Monday, September 1, 2014

Jerk-rassic Park: Review of Rifftrax vs. Dinosaurus

It's been a while since I bought a Rifftrax movie, but thanks to a Labor Day discount, and seeing a caveman in a dress in the above trailer, I just couldn't resist.

Dinosaurus, made in 1960, is about a construction crew on an island discovering two frozen dinosaurs in the bottom of the ocean. Since they're blocking the crew's efforts to deepen the harbor, they're taken to shore. Naturally, this turns out to be a wise decision for three seconds. Rain and lightning wake them up, along with a caveman for some reason. The cast also includes a strong-jawed guy named Bart, a typical love interest named Betty, an annoying kid who's described as someone who came from a Gamera movie, and an "island manager" named Hacker who looks like Torgo after he got cleaned up, acquired a French-ish accent, and turned into a douchebag. There's also comedy relief named Dumpy, and an Irish guy who's too much of a stereotype.

Steve McQueen was supposed to be Bart in this movie, but he was never asked. Good thing, or he'd never be in The Magnificent Seven.

The movie also relies on the kid's knowledge of dinosaurs based on cereal box tops, and the island manager's greed. Viewers may suspect the movie's ripping off Eegah, after the caveman carries off Betty and takes her to a mine. However, Eegah was made two years after this movie, and the guy who played the caveman was a slightly better comedian. Just note his difficulties with the 20th Century, and that he gets to be fast friends with the annoying kid.

The writers decide on a final showdown between Bart and the T-Rex by knocking off the villain, a dinosaur and the caveman in less than a minute. While Bart doesn't try to kill the dinosaur with a forklift, what he does use is even more lame. What's more, the movie suggests a sequel. As if. (However, if Dinosaurus 2 reveals the caveman was OK...)

The trailer has the best lines, but here's a few more:

One of the natives mentions how the construction workers will deepen the harbor and lead to "much happiness"

Kevin Murphy:  It's like a live action Speedy Gonzales cartoon, without Speedy.

Julio, the annoying kid, mentions how of the dinosaurs found is cold

Mike Nelson:  and some frozen dork named Captain America is stuck to him (is this because Chris Evans was also the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies, Mike?)

Julio threatens to run away after Hacker yells at him

Bill Corbett:  I'm moving in with Zindy the Swamp Boy

The caveman tries to interrupt O'Leary's drinking by breaking down his door

Mike: Take this copy of Watchtower, or I'll kill you.

The final showdown between man and dinosaurus

Mike:  It's Barney

There's also riffs the Brady Bunch, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Marx Brothers, Tim Allen, Shelley Duvall, Paul Simon, Pirates World and Mike Mulligan. They even thrown in a couple of obscure references to Encino Man,  Hackers and an animated dinosaur movie that included Jay Leno.

This also marks the first time the movie includes Rifftrax's new animated opening that was introduced during the Godzilla showing less than three weeks ago. It'll be added to all future selections.

Learn more at Rifftrax's website, and get the movie here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Look Who's In Nicki Minaj's New Video

This is not something made by some fan. This gif  is the last few seconds of Nicki Minaj's new video, "Anaconda", with a cameo by the MST3K gang.

When this was released last week, people noticed how the song sampled form Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back", a song that would be appropriate for Nicki's rear curves. It also showed a lot of pop refererences from the 1990s. Then at 3:06, Nikki is seen at the MST3K theater riffing on herself, while the guy in the middle (Joel? Mike?) slumps in his seat. However, the way he straightens up again suggests something quite different. Is it the Anaconda about to, er, stand at attention?

Here's the video in question. It's a "lyric video" because the offical video is coming soon. Judging from the behind the scenes video, the official version will have a lot of hot and steamy action, with or without Crow and Tom Servo.

Actually, the MST3K crew have a lot of experience with talking about music videos. Look at how they riff on a report on Radiohead just before the release of MST3K:  The Movie,

And of course, Beavis and Butthead are experts on commenting on videos in between their cartoons.

So what was the reaction from Mike and the guys?

Well, Mike Nelson talked about it on his Facebook page:

But, no pun intended, I don’t know what to make of this MST reference. Reference? Homage? Dis? I’m not sure.
Kevin Murphy and I chatted briefly about it and we suspect there MAY have been substances involved.

Let the work speak for itself. Though note, you have been warned.

Kevin only said he was surprised, while Bill Corbett had this tweet

In a way, it's a great way to plug the next Rifftrax event, Anaconda with Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson and Jon Voight, on October 30. If they made this movie today, it would have been Anaconda Cat vs. Shark-Tiger on SyFy, and maybe Iggy Azalea would play the Jennifer Lopez part. At least there would be a video. 

Oh, and if Nicki or her posse do watch MST3K, how about this photoshopped picture where I add a Tom Servo lid to the top of her wig. If you see it at a certain angle, it does look like Servo...

