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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie


Movie: An atomic scientist is invited to collaborate on a mysterious project that has interplanetary consequences.

First shown: 4/19/96
Intro: Dr. F. explains the premise
Opening: Mike’s begins his day, but what’s that rhythmic pounding?
Host segment 1: After the film breaks, Crow and Tom goad Mike into piloting the SOL–with disastrous results!
Host segment 2: Mike and Crow check out the interociter in Tom’s room, but the Metalunan they contact is no help
End: Dr. F. is sure Mike’s will has been broken, but on the SOL its party time — with a “THIS ISLAND EARTH” theme. Dr. F.’s attempt to poop the party backfires. Aaaahhhh!
Stinger: No stinger, but Mike, Crow and Tom return to riff their own credits!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (253 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)


• There is SO much to talk about when it comes to this all-too-brief attempt at mainstreaming an almost unmainstreamable product. I’ll try to hit as many of the high notes as possible.
• For a lot of background on the movie, read our FAQ (which needs a little updating, see below).
• There were a number of releases of the film, first on VHS, later on DVD, also on Laserdisk and Blu-ray. The DVD went out of print for a while (which was around the last time we updated the FAQ) and then came out in a bare-bones, movie-only edition. After that went out of print in 2013, Shout Factory finally got the rights and put together a features-laden DVD release, including the deleted scenes. And take note of the background music on the menu: it’s the almost-never-used Dave Alvin and the Blasters (actually on his Facebook page, he says it was he and a group called “The Guilty Men”) rendition of the theme song, which had been, in Alvin’s words, “in rights limbo” for more than a decade.
• In many ways, all their years of hard work were leading up to this and the movie is at the heart of so much that happened at (and to) Best Brains. One giant example: Joel has revealed that it was Jim’s insistence on directing this movie that was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and led him to depart the series. How might the world, the show and Best Brains have been different if they never thought to try to make a movie? We’ll never know. The movie also caused them to put the regular series on the back burner, and that may have helped give Comedy Central the impression that BBI had no interest in continuing the show. I could probably come up with a dozen more examples, and who knows what sort of backstage stuff went on that we don’t know about?
• The movie proves one thing without a doubt: It IS possible to have closed captioning for MST3K. I forget now if the DVDs have captioning, but the VHS versions did — the dialog from the movie ran at the top of the screen and the riffs ran at the bottom. It worked reasonably well, and I really wish EVERY episode was closed captioned. I’m a bit of a militant on this issue, but I do think it can be done and I wish it would be done.
• I visited the set while they were filming (it was the day they shot Trace doing the opening bit) and everybody seemed pretty upbeat. Kevin was even speculating on the prospect of doing one of these a year for the foreseeable future (Joel told me something very similar more recently).
• Trace worked like a real trooper that day. They must have done 20 takes. Oh, and anybody who says making a movie is exciting has never actually been on the set when a movie was being made. It’s a little like a baseball game: lots of standing around and waiting, punctuated by a few seconds of excitement.
Take a look here if you want to read many of the reviews at the time, or at least excerpts.
• Many of the harshest reviews came from people who felt “This Island Earth” is “too good” to have been the subject of riffing. And as I read these reviews, I noticed something really strange: among the people who made this charge, the words “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were often part of the review. It really was a remarkable thing. “This Island Earth” is NOT “The Day the Earth Stood Still” but the mere PROXIMITY of “This Island Earth” to “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” in the minds of these critics, was enough to disqualify it for mockery.
• I told Kevin, during a break on the set, about the people who were saying TIE was “too good to riff.” His response was very simple: He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. Then he began to tick off the fundamental flaws in the movie. First of all, he said, Cal, our hero, goes on a mind-bending journey across the universe — and yet he returns utterly unchanged in any way. Secondly, Cal is supposed to be the hero, but his most heroic act is to yell, “Run, Ruth, run!” at one point. Third, it’s fairly clear that both Rex Reason and Jeff Morrow thought THEY were the hero of the movie, and that jumbles everything up. Fourth, the chemistry between Faith Domergue and Rex Reason was tepid at best, and on and on. He hadn’t even gotten to all the criticisms before he was called back to the set.
• On the other hand, it’s hard to fairly judge TIE based on the chopped-to-shreds version we get in MST3K:TM (as noted in the FAQ, the entire running time of MST3K:TM is less than the original running time of TIE). But I have seen the full thing (indeed I watched the full thing riffed by Mike, Kevin and Trace at the first convention in 1994) and I am here to tell you that it is NOT a good movie. Visually arresting, okay, I’ll grant you that. But a deeply flawed flick.
• In the opening, just watch the real estate Trace covers as he goes through his explanation of the premise. Now imagine doing that about 20 times under hot lights.
• After the little Dr. F intro, we go into an elaborate “2001” parody during the credits. If you’re watching it carefully, they give away the joke (i.e. that at first Mike looks as if he is jogging in a giant circular spaceship as in “2001,” but then we realize he is actually on a giant hamster wheel) pretty early, but I also suspect that a lot of casual viewers may well have been finding their seats etc., and might have only gotten the joke as the credits end.
• Note that a copy of the old Satellite News newsletter is the “wire service reports” Gypsy gives to Mike.
• Also during the early moments of this scene look past Servo and Mike to the wall behind them. The set is decorated with many pink flamingos. These were a gift from some fans (me among them) presented to the cast and crew at the end of the first convention.
