Friday, August 14, 2009

Apologies To Charles Erickson, Joel Hodgson, And J. Elvis Weinstein

In the not too distant future
Next Thursday A.D.
I'll be going to see Rifftrax
At a movie theater near me
It's not really Mike, Kevin and Bill
It's essentially a concert film
It might not be as good as CT I know
But it will certainly be better
Than The Rocky Horror Show...

...OK, that joke got old before it started. Still, six days from today, Rifftrax will be doing a live show of the movie Plan Nine From Outer Space in Nashville, which will be broadcast to movie theaters nationwide, and I already have my tickets.

I guessing most people haven't heard of Rifftrax, but many people do know Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), the long-running television show that essentially consisted of a human and two puppet robots sitting in theater seats, watching an awful B-movie, and talking back at it. Sound silly? Well, it was, and it was also one of the funniest TV shows ever.

MST3K was canceled in 1999; however, in the 2000s, the former cast members reunited to form two competing (all right, maybe competing is too strong a word, but they certainly haven't done anything together) movie riffing groups. Cinematic Titanic (CT) features Joel Hodgson and the early years MST3K cast; Rifftrax features Michael J. Nelson and the later seasons cast. Another major difference between the two is that while CT is content with B-movies (and pays to license them), Rifftrax has released performances of Hollywood A-movies, in the form of MP3s that you sync up with a DVD of the movie. When they did the original Star Wars (er, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), for example, many people got pretty upset with them.

Both groups have also done live shows, and I saw CT live when their tour passed through my area, performing Blood Of The Vampires (which, if I have this right, is a Filipino movie set in Mexico). They were even better live than on television. Hopefully I'll feel the same way about Rifftrax, but my expectations were lowered somewhat by the following sentence in the event press release: "This event will be hosted by Veronica Belmont, the Host of Tekzilla on Revision3 and Qore on the PlayStation Network, with Musical Guest Jonathan Coulton and a special segment by Rich 'Lowtax' Kyanka of Something Awful." All right. Just a few questions: what on Earth are Revision3 and the PlayStation Network? Why do we need a musical guest? Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka?

Still, Rifftrax performing Plan Nine From Outer Space (this being a live show, they're certainly not about to pay to license Star Wars) has to be better than an event that's probably still more famous than Rifftrax or CT: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I only went once, and I hated it so much I left while Tim Curry was making his entrance. I had managed to get out of the first-timer hazing ritual, but just watching it was bad enough; when the movie did start, the jokes consisted mostly of swearing in time with the music. Rifftrax will beat that. Guess I'll be setting Millionaire to record on Thursday...what? I can wait.

More Millionaire Sunday,


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