Anyway, the official Anaconda video can be seen here. As for the Rifftrax version of Anaconda, expect a Sir Mix-A-Lot joke or two....or maybe a mention of Minaj..

Friday, August 15, 2014

Rifftrax vs. Godzilla 1998: Bambi's Revenge

That was the one riff they didn't use, but the Rifftrax crew used everything else when they took on the 1998 version of Godzilla Thursday night in Nashville, broadcast in hundred of theaters.

A lot of people wanted to see this big lizard go down for years, especially since it had the bright idea of ripping off Jurassic Park and adding a rom-com plot to the destruction. Judging from the reaction from those who saw the live show, maybe this wasn't the best choice for the Rifftrax guys to make. It's not exactly a bunch of gung-ho teens blasting big bugs, or Tara Reid and that guy from 90210 taking on a deadly storm with teeth. Still, the movie's a lesson that when you remake a classic monster movie, you don't add a lame reboot of When Harry Met Sally.
Still, it seems Rifftrax fans prefer their heroes to take on really bad, and shorter, movies like Yambao or Beast of the Yellow Night. Maybe so, they should continue their Kickstarter projects to take on bigger,yet not better, movies. One day, the dream of targeting Twilight in theaters nationwide will be fulfilled, although Sharknado 2 will likely be done first.

The timing of the crew also seemed to be off. They stumbled on a couple of riffs, but it was a good job anyway.

Now, let's get to some of the riffs.

Matthew Broderick stands in the paw print of Godzilla, and has this shocked look on his face.

My God, I married Sarah Jessica Parker?

An old guy tries to fish in the in the East River...and gets a very big bite.

Ironically, he reels in Rodan, and has to throw him back

Godzilla starts wrecking buildings in the middle of New York

Oh no, we're in Inception. Everybody wake up.

Godzilla chases everyone, stepping on buildings

Godzilla's into parkour. (In fact, the crew marveled at how fit the big lzard looked, compared to the 2014 Godzilla looking a little chunky)

One of the most puzzling things about Broderick in the movie, recalled by a guy from the Rifftrax forum:

Why is everyone acting like he's Channing Tatum?

Audrey, the fake TV reporter, sees a secret tape on Nick's desk

Top Secret. Can we watch that instead?

Mini-Godzillas start hatching at Madison Square Garden, and chase Audrey and her cameraman

The velociraptors from Jurassic Park have acquired a legal team.

Godzilla, who was thought to be dead, emerges from the river after its babies are dead

Oh no, it's King Kong.

and the big guys's final words:  "See you in a forgettable remake in 16 years". Well, at least the remake was worthy of a sequel.

There's also riffs on Game of Thrones, Woody Allen, a pro wrestling idea that never caught on, Dukes of Hazzard, Ladyhawke, Ted Nugent, Dr. Strangelove, The Expendables and Ninja Turtles. There was also a riff when Jean Reno's character opens an elevator at the Garden and just finds spilled popcorn. Mike stumbled on this one, but recovered pretty well.

Before all that, Rifftrax unveiled a new animated intro that will be added to all future releases. The song is pretty good, although it's not exactly like the MST theme. There's also great references from past Rifftrax movies, and even a spaceship we know all too well. Here, take a look:

You can get the intro at the Rifftrax site for 99 cents, and the song at the same price. The song is also available on iTunes.

Next up, the other Kickstarter special on October 30, Anaconda with Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson and Jon Voight. It's basically Moby Hiss, or a crazy guy forcing some people to hunt a really big snake in the Amazon. This was made a year before Godzilla, so expect CGI that's even more lame.

One more thing:  here's my ticket with a nickname for Godzilla that thankfully never caught on in 1998

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rock and Roll Is King, Thanks To Kickstarter

“Listen everybody, let me tell you about the rock and roll…”

When young girls in the South heard that lyric about 30 years ago, they cheered and squealed with delight.
It wasn’t for a rock group, but for a couple of handsome guys who changed pro wrestling in a big way.

Wrestling fan Michael Elliot decided to tell the story of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, aka the Rock and Roll Express, through a DVD set called Rock and Roll Will Never Die. Rather than wait until WWE Video get around to it, he made it himself through Kickstarter. It wound up being a three disc set that does a good job of recounting the history of the pair. Here's a trailer from YouTube:

He announced the project five months ago, and was able to get the project done quicker than most Kickstarter-made DVDs. It’s mostly Morton and Gibson recalling how they got together, and their experiences as eight-time world tag team champs. There’s also interviews with nemesis Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton), Tom Pritchard of the Heavenly Bodies, Bill Dundee, referee Tommy Young, Ivan Koloff and Jimmy Valiant. The biggest surprise was George South, a jobber with WTBS wrestling who gave some great insights about the success of the team.

