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Weekend Discussion Thread: Oscar-Winning Movies that Should Be Riffed

Our pal Timmy suggests:

Since this upcoming Sunday is the Oscars, what Oscar-winning (or even nominated) film do you think MST3K or Rifftrax should riff? I think “Gone With the Wind” or “Cleopatra” would be interesting to riff.

My now-disbanded private riffing group once did “Gone with the Wind” and “Gee!” it could definitely be done.

But my pick would be “Oklahoma.” SO much to work with.

What’s your pick?

96 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Oscar-Winning Movies that Should Be Riffed”

  1. Juice says:

    DarkGrandmaofDeath:
    The Towering Inferno.Because, c’mon, it’s The Towering Inferno. It won 3 Oscars, was nominated for several more, including Best Picture, but IMHO it was just early disaster porn.

    Speaking of TI, wasn’t there some guy named OJ Simpson in that one? Whatever happened to him?

       5 likes

  2. Cornjob says:

    Joe Bob Briggs showed When Time Ran Out on Monstervision. Fun watching Pat Morita in that one.

       1 likes

  3. goalieboy82 says:

    Juice: Speaking of TI, wasn’t there some guy named OJ Simpson in that one?Whatever happened to him?

    i think he is in the can right now.

       0 likes

  4. rvoyttbots says:

    THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

       0 likes

  5. GizmonicTemp says:

    All of them. Just… the whole lot. Every. Single. One.
    … Sorry, I’m missing the point of the exercise.
    Actually, let’s take the movie “Carol” from this year (haven’t seen it) and replace the sound with the movie+riff audio from “Manos”, a la “Wizard of Oz”/”Dark Side of the Moon”. Interesting possibilities.

       4 likes

  6. GizmonicTemp:
    All of them. Just… the whole lot. Every. Single. One…

    Even the very first Best Picture winner, Wings, from 1926?

    Mind you, I always thought it’d be fascinating to hear the Gang riff on an old silent flick. It’d be a blast to hear them dubbing all the dialogue into a silent movie with all the dialogue title cards edited out.

       3 likes

  7. Ray Dunakin says:

    Well, the “Sound of Mucus” is definitely rip for riffing, and so is that inane, bloated, “Around the World In 80 Days”.

    Although it was only nominated for two Oscars and didn’t win any, I would love to see them do “A.I.” That movie was a real turdburger.

       2 likes

  8. Y’know, I’ve heard The Sound Of Music and Oklahoma! mentioned here, but I’m wondering if there might be problems with riffing a musical, much like the issues they had when riffing a comedy.

       0 likes

  9. Jay says:

    Mike Flugennock: Even the very first Best Picture winner, Wings, from 1926?

    Mind you, I always thought it’d be fascinating to hear the Gang riff on an old silent flick. It’d be a blast to hear them dubbing all the dialogue into a silent movie with all the dialogue title cards edited out.

    That very thing was done in the early 1960s on a half hour show called “Fractured Flickers”. Hosted by Hans Conried, they added dialog to silent films using many of the same voice artists as “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”. The shows are available on a DVD collection.

       2 likes

  10. David Mello says:

    How about The King’s Speech? That seems to be the modern equivalent of “Shakespeare in Love”, although Colin Firth as George VI was pretty good. It beat The Social Network that year, although that would also be a nice target.

       0 likes

  11. Misfit4242 says:

    Chariots of Fire because it might make that snoozefest watchable. Midnight Cowboy because time has not been kind to it and The Godfather because, well, it’s The Godfather.

       2 likes

  12. Sitting Duck says:

    Jay: That very thing was done in the early 1960s on a half hour show called “Fractured Flickers”.Hosted by Hans Conried, they added dialog to silent films using many of the same voice artists as “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”.The shows are available on a DVD collection.

    Couple of fun facts regarding that show. Apparently Lon Chaney Jr. had threatened legal action against them when they took The Hunchback of Notre Dame (in which his father had the title role) and remade snippets of it into, “Dinky Dunston, Boy Cheerleader”. There was also an instance when they had planned to do an irreverent piece on the Kennedy Brothers. However, it got pulled due to JFK being assassinated before its scheduled airdate.

       3 likes

  13. GizmonicTemp says:

    Mike Flugennock: Even the very first Best Picture winner, Wings, from 1926?

    Mind you, I always thought it’d be fascinating to hear the Gang riff on an old silent flick. It’d be a blast to hear them dubbing all the dialogue into a silent movie with all the dialogue title cards edited out.

