RiffTrax is ten years old, and to celebrate they put together their latest RiffTrax Live event packed to the gills with most of the cast of MST3K, leading to an amazing entry of RiffTrax Live. Not only do we get Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, but they are joined by Mary Jo Pehl, Bridget Jones Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, and newcomer Jonah Ray, making this the largest collection of MST3K alums performing at the same time ever! Some of it even helped erase the bad taste that was left in the mouths after the MST3K revival Kickstarter that came as news for practically everyone in the original cast except Joel, but mostly it was just a hilarious time that was one of the best RiffTrax Live events ever!
From the start there were MST3K songs during the preshow slides (usually it’s a mix of funny songs from various artists), and the large volume of slides referenced a lot of RiffTrax episodes over the years including things like Setting Up A Room, Manos, and Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. There were even references to a some of the RiffTrax VODs I haven’t even had time to watch, which shows not only how behind I am on RiffTrax watching but also how familiar I am with bad cinema that I recognized what they were from. That’s a weird thing to be happening, but it is.
To start, each group of riffers got their own short, followed by the megariffing session where everyone came out. Mike, Keven, and Bill started things off with a ridiculous mess of a car safety short – A Talking Car, about a careless child brought before a tribunal of talking cars, one of which seems to want to feel that kids blood ground beneath its tires. Luckily for the kid, the two cooler-headed cars prevailed and we aren’t witnesses to child murder. Not that I would have been sad had this annoying child been destroyed. The kid is accompanied in the dream car tribunal by his loyal dog (it is unclear if the dog is also dreaming this), and the dog will growl and bare its teeth practically every time the old cranky car that wants the kid dead talks. Later the trio also tackled Shake Hands With Danger, a ridiculously gorey safety short that I saw them do live years ago and it was just as hilarious this time out.
Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl paired up for a short about the kitchen of the future in a modern home, and how you women can conspire to teach your husband to buy you a new kitchen. Which in this case meant buy a new house with a new kitchen inside it! It featured Darren McGavin (best known to modern eyes as the dad from A Christmas Story) as the husband, and of course there were plenty of references to that as well as other good lines. Mary Jo and Bridget have become a regular team at RiffTrax with their own series of shorts that focus more on the types of films they’d make the girls watch in home ec back in the 1950s.
Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu were up with More Dates for Kay, which I think is supposed to be a followup to the MST3Ked short What To Do On a Date. A hapless young lady who mopes around at home complaining that she doesn’t have a boyfriend gets a talking too from her older (married!) sister, who talks about her friend Kay (why this married, older woman is friends with a high schooler is not addressed!) The advice switches from basically go out and have fun and meet people and be friendly to the bizarre like do favors and pretend to be interested in every random boy that comes along in the off chance one asks you out. Also, the sister is totally not approving of Kay’s calling of boys. Frank and Trace straddle the border of working dirty with some of their lines (the short makes it soooooooooooo easy to turn everything sexual it’s crazy!) and Mike, Kevin, and Bill even joke about how Frank is dying to go blue but can’t. Probably the best riff of the night.
Jonah Ray and Joel Hodgson come out for Americans At Work: Barbers, an AFL-CIO joint about how barbers and hairdressers are totally valuable workers, and also women take forever to look good. There was a hilarious running gag with a hairdresser who looked like Frankenstein that just got funnier and funnier. Jonah did well and showed he’ll do a good job as the new MST3K host, despite a line flub that got its own riff by Joel.
Then it was time, the Riff-a-palooza! Everyone came out for a special short with the 1950s Superman selling saving stamps to young children! Shockingly, though we finally got Joel and Mike riffing at the same time (and everyone else!), this wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, because the short itself was pretty darn tepid. Far too talky and not enough cheesy. Luckily, they seemed to pick up on this while putting the show together because we got a second short that was also riffed by everyone, and it was a recurring favorite: At Your Fingertips: Grass! That short is so awesome it alone is worth the price of admission, even with a lot of repeated lines. And now we can finally find out if corn is grass or not!
