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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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Now Available from Rifftrax Presents…


With Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

Get it here. “I can’t lie to you about your chances…”

Here’s a sample.

67 Replies to “Now Available from Rifftrax Presents…”

  1. Frank Conniff says:

    Rifftrax riffs on a lot of “good” movies, and they do it hilariously. But I have to respectfully disagree with Sampo’s claim that making fun of bad movies was not central to the concept of the original MST3K. The theme song, which explains the premise of the show, states unequivocally, “We send them cheesy movies, the worst we can find…” Plus, on almost every episode, Dr. Forrester made a big deal about how much pain that week’s “experiment” was going to cause Joel or Mike and the Bots. Even if the show had had a bigger budget, it would have meant obtaining more expensive bad movies, not more expensive good ones. Rifftrax is a whole different thing, they are not bound to any premise, but MST3K, which had characters in a situation, was, and a major part of that situation was that Joel or Mike and the Bots were forced into the theater to watch movies that were painful to watch, and the riffing was motivated by their need to keep their sanity. This was at the core of Joel’s conception of the show he created; it wasn’t just, as Sampo puts it, a case of “the premise was crafted to fit the product.” And all I can say is, since I was in charge of screening the movies, and I rejected many a screener for being too “good,” if bad movies weren’t essential to the premise of the show, I never got the memo.


  2. Sampo says:

    Far be it from me to disagree with you. I withdraw the comment.

    And it’s great to have you here.


  3. radioman970 says:

    No way! ^^^ It’s TVs Frank!

    :shock: *starstruck* :shock:

    Jason=Bill Corbett Jr? :lol:


  4. Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    The theme song also states at one point unequivocally that “Joel says when you got lemons, you make lemonade.” :)


  5. Badger1970 says:

    Wow! This is what is great about the MST3k community. How many fan sites do the stars actually take the time to post?

    Back to Alien, as a kid it scared the bejeebus out of me (but so did goblins in the cartoon version of “The Hobbit”). Now I find it to be a higher budget of a Tom Baker Doctor Who “trapped with a psycho-killer” episode, ripe for riffing.

    The above posters pretty much sum up my opinion of good movies can, and should, be riffed upon. It’s up to the consumer if they want to buy the product.


  6. Sampo says:

    I know the old saying “when you’re in a hole, stop digging,” but I can’t help myself. :-)

    Let me try to clarify what I meant:
    My point was that part of the genius of Joel’s premise was that it took into account KTMA’s financial realities. Had Joel dreamed up a different sort of premise that involved riffing movies with rights that tended to cost more, it might never have gotten off the ground.

    Imagine a parallel universe where the rights to good movies are cheap and the rights to bad movies are terribly expensive. In that universe, no matter how brilliant the idea of mocking bad movies is, there would have been no way KTMA (assuming this universe doesn’t have a bizarro KTMA where the station is rolling in dough)) could never have put it on the air.

    My point was that in any entertainment product, the budget needs to be taken into account. and that part of the genius of Joel’s premise was that it worked financially as well as artistically.

    Finally, my comment was purely a personal observation and personal opinion and if it sounded like I was trying to make an authoritative statement, that was not my intention and I apologize if I gave that impression.


  7. BSBrian says:

    I know i’m probably late to this party again, but a huge howdy and thanks to Frank for consistantly giving me something to laugh about!!


  8. Bill Corbett says:

    @Frank Conniff

    Frank is correct that for MST3K, the” bad movies” concept was completely baked into the pie. He and his fellow Cinematic Titaniacs are following in that noble tradition.

    Rifftrax, a little less so. It’s more uncharted territory. We have done some cheesy old movies — i.e., PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and a whole bunch of old shorts. But for the most part, the focus has been on more recent fare. (And I use the word “we” loosely. I’m actually not an employee of Rifftrax, just some clown they hire a lot.)

    I think Rifftrax’s own early branding confused matters by saying “some movies have it coming,” and stuff to that effect. While some of the movies we do are certifiable stinkers — BATTLEFIELD EARTH comes to mind (forgive me, Xenu!) — many aren’t universally considered bad. It makes for lively and heated debate on the forum over there.

    And I’m a total fan of some of the movies we’ve done: ALIEN is one; also RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and the LOTR series… which, like a true geek, I own in its entirety. Speaking for myself, I’m on no crusade to make movies better, or teach Hollywood some lesson. Hell, I may be helping to perpetrate a cheesy movie on the world myself, next month. (Haven’t seen it yet, and one never knows.)

    But simply put, our aim is to make the movies we choose funny. To let people experience these movies with some added laughs, whatever their merits un-riffed. That’s it, really. The good ones will stand up to it, and outlast our little jokes.

