Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rifftrax Christmas #3: Kris Kringle Down

It seems every country has its own way of making a Santa Claus movie. We make one where he conquers Mars, or makes the Martians look like pompous fools. Mexico has him battle a demon while trying to reunite a rich boy with his parents and give a poor girl a doll taller than her.

What does France do? Have Santa and a "good fairy" get kidnapped by African warlords to grant a young boy's wish to get his parents back.
Could be worse. There could have also been a croissant bunny involved.

Rifftrax has found another holiday movie that, despite its attempt to convince kids to never give up on their dreams, makes even less sense than Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.

It's called I Believe in Santa Claus, although it's French title means "I Met Santa Claus". It's about a kid named Simon who's having a tough time. His parents disappeared somewhere in "Just Africa", and he gets tossed in a closet by a mean janitor who thinks he broke a window. Someone else did it, but his excuse is he's scared when he's in a locked room.
The only "cheer" he gets is from a singing teacher who's either trying to be a prototype for Celine Dion or the first member of a French knockoff of ABBA. Rifftrax tried to compare her to Brazilian singer Xuxa, but she had much better songs.

Simon writes a letter to Santa, asking him to bring his parents back, who supposedly were captured by African warlords. That was probably a way to create a holiday story ripped from the headlines of 1984. The kid also has a saying from his dad saying that anything can happen if you wish hard enough. Believe it or not, that idea works. During a field trip to the airport, Simon and his friend Elodie are mistaken for two kids booked for a flight to Finland.

So, after wandering around in the snow, Santa finds them, and they meet a good fairy named Mary Ellen, who looks like their teacher. Couldn't the movie explain their teacher is also a Good Fairy, which makes her a more whimsical version of Safety Woman? Maybe she knew the kids were missing and tracked them down...and gave Finnair a piece of her mind about grabbing kids and putting them on planes at any moment.
I know, "just repeat to yourself it's a kids movie that can't help from being dumb," but it makes Home Alone look better.
Anyway, her songs are schmaltzy. When she sings a song abut elves making toys, the Rifftrax crew thinks it almost sounds like "Coming To America" by Neil Diamond. She also tells Simon and Elodie not to head to the forest because that's where an ogre lives. He's mean and eats kids and dogs. Naturally, when Santa and the fairy head to Africa to save Simon's parents, the kids go to the forest.

Come to think of it, seeing Santa and the fairy walking somewhere in "just Africa" is a sight to see, especially when he cools off by jumping into a lake with his clothes on. They wind up getting captured by the African warlord, who won't release the parents until France denounces his country's government. He also thinks white bearded guys like Santa are CIA.
The warlord's kids are worried, though. Santa in jail means no Super Bowl t-shirts where the losing teams are declared champs (in the case of '84, Miami). So, they let him out by taking some of the soldiers' guns. When Santa and the fairy get back, they see the kids went to that ogre. This leads the fairy to disguise herself as Red Riding Hood, while singing something that's almost "The Winner Takes It All".
She does rescue the kids, and lets them help Santa on his Christmas ride. Of course, Simon's parents do get home, too. It's all as dumb as it sounds.

Riff time:

Simon writes his letter to Santa, wanting his parents back
A trip to the hardware store shouldn't take three years.

Simon and Elodie go through the airport lobby in Finland
By Finnish decree even the airport must look like a ski lodge.

Santa tells Simon what happened to his parents is due to politics. Simon asks what is that and Santa says "It's nothing you want in your Christmas stocking"
Unless you're George Will

The idea that warlords kidnapping Santa would make a great holiday story
It's A Wonderful Life could've used just a few more political kidnappings

The warlord asks "who let the guns be stolen?"
The Baha Men's unsuccessful follow-up song

There's also riffs on Anakin Skywalker, Klaus Barbie, Skymall, Wendy's, Planet of the Apes and Sally Struthers. Oh, and they came up with a new slogan for...well, you know.

It's likely this movie may be Rifftrax's Christmas show next year, but there are other possible strange holiday movies to mock, There's one where Santa may get evicted from his workshop for not paying his rent, or the one where a greedy oil company threatens Santa's workshop due to over-drilling. If they don't get these movies, the new MST3K might.

Until then. I Believe in Santa Claus is available at the Rifftrax website, along with other holiday classics.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Disasterpiece Theater: The Grandfather of MST3K

To some people, movie riffing was begun by Mel Brooks' classic animated short, The Critic. However, the art of mocking movies may have really begun at a station in Tijuana, Mexico.

I came across some videos from a TV show called Disasterpiece Theater. It aired on XETV, a station that was independent in the early 80s before becoming a Fox channel, and later part of the CW. The host was Sal. U. Lloyd, and he helped mock lousy monster movies, mainly by graphics that mocked the plot, like this:

It's not quite like a guy and a couple of robots making snide remarks at lousy movies. The closest thing to this is Zomboo in Reno, where he makes comments about the movie in mid-scene, or dubs in different music
Some clips exist on YouTube in SalULloyd's channel, but considering VHS or Batamax was available back then, maybe some other clips exist. If only those tapes were circulated, too.

Review of The Big Short: The Crash of 2008 For Dummies

What can you say about a movie that explains why the housing market, and the American economy in general, nearly collapsed due to Wall Street fraud better than the Federal Reserve and CNBC..and what they use are Selena Gomez playing blackjack and Margot Robbie in a bathtub in what seemed to be a deleted scene from Wolf of Wall Street?

Adam MacKay, best known for Will Ferrell comedies, wrote and directed a nasty reminder of what happened in America just eight years ago, and how we didn't notice because we were distracted by other things. MacKay uses clever ways to explain complex terms by sub-prime mortgages, CDOs and bond ratings.

The main players are Michael Burry (Christian Bale), who heads a mutual fund, Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), who works for Deutsche Bank, Mark Baum (Steve Carell), who runs a small investment firm, and Charlie and Jamie (John Magaro and Finn Whittrock), two guys who made it big by betting against stocks. They all figure out that banks try to get people to invest in mortgages that are not as rock-solid as they think. Anthony Bourdain turning old fish into a new fish stew is the best analogy, and that's really in the movie.

It's really interesting how Burry and Baum come to the conclusion the economy is in big trouble but no one wants to believe it. Baum is especially upset, mostly because he's trying to recover from a personal tragedy. They're all stunned to see empty homes with the owners long gone because they can't pay their mortgages, bond rating houses admitting they'll overvalue just to keep customers and even people who issue bank loans to get commissions without verifying if the prospective homeowner could afford it or not.