    Or go one step further and just replace the text cards with riffs. Fascinating! Now THAT would be the true test of comedy; making people laugh with the fewest words possible!

    Does anyone remember “Mad Movies” that used to be on Nickelodeon? They replaced the audio with their own dialog and it was HILARIOUS!

       3 likes

  14. Zee says:

    I would love to riff “PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE”. Yes, the subject matter is grim, but it’s SO grim and over-the-top it becomes surreal.

       1 likes

  15. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    MonkeyPretzel:
    Logan’s Run (nominated for two Oscars, won a Special Achievement award). Over the top sci-fi with bad dialogue and cheesy (by current standards) special effect? It just might work…

    My wife turned 30 last May and I made her watch this before her birthday.

    She then got malaria from a work trip to South Sudan and almost died from acute respiratory distress.

    Wheeee!

    I would LOVE to see Logan’s Run riffed, though.

    And for the sheer challenge, it would take major giblets to take on Schindler’s List. Casablanca proved they could riff a great movie with Nazis. I think Schindler’s List would be the ultimate test of their riffing chops.

    Maybe throw in Shawshank Redemption just for the giggles, too.

       3 likes

  16. YourNewBestFriend says:

    Johnny's nonchalance: My wife turned 30 last May and I made her watch this before her birthday.

    She then got malaria from a work trip to South Sudan and almost died from acute respiratory distress.

    Wheeee!

    I would LOVE to see Logan’s Run riffed, though.

    And for the sheer challenge, it would take major giblets to take on Schindler’s List. Casablanca proved they could riff a great movie with Nazis. I think Schindler’s List would be the ultimate test of their riffing chops.

    Maybe throw in Shawshank Redemption just for the giggles, too.

    Logan’s Run? Jenny Agutter. Jenny Agutter Jenny Agutter, Jenny Agutter. Jenny Agutter Jenny Agutter (Jenny Agutter), Jenny Agutter; Jenny Agutter.

       3 likes

  17. YourNewBestFriend says:

    Jenny Agutter aside…

    My wife and I worked through a lot of movies from the fifties and sixties, revisiting things we’d both heard of but never actually seen. A lot of big-name movies really broke through the time barrier and spoke directly to a modern audience. One that didn’t: The Apartment. Cast and crew were PHENOMENAL, but that was the most completely unwatchable movie ever, with the possible exception of “The Misery Brothers.”

    OK: does that make it prime riffing material? I’ve been watching MST for two decades, and still can’t figure it out.

       2 likes

  18. EricJ says:

    Mike Flugennock: Hey, lighten up on Bogart, man. You’re treading on hallowed ground. I thought Sierra Madre was a helluva picture — nowhere near as awesome as Casablanca or African Queen, but, still… “Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who’s down on his luck?” has got to be one of my favorite Bogart lines of all time.

    Even if the line was “Say, buddy, can you stake a fellow American to a meal?” Still, nice to know the Bugs Bunny cartoon has implanted itself into our national consciousness.

    Johnny's nonchalance:And for the sheer challenge, it would take major giblets to take on Schindler’s List. Casablanca proved they could riff a great movie with Nazis. I think Schindler’s List would be the ultimate test of their riffing chops.

    What, you mean the “….Hey, Grandma!!” jokes every time the Girl in the Red Coat shows up? I don’t think so.

    We’ve gotten a lot of “Philadelphia would be interesting!” comments, and the I-word I take to mean that they don’t really know either. That’s what the Mike/RT era has done to a generation of fans, we don’t know what’s riffable and what isn’t, and believe the desperation-hubris of “We can riff ANYTHING because we’re superior to it! And even if it’s good, it’s still an abstract artistic experiment!”
    It takes knowing a good film to know a bad one.

    YourNewBestFriend:
    My wife and I worked through a lot of movies from the fifties and sixties, revisiting things we’d both heard of but never actually seen. A lot of big-name movies really broke through the time barrier and spoke directly to a modern audience. One that didn’t: The Apartment.

    I will agree that The Apartment is probably the second least watchable Best Picture of the 60’s, if Tom Jones (which is too jackass to be riffable) wasn’t there in first. But it’s because it’s rooted in its time that has some merit, like a historical Mad Men time capsule of the post-50’s rat race. And besides, how can you hate Jack Lemmon in anything? (Even Airport ’77.)
    It did make a surprise upset on the big-studio push for “The Alamo”, and…..o-kay, NOW we’re talking Riffable. See how it works? :)

       1 likes

  19. goalieboy82 says:

    Ben Hur (the 1959 version) and The Greatest Story Ever Told would be fun to riff
    had no no Oscar nominations (Golden Globe only) but King of Kings (1961 version) would be fun too.
    could do for these films a lot of religious jokes and for The Greatest Story Ever Told and King of Kings some jokes on religious doctrine.