• One of the things that the publicity people for the movie pushed was that we would get our first glimpse of other parts of the SOL. But, in the end, we didn’t really get to see anything very memorable. I suspect they were thinking about the scenes that were eventually cut.
• As we get ready for movie sign, they make explicit the threat Dr. F has always sort of implied in the past. He pulls a lever and apparently cuts the oxygen in the SOL. Mike, of course, has the most reason to cooperate, but Crow and Tom comply as well, not wanting to be the cause of Mike’s demise.
• Look for Frank on one of the doors during the door sequence.
• The movie contains many riffs that loyal fans have heard before, sometimes on several occasions. Among them: “It’s a long par five to the nation’s capital,” “Football practice!” “Put your shoes on, we’re at grandma’s,” “I have tubes in my ears!” “I kind of live out of my [insert vehicle type]” and [you] “wake and bake every day.”
• One of the problems I do have with the movie is that, early on, when they should be establishing a riffing rhythm, there is an upsettingly long stretch of no riffs. It happens during the scene in which Cal holds an impromptu press conference as he prepares to climb into his jet. A long painful minute goes by with only a few paltry riffs, and it’s really the wrong place for a dead zone.
• Then current riffs: “John Sununu goes for a haircut,” “Look out President Clinton!”, a reference to pilots drinking rum and cokes and “The Kingdome!”
• In the live riffing, the “secret eggo project” scene went on much longer and established the “Cal always breaks things” running gag. The shortened version doesn’t really establish it, with the result that when Servo says “Cal, I don’t think there’s anything left to break!” we really don’t understand what he’s talking about.
• Take note of a few familiar faces: The “sort this, deliver that” delivery man is none other than Coleman Francis!! And, later, the Metalunan pilot who punches up the “Normal View” is none other than Richard Deacon, Mel Cooley from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
• Another little in-joke for fans, you can hear a light musical riff on the “Manos” theme as Mike activates the manipulator arm, which is labeled “Manos.”
• It always cracks me up the way Crow nuzzles Mike while doing his George Takei impression.
• Servo mentions hamdingers under his breath as he looks for his interociter.
• One of the most surprising, and head-scratching moments of the movie came with the appearance of actor John Brady as a Metalunan taking a shower. Brady had never been involved with MST3K (in fact this was his first movie role) and many fans were baffled by the appearance of this complete stranger.
• Just a shout-out to Jef or whoever built that replica of the catalog in the movie. Looks perfect.
• The movie contains three “shits” in the dialog, expressly added so that would avoid the dreaded “G” rating. I’m sure this made sense at the time. but, in hindsight, doesn’t seem to have helped.
• Obscure riff (there were a few!): They enter a room on the ship that looks to have wooden tile floors. Crow, in his best Henry Fonda, says “Hey the floors look great!” Fonda was a longtime pitchman for GAF flooring.
• As they riff the closing credits, most of the names they pick out are folks who have been longtime BBI staffers.
• Cast and crew wrap-up: We’re going to do this one a little differently because basically the usual Universal crew worked on this thing, and many of them also worked, within a few years on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.”
Those also working on “Revenge of the Creature ” were producer William Alland, the director of the Metaluna scenes Jack Arnold, assistant director Fred Frank, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, costumers Jack Kevan, Millicent Patrick, Robert Beau Hickman, Chris Mueller and John Kraus, hairdresser Joan St. Oegger, art director Alexander Golitzen, set dressers Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey and score composers Herman Stein and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Robert B. Williams.
Those also working on “The Leech Woman” were special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, art director Alexander Golitzen set dressers Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson (who served as producer).
Those also working on “The Mole People” were producer William Alland, editor Virgil Vogel, special effects guy Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, hairdresser Joan St. Oegger, art director Alexander Golitzen, set dresser Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson, score composers Herman Stein, Hans Salter and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Mark Hamilton, Regis Parton and Ed Parker.
Those also working on “The Deadly Mantis” were producer William Alland, special effects guy Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, art director Alexander Golitzen, special effects guy Fred Knoth, set dresser Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
Those also working on “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” were cinematographer Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, set dresser Russell A. Gausman and Julia Heron, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
In addition, producer William Alland also worked on “The Space Children.” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore also worked on “San Francisco International. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Art director Alexander Golitzen also worked on “Kitten With A Whip,” as did musical director Joseph Gershenson. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman also worked on “The Brute Man,” as did score composer Hans J. Salter.
In front of the camera: Lance Fuller also appeared in “The She Creature.” Coleman Francis, well, you know. Ed Parker was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “Undersea Kingdom.” Russell Johnson was also in “The Space Children.”
• CreditsWatch: Regular crew members who also worked on the movie were Jeff Stonehouse, Bradley J. Keely, Michael Kienitz, Andrea Jackson DuCane, Jef Maynard, Wendell Jon Andersson, Patrick Brantseg, Crist Ballas, Tim Johnson, Barb Tebben and Julie Walker.
• Fave riff: “Hey, keep it on the road! We’re in the tubes back here!” Honorable mention: “Recognize me now, Ruth?”