Carell is very good as Baum. Those who still identify him as Michael Scott in The Office will be surprised how angry he gets over all of the fraud that's going on.. Bale as the laid-back Burry doesn't do much aside from defending his decision to invest against the mortgages, but you can see the stress when things don't happen as he expects...and why. Gosling is also good, especially when he uses a Jenga game to show how fragile the housing bubble is. Let's not forget Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert, who used to be in banking, and is very cynical about what's happening. He'll still help Charlie and Jamie, though.

The real tragedy is how the crash of 2008 affected the characters, the investment houses and their employees, and people who were economic collateral damage. Even though some got rich betting against the economy, they aren't exactly proud of it (except for one). Besides that, no one learned a thing. It's still a great way to be reminded what happens, as this person says...

For the record, we're still wondering how banking can get into rehab after this.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Review of Star Wars, The Force Awakens: And So Does the Franchise

Star Wars may be compared to, say, the New York Knicks, Montreal Canadiens or entertainers who have residency in Branson, Missouri. They used to be great, but lately are now a shell of their former selves.

When it was announced JJ Abrams would direct the seventh movie, there was a lot of skepticism, mainly thanks to the Star Trek sequel. When the first trailer came out, and we heard Han Solo say, "Chewie, we're home", our hopes started to improve.

Then the movie came out last Friday, and the Force came back with a vengeance.
Due to my warehouse job and the Christmas rush, I didn't have a chance to see the movie until now, but I was lucky to avoid any spoilers or reviews that told too much of the story. That really helped my enjoyment of this movie,

What's more, it started with something simple: what if Luke Skywalker wasn't around to make sure the Republic would stay strong? That happened because he tried to train new Jedi, and one of them turned on him and jumped into the Dark Side. That guy, of course, is the main Big Bad in this story, Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. This is a man who is determined to be the heir to the darkness of Darth Vader. It's a title he wants, and he'll get it by wiping out the rebellion against his First Order.

The heroes are Finn (John Boyega), a Stormtrooper who was trained from birth, and Rey (Daisy Ridley), a girl from Jakku who lives through scavenging old ships. Finn decided to reject his role after his first battle, and helps Rebel Pilot Poe (Oscar Issac) escape via Tie Fighter. They're shot, though, and crash in Jakku. Poe seems to be dead when Finn wakes up. He crosses paths with Rey, who just found a droid called BB-8 with a very special message to the Rebels.

The way Rey and Finn seemed a bit too "meet cute", mainly because he pretends to be one of the rebels, and needs BB-8 to cover for him, Once the First Order show up, it turns back into an action movie and stays there. The point when I was convinced it would work is when Rey and Finn looks for a way to escape, and she prefers one ship because the other one is garbage. When that ship is destroyed, she heads to the garbage ship...and one look tells us the ship she takes (and learns how to fly on the spot) is anything but garbage,

Later on, Han Solo and Chewbacca find them, and get involved in getting BB-8 to the rebels. Things haven't worked out too well for Han over the years, but Harrison Ford shows the character really has aged well. He's still got it as the wise-cracking sort-of-sketchy pilot we know and love. Still, he has a very important role in the story and his connections are deep. In fact, I'd make a good case for him to be considered for Best Supporting Actor come Oscar time.

As I saw the movie, it dawned on me that this was a variation of Episode IV, which brought Luke Skywalker, Leia and Solo into the battle against the Empire, Here, Finn doesn't want to be part of the battle and Rey wants to be home, hoping her family will come back to her. There's even a "cantina scene", but it includes Rey receiving something very important from Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o). There also a couple of "Alec Guinness moments" as I call them. One of them involves Ren using a certain trick to escape, and the other is an important confrontation.

As for Ren, he wants to finish what Vader started, and considering his family tree, he's certain he has the chance. He is guided by Smoak (Andy Sirkis) who leads the First Order but is mostly seen via hologram. Ren is someone who is strong with the Force, but also is very destructive with his lightsaber when something goes wrong.
The biggest shock is when you see his true face. He's still intimidating, unleashing his Dark Side for all to see. Yet you get the feeling he wonders if he took the wrong path, but it's a path he can't change.
In any case, he has the weapon to stop the Rebels in their tracks, and it's something that literally makes the Death Star look like a peashooter.

Someone on the 'net called the movie mainly a reunion of the franchise's "greatest hits", and everyone does come back at one time or another. The thing is, the classics are there to give the new hits (Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe and BB-8) their launch so they can lead us fans through the next two chapters. That is done very well, right to the end.

The best news is that we don't have to wait long for the next episode, only until the summer of 2017. Until then, we can speculate what's next, and have Marvel and the Batman-Superman clash to distract us. At least we'll know the Force will really be with us, always...or at least until 2019 or so.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why the MST3K Revival Campaign Succeeded

It's been a few days since Joel Hodgson's dream of bringing back Mystery Science Theater 3000 came true with the Kickstarter project collecting more than six point three million dollars, enough for 14 episodes including a new Christmas show (which I'd like to suggest The Christmas That Almost Wasn't, where Santa could get evicted from the North Pole for not paying the rent--and no, I'm not kidding).

When Joel said he hoped to earn five and a half million dollars for a season of 12 episodes, people weren't sure if it could be done. After all, that's Veronica Mars and Reading Rainbow territory. Besides, we have Rifftrax, and it's showing old MST3K episodes. Is there really the need for a new batch of cheesy movies to be mocked by some guy and two snarky robots?

It took several reasons to make this project a big success, starting with Joel. He gave regular updates of how much was raised, and also gave us lots of incentives to hit the ultimate goal. He even gave us extra time for a couple of challenges.
Most importantly, he had this:  

This clearly shows why he set the goal, and where it will go. After all, this is a show that will be made with his own hands and our cash. It's got to be done right...and it takes a lot of cheap toys to make the walls.

Second, we must remember that MST3K never went away. It just took on new forms. We have Rifftrax, made by Mike, Kevin and Bill (the Syfy trio), then Cinematic Titanic with Joel, Trace, Mary Jo, TV's Frank  and J. Elvis (aka Dr. Forrester's original assistant). There's also Incognito Cinema Warriors, which is still trying to finish its second season but is getting a lot of attention thanks to riffing video games on YouTube. Josh Way, who has his YT channel, has also kept the tradition going. There may not be bots, but the riffing continued strong

Third, Joel has chosen his cast well. There's Jonah Ray as the new SOL captain, Jonah Heston, with Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn as Crow and Servo. People were kind of hoping the alumna would be invited, and they have, but Joel wanted a new crew for a new century.
That's why he chose Internet goddess and best-selling author Felicia Day and comedian and former Pixar voice Patton Oswalt as Kinga Forrester and TV's Son of TV's Frank (named Frank, we guess). Some people thought this was "too Hollywood", along with the chance Neil Patrick Harris and Jerry Seinfeld may sneak in. Uh, things have changed since 1989. Movie mocking is more popular than even, even with people we've heard of. Besides, Neil has been a fan for years.

