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Weekend Discussion Thread: rough draft of the Season 12 episode guide: 1202- Atlantic Rim

Movie: (2013): When giant monsters crawl out of the Atlantic Ocean and attack the Eastern Seaboard, the U.S. government is forced to trust a trio of mischievous soldiers who specialize in piloting gigantic robots, to defend America.

Open: Intruder alert at Gizmonic Institute! Meanwhile, in the invention exchange, Growler helps out as J&tB show off their inflatable air dancer organ. Max demonstrates “supposi-stories.”

Segment 1: With the bots dressed in mech suits, the Mads demand a new song in the spirit of “Every Country Has a Monster.” Growler and M. Waverly and Gypsy help with “Get in Your Mech.”

Segment 2: Dressed like they are at an awards dinner, J&tB explain how they got their medals.

Close: Jonah wants to do some day drinking, but the bots suggest they pour out a little — actually kind of a lot.

Stinger: Red tells his tale. Buh-boom!

The New Normal: Growler and M. Waverly, once considered one-hit wonders, are now fixtures, including making regular appearances in the theater.
For example, as Gypsy arrives, M. Waverly comes in from the left, makes one riff and scurries back out. Later there is another incursion into the theater, also by M. Waverly, I think. This is typical for the rest of this season.

• I know a bit about old bad movies but I don’t really keep close track of the new bad ones, so while I had heard of “Pacific Rim” and that it was bad, I had not heard of Asylum. But apparently others had, because I recall the announcement that one of theirs was going to be riffed filled some MSTies with trepidation.
• Are we ever going to find out what that “intruder alert” was about?
• A bonehead (Tim Ryder, I think?) helps out Max with invention exchange.
• A bit of self-referencing going on in this episode: At movie sign, J&tB are sining “Patrick Swayze Christmas.” Later Max says: “It stinks! And not in the joke way.” Still later, in the theater, they say a minor character in the movie looks like “Joel Hodgson.”
• The song was another gem from Paul & Storm.
• Callback: “Packers!” (Giant Spider Invasion.)
• Catchphrases: “Bull butter!” and “Buh-boom!”
• Fave riff: “This one’s more of a landscaping issue.” “What with the streets clogged with corpses and all…”

60 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: rough draft of the Season 12 episode guide: 1202- Atlantic Rim”

  1. GR Robertson says:

    Not as good as Macc & Me but I have a soft spot for this ep because I got an onscreen credit at the end. All that hard work finally paid off (okay no hard work but I did click a few mouse buttons to get it). I don’t have Netflix so taking in one ep a night with my pledge dvd set.


  2. Joseph Klemm says:

    Sitting Duck:
    Atlantic Rim passes the Bechdel Test. The submarine operators exchange panicked reactions. Dr. Adams and Tracey about the halo headbands.

    The Supposi-Stories also make literature a pain in the hinder. Literally.

    I think I understand why Naval Air Station Pensacola refused permission to allow Asylum to shoot there.

    So why were the pilots not told their mechs came with melee weapons until they were in the middle of a beatdown?

    I think Graham Greene’s dignity is going to need its own dedicated bottle.

    A bonehead (Tim Ryder, I think?)

    I believe it’s Deanna Rooney, aka the newly introduced Bonehead #3. Here’s a still.

    Favorite riffs

    But they’re the heroes of the movie, so they’re always right.

    Go, go, dour rangers!

    LiveNation presents Daft Punk: Underwater Tour!

    “What happened down here?”
    Whatever it is, don’t show us.

    “Holy crap! What is that?”
    My prostate.

    “You alright, Red?”
    Please say no.

    Godspeed, stock footage.

    Baltimore has never looked better.

    I know they didn’t have the money to rent emergency vehicles and crowds, but calling in a bomb threat? That’s beyond the pale!

    Just because a monster’s attacking doesn’t mean you can’t get your steps in.

    I liked it before the remodeling, when it was on fire.

