Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Top 5 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episodes

Okay, I know this isn't a cartoon so it's breaking the cardinal rule of Old School Evil (1. Uh... cartoons!).  But come on, no matter which one of the mads you're talking about, they're about as cartoony as the likes of Megatron, Skeletor, or Saw Boss.  The Forrester family and their second bananas have the lofty ambition of their cel-shaded peers, failures blamed on lackeys, and the maniacal laughs down pat!  If these guys were animated, they'd fit right in here with the rest of these lovable losers.  Clayton, Pearl, and Kinga are among the most diabolical for their treatment of their respective hosts and I couldn't love them more for it.

Now an admission: I never got a chance to watch the show during any of its original runs.  In fact, I didn't even watch until my 21st birthday.  I went to the video store to find something to watch and picked up Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. I'm pretty sure I knew it existed before in some form, I drew a picture of it in my high school yearbook, but this was my first real experience with it.  And holy crap was it awesome!  I had to have watched that movie daily for at least a month.  And this was way back when video stores existed and everything was on tape.  That's a lot of rewinding.  So my first real chance to watch its splendor was thanks to Rhino video and Suncoast, and because of that was kinda limited.  I bought a ton of the boxed sets and went through them all over and over again.

I couldn't have been more excited that MST3k got a chance to return to the air so I could watch some first run episodes!  I backed the Kickstarter as much as I could (it wasn't much) and now that it's on Netflix, I've been able to watch two episodes.  And let me tell you, it's just as good as the old episodes.  The cast and crew is great, the props are adorable, and the humor is spot on.

But back to the original!  Today, I'm picking my favorites, the ones I couldn't help but press play on again as soon as it was back at the beginning of the tape.  Here we go!  All images courtesy of the MST3k Wiki

5. Skydivers
I may be opening myself up to some heated debate, but I've always preferred Joel over Mike.  But even I couldn't resist putting this movie on the list.  Coleman Francis had three of the worst movies in the MST3k library and this is the one that's always stuck in my head.  The wooden acting, the terrible dialogue, and the sluggish plot are perfect fodder for Mike and the Bots.  This movie has one of my most repeated lines in it, when the inept Pete looks down at the looming ground in awe, leading Mike to claim, "Hey, I can see my feet from here!"

4. Cave Dwellers
I would watch a whole movie of Joel and the Bots slow-motion sword fighting if I could.  The mighty Ator fights his way to save the kingdom from evil, getting poisoned and captured too many times along the way.  The opening bit where the old guy tells his daughter about Ator's history is hilarious for the monster spider puppet alone.  Also gotta love Joel flubbing his line during the shaving joke.  "May I just, uh, cup one of your pecs?"

3. Pod People
Another movie with weird non-related, filter-heavy images during the credits, it just adds to the many ideas weaved together to make nothing that resembles a coherent plot.  Pod People tries copying the successful formula ET showed, throwing a kid and an alien together, while also surrounding him with drunk uncles, a crappy band, inept hunters, and another blood-lusted anteater.  "Trumpy, you can do stupid things!"

2. Mitchell
Rumor has it Joe Don Baker has said he'd kick the MST3k crew's collective asses for the jokes they made as this movie's expense.  I can't say I blame him because they roast this movie and its thoroughly unlikable hero.  The trio's terror as they are forced to watch the love scene between Baker and Linda Evans is a high point - I can't help but crack up as they scream and vomit! "Baby oil?  NOOO!!"

1. Manos: Hands of Fate
Did you expect anything less?  This movie serves as a tribute to the saying "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."  A manure tycoon decides to make a movie and without a cast or equipment sets out to do it.  What comes out of it is a truly amazing specimen - A movie where every aspect of it is deplorable.  Luckily, all that filth serves as a wealth of material for Joel and the Bots.  I honestly can't do this movie justice here - if you haven't seen this movie (and what are you doing here if you haven't?) or you've seen it a million times like I have, do yourself a favor and go watch it now.  "Filmed on location in a vacant lot."

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