Mystery Science Theater 3000: C/D, S/D.

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Fair enough -- Mike probably *is* a churning cauldren of angst. But I think he (and his rage) are probrably more based in reality, where Joel strikes me as more otherworldly. Which I prefer (slightly, only ever so slightly) in humor.

Colin Meeder, Thursday, 17 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Oh, about time for a revival (thanks in part to a recent link from Mike D.). Actually, there were a number of episodes I didn't have, mostly from the sixth season, but my Seattle trip has given me the chance to dub a lot of those from Brian's collection, yay me. Plus I finally have Daddy-O and Fugitive Alien, that took long enough!

To add to the book recommendations -- Mike N.'s general essay book Mind Over Matters is another fine read (the TV essay alone is some kinda genius, the mock 19th century novel even more so), while I very much liked Kevin Murphy's A Year at the Movies. Chris Piuma mentioned he felt it was fairly Joe Queenan-like and therefore not as distinct as it could be, but I think it was handled very well and worked as both microstudy of the moviegoing experience and general reflection. Certainly any of the ILF/film-going hounds on this board should consider reading/borrowing a copy, at least. Then there's Mike's new novel Death Rat, which I really need to order next month...

And praise to all the other castmembers doing things and the continual rolling out of more DVDs, though apparently Rhino says they've exhausted what they have the rights to right now and are looking into securing more, hopefully...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:08 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

...although a quick check of the SatNews link sez there's some sort of further DVD thing coming out later this year, hm! Good thing to know. Also, anyone in Minneapolis can go to a writing workshop taught by Mary Jo Pehl next month, which I think would be great (I'm an unabashed fan of hers but she seems to really grate for a lot of MSTies...).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

is this ever shown in the UK?

mark s (mark s), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

It may still be on the Sci-Fi Channel UK, but your best bet is to go on S0ulS33k and download entire episodes (which are about 700MB a pop, FWIW).

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:16 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've never come across it here, Mark - but I have never had the Sci-Fi Channel.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:21 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

It was certainly on (late night) on the Sci-Fi channel a couple of years ago.

N. (nickdastoor), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:24 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Michael, I kiss you! I had no idea there were mst3k episodes on soulseek.

Nicole (Nicole), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:34 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that sounds great, rah Mike! Nicole, I might be able to help with dubbing too though I still need a second VCR, but also please drop me a line about another possible source...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:52 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

FYI, Best Brains Inc. has its own little shop with some non-Rhino treasures. I highly recommend "Mr. B's Lost Shorts" which has the hands-down best short, "Mr. B Natural" - you know, the one with the ridiculously perky, questionably-gendered Neverland shill for Conn brass instruments.

"Bad touch."
"Does this mean I like guys now?"
"I feel ill."
"Spanking time!"

http://www.mst3kinfo.com/satnews/catalog/Basement.htm
http://www.mst3kinfo.com/daddyo/images/mrb5.JPG

Ernest P. (ernestp), Sunday, 25 May 2003 15:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

It is a thing of beauty, that particular short. And chilling horror. Yeah, there are two short comps that are on DVD, but neither contain that gem. It's possible this thing Rhino is promising is some sort of basement-clearing compilation of all the various video oddities that have surfaced from Best Brains -- the second Poopie tape (the first is a DVD bonus with Manos, the scrapbook, more shorts like that, etc. But we'll see, I guess! (My other irrational hope is a full-on special edition of the movie...)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 25 May 2003 16:02 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Michael, I kiss you! I had no idea there were mst3k episodes on soulseek.

Keep in mind that the fidelity on these files is sometimes suprisingly good considering the size, and sometimes fairly bad, but even the worst files usually have more than enough detail for a person to get what's going on.

I'm hoping the DVD is a Santa Claus vs. The Martians/Santa Claus double fun pak. It is going to come out late 2003, after all.

Later I may want to say something about MST3K in light of Mark's venting on Zappa, but right now I want to go to Central Park and maybe the Malevich exhibit before it starts raining (again).

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 25 May 2003 16:33 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I SERIOUSLY NEED TO BUY SIDEHACKERS. I HAVE NOT SEEN IT SINCE HIGH SCHOOL

goooch....goooch....

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Sunday, 25 May 2003 19:29 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

the tuba is like a fat jolly king! knew your father I did!