Next week, we’ll start season seven.

237 Replies to “Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie”

  1. bigdaddy320 says:

    @ #66 fathermushroom

    I think that riff is from ep. 803 The Mole People


  2. Ralph C. says:

    I saw this movie twice in it’s original run, both times in NYC, which is about an hour away from where I lived at the time. I had a really good time with it and there was a decent audience at both showings. At the time, the ticket was $9.00 in Manhattan for a movie. I watch the movie from time to time and get a good laugh out of it each time. Any of its flaws are negligible to me. I was so proud to see it on the big screen. It was unfortunate that season 7 was cut so short because of it but, well, they wanted to make a movie, to follow their desire to do what they wanted.


  3. Droppo says:

    I have a soft spot for the movie. I saw it, opening night, in NYC in a sold out theater of MSTies. They cheered when Joel’s name came up in the credits, so I knew I was among friends.

    I think a lot of the praise and criticisms I’ve read here are spot on.

    Frank’s absence is painful. Dr. F and Frank are a comedy team. You can’t have one without the other.

    Universal’s dumbing down hurts the riffs.

    The host segments were disappointing. I loved seeing more of the SOL, I loved seeing those beloved characters on the big screen…but, the material was not strong. In particular, I thought the lowest point of the movie was having that non-MST actor appear in the shower and at the end. He seemed to be doing a bad Robin Williams impression and I’m not going to a MST3K film to see that guy.

    I also think Sampo is 100% right that the early press conference scene was a disastrous time to go silent on the riffing. I feel that way every time I watch the movie.

    All that said, there’s a lot to enjoy. Great riffing (all my favorites were already mentioned) in spots, the end credits, the thrill of seeing Mike and the bots on the big screen.

    I’m glad it exists, I had an unforgettably enjoyable time seeing in the theaters. But, it’s a flawed product.

    I’d say if it was an episode, it would be good…but, not a classic along the lines of Mitchell, Santa Claus, Master Ninja or Pod People.


  4. asdfasdf says:

    I’d caught the live version at the first con. The whole thing worked a lot better there.


  5. Mr. B(ob) says:

    My wife and I saw MST3K: TM on opening night at a little theater in Washington, D.C. It was the only theater anywhere near suburban Maryland showing it. We went again a few nights later. We got free movie posters. The theater only seated about 150 people, but the place was alive with laughter.

    Much as I enjoyed the movie, the way it was cut to pieces was so obvious that it definitely had an impact on the quality and enjoyment. For example, the movie is so badly butchered that you don’t actually see the “interocitor” destroy the instruction manual in the movie. There’s a jump cut and then everything is just smoldering. This must make it difficult to understand what’s going on in the host segment making fun of that scene if you haven’t previously seen This Island Earth in its unedited form.

    It was great seeing the cutting room floor scenes at the convention in 1996 along with the movie one more time, though it was hardly a substitute for the live show originally scheduled. The live show was cancelled due to the fact that Trace B. had just decided to leave the show.

    In hindsight, we can only imagine what might have been if they had never decided to push for a feature film and if Joel had therefore stayed with the show.

    MST3K The Movie is the first DVD I ever owned. My wife got it for me as soon as it was released even though we didn’t yet own a DVD player because they were still quite expensive. When the price of many players finally dropped below $200, then DVD began to overtake VHS and we finally got a player, the movie went out of print, but we were lucky enough to have it already.

    We can only hope that Universal puts it out of print again and that Shout Factory can get the rights to it and “do it right”.


  6. Ryan K. says:

    Patrick & False Moustache–I was a student at Drake at the time, and to see somebody else post memories of seeing the movie just off campus warms my heart. You’re right about not having CC at the time, instead it aired in syndication on the NBC affiliate. And yes, the “I’ll just gas up in Des Moines” line brought the house down, we probably missed the next joke or two. But it seems to me that “Recognize me now, Ruth?” also drew quite the reaction. :)


  7. bobhoncho says:

    In response to the how did I see this first, in theater, DVD, or VHS, my answer is none of the above. I first saw this about a year ago on HBO On Demand. Thank you, HBO.
    I think they riffed on TIE because it just happened to be a Universal production just as MST3K-TM was, so they were probably able to get TIE pretty cheap.
    Nothing beats Mike and the ‘Bots riffing on the closing credits of their own film, especially when they get to “The Amazing Rando!”


  8. bobhoncho says:

    Oh, I forgot, that was really good German that Servo used when the hero was confronting the alien. I took 3 years of German in high school and I can safely say that Servo really was speaking proper German. Sehr gut, Servo. Du bist sehr gut mit deine Deutsch!


  9. Wow, it must have been really great to see this one in a theater packed with other fans. I was in transition moving to Nashville at the time and had heard about the movie but due to the sporadic PR & distribution it played here and I never even noticed until it was too late.

    Many years later I finally saw it via a torrent. I have to agree it seems like a 3 star episode with better production values & widescreen. I like it enough to re-watch when i’m burned out on my favorite episodes.

    Fave riff: “Allright, see if this jogs your memory; ‘woof woof … bad dog'”

    Also thoroughly enjoy the riffing on the closing credits!


  10. Schippers says:

    #66 & #101 –

    Nope, it’s from 801, Revenge of the Creature.


  11. crow-Normal-View-schmo says:

    Didn’t think the movie was as good as the series, was kind of bland, but it had it’s moments.

    The host segments seemed forced, and Mike didn’t seem as natural as he normally does on the series.

    I had seen the movie a couple of times before just rewatching it for this discussion, and I had never noticed before that the manipulator arms said, “Manos” on them. :smile: (Though I’m sure others had mentioned it on this site before, missed that, too, I guess).

    A line that I liked that I haven’t seen mentioned: When Cal and Ruth are going to be in those tube things, Exeter says that the hand rests are magnetized and Mike says: “And if your hands were metal, that would mean something.”

    Overall, not bad, but not great, kind of draggy, but I do like it better than I did on my first viewing.

    Needs Frank!


  12. TheChad says:

    It never played in theaters around where I live durring the initial run. The following spring our cable company picked up sci-fi channel. To celebrate, the played TM at the local art theater. I was a happy camper! And It was free to boot!


  13. FordPrefect says:

    When Best Brains were in early discussions about doing the movie with Paramount, that studio was interested in doing an “origins” movie showing how Joel got trapped on the SOL and the movie riffing would have been secondary. However, BBI always thought that the movie should focus on movie riffing.