    Wasn’t this movie about robots fighting monsters? I’m lost.

    It killed all our lab chimps, so that means you guys are next. Have fun.

    That powerful mech suit is really gonna enhance his ability to beat up stoners in alleyways.

    “Well, Geise, I can see that you’ve officially lost your mind.”
    It’s not official yet, sir. Paperwork’s not in.

    What won’t Elon Musk launch into space?

    He blew up Heaven!

    So now they go out for a well-deserved night of celebration.
    Which ends with Red once again in the brig, this time for urinating on the dog of a visiting diplomat.

    And the movie ends as it began, as a garbage fire.

    I saw at least one interview where Jonah where he talked about Joel wanting to open the season with Atlantic Rim and close it with Mac & Me. Jonah said Joel was following the stand-up formula of opening a set with your second strongest joke and closing with your strongest. Jonah argued that people would watch Mac & Me first no matter where it was in the order, so they should place it first.

    I can see why Joel might want Atlantic Rim to be first. It’s the newest film MST3K has riffed, and it’s ripped off from a big hit. Of all the films, it looks the most like something modern movie-watchers might watch. But I agree with Jonah that Mac & Me is the “name” film for younger gen-x/older millenials like him and myself.

    Meanwhile, it’s smart to have the season end with the film that Cave Dwellers, the MST3K episode that could be considered the start of the series “growing the beard”, is a sequel to.


  3. Joseph Klemm says:

    Sitting Duck:
    Baltimore has never looked better.

    As a long time attendee of Otakon since its days in Baltimore, that line was definitely a hoot (especially given the 2002 Mystery Anime Theater 3000 show, which had a couple of references to the exploding manhole cover incident that happened at the con the previous year).

    While on the subject, it’s was a fun surprise that the series would actually make a reference to Evangelion.


  4. thequietman says:

    Reporting for du- oh boy…

    I think this might be Jonah’s “Castle of Fu Manchu” for me. Sure, I laughed but after a certain point I just kind of zoned out and let the episode become background noise. However, I am enjoying the host segments even if there is one fewer of them now.

    I noted that the first tune played on the Air Dancer Organ was the ‘Wild Rebels Cereal’ jingle.

    Otherwise, give me a cheap move that isn’t 90% computer generated…

    Fave riffs
    “I’ve been with Project Armada since its inception…”
    … last Tuesday!

    We’re being chased by a GoPro!

    Baywatch Beyond Thunderdome

    “You broke every rule today…”
    … every rule of cinematic storytelling.

    “Do we know where the other egg is?”
    You’re sitting on it!

    Phase 2? Oh yes, something I totally know about and am ready for!

    Sweet binoculuars, he can see New York from Pensacola, Florida!

    That day, eight brave soliders evacuated New York by word of mouth alone.


  5. Dan in WI says:

    This show open was really pretty compact.
    First, we have the intruder alert at Gizmonics and Gizmonics itself is in flames. I do hope this goes somewhere.
    Then the invention exchange is solid but necessarily outstanding. I did just buy a car a couple months ago. The dealer I used didn’t even have air dancers. This invention probably would have helped. But the Patrick Swayze Christmas cameo was welcome. The suposi-stories was interesting. I could see Clayton presenting it but it did fall flat for me. I’ve always said Patton is outstanding at channeling Frank. I guess he can’t channel Clayton though.
    I like the premise of the on-demand song of the first host segment. It has its moments, particularly “we built a deck with Alex TrebeK.” But in the end, I have to agree with Max. It stinks.
    Of the hundreds of implausibly stupid things in this film I think the crown goes to the attempts to break Red out of the brig. Now keep in mind this brig is locked with the cheapest of Schlage entry level locks. First, they go around begging someone for a key. Then they heroically search the lumber wagon for a hammer to bust the lock. Isn’t this some sort of military base? Do the thing Scott Evil wanted to in Austin Powers. Instead of the stupidity, go back to their room and get a gun. Problem solved.
    This movie was bad. The situations were absurdly nonsensical. The casting was terrible. The acting was worse. And don’t even get me started on the cheapest of the cheap clichés. This movie was bad. It made me want to go on a rant like the one in the wrap up of Rocket Attack USA bad. Or as Max said in during the on-demand song. It stinks.