       1 likes

  20. Prime Minister Jm J. Bullock says:

    Cornjob:
    Joe Bob Briggs showed When Time Ran Out on Monstervision. Fun watching Pat Morita in that one.

    Red Buttons was on Johnny Carson last night promoting that movie.

    My pick would be Marooned. Wait…

    Actually, I’d like to see RiffTrax tackle the highly overrated Birdman.

       1 likes

  21. Deus Ex Machina says:

    Showgirls or Basic Instinct. No Oscar wins, but the combination of Paul Verhoeven’s bad direction, Joe Eszterhas bad writing, and Elizabeth Berkeley/Sharon Stone’s bad acting are incredibly riffable.

    Or American Beauty. I’d love to see how the guys would spin the floating plastic bag as a metaphor.

       0 likes

  22. Atorgo says:

    FFS What’s wrong with some of you? The Apartment is great!

       2 likes

  23. JeremyR says:

    Mike Flugennock: Even the very first Best Picture winner, Wings, from 1926?

    Mind you, I always thought it’d be fascinating to hear the Gang riff on an old silent flick. It’d be a blast to hear them dubbing all the dialogue into a silent movie with all the dialogue title cards edited out.

    Wings was a pre-code movie, so it was surprisingly modern in a lot of ways. And one of the grimmer war movies because of that. And Clara Bow topless for all of 2 seconds.

       0 likes

  24. Turquoise Plastic Pith Helmet says:

    I’d love to have them riff Annie Hall. If there was ever a movie completely undeserving of the Best Picture Oscar(tm), that stink bomb is it.

       1 likes

  25. Keith in WI says:

    Deus Ex Machina:
    Showgirls or Basic Instinct. No Oscar wins, but the combination of Paul Verhoeven’s bad direction, Joe Eszterhas bad writing, and Elizabeth Berkeley/Sharon Stone’s bad acting are incredibly riffable.

    Or American Beauty. I’d love to see how the guys would spin the floating plastic bag as a metaphor.

    I don’t think that Showgirls ever so much as sniffed any kind of Oscar nomination.

    My Picks:
    Driving Miss Daisy, perhaps. Charriots of Fire. The English Patient. Three snooze-fests that deserve some skewering.

       0 likes

  26. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    EricJ: Even if the line was “Say, buddy, can you stake a fellow American to a meal?”Still, nice to know the Bugs Bunny cartoon has implanted itself into our national consciousness.

    What, you mean the “….Hey, Grandma!!” jokes every time the Girl in the Red Coat shows up?I don’t think so.

    We’ve gotten a lot of “Philadelphia would be interesting!” comments, and the I-word I take to mean that they don’t really know either.That’s what the Mike/RT era has done to a generation of fans, we don’t know what’s riffable and what isn’t, and believe the desperation-hubris of “We can riff ANYTHING because we’re superior to it!And even if it’s good, it’s still an abstract artistic experiment!”
    It takes knowing a good film to know a bad one.

    I will agree that The Apartment is probably the second least watchable Best Picture of the 60’s, if Tom Jones (which is too jackass to be riffable) wasn’t there in first.But it’s because it’s rooted in its time that has some merit, like a historical Mad Men time capsule of the post-50’s rat race.And besides, how can you hate Jack Lemmon in anything?(Even Airport ’77.)
    It did make a surprise upset on the big-studio push for “The Alamo”, and…..o-kay, NOW we’re talking Riffable.See how it works?

    Humor is part of our psychological defense. It is a healthy response to bleak, soul crushing situations. What better way to deal with a depressing story?

    You look at the world like Tom Servo on LSD, right? Always surprised that Mike is not a clown.

    Everything is riffable.

       8 likes

  27. The Might Untrained FOOZLE says:

    I’d like to see them do Gladiator, just so they could spend 2 hours doing variations of “Isn’t this just Braveheart in the sand?”

    Which reminds me: Braveheart.

    Ken McElhaney:
    Two of the more obvious are “Crash” and “Gladiator” because they are arguably the worst films ever to win Best Picture. Although musicals are naturally tough, my choice would be “An American in Paris” NOT because it’s bad, it’s actually pretty good. But the overall set-up is ripe for riffing.

