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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Oral History of the Movie

Cheers to the gang at the AV Club for pulling together a history of “MST3K: The Movie” in the cast’s own words. There’s a lot in here I’m hearing about for the first time. (The idea of the Mads having a booth at the Mad Scientist Convention is brilliant.)

13 Replies to “Oral History of the Movie”

  1. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    All I know is that the Hollywood execs made the Best Brains lives a living hell, the movie got a very limited release, isn’t even as long as an actual episode(TIE was very heavily cut for time), and who knows CC may not have canceled them had this not been made.

       1 likes

  2. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    On the other hand, it did give us some get segments for ‘The Incredible Melting Man’
    “Let me get this straight: You supposedly get me $3million to shoot the movie, I get a lousy $800, I don’t get any credit, and my film is released as a trailer!? AAAAGH!!!”

       10 likes

  3. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    ugh, that should be GREAT segments
    anyway I disliked ‘MST3K: The Movie’ for pretty much the same reason I didn’t like the Netflix series; it was very sterile and overproduced, lacked the handmade-at-the-last-minute feel of the show, and just didn’t feel like the passion project of a small group of very talented people. I hope that if this new Kickstarter is successful (which it likely will be) that Joel an Co keep in mind what made the series such a cult hit in the first place…
    sorry for hijacking the comments but there’s no ‘EDIT’ feature for some reason

       7 likes

  4. MonkeyPretzel says:

    It’s a nice article, and clears up a few misconceptions using the actual words of the people involved.

    Also it was good to hear from Frank, Bridget, and Mary Jo on their contributions to/views of the movie. They don’t often get asked about it.

       8 likes

  5. Kenneth Morgan says:

    It’s a very informative article. As I posted elsewhere, it should hold us until J.W. Rinzler does a big, coffee table book on the movie, like he did on “Planet of the Apes” and the “Star Wars” OT.
    And I don’t think I’d heard of the Mad Scientist Convention plotline before; it does sound pretty funny. One I had heard about was where a being of pure thought and a being of pure energy meet on the S.O.L., have a wrestling match, and leave. And Kim Catrall would show up in lederhosen.

       3 likes

  6. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Ok, now that I’ve actually taken the time to read the article, here are some more thoughts (I know you’re all thrilled):

    Michael J. Nelson: That was a tough note to get: “We don’t get this.” And you’d go, “The fact that you don’t get this means you’re an idiot.” But you can’t say that.

    First, that’s a very Mike Nelson thing for him to say. lol

    Mary Jo Pehl: We worked so hard, we were so devoted, we were all really committed to our little TV show, and then the studio was such a pain in the ass. And then they just abandoned us. So maybe there are deeper issues I need to see my therapist about.

    Second, that’s a very Mary Jo thing for her to say, lol

    Thirdly, I’m not surprised to learn that Jonah is a huge fan of ‘MST3K: The Movie’ since again the Netflix series feels much more like that than the original show, sadly.

    Finally, it’s pretty crazy how much the movie-making landscape has changed since the mid 90s. Today, pretty much any idiot with a camera and a YouTube account can become a sensation. It’s hard to think that the show would be treated so badly by a studio in today’s environment. Then again MST3K is a cult show with a cult following that’s pretty much impossible to make mainstream. The series has been canceled and picked up so many times over the past 30 years, it’s absurd. I really hope that by taking the RiffTrax route and creating their own studio, we can start to get some quality MST3K on a regular basis again. But we’ll just have to see.

       6 likes

  7. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight:

    Finally, it’s pretty crazy how much the movie-making landscape has changed since the mid 90s. Today, pretty much any idiot with a camera and a YouTube account can become a sensation. It’s hard to think that the show would be treated so badly by a studio in today’s environment. Then again MST3K is a cult show with a cult following that’s pretty much impossible to make mainstream. The series has been canceled and picked up so many times over the past 30 years, it’s absurd. I really hope that by taking the RiffTrax route and creating their own studio, we can start to get some quality MST3K on a regular basis again. But we’ll just have to see.

    I think they’d probably get as much flack and interference from a studio today as they did in 1996. They’d probably get even more, given that each studio is a subsidiary of another company, which is, itself, beholden to somebody else. They’d be getting memos from several different contradictory sources. I agree with you that staying as independent as possible is the way to go.

       2 likes

  8. Frobozz says:

    What a great article, so many little details in there I didn’t know before. It’s the first I’ve heard about this being the reason Joel left the show.

    Kenneth Morgan: I think they’d probably get as much flack and interference from a studio today as they did in 1996.

    This is probably true. The conundrum remains: find a “network” or go it alone? I was pretty excited when Netflix picked up the reboot. Yay, no more network overlords! Here’s a company with gobs of money and this little shoestring-budget puppet show, Netflix can fund this for decades with the change they find under sofa cushions. Then they cancel it after two seasons, one of which was funded by us fans. So they’re basically a traditional network only worse, because the logic doesn’t make any sense. Network TV is ad-supported; awful but at least it makes mathematical sense. We can connect the dots and understand how the sausage is made. The streaming model seems to be based on the idiotic notion that you can grow forever. It’s not about sustaining your audience, it’s about “how many *new* subscribers will this show bring us”?

    Ugh. I worry about the upcoming rebirth of the reboot. Between the bad experience making the movie and the Netflix experience, I certainly can’t blame Joel for wanting to own the distribution method, but I’m unclear how it will be sustainable. The notion of being beholden to a traditional broadcast network seems quaint now, but also somewhat comforting.

    What the show really needs is a wealthy benefactor, someone who can just cut a huge check and then walk away and let them do their magic.

       3 likes

  9. mando3b says:

    What a great article. This is one to bookmark. I love the fact that all the Brains are included. My single favorite quote: Jim Mallon: “… our show was joy-driven”. That says it all, for the Brains and for all of us, too.

       15 likes

  10. Thad Boyd says:

    I forget which cast member it was who said in an interview that Jim always liked to make snarky asides about how much he hated Hollywood, but man, it’s true.

       0 likes

  11. TorgosPizzaNJ says:

    We went to see it opening weekend at NYC’s Lincoln Center, where every seat was filled and the crowd was hardcore Msties who were overjoyed; About Three months later, we went to see it a second time at a Red Bank, NJ theater on closing weekend. Including us, there were 5 people there, two of them were sound asleep/stoned. Sad… MST3K deserved better..

       5 likes

  12. mst3kme says:

    TorgosPizzaNJ:

    NYC’s Lincoln Center Theater!

    I was there opening weekend, too!

    Maybe we were both in the audience at that time.

    “Barb Wire” bombed at the box office, sinking Gramercy.

    What goes around comes around. :-)

    TorgosPizzaNJ:
    We went to see it opening weekend at NYC’s Lincoln Center, where every seat was filled and the crowd was hardcore Msties who were overjoyed; About Three months later, we went to see it a second time at a Red Bank, NJ theater on closing weekend. Including us, there were 5 people there, two of them were sound asleep/stoned. Sad… MST3K deserved better..

       2 likes

  13. InvaderPet says:

    I’m not sure, but I thought the idea of The Mads having a booth at a convention was mentioned in the Shout Factory documentary on the movie.

       2 likes

Comments are closed.