    Favorite Riffs
    An establishing shot of the oil rig is shown. Jonah “This movie is rigged.”
    Panicked people on the beach flee the sea creature. Tom “Baywatch beyond Thunderdome.”
    Green Pilot “You alright Red?” Tom “Please say no.”
    Green Pilot is trying to find missing girl. “Oh, good thinking. Put the gun away when you are looking for a missing child.”
    Voice of naval recon individual “Stand by, we are now confirming a large mass rising from the ocean floor.” Crow “The Great Pumpkin. It’s finally happening!”
    An MP goes to let Red out of the brig. Crow “Oh so this guy is the hero of the movie.” And the MP is crushed under foot of the monster.


  6. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Reporting for du- oh boy…

    Is that a Quantum Leap-based riff? ;-)


  7. Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology says:

    Uh… buh-boom?

    When I first heard that MST3K would be tackling Atlantic Rim, I was both excited and cautious. On the one hand, as a giant monster aficionado, seeing a Kaiju flick riffed on the show is always a treat. Plus, not only am I a big fan of 2013’s Pacific Rim, but it’s director, Guillermo del Toro, is my favorite director working today, and a personal hero of mine. Any attempt to rip off del Toro SHOULD be a hilarious disaster… right?

    Well, that brings me to the other hand: the crap factory that is The Asylum. While many of their films are fun to laugh at (or laugh along with), some of their output is too painful to be funny. Unfortunately, at least for me, Atlantic Rim falls into this category. As per The Asylum’s MO, no attempt was made to make this movie anything resembling “good”. The result is a truly joyless experience. It’s not intentionally goofy, or charming in its earnest attempt to be something more than the sum of its parts. It just… exists, like a big, dumb rock crushing the air out of your chest.

    This is where I think the decision to riff this particular movie backfires. On paper, a big, dumb, ripoff monster movie sounds like the perfect riffing material. In practice, however, the lack of anything remotely engaging in the film makes watching it a chore, even with the riffing. That said, Jonah and the Bots do a pretty fantastic job at injecting a modicum of fun into the proceedings, and there are some genuinely funny riffs and some great host segments. But, despite its strengths, this will probably be the Season 12 episode I revisit the least. I didn’t hate it by any stretch of the imagination, but the overwhelming joylessness of the movie gets the better of me every time I see it. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve enjoyed the episode more with each viewing, so maybe it’ll become more endearing as time goes on. Fingers crossed!

    Some thoughts:

    -The cold open at Gizmonics Institute is a series first: an episode has never started anywhere but on the SOL or in the Mads’ lair. The mysterious break-in goes unmentioned and unsolved until the fourth episode, and woah… what a reveal it is!

    -The Inflatable Organ is one of my favorite inventions of the revival series. Growler is back at it, jammin’ away to an organ rendition of the “Wild Rebels” song. It’s nice to see him back!

    -Supposistories… yeah, this didn’t gross me out as much as it did family and friends who saw the episode with me on Thanksgiving, but it’s still pretty gross. Also, I’m not ashamed to admit that Ethan Frome messed me up as a teenager. I usually loved the books that we were assigned to read for Literature class, but Ethan Frome was a rare exception. Only read it if you want to be sad and angry. You’ve been warned.

    -Growler is playing “Patrick Swayze Christmas” when Movie Sign sounds. How did Jonah know the words? I know, it’s just a show…

    -Take it from one who knows… you don’t put a guy with an eye patch into a giant monster movie unless you want to evoke the ire of less forgiving Godzilla fans. If you know, you know. *wink*

    -This episode’s “Swing and a miss” sighting: pilot guy gets blown off by pilot girl.