       1 likes

  28. Cameron Bane says:

    The Ten Commandments. I was surprised there were any sets left after EVERY FRIGGIN’ ACTOR IN IT got done chewing them. “So let it be written. So let it be done. Pass the ketchup.”

       4 likes

  29. EricJ says:

    The Might Untrained FOOZLE:
    I’d like to see them do Gladiator, just so they could spend 2 hours doing variations of “Isn’t this just Braveheart in the sand?”
    Which reminds me: Braveheart.

    Gladiator and Braveheart were both sparked by crabby psychotic-bully supporting actors–Oliver Reed and Patrick McGoohan, respectively–using their intensity to take the whole thing seriously and steal the entire movies away from their preening narcissistic vanity lead-stars, so they’re not without merit.
    And besides, The Patriot was just Gladiator with musket-rifles, but that only got technical nominations.

       0 likes

  30. goalieboy82 says:

    @78
    hell any of those type of sword-and-sandal films made in Hollywood at the time would be fun to riff. a lot of overacting in those.
    also The Mongols from 1961 with Jack Palance and The Conqueror from 1956 with John Wayne (filmed downwind from nuclear test site by the way). this is one of the 2 films that they say (along with Ice Station Zebra) that Howard Hughes watch endlessly during his last years.

       1 likes

  31. Satoris says:

    How about Forest Gump? I think Gump and Bubba would make for some great riffing. Not to mention leg-less Lt. Dan.
    In fact, they already did some Bubba riffing at the end of Horrors of Spider Island.

       0 likes

  32. Cornjob says:

    #65-6 Did someone say Jenny Agutter! I was just watching Logan’s Run last October, along with An American Werewolf in London. A movie which poses a very serious question. Namely, if cruel fate killed your best friend and left you a supernatural abomination that would transform into a homicidal monster cursed to slaughter innocents whose damned souls would perpetually haunt you; would it be worth it if Jenny Agutter took you home and to bed?

    Back to Logan’s Run. (Spoiler Alert!) It was nice the people escaped from the computer that was killing them when they turned 30. Too bad that like the citizens of Eaon Flux land they were lost in a wilderness with no immunity to disease, or knowledge of acquiring water, food, shelter, or clothing in a non-artificial environment. Jenny was in a better situation in Walkabout.

       2 likes

  33. klisch says:

    I’ve said this years ago but how about Schindler’s List? If you can make that movie funny, then you can do anything.

       1 likes

  34. schippers says:

    How about Birdman? Any movie pretentious enough to have a parenthetical subtitle is just asking to be taken down a few pegs. That movie also commits the cardinal sin of “Never reference a better movie [in this case, play] in your overblown, boring movie” – to wit, the dude screaming lines from Macbeth (if my memory serves).

       1 likes

  35. new cornjob says:

    i can’t believe it, all this time… pre-during-post oscars… and nary ever a mention of “titanic”???????? unbelievable! (inconceivable!)

    sorry to leo and his shiny new award (and i’m really pulling for his and martin’s “devil in the white city” project), and to the venerable james cameron, and the nifty “steam-punk” vibe he managed to pull off with it… and to kate winslet in the wet look… and the rest of the cast and crew…

    but, for cryin’ out loud… you wanna talk scenery-chewing, well just start chanting the south-park shanty they came up for him… “james cam-er-ooonn!! james cam-er-ooonnn!!” mr. “next up in line to spielberg for hitting the audience over the heads with a rubber mallet screaming ‘cry, damn you, CRY!'”

    okay. i have it on dvd. but i also have “hanger 18” for separate reasons… and think i very well might get “manos” on bluray just because it’s there. just that much of a loon, y’all…

       1 likes

  36. new cornjob says:

    p.s. “the day the clown cried” will likely never be seen by anyone else than harry shearer, it seems! heck, “skidoo” might have a better chance getting on mst3k… (hmmm!)

       0 likes

  37. new cornjob says:

    p.p.s. “amer werewolf in london” is like in my top-ten all time favorites – it’s up there with “the shining” for horror flicks easily! never realized that was the same lady… doesn’t much alleviate the dated stink-fest “logan’s run” really is. (i’m a big ken levine fan over the “bioshock” videogames, but lol had to think early on about his “logan’s run” fetish, “ohhh, dude… maybe give that a pass?”)

