In message <05b27dde-3ab7-47e1-9907-
Post by Ken McElhaney Post by Professor Bubba
I'm of the opinion that MST3K should have been liked Doctor Who and
just had a revolving cast. The concept just seems too good to not keep
going and the types of characters (a host, an evil scientist, her
goons, the bots) seem flexible enough to cast a different actors into.
There would of course be downsides. For instance there are only so
many and movies out there and even fewer that MST3K could show and
would suit the format. However, taking into account they have the
entire history of cinema to work with it would be quite a while before
they ran out. Plus, time wouldn't just stand still and new bad movies
would continue being made. Also, as a last resort they could always
use the same movie twice. I'm sure a Manos riffing from 2013 with an
all new cast would be quite different from the original.
Another downside could be that some replacements could be weak and
thus entire years of the show could be lame. However, that's something
every continuous series has to face.
MST3K was tapped out long before it went away. I loved it long time,
but Joel left and, all of a sudden, everybody seemed to be trying too
hard to be funny. The shark jumped for me when they did the 1952 flick
Invasion U.S.A., and they missed all sorts of beats. The film
"starred" Edward G. Robinson Jr., but there wasn't even a line about
that. They did make a point of riffing on the two Lois Lanes (Phyllis
Coates and Noel Neill both appear briefly, and separately, in the
film), but they somehow misidentified another actress as Phyllis. How
do you do something like MST3K and not know who Phyllis Coates is?
Joel and others later did a thing called Cinematic Titanic, which had
the same flavor as MST3K with silhouettes and all, while Mike and crew
did audio-only commentary tracks that you're supposed to sync with your
copy of the movie. This neatly saved Mike all that licensing money and
permission-seeking. Neither effort seemed to gain any traction,
I guess it depends on what you mean by "traction". While the demise of
Cinematic Titanic is one thing, Rifftrax has done quite well for
itself. In fact, a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to live riff
"Twilight" is now four times past its goal. No traction? Well, it was
never the intention of Rifftrax to go on cable TV, but they regularly
produce new riffs on full length movies, have VOD that can be
downloaded and shorts as well.
I think "successful" would more accurately describe Rifftrax whether
you care for the humor or not anymore, they have succeeded in creating
a profitable business venture for several years now and show little
sign of letting up.
I've been to two Rifftrax shows and will go to the Twilight one, if
they get the rights (it's the only way I would ever see Twilight).
After watching Star Trek (2009) which is, to my mind, the best of the
11 Star Trek movies, I watched it again with their commentary, curious
about how well their comedy would work with a good movie. The answer
is, very well.
My kids watch Raiders of the Lost Ark (or was it Last Crusade?) with
the Rifftrax commentary and loved it, and both of them loved seeing
Plan 9 From Out Space (in glorious color!) 'live' in the theatre.
As far as the original mst3k goes, I really liked Joel, but the show
didn't drop after he left because the writers didn't change. Joel was
a performer, Mike Nelson was the one writing his lines.
I still say, "Push the button, Frank" anytime I want the kids to press
the elevator button (or some other button). They haven’t seen mst3k,
so they don't get the reference. But one day they will. And they will.
Stomach in! Chest out! on your marks! get set! GO! Now, now that you're
free, what are you gonna be? Who are you gonna see? And where, where
will you go, and how will you know you didn't get it all wrong?