Fourth, Joel's decision to show old shows online has also paid off. Aside from the annual Turkey Day shown on, he had double features in the last week of the campaign. Then there was the telethon, which wasn't smooth but was very entertaining, especially for this:

...and of course, the final minutes where they reached $6.3 million:

Finally, there's the decision to keep the "add-on rewards" store open. This will make sure the project gets some extra change, and people who didn't get a chance to contribute can get t-shirts, DVDs and more. It's certain people with yellow jump suits can have a chance to get those patches.
The site for the rewards, by the way, is here.

Production is set to start in the next few weeks, but fans are hoping that "next Sunday A.D." will be coming very soon. Til then, we'll keep circulating the tapes, URL and downloads

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Other Rifftrax Christmas

Fans of Rifftrax have already spent their holiday season seeing the revised version of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, with Jack and the Beanstalk as the story in the middle. Many people enjoyed it, especially Jack as the "discount Greg Brady" who tried to steal back a magic hen that looked more that an oddly-shaped metal football. It'll likely be sold online by February or March.

However, the riffing duo of Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl think they can do better. They made their own special that takes on two shorts and a piece of TV history. While it's great to hear them riff on Christmas, and what was the best present they ever got, I wish we should have seen them. That's what Mike, Kevin and Bill did when they presented the Magic Christmas Tree and those K. Gordon Murray shorts.

Aside from that, it's a pretty funny special, as this preview shows.

The first short is a Castle Films version of the really good version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim. Some people were upset this was chosen, but we should remember no movie is safe from Rifftrax. Just ask Jaws, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, The Dark Knight and the good Star Wars movies. Besides, this version, as Bridget says, "edited the Dickens" out of the movie. It skips Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. Scrooge doesn't even say "Bah humbug". The girls are entitled.

Besides, some of the riffs are pretty funny.

The Ghost of Christmas Past shows up
Who you gonna call? All-female Ghostbusters.

Tiny Tim says, "God bless us everyone"
Oh, shut up and drink your gin..

They also think the second ghost looks very familiar, and have riffs on Artemis Gordon and Meryl Streep.

The TV clip had Dean Martin singing Marshmallow World with two Golddiggers jumping up and down. Mary Jo and Bridget claim it's them, but people may wonder why Dean wings it. Remember, he never rehearsed anything on his show. That worked more often than you think.
There's also a car commercial from 1986 that impresses Mary Jo.

The other short was another Castle film, The Little Lamb, about a lamb that made history by being Jesus' first blanket. It features an angel telling shepherds about the birth of Jesus...and he sounds like another famous dad. Bridget also imitates Mary, saying frankincense is a strange gift for a baby.

At $3.50, it's a nice holiday bargain, and shows again why Mary Jo and Bridget are Rifftrax's Dynamic Duo. They'll also be part of Rifftrax's annual visit to the SF Sketchfest (which hopefully will be taped and available to fans, as it was last year). Rifftrax has lots of other holiday offerings from a Rankin Bass special and The Star Wars Holiday Special,  to a live riff of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and a new movie where Santa has to save a kid's parents from kidnappers in Africa....really! Click here to check them out...and Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Meet the New Mad of MST3K, Dr. Codex!

Yes, the rumors are true, and getting five and a half million dollars for a new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 just got a lot eaiser.

Internet goddess and NYT best-seller Felicia Day will be the new nemesis for Jonah Ray and Crow and Servo 2.0. While many of us in the Whedonverse already know the greatness that is Felicia, apparently Joel wasn't quite familiar with her, He knew her from The Guild and Dr. Horrible, but never met her.
Then, as he recalled in his latest update:

(About) 6 or 8 weeks ago at the Salt Lake ComicCon. I got a message from my booking agent, saying "Did you know Felicia Day really wants to meet you?" Interesting. So we met in the green room that afternoon, and she was funny and sweet. She's kind of a goof, but there's also this manic side to her that will let her do "crazy"

Felicia also said in Facebook that she was a big fan of the show with her brother. Anyway, Joel asked via Twitter if she'd be interested in the reboot, and she, well, seemed to be interested....A LOT!
We're still not sure how Kinga (Felicia's role) is Clayton Forrester's daughter unless this is something from before the experiments began. Apparently, according to the latest video, Kinga hopes the show will help her take over whatever she wants to take over. Bad movies won't force people to beg for mercy as long as Sharknado and Transformer movies will be made. Just as long as she's not someone Jonah (Ray) dated, it'll be fine.

The latest update also gives info about the new voices for Crow and Tom Servo, who'll be played respectively by Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn. Joel said he wanted them not to sound like the previous versions of the bots but provide their own take. This is what Joel was talking about when he had hoped the show would go through four or five versions if it stayed on the air. Fans would choose their own "golden age" while respecting what we have now. That's why I had the alternate history a while back.

So, fans are hoping to hit the halfway point by Turkey Day aka Thanksgiving. With Felicia joining, that should be a cinch. She should get fans from Buffy, Dollhouse, The Guild and Dr. Horrible (especially that, since Neil Patick Harris is also a MSTie). Let's hope for the best this week.
Of course, the Kickstarter site for #BringBackMST3K is

Update: here's the video from YouTube, and yeah, Felicia has left Charlie and Codex far, far behind.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Total Riff-Off 3: Monster Beats Man Again

Behold the famous jungle master, Richard Terry, finding what he thinks is the legendary Brazilian bigfoot, the mapinguari.
Or he gives us a story about how he thinks he'll find a monstrous beast, but finds something a whole lot less.
This is the third annual Total Riff-Off, where Rifftrax mocks nature shows from the National Geographic Channel. Considering the channel was recently bought by Rupert Murdoch, Man V. Monster is now Fox's perfect idea of a nature show, promising some big monster and delivering something not so threatening. It's just like its news channels.
But enough of the political humor....

This time, Terry's in Brazil, looking for the mapinguari, who reportedly attacked people at a local village. What he winds up finding are a wild pig, a poisonous snake, a big anteater, and finally this hairy sloth. The show naturally exaggerates how much danger the guy is, but the Rifftrax crew see right through it. It's too bad this wasn't part of NatGeo Wild, along with a second hour mocking some of the other shows.

Anyway, it's not quite as weird as the previous two MvM shows that Rifftrax has shown, but still very funny.
So here's some of the riffs:

Terry tries to climb down a gorge to cross a raging river
Mike:  Meanwhile, there's a family of chupacabras ten feel away just shaking their heads

Terry says the locals captured a wild pig
Bill:  he's quoting the border guards who detained Randy Quaid.

