Monday, August 9, 2010

Rifftrax: "What About Juvenile Delinquency?" Revisited

Nearly two years ago, Cinematic Titanic revisited an MST3K classic, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. As any hard-core fan would do, I reviewed it and compared it with the original version on this blog.

Now Rifftrax has taken a second look as a classic short called "What About Juvenile Delinquency?" That was the short before "The Atomic Brain". It's been nearly 15 years, and the Rifftrax crew thought it needed some refreshing. That means getting rid of a few dated jokes, and putting the emphasis on something else. For example, in the MST version, Mike Nelson starts off with "What About Juvenile Delinquency? That's a viable career option." In the Rifftrax version, he emphasizes the name of the film series, "Discussion Problems in Group Living." To be honest, that's not as much fun.

I decided to take a few pieces to compare the riffing. First, the gang waits for their ride.

MST3K: (Crow) The Martin Milner Gang (Servo on the logo) Oh, they're so klandikto (callback to "Clash of the Moons")
Rifftrax: (Mike on the logo) It's the Fearsome Electric Fried Egg Gang.

Then they decide to beat up a bald headed guy who's driving too slow

MST3K: (Mike) When good natured ribbing goes too far
Rifftrax: (Mike) Don't hurt me! I've got Mitch Miller tickets

Followed by the picture of the driver, who is really Jamie's dad. Jamie's with the gang, by the way.

MST3K: (Crow as Jamie's mom) Oh, Willard Scott, I'll gently polish you
Rifftrax: (Bill) His high school graduation photo

When the gang goes to the dry cleaners or the H&R Block place, depending of your version, Jamie hears about how his friends clobbered a big bald headed guy in a yellow Buick. They wonder why Jamie is so interested.

MST3K: (Mike) Just trying to draw you out. Want some fries?
Rifftrax: (Mike) Because your story was a little flat. I think the kind of car he drove really helps paints a vivid picture.

Jamie comes home to find his wounded dad. He asks mom how he is

MST3K: (Crow) He's kind of rubbery
Rifftrax: (Kevin) I've given him three intravenous chuck roasts.

When Jamie meets the gang the next day at school, they urge him to come back to the club or else. While MST talks about how they tell Jamie they can beat up their other dads, Rifftrax talks about "nobody leaves our club...except for the guy who did last week"
Then the football captain, student body president and senior class president talk to Jamie about the city council meeting, and how they'll ban everything to protect the city from the wild teens. While MST was afraid of the student body president's face, the Rifftrax crew seems to be scared of him and the football guy speaking up close.
Then the class president says "They'll listen to you Jamie, because it was your dad who...."

MST3K: (Crow) Awkward....
Rifftrax: (Kevin) made a pass at me at the wrestling meet.

The mean gang is about to stop them from going to city hall, when the oldest teacher in school walks by. The gang is intimidated for some reason

MST3K: (Mike) It's Martha Graham. Run!
Rifftrax: (Mike) Cheese it. It's Orville Redenbacher

Then the final scene when the mayor asks Jamie and his friends what they can do to fight juvenile delinquency..

MST3K: (Mike) They called our bluff. What do we do?
Rifftrax: (Mike) uh...put a pop machine in the lunch room? I don't know!

I prefer the MST version better, only because the Rifftrax version had too much riffing. On the other hand, you could hear a bit more of the story, such as it is.

This brings up an interesting question...what other shorts or movies should Rifftrax re-riff? Mr. B Natural? Junior Rodeo Daredevils? Gamera? Manos (despite what Mike's wife thinks about that movie)? Maybe the final episode of Undersea Kingdom, or even Eegah?

It may not be necessary for Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic to recycle past MST3K shows, since there are plenty of lousy reboots and cheesy dramas to attack...not to mention really bad monster movies from the Philippines. But, maybe, they could.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Way Overdue Comic-Con Entry About Expendables and RED

I know this is two weeks late, but it's also relevant since one of the movies I will rant about is coming next week.
As I said before, the worst thing about Comic-Con is that people are spending more time standing in line for panels they wind up missing. That's why we should thank God for YouTube, which allows us to see the moments we missed.

However, I did see three movie panels from Hall H. This included Angelina Jolie plugging her new movie, Salt.

This is Salt

I was more interested in The Expendables, the manly movie that will kick Julia Roberts' That goes for Scott Pilgrim, too.
Sure, those guys will pick up their fans, but who could possibly resist a movie with the most famous action stars under one roof?
Here are some of my favorite pictures from that panel.

Ready for business

Stallone ready for business

Hey, man!

Gets a hug from Bruce Willis, who was part of the RED panel, while Dolph Lungren looks on

Mt. Rushmore of Kick-Ass

Mount Rushmore of Kick-Ass, with Stallone, Lungren and Randy Couture...and a bit of Stone Cold Steve Austin

How many times he clobbered Stallone

To be fair, here's all of Stone Cold

To be honest, I am more interested in RED, coming in October. Seeing Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman kicking butt at their age is one reason, but this will get people to the movie:

Pistol-Packing Queen

This woman with a machine gun in one hand, and a tea cup in the other.
Of course, after Helen Mirren pulls this off, Meryl Streep will have to be in a movie where she's tossing hand grades right and left...and she'll probably make sure that happens.

The Queen with the Bruce

Seeing Helen with Bruce Willis will be great, too, but imagine John Malkovich with as the NRA with legs. He wasn't at Comic-Con, but it's something to anticipate.

Shhh, that's really Nancy Botwin

Let's not forget Mary Louise Parker, who's a low-level CIA employee who sides with RED after figuring out that killing ex-agents considered too old to fight back is just wrong. It also doesn't work.