    Jim Mallon mentioned that BBI had considered doing the film independently, but that would have required them to layoff employees. In the end they decided going with a studio was the better option.


  14. Matt D. says:

    To #111- I too missed Manos being on the arms. I must look that one up again. I also missed the Frank “tribute” so this thread has been very helpful.

    I do remember noticing one of the movie mistakes, and I almost never can do that with any movie. It was while Mike and Servo were looking down onto Crow. Mike’s sweat stain changes shape from a circle around the top of his shirt to a square shape in the next shot.


  15. Dr. H says:

    I have many reasons to love this movie.
    I got to see them do it live at the Con. The love in that room!
    Even from those that Frank spilled popcorn on.
    Just scanning the previous posts, I could only spot MstJon (83) as a fellow Con attendee.
    On some sort of promotional junket, I won a captioning contest that led to a comic book store meet-and-greet with Jim Mallon and Trace. The prize included complimentary tickets to an advance showing, well-attended. The shows are a great experience with a room full of like minded people.

    Lest I forget, the movie itself (their movie, I mean) still guarantees more honest laughs than an incredibly high percentage of cinematic comedies.


  16. Patch says:

    I was frankly disappointed in the movie. The riffing never seemed to be “up to par”; I think Sampo’s comment about rhythmn is on the money. Never got to see it in a theater, I was moving to Germany when it premiered. Maybe that’s the reason I’m less than impressed-then again maybe the audience experience convinced folks it was better than it was. By far the least watched episode in my collection.
    My two pfennig on the Jim/Joel thing is the movie discussions had been going on since they got picked up for Season Four (!). Mallon was really pushing it; and Joel with his experience of “Hollywood” was opposed. This came to a head when Gramercy made them an offer. It wasn’t a sudden, “I’m not making a movie” decision.


  17. FordPrefect says:

    Jim and Joel discuss the movie in these interviews:


  18. The Toblerone Effect says:

    Mark me down as “middle-to-good” as to the content of the movie here. Frank’s absence is glaring, and had he been with BBI at the time the film was being shot, MST:TM would have a completely different feel to it. Without having someone directly to bounce his evil doings upon, Forrester comes off more insane than funny.

    As for the movie riffing, while the joke contents are pretty good, they are spread out and therefore the tedium of the movie itself weighs the overall performance down a notch. Along with the press conference scene, there are also a couple of scenes with Rex Reason and Faith Domergue in the alien ship where there’s a good twenty to thirty seconds without a riff. I do think they’re at their best when ripping on the lab assistant Joe aka Weenie Man (or Boy), and the end credits are very funny as well. (The Amazing Rondo!!)

    In the short scene with Coleman Francis, I really wish that they had made some inside-joke remark, like “Excuse me, I have a sky-diving lesson to attend” or “Special delivery from Cuba!” or “Next stop, Tony Cardoza’s house!” It would have been the perfect joke for those who follow the show closely. Who knows, they might have done so if they’d known that was him in the film.

    When it was first brought up, I was neutral on the close-captioning issue. But after watching MST:TM with it on, I think it’s a great idea to include. In some ways, it actually helped with the viewing experience; for example, if they’re trying to riff while someone is talking at the same time, the joke can get muffled or “lost”. The captioning actually allowed me to discern every joke. And while the identification of the one telling the joke wasn’t perfect, at least the joke itself was there. As for CC-ing regular episodes, I think seasons 0-2 would not be much of a problem, since the riffing during that era was still from a slow-to-moderate pace. It would be Seasons 3 and beyond that would present more of a challenge. It can be done, though, and its something Shout! should look into more closely.


  19. Jamie says:

    …this is when science didnt have any specific purpose!
    … I like the blueberry ones!
    … Why did they put the toilet in the middle of the room??
    … And if you dont mind, I have been waiting for this all day………………aaaahhhh.
    …Cal, kiss me goodbye
    …Well the Tangerine Dream music is good
    …Shatner…Shatner…Shatner….No Shatner, we’re safe. (etc) LOL :mrgreen:


  20. The Bolem says:

    I’d never seen even part of an episode until the summer of ’96, and then just happened to read the TV Guide article about MST3K-TM a few days later. So despite liking what I saw of “Fugitive Alien 1”, I wasn’t quite a fan at the time, and had no idea the movie was getting such a limited release. So unfortunately, when someone at a party 2 weeks later mentioned that it was playing at the really old theater in Farmington (I live between Ann Arbor and Detroit) that used to occasionally break out old prints of “Gone With The Wind” and “Ben Hur”, I had no idea that they were also my only chance to see MST3K on the big screen, and didn’t jump to take it. Still kicking myself over that one.

    Recieved the VHS for my birthday the following year, and appreciated that there had to be fewer and more obvious riffs for newcomers seeing it with a crowd (making it widescreen by adding more black space under the seats seemed clever too; still haven’t seen any of the three DVDs), but I thought of it as my least favorite experiment at the time, and I don’t think I watched it again until 2 years ago, while running through all the eps I had at a friend’s house. He’d seen it once before and shared my feelings on it, but upon seeing it for the first time in almost a decade, we found it a lot funnier than either of us remembered. So, genuinely mixed feelings about it, I guess.

    We also agreed on our favorite/best remembered riff: “And if you were made of metal, that would mean something” It took ’till #111, but I’m glad someone else finally mentioned it.

    Since TIE features an alien named Brak, I was just a tad disappointed there were no Space-Ghost references, but then Cartoon Planet only started around the time they were making the movie, so I guess that was too much to hope for. I still find myself impersonating Andy Merrill during a lull once every viewing though.