    Personally, I’m a fan of good riffing in all its variations. But I can see how if someone’s favorite part of the MST3K experience was getting exposed to an absurd, little-known cheesy movie, Rifftrax might not be their cuppa tea. (At least the main menu fare, over there.) Again: kumbaya, viva la difference, whatever floats your boat, Tippecanoe and Tyler too. Go in peace.

    (P.S. Hi Frank. Enjoying your movie series on the CT blog! See you in San Diego, though I will be heavily sedated. BC)


  9. BSBrian says:

    ….and thank you, too Bill!!


  10. Frank Conniff says:

    Sampo — No need to apologize. More than anything else, your comments were a springboard for an interesting discussion.

    Bill — I’ll see you at Comic Con, but apparently you’ll be too high to see me. Lucky bastard. God, I wish I were still young. Oh, to be 48 again!


  11. Matt D. says:

    Now, now, let’s not all get along TV’s Frank and Rifftrax’s Bill. If you have read the comments to the Comic-con story, many people just want you all to fight and argue with each other. CT must bury Rifftrax and vice versa. Joel must attack Jim.

    Otherwise, this panel discussion might just be a “boring” event filled with memories, insight and good times. We wouldn’t want that.

    As for Rifftrax burying good movies, just don’t touch The Usual Suspects or The Fugitive, and everything will be a-okay.


  12. radioman970 says:

    @Frank & Bill

    If I didn’t think my teeny tiny radio station was below you fellas I’d request call-in interviews with each of you. It would essentially be a dream come true for me but it would probably do little to sell your product. :sad:

    But…it’s truly an honor to post among you on a board like this. As if I needed another reason to be a huge fan of you both…you provide it. :) If only I could get virtual autographs….


  13. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Re : “Joel must attack Jim.”

    good but not ideal. Joel and Mike should shake hands, maybe even hug, and then TOGETHER they should attack Jim. Not verbally of course, but physically. A right pummelling. Until he gives up his lunch money i.e. meal ticket, if you know what I mean ;)

    And then Mystery Science CinematicTrax 4ooo will rise from the ashes. Or maybe M.S. Rifftanic 3XL ?

    Bill / Frank : let me add my thanks to those already expressed.


  14. Dirk Squarejaw says:

    I think Bill touched on something interesting when he brought up the issue of RT slogans, since the various slogans used over the years have all implied slightly different premises for RT. For instance, “Some movies have it coming” implies that RT titles are, by definition, “bad” movies. If this were the case, then some of their choices (LOTR, Alien) are highly questionable and at any rate, hardly any of the choices are in MST3K “bad” territory (at least in terms of production values). The slogan, “We don’t make movies, we make fun of them,” on the other hand, implies that the RT mission is to just plain ridicule films (regardless of quality). So any choice of film would be on the table, but this would raise the issue of whether ridiculing “good movies” is funny or just mean and petty. But the slogan I really like – and hope that they adopt as a mission statement of sorts – is “We don’t make movies, we make them funny.” This implies that the real purpose of RT is to liven up any film that could perhaps benefit from taking a new, humorous perspective on it.

    So take “Alien,” for example. I think this is a classic film, so I don’t think it “has it coming.” I also think simply “making fun of it” would come off as annoying rather than funny. But I’m all for “making it funny,” since I’ve seen it many, many times and have never really thought of it in a humorous way before. So, provided that the “make them funny” slogan is the guiding light here, I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with this one!


  15. Bill Corbett says:

    @ Dirk Squarejaw

    Very well said, DS. And good summary:

    “This implies that the real purpose of RT is to liven up any film that could perhaps benefit from taking a new, humorous perspective on it.”

    Yup. That’s where we’re at now, though it wasn’t always that clear. The Rifftrax slogans have evolved, albeit slowly, to reflect what the overall philosophy is — and that’s evolved too. I wasn’t there at the genesis (all of two years ago!), but like most creative enterprises, it changes over time as everyone involved decides what’s most important to ’em. The longer I’ve been there, the less the idea of “taking it to these $%^$#% movies!” has appealed to us.

    Not to say that some movies don’t get kicked around — Mike and Kevin were merciless towards THE PHANTOM MENACE, for example — but it’s not the only gear. Less cut and dried than MST3K and CT, admittedly.

    @ Frank Conniff:

    “Bill — I’ll see you at Comic Con, but apparently you’ll be too high to see me. Lucky bastard. God, I wish I were still young. Oh, to be 48 again!”

    The sedation will actually be to prevent me from getting too excited, falling, and breaking a hip or two. It’s a real danger at my age.

    OK, I better stop all my pedantry, and actually go write some jokes now… Cheers Chris, Frank, and forum denizens in general.


  16. CHF01 says:

    This one was a disappointment. :sad:
    Not what I was expecting and certainly not as funny as X Files.


  17. radioman970 says:

    Finally got around to watching the sample on this one. I chuckled more than once. :)


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