This show got me through middle school.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Sunday, 25 May 2003 19:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Live fast, die young, leave a fat, bloated, ugly corpse.

luna (luna.c), Sunday, 25 May 2003 19:38 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"That squares my breasts!"

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Sunday, 25 May 2003 20:40 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've only seen about four episodes of MST3K, but "Mr. B Natural" has got to be one of the funniest shorts ever! "We're white, we're white, we're really, really white..." I obv need to get a-downloadin on this show.

Vinnie (vprabhu), Sunday, 25 May 2003 23:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

It is good to see the newer folks here who have the love. :-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 26 May 2003 00:08 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've only seen a couple but I didn't get the point. Why not just rent the original B-movies and come up with your own sarcastic comments?

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 26 May 2003 00:32 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well...that is the point, kinda. The AOL MSTies used to monkey-pile together in a chat room, and riff like mad to cable TV movies or rented VHS tapes. I remember Congo and A Star Is Born being particularly good for that.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Monday, 26 May 2003 00:48 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I have no TV. I have no VCR. But I do have about 40 tapes of MST3K, well over 100 episodes, mostly Seasons 2-7, with a few 1s and KTMAs.

Chris P (Chris P), Monday, 26 May 2003 00:52 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'll admit mst3ks were like bad movies with training wheels for me (and yeah, I love watching b-movies with friends now), but the best episodes still leave me crying.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 26 May 2003 01:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Hard core MST3K-ites with lots of bandwidth should check out the Digital Archive Project which is where I'm getting most of my episodes from.

Chris Barrus (Chris Barrus), Monday, 26 May 2003 06:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

blimey chris, that site's enough to make a young man run out and get broadband and a huge eff-off new harddrive...

(current space on home PC C-Drive abt 700meg, it are old and small)

CarsmileSteve (CarsmileSteve), Monday, 26 May 2003 10:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

did I mention that I saw them live w/Joel at the Uptown Theater, one of the TWO PERFORMANCES EVER w/him? well I did < /gloat>

"Santa Claus, you're coming with us!"
"You're coming to town."

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 26 May 2003 14:15 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well, I do have broadband and a sum total of 150GB of storage over a couple of drives. My consumption rate of DVD-R blanks is pretty scary.

Chris Barrus (Chris Barrus), Monday, 26 May 2003 23:57 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've only seen a couple but I didn't get the point. Why not just rent the original B-movies and come up with your own sarcastic comments?

Because I'm not funny. And neither are you.

NA. (Nick A.), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"nipple nipple tweak tweak AWAY!"

nickalicious (nickalicious), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:39 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

sundar OTM. funny at times, but c'mon snapping along to a movie is way up there on the annoyometer.

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

And to explain the 'point' a bit more to the unbelievers Sundar and Gff, or at least note the method -- the Best Brains put in a lot of effort and practice over time to make what seemed like a casual delivery of comments done on the spot be just that rather than the intensively scripted effort it really was. When they're firing on four cylinders at their best, it's a marvel.

Fave all time moment ever, from any episode -- this snippet from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, delivered and timed JUST RIGHT:

MARTIAN: "What soft, and round, and you put it on the end of a stick --"

SERVO: "An elf?"

MARTIAN: "-- and green?"

SERVO: "Oh, a DEAD elf."

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:47 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"It's not funny when other people do it" is one argument, but "do it yourself" is silly. Why watch a movie at all, then, when you could make your own? Because that's what people do.

Tep (ktepi), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:51 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Someone should invent MST3K glasses with the robots printed on the bottoms of the lenses for people to wear to movies, except that it would be unnecessary, since the robots are already built into the cognitive and aesthetic faculties of an entire culture. MST3K assumes its audienes are so impotent that they can't enjoy even "bad" films first hand but can derive pleasure from them only over the shoulders of robots.

Chris Fujiwara (sounding a little prim), here.

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(I don't endorse his opinion fully, btw, but hey dissent and all.)

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:54 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Argh, that article. Did I ever want to smack up Fujiwara after reading it.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:55 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Fujiwara = fun hata x10,000,000

Nicole (Nicole), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:56 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(For instance -- his complaint about 'why didn't they get the really big trashy movies to rip down' falls flat when you realize the economics of what the Brains had the rights and access to in their various TV deals. It wasn't like they could pick anything and everything, and I'm annoyed with Fujiwara essentially ignoring the realities of TV production.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Add me to the "traded for all the tapes" club. I even bought a separate bookshelf just to display them.