Before I got I want to also mention there was a ten years of RiffTrax highlight video that was great and hopefully shows up online somewhere (and also reminded me there are a few of the mp3 riffs I haven’t watched yet, either!) Overall, this show ruled, the non-Superman shorts were largely amazing, and it was great seeing the old gang back together, even in a new together form. Hopefully this leads to more collaboration between the groups with more RiffTrax and more guest spots on the new MST3K. If you are someone how is more cautious with what you spend your money on but are a nominal fan of MST3K, it is well worth your dollars to go either see the rebroadcast or get the VOD when it is released.
Disclosure: I donated to the Kickstarter for this RiffTrax.
**The comic Chopper – which reimagines The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as a headless biker – got some webisodes that served as a prequel, and they’ve been used to springboard a movie adaptation. Actors Tyler Mane and Andrew Bryniarski from the webisodes are set to return, and comic writer Martin Shapiro will write the script. You can watch the First Episode here
If this sounds vaguely familiar, you might be thinking of the Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode about a headless biker, also called Chopper. Or maybe the episode of The Real Ghostbusters called The Headless Motorcyclist.
**Rick Yancey’s short story When First We Were Gods is getting filmed. Aron Eli Coleite will adapt the tale about wealthy immortals and a scheme for a rich man to kill his immortal wife and replace her with his mortal mistress (giving her the immortality.) Music video and commercial director Daniel Askill will direct.
**The 2000 A.D comic Stronghold comes closer to reality after three years on the backburner, with Stellan Skarsgard and Douglas Booth signed on as leads. Paul Finch created the Stronghold comic, about knights vs zombies, and he wrote the script. Jason Kingsley directs.
Ranulf and his team of heroic knights have just conquered the land of Wales. On their way back to the castle they call home, they happen upon an unforeseen enemy – one that never fixed on battling, the undead. Seems the Welsh have been conquered and killed, but the enemy has risen again as zombies!
**The cast for Monuments Men is awesome. Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, and Hugh Bonneville are signed up so far for George Clooney’s latest flick, about a group of people who steal artworks from nazi Germany before Hitler can destroy them. It’s based on Robert M. Edsel’s book, and you can read about the real Monuments Men here.
**Nic Cage is in the business of making bad films again as he’s set to star in the Left Behind remake. Arclight Films is behind this latest franchise reboot. The original trilogy starred controversial banana enthusiast Kirk Cameron, as is based on the best selling series of books that are in now way incredibly awful. Vic Armstrong, a legendary stunt performer, is signed on to direct. This will be Vic Armstrong’s second feature direction after Dolph Lundgren’s Army of One.
**IMDB Top 250 in 2 1/2 Minutes
Let’s just ignore the politics of using the IMDB top 250 as a measure of anything and enjoy the editing.
**The giant monster comic Enormous will get moviefied as well, with monster-experienced director Andre Ovredal signed on to helm the project. He directed Troll Hunter, which was pretty darn good. The comic was created and written by Tim Daniel and drawn by Mehdi Cheggour, and just moved from Image comics to 21 Ink Publishing. The prior work focused on a woman who saved lost children in a world where ecological chaos unleashes giant beasts that destroy civilization. More about Enormous at this link.
**Speaking of The Wizard of Oz, if you love biting political mocking of the pundit-filled wasteland that is modern media and politics, you will love Frank Conniff’s The Wonderful Pundits of Oz! Fellow MST3K alum J. Elvis Weinstein is also a voice.
**At Can’t Stop the Movies, Andrew gets Ruby Sparksed up!
**Nude for Satan is the Greatest Movie EVER! on the Greatest Movie EVER podcast!
**Xsmarkthespot talks about Cloud Atlas!
**FourDK’s jungle has a Three Supermen infestation! Someone get the can of Raid!
**Fist of B-List vs Black Samurai!
**Green People’s Soup knows the truth about Disney and Jesus!
**The Vault of Buncheness battles The Atomic Brain!
**Music video of the week:
Categories: Movie News Tags: Andrew Bryniarski, Aron Eli Coleite, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett, comic books, Daniel Askill, Douglas Booth, Frank Conniff, George Clooney, Hugh Bonneville, J. Elvis Weinstein, Jason Kingsley, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Left Behind, Lionsgate, Martin Shapiro, Mehdi Cheggour, Monuments Men, Nicholas Cage, Paul Finch, Remakes are stupid, Rick Yancey, Stellan Skarsgård, Stronghold, Tim Daniel, Tyler Mane, Vic Armstrong, Wehn First We Were Gods