    -Nice Evangelion reference. It seems like you can’t make a giant robot flick in a post-Eva world without someone making a comparison. Even Pacific Rim itself got compared, despite Guillermo del Toro’s insistence that it wasn’t an influence.

    -And hey, a Robot Jox reference?! Well played. As much as I love that movie, it’d make a great episode of the show.

    -Man, it’s odd seeing CGI in an MSTied movie. After more than 200 episodes of rubber creature suits, hand puppets, makeup/masks, guys waddling under carpets, animatronics, and even stop motion, seeing computer generated characters is downright jarring. The perk? It’s AWFUL CGI. It’s basically the digital equivalent of the Creeping Terror. So it all feels somehow appropriate.

    -Segment 1 might be the single most meta host segment in MST3K history. Max even produces the limited edition vinyl release of Season 11’s soundtrack for the camera to see. The dialogue might as well be coming from the actors/writers themselves, and while such humor might not be to everyone’s taste, I found it pretty funny. “Every Country Has A Monster” was pretty wonderful, so it feels only natural that they take a little pride in their accomplishment while simultaneously poking fun at themselves. The new song that results from this segment, “Get in Your Mech”, is complete, stream-of consciousness nonsense, and I love it.

    -Another instant catchphrase: Buh-BOOM!

    -Another interesting side effect of riffing such a modern movie is the fact that, due to modern recording technology, there are moments where the riffer’s voices sound like they’re coming from the movie, and vise versa. Did anyone else experience this, or is it just me?

    -I’m fairly confident there’s not a single moment in this film without the soundtrack playing. Seriously, it never stops. NEVER.

    -Another film observation: there appears to be stock footage of actual disasters sprinkled throughout. That… MIGHT not be in good taste.

    -Also, the lack of chemistry between our lead and his lady friend is painful. She looks like she’s in physical agony whenever she gets close to him. Maybe she’s allergic to smug a**wipes. (Can’t remember if the site censors naughty words, so I censored myself!)

    -The guys try to push “on the horn” and “bull butter” as catchphrases, but they emerge as minor running jokes at best. I wouldn’t be expecting bumper stickers of these lines anytime soon.

    -Speaking of meta, Servo notes a pilot looks like “Joel Hodgson”. Reminds me of the KTMA episode where one of the bots thinks he spots “Frank Conniff”.

    -Segment 2 is a hoot, bro! This is a bit where the brevity works in its favor, and it’s a pretty funny one! I love their giant medals.

    -Amazing how the makers of Atlantic Rim managed to take the visually and conceptually complex concept of “Drifting” introduced in Pacific Rim (involving massive cockpits, overhead rigs, syncing with a co-pilot, and getting strapped into machines that allow you to control your robot) and reduce it to a single, cheap-looking headband.

    -During the establishing shot of Manhattan, a tiny, silhouetted sailboat cruises across the screen, and is revealed to be Waverly with a boat on his head. He makes it about halfway across the theater before his head pops up and he scoots back out of frame. It took me three or four viewings of the episode to spot it happening. Makes me wonder how many other gags I’ve missed because I wasn’t paying attention to the tiny silhouettes.

    -Speaking of Waverly, he sneaks into the theater at least one more time towards the end of the film, makes a riff, and then rides out of the theater in Gypsy’s payload. This will become a regular occurrence for the rest of the season.

    -Isn’t it hysterical how no CG effect shot lasts longer than four or five seconds? Once you notice it, it’s hard to ignore.

    -The melee weapon deployment scene IS rather similar to Pacific Rim: Uprising. Coincidence? Or influence… Oh, and speaking of sequels, Atlantic Rim II is a thing. The less said, the better.

    Callbacks: In Segment 1, Max responds to J&TB’s song with a hardy, “It stinks! And not in the joke way!”; “Packers!” (The Giant Spider Invasion); “Bang!” (Cry Wilderness).

    Favorite Riff: “Go Go Dour Rangers!”