Gamera Vs. Guiron is one of my most underrated favorites, with the Gamera song, Cornjob and the Zabriske Point ref. The "Hello/Thank You" scene with the mothers is my #1 funniest MST3K moment.

zaxxon25 (zaxxon25), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The first time I saw MST - sittng around livingroom with roommate, TV playing in background.

We both idly comment on stupidity of movie showing and the commentary from Joel + robots. Go back to reading book/half-watching.

15 minutes later - 'actually, this isn't that bad'

10 minutes later - we have both decided this is the best show ever created

H (Heruy), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 15:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I even bought a separate bookshelf just to display them.

I salute you!

I am still in fact missing Gamera Vs. Guiron, though happily I've seen it a number of times -- that along with Gamera Vs. Gaos, It Conquered the World and four season six entries are now the only things I'm missing from season two on...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

his hate is more fun than the show!

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:08 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Not really. It's just reading a tedious man moan in a tedious manner.

Nicole (Nicole), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:14 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

circle the wagons!

ignoring realities of production? tedium?

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:20 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I really don't understand why this is being approached as some sort of argument to be won. A number of people here like and get the show, some don't. Big deal.

Nicole (Nicole), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:24 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I think the argument lies in the needle of "and get" there...

I think Fujiwara scores some good points, but yes of course we must give no quarter to a fun-hater.

The show made me laugh but I can't love it.

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:28 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

So don't. Why's it worth anyone's time to give a shit beyond that?

Tep (ktepi), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:34 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The article is very, very flawed. I would go into detail about why but then I would have to read it again, and I have no interest in doing so.

Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The biggest problem I have with it is that it falls into the "any opinion or reaction I have must somehow express a greater aesthetic" camp for which I have unending disdain and contempt. There are six paragraphs before MST3K is even mentioned. Fuck that. Like something or don't, and have the balls to ignore the increasingly-common taboo against disliking something simply because it isn't your thing or you think it's crap.

Tep (ktepi), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:41 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"he died as he lived: with jelly on his face."

jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:41 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

You're a wise man, Mr. Piumaman.

(...when -- you want -- the flavor of bacon -- in a dip.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:45 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

why? oh, you know, conversation.

The thing I like abt Fujiwara's thing (and yes I do realize what a humorless piece of writing it is [but bits make me laugh out loud so eh]) is that it's about giving a shit, about not letting something slide. He thinks the whole enterprise was deeply, offensively unfunny, and that seemed like a rare and valuable enough er perspective w/r/t ile & mst.

I have a strong affection for cranks and fuddy-duddies.

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 27 May 2003 16:47 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Reads like early eruption of the contemporary irony backlash

devops mom (silby), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:22 (one month ago) Permalink

I recall reading some article or maybe just Dr Morbius complaining about young people laughing inappropriately during movies and maybe that’s to do with our irony-poisoned culture but it might also be perfectly okay to just laugh at anything, idk.

devops mom (silby), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:25 (one month ago) Permalink

it's ok not to like mst3k, fella. more for the rest of us. never read that article before, but what a load. "vendettas"!!! lol. ned's right, though. he should've waited a few years and tried to stomach rifftrax and the others. just zapping all the fun out of the whole thing. imo.

andrew m., Friday, 27 July 2018 16:32 (one month ago) Permalink

Hercules and the Captive Women and "precious cultural documentation" in the same sentence.

andrew m., Friday, 27 July 2018 16:34 (one month ago) Permalink

Reads like early eruption of the contemporary irony backlash

I do think there's something there tbh.

I Never Promised You A Hose Harden (Eric H.), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:39 (one month ago) Permalink

Head writer of season 11 Elliot Kalan pointed out on an episode of his podcast The Flop House that the truth is you can make fun of any movie, not only “bad” movies. Which seems perfectly true. Maybe it’s distancing but it’s also a potentially cogent formalist close reading of the artifice of film. The robot shadows make the film-object obvious, and prevent us from falling into the experience as we would otherwise—certainly that is a distancing mechanism. But it also facilitated the analysis of a movie as a collage of parts. Busting apart the temporal continuity and spatial totality of the film-viewing experience makes it possible to riff on—that is, to read—the component elements that a film is built of. Each cliche, type, washed-up movie star, technical infelicity can be riffed on, and the spectacle thereby disassembled. Surely not the only way to read a movie, but it’s a way.

