Pick of the Week – August 25-31, 2014

I can be a bit of an intense moviegoer.  I don’t talk during the film, and I don’t want people talking to me.  I don’t even get up to use the bathroom unless it’s heading into potty emergency territory (Sorry about the TMI there).  And the last thing I want is a bunch of smartasses making comments back at the screen.

Unless those smartasses happen to reside on the Satellite of Love, home of this week’s pick: Mystery Science Theater 3000.

In case you’ve never heard of the Satellite of Love, it is where the nefarious Dr. Clayton Forrester imprisoned mild-mannered Gizmonics Institute employee Joel Robinson and forced him to watch the worst movies ever made.  To keep himself sane, Joel built several robots, two of whom, Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, accompanied Joel into the satellite’s theater where they endured films such as Teenage Cavemen and Manos: The Hands of Fate.  The movies may be terrible, but the running commentary from Joel and the bots was absolutely hysterical.

During the show’s fifth season, Joel left and was replace on the satellite by Mike Nelson, who continued on as host through the remainder of the series’ 11 season run, which also included a feature film, the appropriately named Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.   

Pretty much any episode of the show is a lot of fun, but one of my all-time favorite bits is “Last Clear Chance,” a short film about safety around railroad crossings.  Fortunately, some kind person has posted it on Youtube HERE.

The movie is also a great way to get a taste of what the series was like.  It’s really just a bigger budget episode in which they are able to skewer a bigger budget bad movie, the 1955 science fiction film, This Island Earth. 

While Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K to the fans) may no longer be on the air, the cast is still riffing on movies.  Joel and some former cast members created Cinematic Titanic, and Mike along with a different group of cast members has formed RiffTrax, where they offer a large collection of riffs making fun of movies from current blockbusters to classics.

It all started with MST3K, though.  We’ve got Movie Sign! 

- Alan Decker

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