  21. Snackula says:

    I have fond memories of this movie. I was away from home, working at a job that I truly grew to hate, with people that made the whole endeavor marginally bearable. Seeing this movie at that particular time made me feel like I was home again, on a lazy Saturday morning in front of an enormous TV screen.

    While I like this MST presentation quite a bit, I don’t feel this was the right film to bring in a mass of new MSTies. What basically keeps the “new meat” glued to the screen is the rhythm of the show; the rapid-fire riffing and smart skits. I think if you’re not a seasoned MSTie, you may not have the patience to wait for the rhythm to find it’s form. Which is why I feel the opening with Dr. F may have been a mistake. Trey is a phenomenal talent, and the opening may not have been his fault, but when I saw the opening the first time it didn’t feel like real MST3K. And because of that, I don’t think a new audience “got it”, and (by and large) wouldn’t be clamoring to soak up all things MST.

    Overall though, MST: The Movie is very much worth seeing. Anytime with the SOL is time well spent.


  22. Meranalf says:

    This is one of my all time favorite episodes.

    I had a thought on the overall lack of riffs during the interview scene. Since the movie is trying to appeal to a broader audience than just the MST3K faithful, it’s possible they intentionally slowed down the riffs to ease the audience into the practice of listening to both the dialog and the riffs. I know from personal experience that it took me a couple episodes to really get a feel for how to listen to an MST3K episode. This is merely speculation. Anyone from BBI mention something like this in any interviews?

    We get one Wizard of Oz reference.
    Dr. Forrester: “Wait! Help! Auntie Em! Auntie Em!” After interrupting M&TB’s conversation with the Metalunan on the interocitor.

    I often say “I’m going to curl up in my sock drawer and sleep for days,” when I’m pretending to be depressed.

    Favorite riff:
    Crow: “It’s the nicest weather Earth has ever had.” (I say this, sometimes to myself, sometimes out loud, every time I see the Universal logo in front of a film.)

    Runner up:
    Tom: “Thank God I saved you!”


  23. Spector says:

    I loved the riffing on “This Island Earth” which was such an over-rated piece of celluloid that I had a chuckle over those critics who panned the Brains for daring to mock a supposed sci-fi “classic”. Those are probably the same doofuses who consider Roger Corman a directing pioneer.

    I also enjoyed some of the between film breaks, such as Crow attempting to tunnel out of the SOL, Mike “breaking the Hubble” with “Manos” and so on.

    Ultimately though I found “The Movie” lost the intimacy on the big screen that it has on television. I found it funnier when I rented this and watched it on video at home than when I saw it in the theater. MST3K just didn’t translate well onto the big screen. It was a noble failure.


  24. 1 adam 12 says:

    The Movie was only playing at one theater rather far from my home, so I neglected to go see it. HUGE mistake, I know. (Btw, the local movie reviews for it were glowing.) I first watched it about three years later at a friend’s house, with a group, and loved it. I still do. It isn’t objectively their best work, and its far too short, but simply getting a MST movie made is its own reward, to me. :cool:

    Fave riffs:
    “Thank God I saved you!”
    “Oh, there go the piano lessons! Oh, I can’t remember my dad!”
    “Self-cleaning Mut-Ant. Leaves you with the fresh scent of pine.”
    “A hunky guy and a wormy sidekick don’t amount to a hill o’ beans in this crazy world.”
    “Eat at Joe’s, Eat at Joe’s, Eat at Joe’s…”
    “I’m not an alien!” and its followups.
    “No, that’s paper.”

    My friends and I can do the whole Crow-tunnelling-to-Earth thing from memory, so that whole bit is my favorite host segment line(s).

    A Cincinnati rock-radio station, WEBN, has sometimes used as a between-songs bumper, “I’m experiencing a sensation altogether new to me, and frankly, I love it!” spoken by Tom from The Movie.


  25. 1 adam 12 says:

    As an aside, I never really noticed that TIE was chopped to shreds, and neither did anybody I ever watched it with. We were too busy paying attention to the riffing. I’m never bothered by this in other experiments, as they are supposed to be bad movies, right? Excepting of course pasted-together different films like Monster-A-Go-Go, Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, or CT’s Doomsday Machine; where the separate movies really stick out.


  26. kybrowncoatmstie says:

    Because we didn’t have cable until the mid 90’s in the small town I lived in, MST3K:TM was the first full exposure I had, after briefly seeing it featured on MTV or VH1. I worked for a video store at the time (Yep, got the movie poster and like the 40 year old virgin, it’s in my bedroom), so I was able to order it for the store. I absolutely loved it! I remember I laughed so hard that I had to turn the tape off because I thought I was going to be sick. I remember that I had to view it multiple times to hear every riff because I still was laughing. Complain if you will, but I find no fault with it when I compare it to non MST3K so called comedies. Comparing it to another MST3K ep is like comparing 2 Faberge eggs. It’s a matter of taste as to which is better, but both are gem filled masterpieces!

    The only riff I wish they would have said in the movie is when Cal and Ruth are in the tubes, I always sing/shout “Video killed the radio star” but the “and if you were made of metal, that would mean something” riff kind of makes up for it.


  27. BlzBubba says:

    #45 – RevRaven – any replies? Anybody else know where I can get that “10th Anniversary Hamdinger Edition”? Anyone care to make a torrent out of the extra features? Pretty pretty please????? :mrgreen:


  28. DamonD says:

    “Now wait a minute!” “Nowwerdamimi!”