The first disc covers the basic history of the Express. Ricky and Robert had wrestled with other partners before they formed a team in Memphis in 1983. Back then, they were the #2 babyface team behind the Fabulous Ones. They got their big break when Mid-South picked them up along with Cornette and the Midnight Express, and wound up having classic matches.
Both teams joined WTBS and Jim Crockett a year later. Ricky and Robert got there first with the famous match against Ivan Koloff and Krusher Kruschev  for the world tag team belts in July 1985, followed by Cornette and his team. Gibson says RnR really got a big pop for beating the supposedly unbeatable Russians, and that’s how they got popular very quickly. He says RnR were so popular that Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes were starting to be a bit jealous. He claims the idea of Flair wrestling Ricky for the World title was an attempt to break up the team. He also says the “Super Sizzling Summer Tour” idea was a way for Crockett to generate more money for the team while the rest of the crew got a vacation in Hawaii.
Gibson also says he and Robert were fired over a money dispute, but when they came back to WTBS, they weren’t as prominent as they used to be. There’s also the big run with Smokey Mountain Wrestling, and the feud with the Heavenly Bodies (Pritchard and Stan Lane, and later Jimmy Del Rey). It doesn't give a lot of details about RnR being in the WWE in 1998, but that's due to the WWE owning the footage, along with WTBS and Mid-South. Still, Elliott is able to use photos and short clips from Memphis, SMW and NWA house shows very well.

Disc two has several stories about the team's career, but also footage from WrestleCade and the “King of the Mountain” tournament from Smoky Mountain, and Gibson challenging Rob Conway for the NWA title. You even seen them in ads for heating and air conditioning

The third disc is a real treat. It has Ricky and Ken Lucas as the Southwest Tag Team Champs in 1982 in a TV match and two NWA tag team title matches with RnR and the Midnight Express with very interesting endings. There’s also the famous “loser leave town” match between RnR and the Heavenly Bodies from SMW. The ref bump and ending has to be seen to be believed. Also, Gibson is in an NWA jr. heavyweight title match from earlier this year against champ Chase Owens. This is also a must-see match.

Rock and Roll Will Never Die is a fairly good effort in honoring one of the most influential tag teams in wrestling history. While tag teams aren’t as popular these days, seeing the RnR in its prime is bound to excite fans of any age. Gibson hopes that eventually they will make the WWE Hall of Fame, along with the Midnight Express. That’s a good idea, but so would WWE Video doing a proper DVD for these teams. Until then, this is the next best thing.

And...they threw in an autographed 8 x 10 photo

Better yet, you can get it for 19.95 at High Spots and Amazon.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Return of MST3K, But Still Not Everywhere

In the not too distant future, tomorrow, A.D...

Mystery Science Theater 3000 returns on over-the-air TV, but sadly not everywhere.
I was checking the responses of fans who learned that Retro TV will start carrying the show July 5th, starting with "The Mad Monster". While some were happy they have Retro TV, others were upset that they didn't have it, or used to have it until the local channel that carried it changed to getTV, Me-TV or AntennaTV. They were also upset that some movies that were in the original list were taken out because of rights issues. That includes "Time Chasers" and "Space Mutiny". On the other hand, it meant the addition of "Pod People" and "Secret Agent Super Dragon." One fan suggested "Mad Monster" was too weak an episode to start the return.

I am in the Reno area, where Retro TV is available...along with a semi-local weekend horror TV host named Zomboo. Let's just say his list of movies is similar to those who have been mocked at the Satellite of Love. I'm hoping to get cable...and my own place...before "Super Dragon" because it's one of the episodes I don't have.

Still, it's a great way to introduce movie mocking to a new generation who thinks they have no way to strike back after they unwisely spent 12 bucks on the latest Transformers movie, Amazing Spider Man 2 or Transcendence (nowhere nearly as good as a certain scene from Captain America's second movie). Sure, they may have heard of Rifftrax, but they may wonder how such a thing was invented. Well, thanks to Retro TV, they can find out how some guy and his two robots changed instant movie reviewing forever. Take that, Zomboo.
This will especially please the online-challenged. While these episodes can be seen on Amazon, iTunes or YouTube, not everyone can get used to downloading TV shows or movies. Seeing the show on cable TV, just like the old days of Comedy Central, can be a comfort for some.

What's interesting is that Retro seems to be interested in showing unriffed versions of previous MST3K targets. It's planning to show The Violent Years after MST3K, and Teenage Caveman in some areas. Maybe it's daring us to riff on these movies at home.

Anyway, MST3K airs Saturdays at 8 PM, and Sundays at 5 PM. Check for more info, including plans to run classic episodes of Doctor Who back in the days when he was a staple on PBS and the early days of SyFy,

Naturally, Retro TV will encourage you to ask your local station to carry the channel. If that doesn't work, you could circulate the tapes...or buy them on DVD....or download them online.
Man, things have changed, haven't they?