After mistaking howler monkeys for the mapinguari, he says "It's another dead end"
Bill:  Man v. Monster summed up in four words

One of the locals describe how smelly and violent the monster was
Kevin:  It was Wolverine sculpted out of limburger cheese

Terry heads into a forest looking for a tree to climb.
Kevin:  He travels to exotic places to get great footage of himself.

There's also riffs on Burt Reynolds, Nick Nolte (again), Guns and Roses, the Property Brothers and a pizza mascot.

The latest Total Riff-Off is available at the Rifftrax website.

Monday, November 16, 2015

In A Not-Too-Alternative Future, What If MST3K Still Existed?

As the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival  is poised to hit its first goal of $2 Million, let's take a look at what he said during his second update on Kickstarter:

If MST3K hadn't gotten canceled fifteen years ago, it’s possible we could have had 4 or 5 hosts by now, and it would be just like Doctor Who: even if you had "your Doctor," you'd still be able to appreciate the different flavors that each new Host or Mad or robot added to the show. It's part of what makes a show like Doctor Who or SNL last. I’m a Tom Baker fan myself, and no one is funnier than Dan Aykroyd. (To me.)
When I first left MST3K and Mike took over as host, some of you said you were done watching – not because he was bad, but because he was different. Then, once the shock wore off, a lot of you realized he brought something new and great to the job. Many of you even liked his episodes better! And when Kevin took over as Tom Servo, there was hate mail, but for many of you he became the definitive Servo! I could go on.
So yeah, we've been through this before, and I get it. Different can be scary, especially if you really loved the old seasons. But just think: if you had never given Mike or Kevin or Bill or Frank or Mary Jo a chance in their roles, you'd have almost 100 fewer episodes of MST3K to enjoy today. I'm not asking you to like the next cast better than the last one, but I hope you'll give them a chance, and see what they can do.
Then, when their time is up, I hope you'll give the next cast a chance too.
So, let’s speculate how (and maybe when)  there would have been changes of the guard at MST if it stayed on the air on SyFy.
It’s safe to say they’d never run out of bad films. We can assume real gems like Hideous Sun Demon, The Bermuda Triangle, Supersonic Man, ROTOR, Braniac, Rock and Roll Nightmare, Birdemic,  and Death Promise would have been experiments on the show.

First, how long would Mike Nelson stay on the Satellite of Love? Let’s say he stays until 2004, or about ten years aboard the ship. The Nanites are still busy maintaining the ship and keeping it up-to-date.
On the final episode of season 15, where they take on The Day The World Ended, Pearl tries to kill Mike because she’s got nothing better to do. Bobo and the Observer try to stop her, but she tries to kill them. So, the Observer uses his brain power that’s boosted thanks to his brain soaking in Red Bull. He zaps Mike to safety, or actually next to Nuveena. They spend the rest of their lives in that Designs for Dreaming short. It also blows up Observer's brain, so he's just a chalky-looking alien.  Pearl, though, is zapped into the Satellite of Love, which means she has to endure the bad movies Bobo and Observer give her.

MARY JO PEHL:  2004-2008

The picture is from the "Quest of the Delta Knights" episode.
During Pearl’s time, she’s angry at this new situation, and tries to find ways to take control of the SOL. Naturally, she’s very hostile towards Crow and Servo, but this changes in time, and they all try to plot against Bobo and Observer, It also looks like Bobo is the dominant mad scientist, while Observer slowly regains his intellect but not all of his powers.
This continues until she starts to feel strange. The bots claim she’s having conversations with her son Clayton, but only she is there. It turns out she absorbed Clayton when he was a star baby, and now Pearl starts looking like her son. At one point, Trace Beaulieu cameos as Pearl. Eventually, she has an extra head that looks like her son, and they actually riff in a segment in the season 19 finale. The two-headed Forrester, though, is able to take control of the SOL and land it. They and the bots chase after Bobo and Observer, and that’s the end.
Or is it? 

COLE AND JANET:  2008-2011

A couple, played by Rifftrax vets Cole Stratton and Janet Varney, go inside the SOL and accidentally launch it into space. Bobo and Observer get back, but don’t mention what happened to Pearl or the bots. However, Servo and Crow suddenly show up in the third episode, thinking Cole and Janet need a little help in the riffing (or the bots feel threatened). Bobo and Observer show the lousy movies because, mainly, it’s all they know. They do give Cole and Janet satellite TV and a modest salary in exchange for doing the experiments, and they readily agree because it sure beats getting a job. They also happen to be fans of movie mocking. There’s also romance, which really worries the bots because they’re afraid they may have to babysit eventually. 
There is a 20th anniversary show, where they re-riff the first episode, The Crawling Eye. We find out Pearl got rid of the second head, and it’s being used for scientific experiments and displayed a la Futurama. As for her, a shadowy group keep her contained, fearing what she’ll do next. Actually, she’s back to her old self, but the group just likes to lock people away. The staff includes a guy who looks suspiciously like Dr. Ehrhardt, who says he never liked Pearl. The 20th season also includes cameos from Joel, and even Mike and Bridget, who’s had enough of their “Design for Dreaming”. They do mention they created something new called Rifftrax. The bots say it’ll never work…without them. Then Mike introduces the bots to Kevin and Bill. 

They continue until 2011 when that shadowy group is revealed as CORPS, which includes a soldier named Rikk.  It takes over and ends the experiment. Cole and Janet decide (or are forcefully encouraged) to join CORPS, while Bobo and the Observer are taken somewhere.  As for Crow and Servo, they’re turned off, and placed on a shelf. However, unknown hands take them, and the person says, “Don’t worry, I’ll take you to Joel. He’ll know what to do.” This is signaled as SyFy’s decision to close MST for good, but a massive social media campaign changes its mind, sort of.

RIKK WOLF:  2012-2015

They try a new version called “Cinematic Titanic” in 2012, but the pilot doesn’t work. So, since SyFy only has the rights to the title of the show, it tries something completely different: it changes the premise to a soldier trapped in a zombie invasion, and finding an abandoned movie theater. Yep, it’s Incognito Cinema Warriors with Rikk Wolf of CORPS, Johnny Cylon and Topsybot 5000. SyFy figures changing the show and adding an edge would create new interest. After all, if Comedy Central could continue The Man Show without  Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, then MST3K with new people would be the same thing, right?

Well, yes and no. The MST fans give Rikk and his bots a fair chance, but after two and a half years, and lots of cast changes and premise changes (especially who would be their nemesis), the show ends with the zombies breaking through. Some of them look familiar, like Joel, Mike, TV's Frank, the bots….and Pearl. However, they just wanted to go inside and see the movie.  Rikk, Cylon and Topsybot sneak out, but the theater is suddenly blown to pieces by a rogue CORPS squadron. Rikk joins them, and the show ends the way it began.