    I’ve since learned about the chaos behind the scenes in making this film, but I still enjoy it a lot. The extra gloss and cameras for the host segments make it interesting to watch, and TIE is a good one to pick…it does actually have some brains, but a lot of goofy stuff too so it’s a winner both ways. ‘Normal View’ is a deserved classic.

    “Right…here.” “At goofy clown face.”


  29. This Is Me says:

    “I really wish EVERY episode was closed captioned. I’m a bit of a militant on this issue, but I do think it can be done and I wish it would be done.”

    Agreed. I know I’m late to the comments page on this but, as a hearing-impaired MST3K fan, I would love captioning.

    (Yeah, yeah; I know. But to explain: I’m not deaf, but I have enough of a hearing loss that watching video w/o captions is a challenge.)


  30. Let's drink a toast to crazylegs says:

    I think I saw this when it came out, but that was back when I smoked pot…
    I like it. TIE is a fine movie, even when cut to fit. They do a good job, even when there’s no TV’s Frank.


  31. big61al says:

    I like this experiment. It has it’s flaws but what doesn’t after Hollywood gets a hold of it. I suspect the addition of the dude in the shower was a back hand way of giving DR.F. a side kick for possible further film. The riffing shows a lot of polish and the project at times shines very brightly. I think it turned out good. It could have been better but sometime you have enjoy what get. In this case a nut headed monster in slacks. :silly:


  32. VeryDisturbing says:

    The Movie is what first introduced me to MST3K. I saw it just before the series itself went off the air. (Right when I started to watch it, it disappeared!)
    Later, when I started watching the series DVDs (Rhino/Shout Factory), I did notice a difference between the riffs of the series and the movie.
    A lot of pop-culture references were missing. I figured that was due to Universal sending them (‘You can’t say that, or we’ll get sued’) notes.
    But I like the movie, and have a MST-First-Timer fondness for it.

    “Hope you had a nice sleep-”
    “-cuz it’s time to die.”


  33. Dan in WI says:

    Dr. Forrester asks a poignant question in his opening monologue. Just who among hasn’t thought about shooting someone into space and subjecting them to an endless stream of bad movies?

    With the recent RiffTrax Kickstarter to do Twilight exceeding $250,000 one has to wonder if that would be an option today to make this movie and make it their way. I have no idea what the budget was from Gramercy for this, but I have to believe it was a lot more than what RiffTrax raised. I’m sure our community could have come through better knowing it was to shoot a movie from scratch but I don’t know if we could raise a new movie budget or not. I’m guess I’m out of touch with the numbers needed here.

    When we see the opening pan of the SOL we here some really good sound. There is that deep rumble of the subwoofer one would expect of an epic space movie. It really seems a bit out of place with this cow town puppet show.
    Along those same lines the SOL set is really much nicer. You can tell there was some budget there. What happened to that set? Why not keep using it after the movie? Did Gramercy own it?

    Crow had some wonderful lines during the pick ax scene:
    Well look at that. Breach hull, all die. I even had it underlined.
    I won’t do that again.
    Believe me Mike. I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid and I went ahead anyway.
    I liked the WWI soldier helmet he was wearing as well.
    As a whole I thought this was one of the better opening segments in a long time. The bow down before Dr. Forrester bit was great and asking if they “went” before starting the movie was a nice touch as well.

    The extra theater seats that come out of the 1.85:1 aspect ratio reminds me a lot of the theater set in the KTMA episodes.

    I’ve noticed a couple things reading over the comments from four years ago. 1) The riffing is a little more easily accessible (fewer obscure references) due to the well-documented Universal interference and 2) the lucky few who saw this film in a packed theater had the time of their lives. While it certainly wasn’t the intention at the time it seems this movie has become the proto-Cinematic Titanic type script. The Titans have talked about on more than one occasion that because they are writing to get reaction from a live audience they too have cut back on the truly obscure. The end result is if you are sitting in a packed house the laughter is contagious and this writing style is serving it up as often as possible.

    I’ll also add that less dense riffing does make this a good introductory episode to a newby. I successfully converted a roommate with this once and then moved them up to more advanced episodes.

    Favorite Riffs:

    Call buzzes the tower. Tom “Maverick!”

    Crow during a lab scene “Increase Flash Gordon noise and put more science stuff around.”

    Coleman Francis makes a deliver. Mike “Sort this deliver that. I’ll make them all pay.” [And make us pay he did! That is an awesome riff coming off of season 6. But as obscure as it was I’m surprised it got past the focus groups and the Gramercy suits.]

    Tom “In the event the first assistant director is unable to fulfill her duties.”


  34. revlillo says:

    Something to keep in mind the next time you watch this (from the IMDB trivia page for TIE):

    According to Faith Domergue, the pants of her costume were so skintight that she could not wear underwear. A female assistant had to help her put them on and take them off. :shock:


  35. klisch says:

    I remember seeing this in the theater when it premiered. About a handful of people were in attendance. It was exciting to see them on the big screen at first but the movie in general was just okay. I don’t think I’ve seen it since.


  36. Creeping-Death says:

    I’m hoping to get the European Blu-ray soon, with my region-free blu-ray player. I’ll give a review when I get it.


  37. Sitting Duck says:

    Where does, “I’m a naughty boy!” come from? In the Shakespeare Skum production Othello: Having a Bad Day, whenever Iago soliliquizes about his latest fiendish scheme, he always concludes by slapping himself on the hinder and saying, “I’m a naughty boy!” So I presume they have a common source.

    When Crow says, “Come, come, boys. We must confound Jerry at every turn,” is he imitating a specific person or just doing a generic British WWII officer?

    You know, film is not the best material to use for smothering flames.

    Is there anyone here who speaks German and can tell us what Dr. Engelborg said about Mozart?

