Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rifftrax Has Fun in Balloonland With Its Sharp Needling

In the words of Tom Servo, "the Hell?"

That's all you can say about Fun in Balloonland, Rifftrax's new holiday offering whose cheesiness exceeds Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny and Magic Christmas Tree combined. For those who have attended holiday parades and didn't enjoy them, this is your chance at revenge.
It takes the daring move of combining a holiday pageant that takes place in a warehouse instead of PS 134 outside of Philadelphia with footage of the 1964 Gimbels Christmas Parade. (Note: for those who only know Wal-Mart, Gimbels was a department store that was a rival of Macy's in retail and parades),

Here are some clips:



It starts with a song with lyrics that almost make you appreciate One Direction. It's followed by a mom reading a story to a kid. She falls asleep, and he walks over and stands in front of a "Fairy Tales Book". That somehow gets him to Balloonland, where he "interacts" with the balloons, a guy who claims he's Neptune, and some mermaids. Also, a ballet spontaneously appears while kids lie on the ground, and there's a square dance where the kids sort of forget the song. What's really disturbing is at one point the kid wears gold lame shorts, something he shouldn't wear until he grows up to be Channing Tatum.

Someone thought adding balloon people to a third-grade Christmas play would produce something that would rival A Christmas Carol or Miracle on 34th Street,
Just in case, they decided to add footage from the Gimbels Parade, with a narrator who's had too much of a liquid version of turkey.
It's basically a home movie, but an interesting look at holiday parades before they went all show biz (Macy's being a big example, thanks to NBC). It also features the strangest looking balloon floats around, as the Rifftrax crew point out quite often.

The movie seems to end with the kid finally falling asleep, while Mom is also sleeping, but then they use outtakes to create  a "guessing game". Afterwards, you will, like Bill Corbett, wonder what the heck that was.

Now, time for the riffs:

A ballet breaks out with three kids, followed by a Good Fairy

Bill Corbett:  All right, Cindy Williams, let's start wrapping this thing up

The kid is in a square dance

Mike Nelson:  This is a little dance they call "See whose kneecap breaks first"

A balloon float featuring Scrooge and Tiny Tim appears

Kevin Murphy:  It's John D. Rockefeller and his son Dax Shepard, wearing Dad's hat

One of the bands appearing for the parade gets identified as:

Mike:  Please welcome the Didn't-Get-Invited-To-The-Macy's-Parade-In-Fact-Macy's-Called-Just-to-Laugh-At-Us Marching Band

Narrator:  I salute you, Grenadier Guard

Bill:  Just a brand of cheap gin she's drinking

There's also riffs on Game of Thrones, They Shoot Horses, Don't They, North Korea, 1984 (the book), Stratego, The Twilight Zone, and the owner of the NFL team in Washington DC, Daniel Snyder. There's also a callback to a riff Kevin made in the Christmas Shorts Extravaganza in 2009.

You've never seen anything like Fun in Balloonland, and it's unlikely you'd find anything like that today...except the opening would be a rap by Pitbull with much better lyrics.

The short is available now at Rifftrax's website, and there is a special section for the other holiday offerings it's created over the years.
The next big offering will be the re-riffing of Santa Claus in theaters nationwide on December 4th. Here's an updated trailer and a message from Kevin...




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