       1 likes

  38. goalieboy82 says:

    new cornjob:
    p.s. “the day the clown cried” will likely never be seen by anyone else than harry shearer, it seems! heck, “skidoo” might have a better chance getting on mst3k… (hmmm!)

    not until 2025 from what i have read so it might happen someday.
    as for Skidoo, what was hell were a lot of famous people doing in that film? good god.

       0 likes

  39. Cornjob says:

    #88 Maybe while watching Logan’s Run you need to focus on the good and the beautiful, namely Jenny and the costume she stole from one of the Fire Maidens.

       0 likes

  40. Deus Ex Machina says:

    Keith in WI: I don’t think that Showgirls ever so much as sniffed any kind of Oscar nomination.

    My Picks:
    Driving Miss Daisy, perhaps. Charriots of Fire.The English Patient. Three snooze-fests that deserve some skewering.

    Thus, my comment “No Oscar wins.” :)

    It was so bad, it wasn’t even Razzie worthy. The Brains could have skewered it with relative ease.

       0 likes

  41. Sitting Duck says:

    new cornjob:
    i can’t believe it, all this time… pre-during-post oscars… and nary ever a mention of “titanic”???????? unbelievable! (inconceivable!)

    Well Rifftrax has already done it. Guess everyone thought it was too obvious.

       3 likes

  42. EricJ says:

    Johnny’s nonchalance: Humor is part of our psychological defense. It is a healthy response to bleak, soul crushing situations. What better way to deal with a depressing story?
    You look at the world like Tom Servo on LSD, right? Always surprised that Mike is not a clown.
    Everything is riffable.

    Actually, the linked BBC “Day the Clown Cried” documentary delves into expert discussion of that question, as the comic tries to answer why death-camp jokes are “taboo”–Or, on our side, why Seth MacFarlane died with that Lincoln joke at the Oscars.
    The expert pretty much gives the basic universal comic theory: Who are you laughing at, the victim, or the aggressor? Half of comedy is laughing at the aggressor for beating up on the little guy, and sticking up for the little guy by ultimately making the aggressor look ridiculous–That’s what makes Bugs Bunny say “Of course you know this means war,” and that what Hogan’s Heroes took such flak for doing, by making the prisoners (although “safe” POW prisoners) look smart and win out over the buffoonish Germans every time. We can even laugh at sympathetic victims for being victims of things that would happen to us, like falling on our rear, but if you laugh at the victims of tragedy for being victims of tragedy, that officially makes you a Bully–And in keeping with comic theory, for the rest of us, that means our entertainment will be in seeing YOU defeated. (Although, as I understand it from Mike fans, some people get very angry when you accuse a comic of being a “bully”.)

    So, y’know, let’s just all take a breath, be honest, come clean and admit it: Mike fans don’t fundamentally understand comedy. It’s okay, that’s the same thing Mike’s been accused of for twenty years (yes, it’s not “surprising”), so you’ll be in good company.

       0 likes

  43. new cornjob says:

    Sitting Duck: Well Rifftrax has already done it. Guess everyone thought it was too obvious.

    Sitting Duck says:
    Well Rifftrax has already done it. Guess everyone thought it was too obvious.

    true, true… i suspected as much, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity. cap’n obvious, aiming straight ahead, right into that open-thread iceberg!

    last time i looked around for stuff about “dtcc” was years ago… if there’s now a whole bbc doc now on “dtcc”? oh man, i’m gonna have to take some time and watch that now!

    sorry to poop on “logan’s run,” i know it’s got its fanbase – i’m young enough to remember when it first ran on network tv and was always spooked out by the carousel sequence, sure. it just never stuck with me the way it does others – maybe “space:1999” is more my early sci-fi guilty pleasure in place of “lr!” (i keep wondering if hollywood will ever catch up to some sort of reboot-flick of “99”… i know the title-year is a prob; instantly becomes “is this a retro project” or what… maybe have to go with “2099” instead.)

    speaking of reboots, anyone catch the “new ghostbusters” trailer that dropped today? tentatively a chuckle or two with it so far; obviously with modern effects, it’s looking quite wild; will probably look phenomenal (do-doo, de-doo-doo!) in 3d.

    there’s also a recent new longer “finding dory” trailer that, i hope promises as much in new good times and laughs as from “fn.”

       0 likes

  44. Cornjob says:

    Don’t worry about giving Logan’s Run a razzing. It’s got flaws, but it makes you think. It also helped inspire Gary Numan to make his Replicas album. And there’s Jenny… .

       0 likes

  45. jjk says:

    000

       0 likes

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