Suddenly a shadowy figure says, “For the past two and a half years, you had been watching a show that pretended to be Mystery Science Theater 3000. Mark my words, there will come a day where the true experiment will return. I am the new Dr. Forrester, and I will be your master, driving you insane through bad movies. It will work this time. I will not fail…ah, who am I kidding? Sharknado and that movie about a Werewolf Whale prove you can take anything. Some of you even made bad movies so you could mock them. Still, you want the real thing, and I will give it to you. Just be patient. I just need the right subject…and those bots.”

Then another shadowy figure appears, with a big box.
The screen goes black, but a hashtag appears:  #BringBacktheRealMST3K. 

So, that's how MST3K would have survived if there were plenty of TV executives who get it. Now, other fans would have had different ideas on who would have hosted after Mike Nelson, but I based my choices on Rifftrax and ICWXP. You're welcome to suggest who'd be better. 

Oh, and Joel has confirmed that Jonah Ray will likely be the next captain of the Satellite of Love now that three episodes are guaranteed. Apparently they met at the Nerdist podcast, and they talked about MST3K. Apparently Jonah won the job after he did an impression of Joel pretending to be him, and getting to know each other. Anyway, his TV name will be "Jonah Heston", and theoretically, this is what he'll be doing next year:

Hopefully,  he'll be part of the Turkey Day marathon next week. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Help Bring Back MST3K, Thanks to Kickstarter!

Well, if it worked for Veronica Mars and Reading Rainbow...

Earlier today, Joel Hodgson announced that he's now got all the t's crossed and such and can start a Kickstarter campaign to revive the first great cable TV show that didn't include sports highlights or Pat Buchanan complaining, Mystery Science Theater 3000!!!

In his Kickstarter page, he explains why now is the time to revive this classic show. The obvious reason is we miss the show, and so does Joel. That's why we had Cinematic Titanic and Incognito Cinema Warriors XP, and have Rifftrax (now with selected MST3K episodes). The legal tangles have been straightened out, and the project lives.

The plan is to raise at least two million dollars for three episodes, but if five and a half million dollars are raised, we'll have 12 episodes, or the same length of the first season.
There's lots of rewards, of course, named after classic phrases from the show, like "We've Got Movie Sign", "Poster-a-Go-Go", "Mr. Blu-Natural", and "The Big McLargeHuge". Specifically, people can get a free download of the first episode or the whole season, shirts, coffee cups, a producer's credit (for those in the one percent, and not necessarily in income) and even seeing the show in a theater,

So, if you think you can take over the world through bad movies, despite the fact Sharknado didn't make humanity burn itself down (and neither did Jem and the Holograms aka Two and Out), just give cash to the return of MST3K. You can always claim you're responsible.
The real hope is that a cable outlet or Netflix/Amazon Prime picks up the show. A lot has changed in 15 years, and it just might happen.

For more info, head to

UPDATE: Joel Hodgson had an "Ask Me Anything" event on Reddit, and revealed some interesting things:

The new episodes will likely center on movies made in the 1970's and 80's but later releases are possible

They've already chosen a new host, who will be revealed soon

The new show will be "quaint", compared to, say, Guardians of the Galaxy

His choice for a "Desert Isle Flick" would be A Hard's Day Night

The show will be filmed in Los Angeles, although the talent and staff will be from several places around the country.

The new targets, er, movies will be excellent prints. Too bad the script and acting won't be.

He compares the show to Doctor Who, in that it has a chance to reboot and reinvent itself. That's why the new episodes will include (we're not sure how) Dr. Forrester's offspring. Maybe cloned or something, but that's what he'll be. The old MST continuity will be part of the new show, just like Doctor Who, actually,. Oh, and Joel's favorite Doctor is Tom Baker.

It's also possible the old crew, from Joel to Trace and Mike, could make cameos in the new episodes. Again, nothing is certain.

He also compares the show to going to a haunted house on the edge of town with your funny friends. It works best if you don't know what's in there."

The next DVD set is coming December first.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rifftrax: Death Promise or The Guy With the Lousy Kung Fu

This may be a few days late, but I wanted to give my two cents on how the Rifftrax gang completed its martial arts trilogy (the others being Miami Connection and Fists of Fury) with what could be the worst kung fu movie ever made in America...or Earth for that matter,

It's about a Brooklyn guy named Charley who lives with his dad, an ex-boxer, at a run down apartment in Brooklyn. Every once in a while, the power and water get turned off, or someone sets fire to the building, by idiots who have no idea who sent them to do that.
Actually, it's thanks to a cabal of slum lords that include a judge, a Tony Soprano-wannabe, some guy with a beard and an African-American businessman . They're led by an evil guy named Alden  who has a cane to show how evil he is. They want to tear down Charley's building so they can get rich building something else. They may be behind the sudden death of his dad.

This starts him on his "death promise", where he is trained by a martial arts teacher in Japan or just outside New York City. The lessons are odd, to say the least. Afterwards, he comes up with some pretty severe ways to knock off the slum lords that he probably didn't learn from the teacher.

The final confrontation would upset any kung fu fan. Not only do Alden's henchmen show their limited kung fu skills (mainly posing and screeching), but the real villain's reveal makes no damn sense--and the final battle is even worse.
But that's to be expected from a kung fu movie born to be Rifftrax fodder.

On to the riffs:

"Directed by Robert Warmflash"
Bill:  C'mon, just make it "Bob Completely-Fake-Name"

The slum lords plan to bribe Roman into moving
Mike:  So, step one, offer old boxer money, step two, profit?

Charlie screams "Oh my God" in the distance
Bill:  He either discovered his dead dad, or got a Nintendo 64

The slum lords discuss what they'll do with the money they'll get by knocking down slums
Bill:  Let's run over a hobo for fun.

Jake finds his boss Albano killed by being on the other side of an archery target--and Jake accidentally killed him
Mike: Shot through the heart, Jake, and you're to blame?

Jackson gets killed by a bag of rats that he usually uses to get the tenants out.
Kevin:  Got this idea for a book I read sophomore year.

Charley and his friends fight Alden's henchmen, who know nothing about kung fu but sure can scream.
Kevin:  He's fighting an Axl Rose vocal track

There's also riffs on Donald Trump, Bruce Lee, In Living Color, David Mamet, Abe Vigoda and Sugar Ray.
By the way, there was a topless scene, but it was cut out of this version, According to one website, it had featured some "very interesting"-looking breasts. Just as well, since the actress spends the rest of her role being pushed around by a jerk.