    Here’s a thought for Shout Factory to consider. First, Shout is now getting rights to Universal flicks. Second, unless the Brains decide to release the KTMA episodes on DVD (wildly improbable), there are eventually going to be two episodes left out. So how about Shout do a set with two episodes and a two-disk Special Edition of the movie with theater release and uncut versions, along with a s’load of relevant extras.

    This was the first MST3K I ever saw and left me with a favorable imression.

    Favorite riffs:

    This island Earth can be yours if The Price is Right!

    Hey, you can see the Cubs losing.

    Well, suddenly I have a refreshing mint flavor.

    This is a job for Weenieman!

    Sort this, deliver that. I’ll make ’em all pay.

    Joe, I’m in one of these boxes. Find me.

    I’m your pilot, Claude Rains. Your co-pilot, Harvey the Rabbit.

    You’re being kidnapped by the Light FM.

    Then I ram my ovipositor down you throat and lay my eggs in your chest. But I’m not an alien!

    I’ve got some big-foreheaded sissy butt to kick.

    Eat my photons, smallheads!

    The Jetsons II: After the Armegeddon.

    Captain’s log. A bunch of our ship fell off, and nobody likes me.

    Self-cleaning mutant. Leaves only the fresh scent of pine.

    These are the guys that just sit in basement rooms and figure out ways to make elves disappear.

    And now we’re just seeing guys who drove by the studio one afternoon.

    All rights are reserved, Callahan.
    Oh yeah? Well, how about the rights of that little girl.


  38. Tom Carberry says:

    Jeff Morrow (born Leslie Irving Morrow), who played Exeter, was born in New York City on January 13, 1907. He died in Canoga Park, California, the day after Christmas in 1993. New York-born Morrow developed an interest in the theater as a result of his studies at art school. As “Irving Morrow,” he was acting on stage (in Pennsylvania) as early as 1927; he later appeared in such plays as “Penal Law”, “Once in a Lifetime”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Twelfth Night”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth”, treading the boards opposite stars like Katharine Cornell, Maurice Evans, Katharine Hepburn, Luise Rainer and Mae West. His film career commenced with the Biblical epic “The Robe” in 1953 and continued into the ’70s. In his latter years, he worked as a commercial illustrator while taking occasional acting assignments.

    [recalling the filming of and eventual audience reaction to The Giant Claw (1957)] We shot the film before we ever got a look at this monster that was supposed to be so terrifying. The producers promised us that the special effects would be first class. The director – Fred F. Sears – just told us, “All right, now you see the bird up there, and you’re scared to death! Use your imagination.” But the first time we actually got to see it was the night of the premiere. The audience couldn’t stop laughing. We were up there on screen looking like idiots, treating this silly buzzard like it was the scariest thing in the world. We felt cheated, that’s for sure, but they told us afterward that they just ran out of money. They couldn’t afford anything but this stupid puppet. But it was just terrible. I was never so embarrassed in my whole life.

    Favorite lines:

    THIS ISLAND EARTH can be yours if the Price is Right.
    Oh, look there’s Taurus the Bull…and right underneath it the constellation of Feces.
    Wow, that ringing. Now he knows what the world sounds like to Pete Townsend.
    Inserting the breakfast pastry…the secret government Eggo project…Oh my God, my waffle—oh, the humanity!
    “I beg your pardon Mr. Wilson, your camera will only pick up nothing but black fog.” Oh, it’s a Goldstar.
    So, the aliens live in Hooterville.
    Ah, there are two woodies in this scene.
    “Dr. Adams…Yes, Steve.” What’s this “and the rest crap”.
    [Dinner] Hey, Kreskin, quit hogging the bottle. Hey, Mao, try this–it’ll knock your socks off.
    Yeah, let’s slip away under cover of afternoon in the biggest car in the county.
    [Mutant] Leona Helmsley!
    Give Uncle Scrotor a hug!

    Final Thought: Universal cut way too much out of this movie. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.


  39. Laura says:

    Ah yes, my “first time” with Mike Nelson. Up until then, I was only aware of Joel since my awareness of MST3K was on GTW Channel 48 (anyone who lives in the Philly area will know what I mean. I miss that channel.). Believe it or not, I did get to like Mike a little bit from The Movie. I did receive the old newsletters back then and actually recognized it when Gypsy was giving Mike the latest news feeds.

    I too wasn’t able to see this in theaters but I did rent it on VHS the first chance I got, and I also bought it on DVD. I really do enjoy it and do re-watch it whenever I get the chance. Since I was relatively new to MST3K, I didn’t get a lot of the gags until I saw the actual episodes. Like the scene when Mike was trying to extract the Hubble telescope he rammed into (shouldn’t he have been paying attention to where he was driving?). I had no clue what “Manos” was until I saw that episode.

    The movie itself, “This Island Earth”, has go to be one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen. Exactly who would give a fighter jet to a scientist? In the uncut version, was it ever established was to why Cal was given the plane? I’ve seen only parts of the original version over the years, but I personally don’t think it would’ve helped to understand it any better.

    Some of my favorite lines (not necessarily riffs)

    Crow: “Well, look at that! Breach hull, all die! Even had it underlined.” That still cracks me up.
    Servo (during movie): “When in California, be sure to visit beautiful, oh.” as “Washington D.C. comes up on the screen.
    Mike: “The lights from these credits originated well over several thousand years ago.”
    Cal commenting on plane: “One of the boys from Lockheed gave me this. Hope you taxpayers don’t mind.” SOL Crew: “We do!”
    “NORMAL VIEW!!!!:” (Do I really have to go there? ;-) )
    Cal (can’t remember exactly what Exeter said beforehand): “That’s a fine line coming from you.”
    Exeter: “I learned it on your Earth.”
    Mike: “That’s one for Exeter. Ouch!”
    Gypsy when Mike asks for help after he crashes the SOL. “Uh uh! This is YOUR dish washing liquid! YOU soak in it!” Just seeing her get mad is still hilarious.


