish. It's pretty funny though. Available now as a download from EZTakes or as a physical DVD from the Cinematic Titanic site. Review to come.

On a sadder note, my job occasionally requires travel, and one ill-timed trip coincides with Cinematic Titanic's scheduled return to San Francisco on August 3. I was looking forward to War of the Insects, but now it looks like I'll have to wait for the DVD.

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6/11/10

I Can Spell "Gog and Magog" Though

One 'm', one 'g' and two 'd's.Welcome, won't you?

I got this far in life without needing the ability to reliably spell "Armageddon." But now that Rifftrax foreign correspondent Matthew J. Elliott has brought his commentary for Armageddon to my attention, I've got to get my crap together. Let's sit back and relax as Mr. Elliott lays his calming British accent down over the first (and loudest) of 1998's many asteroid disaster films. Grab it here.

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6/10/10

All You Need Is a Pink Shirt That Says "Love"

Now where did he leave his extra pile of filth?Welcome, won't you?

Values: The Right Thing to Do teaches children, simply and beautifuly in a language they can understand, the social value of euthanasia. Or maybe they wanted us to root for old Mr. Carson? Anyway, it ends with a ten-year-old contemplating manslaughter, and how many educational films can say that? Review here.

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6/9/10

Spoiler Warning!

A Warhol/Brecht co-production.Welcome, won't you?

If you've been trying to avoid plot spoilers for Watch Out For My Plant, don't read any further.

So, this kid buys a plant, right? At one point he yells, "Watch out!" Gripping, I know. Review here.

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6/8/10

A Rifftrax Joint

Their first foray into Spike Lee.Welcome, won't you?

It's Tuesday Shorts Day at Rifftrax. Values: The Right Thing to Do is apparently about junk hoarding. I'm guessing that the right thing to do is to not horde junk. Grab it here

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RVOD114 Pearl of the Orient

(1950s-ish, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Pearl of the Orient is the name of my drag cabaret character.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


The Philippines are foreign and mystical and need money to rebuild after WWII.

Summary:

Sheaths!A paean to the indigenous inhabitants of the Philippines, including several tribal wedding ceremonies, the growing and preparation of rice, cock fighting, fishing and pearl diving. This segues awkwardly into the need to rebuild the country after the destruction caused by World War II.

Thoughts:

Granted, this is one of those films that only look bad in retrospect. For the fifties, Pearl of the Orient is remarkably egalitarian, as it goes out of its way not to disparage the “non-Christian peoples” (narrator’s words) it observes. In the twenty-first century, however, making a film that says, “Look at those darling tribal Muslims in their funny pajamas. Aren’t they cute?” would be pretty much unthinkable.

Another thing that looks bad in retrospect: cock fighting. Even the filmmakers seem to know they’re getting a little too close to the line here, and provide the spurs (i.e. three inch blades tied to the roosters’ ankles) with sheaths to prevent any undue carnage. Because the crowd certainly doesn’t want to see any blood. While the cameras are rolling.

A few favorite comments: While the narrator goes on about the most heavily bombed parts of World War II, Kevin objects, “I thought Churchill was the most heavily bombed part of World War II.” When the narrator extols the brawny men working the rice fields, Mike points out the subject actually being filmed with, “Work, you brawny four-year-old girl.” A wizened, large-eyed woman crouches and blinks at the camera during a market scene, prompting Bill to say, “Tricksy hobbits!” It’s not an outrageous short (except for the cock fighting), but a slightly uncomfortable thread of condescension runs all the way through. The riffers find just the right buttons to push, making fun of the narrator and the cultures displayed in equal measure.

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6/7/10

Beach Balls We Have Heard on High...

*bleep* Dwight L. Burton.Welcome, won't you?

Here's another one for the "Much Funnier Than It Should Have Been" file. The Parts of Speech, a fairly staid grammar short that comes out well ahead of the pack due to some spectacular riffing. Review here. And, if you haven't purchased it yet, do so now here.

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6/4/10

George, George, George of the Jungle...

That kid escaped the chain gang while handcuffed to that plant.Welcome, won't you?

I see the title of Rifftrax's latest short, Watch Out For My Plant, and I immediately imagine some unholy amalgamation of Carnivorous Plants and Little Shop of Horrors, maybe with a little East Meets Watts vibe thrown in. I suspect I'm wrong, but how can I know for sure without seeing it for myself?

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6/3/10

RVOD113 Family Teamwork

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short/Children, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Families aren’t so much about teamwork as they are about shutting up.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


A guilt trip royale with cheese.

Summary:

This car pays for that skateboard, little missy!Gratuitously shirtless basketball gives way to a string of eight-to-ten-year-old children who engage in petty, passive-aggressive acts of defiance. These include: the kid who throws a tantrum when his family can’t afford a trailer-tent, the kid who turns up the TV when his dad won’t play glider with him as scheduled, the girls who’d rather skateboard than do the dishes/wash the car, and the boy who pouts rather than help his mother carry groceries up the stairs. Each reflects in turn upon his/her selfish, dependant existence. Then they repent of their little rebellions one at a time.

Thoughts:

Guilt is the name of the game here. In a nutshell: if you don’t help your parents, you’re a bad person. Has this ever worked? My kids are pretty much shameless. Most of the others I’ve met are too. The few times I’ve tried this, my kids ended up feeling worthless and still refused to help, basically turning it into a lose-lose scenario.

How about encouragement? A child who thinks he’s really helping (and doesn’t know I’m letting him hinder me for the sake of his maturation) is more likely to help in the future. Naked, bald-faced bribery works pretty good. So does taking toys as hostages. Er, not that I’ve ever tried that last one...

A few favorite comments: Upon reaching an epiphany of his guilt, a child rushes off while Mike says, “Gotta go pretend to help!” As another child careens from pout to smiles over the course of a few seconds, Bill says, “Son, you’re creeping me out. Could you go outside and play?” As the narrator goes over all the important things we’ve learned about being a team, Kevin adds, “Team spelled backwards is almost meat.” It’s a simple, repetitive little film, spiced up with decent commentary and several off-the-wall jokes that made me smile.

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6/2/10

Dead Giraffes

The short that lives in a van down by the river.Welcome, won't you?

Turns out Geography of Your Community isn't about geography after all. Go figure. To be honest, I'm not sure what it is supposed to be about. Review here.

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6/1/10

Speech Party

Welcome, won't you?

Rifftrax has released a new short called The Parts of Speech today. Apparently it's about swim trunks and beachballs? Let's all find out. Grab it here.

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