Sunday, October 20, 2013
Cinematic Titanic: The Last Picture Show
More than five years ago, five members of Mystery Science Theater 3000 decided to riff on movies again. They started with a test show at Industrial Light and Magic, did a few DVDs, then took to the road. It fulfilled a need...a need for cinematic justice.
Now, while Rifftrax, the other major movie riffing movement, is still going strong, the CT guys are making their last tour. They attracted a sell-out crowd of 1400 at the Castro Theater in San Francisco this past Saturday (10/19). It was a little different from its previous visits, but still very funny.
Dave "Gruber" Allen, who recently posed at the Really Groovy Pope on Conan, did a fine job filling in for Josh (J-Elvis) Weinstein, who is still ill but hopefully will be back for the grand finale. Aside from two very funny lip-synch performances, he also took Cinematic Titanic to the next level...live drama!
Here with the former Forresters, Mary Jo Pehl and Trace Beaulieu, they perform the final scene from A Doll's House in a very Midwestern way. The best riff: "Oh, Torvald"...and Dean.
Then, Cable TV's Frank Conniff talks about how his career has changed, when he joined Totally Biased as a writer and budding Andy Rooney. He wanted to stay with Current after it changed to Al Jazeera America, and even pitched a show called "Sharia Law and Order." He also talked about bad pizza and artisan ice cream.
Then Joel Hodgson arrived to thank the fans for supporting Cinematic Titanic. He then went on to describe the 7 PM movie, The Doll Squad. Picture Angel's Revenge as produced by Russ Meyer, or someone who thought he was Meyer. Here's a sample:
The movie drowned out the riffs at first, but the sound mixing sounded better from my seat. Since this will be shown on the tour, the only riff you can expect is that the boat captain is mistaken for Catfish Hunter. They also got in some riffs on the government shutdown and the BART strike.
A lot of people wore MST3K and CT shirts, but this guy has the best costume with a Gizmonics jumpsuit and hardhat. His costume was impressive. There was also a woman dressed as Tom Servo, and a ticket taker who wore a Firefly sweatshirt. In the spirit of Halloween, we have this picture of the Castro Theater organist under the disturbing-looking Sketchfest spotlight
According to one person who stuck around for the 2nd movie (as reported at Satellite News), The Astral Factor, Trace had a short film where he plays "Dr. Eff" hoping to make a monster named Frank. That's one way to get around copyright infringement. Then someone asked a very complex question about an MST3K episode. Joel gave the only answer he could: "Just repeat to yourself, it's just a show"
I did ask Trace if there would be DVDs of The Astral Factor and The Doll Squad, and it seems there won't be. He confirmed that fact at the Satellite News site. I still tweeted a request to tape the final performance in late December. After all, if The Band did and created The Last Waltz, so can Cinematic Titanic. However, there is one "lost episode" that still exists: it's a commentary on the blu-ray of The Heat. That's right, people are riffing on a comedy that some people liked. There will be a review of this before the upcoming Rifftrax Live event this week, but some random thoughts about losing CT. Stay tuned.