We just watched all the Hammer Draculas at my house in the last month or so (though I only caught about half of them) and it was impossible to resist the temptation to ironize. The red paint and raspberry jam are tough to take at face value. Christopher Lee as Dracula isn’t just Dracula, he is “Christopher Lee as Dracula”. Heck they even reused the name “Paul” in two consecutive movies. But irony-poisoned though we were we weren’t dismissing these movies or rendering them inert. Isn’t it more condescending to talk about the raspberry jam without laughing? Can you even see it without laughing about it?

devops mom (silby), Friday, 27 July 2018 16:41 (one month ago) Permalink

The biggest failure of the essay is not thinking the robots are ever funny, and/or that the jokes are always about how the movie is bad. The latter are usually the weakest and least-loved lines, I think.

This is a total Jeff Porcaro. (Doctor Casino), Friday, 27 July 2018 18:00 (one month ago) Permalink

when it comes to consumer policing (telling you HOW you should be consuming something) people tend start from a bad premise (ie. MST3K is about making fun of bad movies for being bad) and just line up the dots. add in further bad consumption evidence (gasp - he likes Zappa!) and let your lazy assumptions do the rest.

MST3K is about more than ha ha it's bad. i don't think it's about distance necessarily either, often the shitty b movies that fill their schedule were made to best be appreciated in between makeout sessions, the plots and characters all stock for economy of production and story, etc. ironically some of the best riffs are when they get even more invested in the story than is to be expected, asking questions that the filmmakers didn't consider necessary or important to explain.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 28 July 2018 15:56 (one month ago) Permalink

yes. i also think it's important to keep in mind that the creators had been weaned on these films/genres/archetypes. as gen x-ers growing up amid the three networks plus UHF stations, they actually would have sat around watching this stuff as the late-night movie, not to mention all the stuff that actually came out when they were kids/teens and was targeted at them in the first place. they've inhabited these films, their values, their pacing, their sense of what counts for plot or characterization. it's not as simple as digging up something they know nothing about and adopting an easy, distant attitude of superiority. maybe with some of the really, really old shorts, or I Accuse My Parents, i guess, but pretty sure they probably encountered that stuff in the course of life too.

This is a total Jeff Porcaro. (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 28 July 2018 21:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Head writer of season 11 Elliot Kalan pointed out on an episode of his podcast The Flop House that the truth is you can make fun of any movie, not only “bad” movies. Which seems perfectly true.

― devops mom (silby)

you can make fun of every kind of movie, but as the mst3k writers point out in the book fujiwara takes such offense to, not every film is equally amenable to an mst3k-style treatment - and the criterion which makes a film amenable to it is not "badness". comedies, for instance, fare poorly, as do dialogue-heavy films.

the political critique fujiwara makes is fairly muddled, as political critiques of this sort tend to be. mike nelson, the longtime head writer, has long been publicly known as a conservative, and presumably as a result of conflicts within the show - frank conniff, for instance, is decidedly _not_ a conservative - the show tends to pull back from overt political elements, a stance which was possible in the '90s in a way it isn't now. which doesn't keep them from spending the bulk of an early episode filmed from a heinlein script taking apart its toxic masculinism.

honestly i'd say far from being an either/or thing, mst3k operates more on what tvtropes would refer to as a sliding scale of idealism vs. cynicism - the show can be harsh and brutal in its condemnation, but never as harsh and brutal as a film like "five the hard way" itself - a film which showed another limitation to the show. in this sense the comedy of the show reminds one of the work of someone like james branch cabell, a popular satirist of the 1930s whose work is famously said to have gone out of vogue because there was no room for someone like hitler in his world.

personally i find it useful to understand mst3k in the context of uncritical fan acceptance and adoration. to be a sci-fi fan in those days required one to love crap in a way that it doesn't these days. i am reminded of colin baker's pushback against fans who said they "loved" the bad special effects in the series - "you didn't love them, you tolerated them". this divide is precisely what separates mst3k from frank zappa's "cheepnis" ethos - attempting to make a deliberately bad film, as zappa did multiple times, tends to turn out unutterably awful. whatever one can say of mst3k, hopefully one can acknowledge that it is several orders of magnitude superior to something like the film of _uncle meat_.

in any case, i'd rather watch the mst3k version of fucking castle of fu manchu again than read another listless example of thundering against like fujiwara's. it's a toss-up between fujiwara's articles and _uncle meat_.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Sunday, 29 July 2018 01:40 (one month ago) Permalink


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