While we're on the horn, here's a clip from the really strange short that was part of October's Rifftrax Live show, "Measuring Man". It's about as weird as people say:

Of course, MM's costume is a little too similar to Superman, but back in the 70s you could get away with this. That doesn't mean you should, of course. It's available here at the Rifftrax website.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mystery Rifftrax Theater 3000

Eat your heart out, Clayton Forrester.
You had dreams of taking over the world after driving all of mankind insane through showing horrible movies.
It was a plan doomed to fail, since mankind keeps making these crimes against cinema. Hello, Jem and the Holograms.
Still, you would never have guessed there would be something called Rifftrax, which went you one better when it came to mocking movies, or even this:

Mike Nelson, the Pope of Rifftrax, made the announcement Monday afternoon:

It plans to offer a new movie every Monday with new introductions by Mike, and call it MST3K Mondays.
What's interesting is that the first two selections, "Pumaman" and "Final Sacrifice" are from the Sci-Fi Channel days, However, Jeff Whitton, press guy for Rifftrax, says it'll also be showing Joel Hodgson episodes, with the first one on November 9th.

Also, fans can download MST3K episodes. Vimeo already offers that option for 80 episodes for a modest fee, but the two shows Rifftrax is offering are not in Vimeo. Amazon, Hulu and Shout Factory, meanwhile, also have MST3K shows but they are only streaming video. So, it should be interesting which episodes Rifftrax can get. It would be incredible if they get episodes not even on DVD, like "It Conquered the World."
Update: word from the Rifftrax comments board  confirm the offer is being done with the help of Shout Factory. They have ten titles confirmed, and more may be coming.

The point is, of course, is to introduce a new generation to the beauty that is insulting movies you wish weren't made. Again, hello, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Pan.
They might get confused by the silhouettes, but not for long.

Rifftrax's new MST3K page can be found here. Of course, fans can still get other mocked b-movies, and mp3 riffs elsewhere on the website.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rifftrax Live: Fists of Fury, the Musical

Instead of a really bad movie about zombies, vampires or some creepy guy with a mask, Rifftrax Live's Halloween show takes on the ultimate horror combination...the 80s and cheesy martial arts movies!

The crew of Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy was in top form in Nashville Thursday night when they took on Miami Connection, an indie movie made by taekwondo expert YK Kim. He's not exactly Bruce Lee, but he has this move:

He helped produce a movie about a pop band called "Dragon Sounds", who sing about friendship and being against Ninjas. They have problems with the band that they replaced, and a group of ninjas who also traffic cocaine.
Two of the band members have concerns, too. Jane, the female singer, has a brother named Jeff who doesn't like her choice in boyfriends..

He's also involved with the drug-pushing ninja, though, So his opinion isn't too valuable.
Another member, Jim, is looking for his father who deserted his family. However, he does find Dad...just in time to be stabbed by the ninjas.

So, before we talk more about the movie some more, let's get to the riffs:

The leader of the ninjas has a meeting:
"Where's money"?
Kevin:  Cuba Gooding Jr. really wants to know.

Mark (YK Kim) notes that "we are all orhpans"
Mike:  My favorive orhpan is Olivor Twast

In another fight, one of the DS guys is challenged by a dorky version of Axl Rose
Bill:  He studied under Grandmaster Elaine Benes

The movie has a section where the DS guys show of their taekwondo skills. Mike is not impressed when he describes it as "take some acid and fight the invisible gorillas". Also, during the Dragon Sounds concert, the crew leads the audience in clapping along with the song but not to the beat.

There's also riffs on Power Rangers, The Goonies, John Oates, Lilith Fair, Crystal Pepsi, Human Centipede and Maria Sharapova. Oh, and they came up with a new slogan for Golden Corral, too. 

Back to the movie, it actually got a comeback thanks to a re-release thanks to Alamo Drafthouse Films and Turner Classic Movies. This lead to a reunion:

Not only that, Kim didn't really mind that Rifftrax was mocking the movie, Here's the story from the Orlando Sentinel, and the Rifftrax crew acknowledged him watching the show from Orlando. They just asked him not to rip their throats out.

Now there was some horror, though. It was a 1970 Coronet short on measuring things. They had a kid learn about inches, pints and such from a milkman who was, in reality, Measuring Man! We couldn't find a picture of him, but imagine a really geeky Ty Burrell with glasses, wearing a Superman costume and a utility belt with measuring cups, a sparking telescope (?) and a ruler. He'd be more disturbing than Mr. B Natural.
UPDATE:  Periscope has a clip from the short. Seeing Measuring Man is a sight to behold.
UPDATE 2:  It's now available at the Rifftrax site. 

Finally, they had a preview of the next movie, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny II. It's just like the original, only this time the story in the middle is Jack and the Beanstalk. The production values are barely above "Fun In Balloonland" but at least the girl who played Thumbelina is back full-size. That'll be coming on December 3rd.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Miss America, The Spy

Agents of SHIELD will be back at the end of the month. That means we’ll see Skye, I mean Daisy Johnson in her new role, Bobbie Morse and Melinda May making decisions, and a scientist who’s changed after an alien rock grabbed her.

Over the weekend, I saw an old episode of The Man from UNCLE, whose ideas about female agents are much different than SHIELD. That’s too bad, considering there was a much better philosophy elsewhere on TV.

The episode was “The Moonglow Affair”, which was a backdoor pilot that introduced agents April Dancer and Mark Slade:

That’s right. They’re not Stephanie Powers and Noel Harrison in this picture.
They cast former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley as April and Norman Fell (yep, Mr. Roper) as Slade. It was his first mission to train the newly minted agent because his predecessor turned 40.
Well, 40 was ancient about 50 years ago, not like now (right, Miss May?).
Anyway, choosing Mobley as April wasn’t too far fetched. She was an IMF agent posing as a trapeze artist in “Odd Man Out” during the first season of Mission Impossible. Maybe that led to her role here.

In this episode, Solo is poisoned by radiation while Kuryakin was trapped by THRUSH agents, assisted by an evil cosmetics mogul named Carasse played by Kevin McCarthy.

Back to the story, after Proto-April packs her purse with cosmetics and a big handgun, she goes to the evil cosmetics HQ as a temp secretary to figure out if THRUSH is planning to ruin an upcoming space shot with one of its own. Good thing Caresse is too busy to notice she’s planted a bug, and is able to get a lot of info. She even finds Kuryakin in the lab below, and quickly fakes being a new assistant to keep from getting caught. That’s how she gets more info..and some flirting. In fact, she winds up as Miss Moonglow, which includes modeling glow-in-the-dark lipstick.  
Apparently, the idea of this show is that April Dancer’s greatest weapon isn’t her gun but her feminine wiles, which is how she keeps Evil Makeup Guy wrapped around her little finger. That’s also why Peggy Carter would rather watch The Avengers, along with many, many others.