Warren Ellis, who wrote the original comic book series, was also there. He admitted that he did this for the money, which is why the movie is very different than the original comics. Still, it's because this man wanted to fill his wallet that we'll see The Talented Mr. Ripley turn bad guys into hamburger, and The Queen into Dame Rambo.
Come to think of it, could Diana Rigg be just as deadly as Grandma Emma Peel? Someone will ask her after this movie opens...and makes a pile of dough.

State Fair: Weird Al Comes To Town

Weird Al Yankovic, who can mock music like no one else, has been a staple at the California State Fair. For the first time, though, he wrapped up the fair...which means I could go.
It was a good show, with a mix of original spoofs and the usual parodies. Thing is, my camera battery chose that time to be on its last legs. What I got is still pretty good.

More Weird Al

It's the Lady Gaga/Ke$ha Polka

Oldie But Goodie

Al Yankovic, Lounge Lizard

This last one was really a stunner. I've seen him as an Amish guy, Kurt Cobain, and Devo, but never like this! This is why he's a Grammy award winner, and still a fave in the music industry.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cinematic Titanic in San Francisco: It's Better Than Hippies

Castro Organist Plays Before CT Crew

Well, Dave "Gruber" Allen said so, but he was probably joking.
Still, it's no joke that the Cinematic Titanic crew, one of the two major Faiths For Protesting Against Bad Movies In A Jovial Way (Rifftrax being the other), has an intense following in San Francisco. They just had their third visit to the Bay Area this past Tuesday, and second time at the Castro this year.

Cinematic Titanic in Town

Some fans had CT t-shirts, but I think I saw a guy wearing a green furry jacket, as if he was Big Daddy Clayton Forrester.
And there's this guy....

The Gizmonic Guy That Didn't Get Launched Into Space

He's in bliss wearing the Gizmonic uniform.

They had the basic opening act from crazy haikus from J. Elvis Weinstein and DVD's Frank Coniff's Convoluted Man, but had some interesting additions. Allen did a cool rap to introduce J. Elvis' rendition of "Year of the Cat," while DVD's Frank suggested that the movie version of Mamma Mia shouldn't have a sing-a-long version as Grease just did. What he did suggest...well, it's a bit more dark. He may repeat the joke, which is why I won't say it. Actually, what he suggested would be more appropriate for Glitter, Step Up 3-D, or even the Hannah Montana movie.

Now, the target for that night: it's called War of the Insects, but it was originally called Genocide. It's supposed to be a monster movie about how insects are killing people at a remote island. Cool, huh? Mothra-sized bees eating people?
Uh, no. Actually, it starts as a wartime drama where some Japanese guy named George cheats on his pregnant wife with a blond while the Army is looking for a missing H-bomb after one of its planes crashed. Also, a Black Air Force guy named Charlie freaks out after seeing a bee outside the plane, just before a few thousand more insects force the plane to crash. Oh, and George is charged with murder because he tries to sell a watch from one of the pilots.

After that, we get to see these characters interact aimlessly, even including the blond flirting with a Japanese doctor who's interested in the insects on the island. Suddenly, the action ramps up when we see the local insects sting two Air Force guys to death, while Charlie laughs uncontrollably while firing a pistol and molesting the pregnant wife.
Then we find out the blond has something to do with the insects attacking humans. Something about insects upset that man is destroyng itself with these H-bombs. Even the ending is creepy.

So, how does the CT crew react to a Japanese movie that makes them wish it was a Sandy Frank production? Well, they welcome the movie's first image of a bomb exploding with the words, "Sarah Palin's first day as president" (which is actually familiar if you change the name to Dan Quayle). At one point Joel Hodgson wished that Gamera suddenly came to attack anything. We get jokes about Dollhouse, Flavor Flav, Monty Python and LSD. At one point, two local hoodlums try to find the George, and Frank says "Crockett and Tubbs, Miami Rice".
Two jokes stick out in my mind. When the Doctor's nurse says "I don't understand", Trace Beaulieu says "Who likes Glee?" The other one was when the doctor carries a cross for Charlie's grave, Joel asks "there are vampires, too?"
As for the creepy and bleak ending, J. Elvis sings Tomorrow like you've never heard it before. Of course, the sell-out crowd enjoyed every minute of it. I think it was even better than the "Danger on Tiki Island" show a few months ago.

Afterward, the crew stuck around for autographs. Since I have lots of their autographs already, I just talked to them. I told Frank I noticed they were using iPads for their scripts, and he said it wasn't a big deal. He's right, since TV stations are starting to replace scripts with iPads. I asked J. Elvis about future DVD plans, and he said that was up in the air. Personally, I wished they'd go back to the time tube with War of the Insects, since its end-of-the-worlds message would be appropriate. They can also claim the live tour is paying for the shadowy group's plan. The only other "new" movie that's part of the tour is Samson and the Seven Miracles, from the old East European school of fantasy that produced The Day The Earth Froze.
And..I got a new photo with Joel...

Me and Joel

Finally, I thanked Ron DeGroot for getting me a guest ticket for this, after I had that entry for the "what happened to Pearl?" contest on another MST site. He assured me the CT and Rifftrax groups truly support each other. That stoked my hopes that we'd have a super-riff doubleheader as the entire MSTverse takes on Eclipse and Jonah Hex..or maybe a Godzilla movie that was never released here.

For now, I'll be waiting for my next Rifftrax DVDs, and also watch Star Trek 2009, fully riffed. I'd never bother with the Twilight movies unless I got those movies at gunpoint.