  8. Johnny Drama says:

    Out of the 196 episodes from Season 1-12, this one is now my least favorite of the entire series. I thought Season 11’s The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t was bad, and I still think it ranks among the bottom, but I find it downright pleasant compared to Atlantic Rim. When dull host segments meet a movie that has no business being on MST3K, imo, the result is… not great.
    Rewatching this one, it just seems so wrong to me. There’s a few laughs, as with any episode, but it feels so manufactured. The movie was practically made yesterday. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the movie itself wasn’t so “bad on purpose,” as if the show is making it’s own new movies to plug into itself, and the result is almost pure teflon. The attempts at riffs (when it’s not just talking*) just slide right off. I could maybe see Rifftrax having a much more effective time with this one, but it’s hardly worth the effort. I mean, would you riff Airplane? I mean, Atlantic Rim is certainly no Airplane, and it’s not even a comedy really. But it’s a non-effort piece of cynical marketing. Which I guess fits Season 12, unfortunately. Maybe that’s the joke?

    thequietman: I think this might be Jonah’s “Castle of Fu Manchu” for me.

    I have to agree. Although no film I’ve ever seen has the ability to hypnotically confuse a viewer like Castle of Fu Manchu does, Atlantic Rim is it’s counterpoint in so much as “we could have made funny riffs, but the movie wasn’t very good.”

    *More on the what I’m starting to call “that’s not riffing, that’s talking.” Okay, I just came up with that. But anyway, the whole thing is starting to remind me of that early episode where a viewer wrote a letter to Crow telling him that sometimes it’s seems that Crow talks just to hear himself, or some such rant. Pretty funny.


  9. MonkeyPretzel says:

    This is the episode that broke me. I watched what I watched of Season 12 out of order – Mac and Me, then Ator, then Killer Fish, and then…this. I will never watch another NuMST episode again.

    I’ve watched every episode of classic MST3K, including all the KTMA except the lost 3rd episode.

    I’ve watched every Cinematic Titanic, including the bootlegged Astral Factor with just the audio.

    I’ve seen every Film Crew.

    I’ve seen damn near every RiffTrax – all the VODs, all the shorts, all the specials, all the live shows or mp3 riffs of them, and almost all of the just-the-jokes releases of the major Hollywood films except a very few horror films I can’t stomach.

    I’ve seen Trace and Frank riff as The Mads four times live.

    I’ve seen every episode of MST3K Season 11.

    But never before have I felt, as a audience member, as a viewer, as a MSTie, mocked. I’ve never before felt like the riffers and the show makers were laughing at the fans, not with the fans, until I watched Season 12, Episode 2, Atlantic Rim. I can accept the movie choice, even though I think it’s beneath MST3K standards. What is unacceptable is the cynical self-awareness and self-congratulation for being the “right people” making the show, the hubris of throwing every piece of nostalgia possible at the wall while winking at the camera about how meta it all is, and pretending that the showmakers don’t really condone this, it’s a comment on the disposability of binge watching, here-today gone tomorrow pop culture, and aren’t we clever for embracing it while we’re really mocking it, and you’re in on it too, dear fans, we love you, don’t we? Ignore the nagging feeling that you’ve been very deliberately marketed to, that the show is somehow talking down to you, in a way you can’t quite put your finger on, mocking you for taking it too seriously, for not relaxing since it’s just a show, at least until it asks you to take it seriously, to give it your money, your time, and your emotional labor. This is not the MST3K I want to be a fan of, and I can only hope that The Creator(s) come(s) to his(their) senses soon and realize that although the old show was made by people who were amusing themselves, they ended up making a show that amused the fans as well. This version of MST3K is made by The Creator(s) for The Creator(s), and whether the audience has fun or not is secondary to pushing all the correct buttons to make them feel 13 again.


  10. nomad says:

    I mean, it’s a pretty bad episode, but wow, MonkeyPretzel. That seems a bit harsh. It IS afterall, just a show, and you really SHOULD just relax.


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