What about Slade? He’s a bit old to be out on the field, but he does the dirty work trying to keep THRUSH from threatening the space shot. However, it also leads him getting arrested by a cop who’d never understand espionage and stuff.

April gets caught and is zapped by the radiation weapon. Then, Slade comes in to save the day. We never find out how the cop let him go. Too bad, since it would have been better for her to wind up wounding Caresse and a THRUSH henchman despite being zapped. Then again, NBC would never allow it—but ABC could.

So, when The Girl From UNCLE did have its only season, the pattern was clear: April infiltrates the bad guys, does some flirting, gets the info, and waits until a much younger Mark Slate to save her. That’s the American way, unlike those Brits who have female spies fight just like a guy.

Well, who do we remember more, huh?

Recently, they turned The Man From UNCLE into a movie. What struck me is that Alicia Vikander, who played the daughter of the nuclear scientist Solo and Kuryakin have to find (when they decide not to argue), she had to judo flip Solo at least once to keep him on task. Too bad she couldn't be a new April Dancer.
If there was a new April, she'd have to live up to Melinda May, Sydney Bristow and Bobbi Morse. She could have done that nearly 50 years ago, but NBC decided it didn't need its own version of Emma Peel. Its idea of a female spy is being the straight person to a dopey secret agent. 

That still works in an animated spy spoof, but not when you're playing it straight today. 

I'm just saying I wish The Girl From UNCLE was allowed to be a real secret agent rather than what That Girl would be if she was in espionage.

Monday, August 17, 2015

What MST3K Movies Deserve a Second Riffing?

Last week, Rifftrax released its latest feature, The Magic Sword. It was unusual for several reasons, such as it's one of the few Burt I. Gordon movies that isn't too absurd to exist. It also has Basil Rathbone and Estelle Winwood, real actors in a cheesy fantasy movie.

The biggest one, of course, is that it's the first former MST3K title to be tackled by Rifftrax that's not a holiday movie, a short about springs or one that knew your father, it did, or Manos. Some people gave it a try, while some fans in the comments section were rather upset Rifftrax would mock a movie that was once heckled by the Holy Trinity that is Joel, Servo and Crow.

However, it also started a discussion on which former MST3K titles should be re-riffed. One fan suggested riffing the rest of the episodes of The Master, starring Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten as some dorky guy who'll never be a ninja...but would have better luck as a director of TV shows.
For some reason, Sho Kosugi, who plays the guy who tries to kill Van Cleef's character, gets top billing in this VHS cover. I don't think his character ever had any lines. If he did, he'd tell Van Cleef he's unfit to be a ninja because he couldn't beat Clint Eastwood.

Wikipedia says they had planned to take on episodes five and six, but they decided on "Samson vs, the Vampire Women", which marked TV Frank's exit from the show. If they kept going, they would have had episodes that featured Doug McClure, Janine Turner, George Maharis and Stuart Whitman. The movie titles would also have been ridiculous, like "Ninja--The Shadows Kill" and "The Ninja Man".

Another suggestion was "The Slime People", which was done in season one. One fan said Mike wants to get another chance at this movie, where a sportscaster helps a professor and his two daughters battle creatures from under the earth. Sure enough, page 12 of my heavily autographed Episode Guide proves it

Also suggested was "Mitchell", which was Joel's last movie. If they are going to do that, they should restore the deleted scenes that prove John Saxon was in the movie. However, they should also remove the "sex" scenes Joe Don Baker had with Linda Evans.

What other movies should be re-riffed?

How about "Swamp Diamonds" (aka "Swamp Women")? Some of the riffs are a bit dated, but they can add a bunch of riffs related to Orange Is The New Black and mock the Oscars for thinking Roger Corman deserved one for his "body of 'work'".

"Robot Holocaust" would be another idea, since it gave birth to the first riff callbacks "It was after the apocalypse" and "You and your daughter are doomed". Since Rifftrax has released movies that has nudity, people who dreamed to see Valeria in the Pleasure Booth without her costume or ridiculous accent will finally get the chance.

For a real dare, why not re-riff "Monster A Go-Go"? Well, there are lots of reasons why, but taking another look at the story of a missing astronaut, a killer alien on the loose, and an ending even stupider than Exorcist II would be quite a challenge.

Let's also add a KTMA movie, like "SST Death Flight". This was a TV movie in 1977 about the first supersonic plane's first flight. Naturally, everything goes wrong: some guy sabotages the plane, and no one will let it land because it has a killer disease on board. The director of this movie went on to direct Airport '79, which was also about a supersonic plane that's targeted by fighter jets thanks to a guy who's trying to hide his illegal arms sales. Clearly, the TV movie was slightly more plausible even if its cast wasn't as famous (except for Billy Crystal, Lorne Greene, Robert Reed...and Peter Graves).

Another idea is "The Green Slime", the movie Joel Hodgson used in his proto-pilot of the show. It's sort of like Armageddon, where astronauts destroy an asteroid that is threatening the Earth. However, they bring back alien slime that mutates the crew...sort of like Alien. It was also a movie made in Japan, but featured actors are from the USA (Richard Jaeckel) and Italy (Luciana Paluzzi).
This poster also reveals it was rated "X", which I suspect was due to the gruesome deaths.

It's best to wait a while before Rifftrax will take a second look to an old MST3K episode. After all, it's due for a Miami Connection in about six weeks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Samuel L. Jackson And Spy Kids

Recently I saw two movies with Samuel L. Jackson dealing with teenagers who get involved in some serious situations. One featured him running a school for future assassins not unlike the Red Room program that created Black Widow and Not Dottie from Agent Carter, while the other one had him as the President relying on a 13 year old Finnish kid to escape assassins in the wilderness.

Let's start with Barely Lethal, which has been in the VOD circuit through Amazon, iTunes and DirecTV and should be in Redbox soon. Hailee Steinfeld, who's come a long way from the True Grit remake, plays Agent 83, a girl who's had enough of knocking off bad guys, She's able to fake her own death, and head to a nice normal town and a nice normal high school. She calls herself Megan, and approaches it like another one of her missions. She also  bases her intel on several teen movies like Bring It On and Mean Girls. Naturally, she's attracted by the cool musician dude Cash (Toby Sebastian) while the AV guy Roger (Thomas Mann) looks on. It really becomes a typical movie about high school.
Maybe a bit too typical. There's also a slightly clueless mom played by Rachel Harris (prefer her nastier side in The Hangover) and Liz (Dove Cameron, Descendants, namely Malificent's daughter), the daughter who is upset over her parents' divorce and is very suspicious of Megan.