  40. robot rump! says:

    one thing i learned from this movie was that jerking around like that can cause a flame out.
    i have foced myself to watch TIE all the way through and
    1. no way is it close to the original ‘Day the Earth Stood Still’
    2. there are many, many scenes that scream for riffing.


  41. revlillo says:

    Sitting Duck (#137), here is your answer:

    After Dr. Meacham has arrived at the secret lab in Georgia and the scientists are having a dinner, a woman comments the music playing at the background by saying: “Mozartti on oikein kaunista.” This is Finnish and means “The music of Mozart is very beautiful.”

    After the dinner at the secret facility, what the German scientist says is: “Ladies and gentlemen, the meal was excellent, but after Mozart’s marvelous music I need to be alone with myself for a while. Good evening.”

    Courtesy IMDB trivia.


  42. Kenneth Morgan says:

    I agree with Dan in WI re: maybe a Kickstarter campaign to enable either RT or CT do TIE over, in full. Who knows, maybe it’ll work.

    On the other hand, Shout’s recent successes in getting the rights to movies otherwise thought unavailable makes me more optimistic that they might be able to get this one. Let’s hope the Universal/Grammercy execs who made BBI jump through all those hoops have since moved on, so they can’t muck things up out of spite.

    Note to Sitting Duck (#137): That riff might refer to a line from the “Fawlty Towers” episode “The Builders”. When Polly says Basil was at fault for hiring the inept bunch from Mr. O’Reilly to fix the hotel, Basil sarcastically replies, “Well, I must be punished then, mustn’t I?” He then spanks himself, shouting, “You’re a naughty boy!”

    Now, where’s my bottle of water?


  43. I went to a graduate writing program with Bix Skahill, the second assistant director (his name is riffed with “And his big band!” in the credits) Pretty nice guy, but he didn’t really like to talk about the experience of making the movie. Did a great Morrissey impression, though, almost on par with Mike’s in “City Limits”.


  44. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I eagerly awaited this on VHS since it never came to the small town I lived in at the time. I was then and am still disappointed with this movie. Not having Frank seemed strange right off the bat and the riffing, while generally good, wasn’t enough to even put this in my top 20 episode list. The host segments continued the season 6 slump of being not great. I might have had too high expectations but for this movie but I would only give it a C rating as an episode.
    The worse thing about the movie that we only just learned is the behind the scenes turmoil it caused which resulted in Joel leaving and I guess we don’t know if it played any part in Frank leaving as well. This movie helped ruin the show IMO and it wasn’t even that good.


  45. schippers says:

    Regarding the whole “I’m a naughty boy” thing, doesn’t Occam’s Razor suggest that it’s probably just a bit of cheeky physical comedy and not actually a riff on anything? I mean, it’s not as though one would NEED to be inspired by obscure source material in order to think of, write, and then execute that bit, right?


  46. schippers says:

    Four years after the last rotation, that theater where I first saw TIE is still standing here in Tucson, closed down and probably swarming with insects and vagrants. Pour one out for the old Cineplex Odeon on Campbell.


  47. snowdog says:

    The movie never made it to a theater near me as far as I know, but I kept scanning the newspaper for a few weeks anyway, hoping for a miracle. Finally, I ended up taping it off of DirecTv pay-per-view. When the DVD was re-released a couple years ago, I bought an official copy.

    Yeah, it was over-edited and the riffing dumbed down somewhat, but I enjoyed most of it. The host segments struck me as funny.

    In light of Roger Ebert’s recent death, I’d like to recommend looking up Siskel and Ebert’s review of the film on You Tube if you haven’t seen it (and assuming it’s still there). Gene Siskel, in particular, found it clever and funny.


  48. syferdet says:

    I remember seeing the movie at Princeton Market Fair, Princeton, NJ, so I was one of the lucky ones. The movie is so-so for me. I understand the desire to mainstream the show, but I believe it isn’t possible for MST. Not sure if I would have gone to the theater every year to see a new episode of the series. Disney’s considering a similar way of distributing Star Wars films and I have to question the idea.


  49. Gary Bowden says:

    I never seen this in the theater,but would have liked to.I did like the movie and thought the riffs were good,but wished that the studio would’ve left it all up to MST3K and not interfere like they did.Paul Chaplin said in an interview “I wished we could’ve just released “Manos” instead” and I agree.Personally,if I had my druthers,I would have liked for them to choose a really bad monster movie or an Ed Wood movie like “Jailbait” or “Night of the Ghouls” instead.Plus,I would’ve liked for them to use the MST3K theme song,complete with Crow’s head bouncing on each word,like they used to do in old movies and cartoons..Even the host segments didn’t have that “homemade feel” like it does on tv,if that makes sense.Still,it’s a good effort.It’s not something I’d watch all the time,like I would any of the episodes,but it’s nice to have as a backup.I give a’s got a good beat and easy to dance to.


  50. BEERxTaco says:

    The whole “I’m a naughty boy” business and hinder slapping is a direct reference to Fawlty Towers’ John Cleese. Pretty sure it was the episode called “The Builders”, but there are only 12 of them and I highly recommend watching them all! Also, the “just don’t mention the war” and “thank you God, thank you so bloody much!” are also Fawlty Tower references.


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