However, a prank that winds up on YouTube exposes Megan/83, and Jackson thinks she's working for someone else. Well, maybe being a normal teen means she's her own boss, but his attitude took me out of the film a bit. He's also not too good at disguising himself as a bus driver, either.  Later, she's plagued by Agent 84 (Sophie Turner)  who decides to horn in on Megan's life. She calls herself Heather and claims she knows Chris and/or Liam Hemsworth.

There's also Knox (Jessica Alba), an arms dealer that is captured by Jackson's crew, but later escapes. The problem with Alba's performance is that she's too Tori Spelling to be considered dangerous, even when we find out her true background. You want fashionable and dangerous? Rose Byrne in Spy is what Alba doesn't reach. Still, Alba has one good line about Jackson training second-graders to kill.

The movie is geared to teens, so it's not exactly like Spy Kids or any spy thriller. Still, it's interesting seeing a teen assassin be just as awkward as any other teen. It's also cool seeing Sophie Turner trying to clobber her rival agent at the prom. It's what everyone wishes Sansa Stark would do to Ramsey Bolton on Game of Thrones. Still, Jackson is there just as someone Megan doesn't want to be...not completely anyway.

However, Jackson is much better in Big Game, made in Finland by Jalmari Helander, who also directed Rare Exports (the Santa is not-so-jolly movie). Jackson plays the President who's on his way to a conference. He's also failing in the polls, and that does sound familiar. Terrorists attack Air Force One thanks to a mole inside the plane, but the President escapes. He's found by Oskari (Omni Tommila, who was also in Rare Exports) , a 13 year old who's trying to hunt a deer to fulfill the local manhood ceremony. However, the men in the town, including his dad, aren't sure he can do it. He can't even use a bow and arrow, Still, putting their skills together, Oskari and the President try to keep the terrorists, and the mole, from making the President their latest trophy...literally.

It turns out Oskari has better sense than his dad suspects, and it serves him well. Also, the movie is wise not to make Jackson as a bad-ass president. He actually has a tough time trying to fight the head bad guy. The movie also throws in a conspiracy connected with the attack, but it should have been less complex.

Another problem with the movie is that it's too short. Even with the credits, it's less than 90 minutes. If we had more backstory on the President and why he's not getting respect, and Oskari also not getting any respect (maybe five minutes of how he seems to be a terrible hunter), it would have been better.
Despite that, the story was compact and complete, even with one last twist at the end. It also appeals to adults and kids.

Barely Lethal is now available on DVD, including some deleted scenes, Big Game, meanwhile, will be released on DVD at the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the Not Too Distant Future: How Rifftrax May Take On Sharknado 3

Now that we know we'll have as many Sharknados as Transformer movies, maybe it's time to predict how the Rifftrax crew will take on this year's version of the cheesy SyFy franchise.

It's already taken on part one, as well as part two just a few weeks ago. It's safe to say that if it goes to another Kickstarter campaign to help fund the 2016 season, the fans will hit the goal within a weekend.

Fin (Ian Zierling) and April (Tara Reid) battle two big Sharknados wreaking havoc on Washington DC and Orlando. Then, they threaten to merge into something not even Bruce Willis and an Aerosmith ballad can stop. However, thanks to a spare Space Shuttle, and the power of the Hoff, they blow up the storm from outer space, They also battle sharks in space, and one of them eats April just as she's about to give birth. However, thanks to her chainsaw hand, she escapes, and her baby is OK. Yet it ends with a piece of the shuttle about to hit her, and the movie asks the fans if she should live, The latest word, according to Reid on Adam Carolla's podcast, is that she just might be back. She could be back anyway, Twitter votes be damned.
Nova (Cassie Scerbo) is back, too, apparently trained as a shark killer thanks to watching Michonne a lot on The Walking Dead, and also as a pilot thanks to Fin's son who's busy elsewhere.

Anyway, here's my prediction of what riffs we can expect next year from Mike, Kevin and Bill:

The movie starts with a James Bond style opening, with Fin and his chainsaw

It's 007 in Live and Let Bite, as seen from the mouth of Richard Kiel

Ann Coulter as the VP:  "I feel for the sharks, but they're wrecking our schools, our hospitals, our roads"
If they want to do that, they should run for Congress (yeah, too easy, right?)

Then the sharks arrive. When they're not destroying the Washington Monument more convincingly than Space Invaders or Donkey Kong in Pixels, one of them lands on the Lincoln Memorial.

You guys bite without me. The first sequel was exhausting

Fin gets help from President Mark Cuban, and both are armed to the teeth,

Marc Cuban is the President in Machete Bites!

Fin, his brother, the president and a woman lift an American flag and wind up stabbing one of the sharks, resulting in this

Uh, didn't people complain when same sex marriage supporters did the same thing?

We meet Nova, who's upset by all these Sharknados:  "Kill them all, just kill them all, shoot, bang"

Are you talking about the sharks, or the SyFy execs who keep approving these movies?

Meanwhile, at Universal Studios Orlando, April is there with her mom (Bo Derek).

April decides to help when the sharks get there, but mom isn't hearing it:  "April, Dawn, Wexler, Shepherd"
Is she listing the names of the new Ghostbusters?

Jerry Springer is a tourist standing under what he thinks is a fake shark at the Jaws Pier. He asks someone to take a picture of him. He soon finds out the shark is not fake

Hah! That Arnold Schwarzenegger prank at the wax museum really works.

A shark crashes into an xfinity billboard
This message brought to you by DirecTV

A theater is showing "Shark Wedding", with George RR Martin in the audience. A shark breaks through the screen, killing him

And now his watch has ended. Ours, however, still continues

We see David Hasslehoff at a chicken wings joint with Penn and Teller. They discuss how Finn is doing, while the Hoff says "He's just making it up as he goes along"

Oh, like Republican candidates trying to get on that Fox News debate

Fin's weapon against sharks in space?
It's the new Stihl Lightsaber Saw

A shark finally drops in, literally, the Today show set

Robin Roberts says hello!

Granted, the Rifftrax crew will come up with better snide remarks, because that's what they do. It's interesting what they would say to April giving birth while inside a shark...and escaping thanks to her chainsaw hand. They'd either say, "eat your heart out, Bruce Campbell" or "Shop smart, S-mart". There's also that last scene where April is about to be hit by a piece of the shuttle. Personally, I'd like to see April saved by Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth) from Dead Like Me, and remark "hey, my death was embarrassing enough. It won't happen to you, no matter what social media says"...then leave.

Hey, if you need cameos, get creative.