Mystery Science Theater 2007

I devote and dedicate to the best possible way to experience great works of the cinematic art: on film, well-projected, with an appreciative and enthusiastic audience.

But what’s the best possible way to experience the worst examples of cinematic trash? With people who can crack wise at the screen–especially if those people are professional comedians working from a carefully-written script. That experience is coming next Sunday to the Rafael as Rifftrax Live–sort of a live, theatrical version of Mystery Science Theater 3000,:

MST3K, as the show is known to its fans, is the funniest television show to ever enjoy an 11-year-run filling a two-hour timeslot. It ran from 1988 through 1999, mostly on the Comedy Channel. The concept was bizarre: Mad scientists have kidnapped a regular guy (originally show creator Joel Hodgson, latter head writer Mike Nelson), and placed him in a satellite with no company except some spirited and immature robots. Every week, the scientists force our hero and his ‘bots to watch bad movies, which they resist with clever observations.

The writers never restricted themselves to jokes everyone would get. An extended woman’s wrestling match from Racket Girls received references to the Lincoln/Douglas debates as well as Ayn Rand and Lillian Hellman. And I once showed the Hercules Against the Moon Men episode to a classical musician I was then dating (and have since married), and she laughed at four notes that one of the –˜bots hummed.

The show went off the air years ago, but you can still see it on DVD. In addition, several of the creative forces behind the show are still riffing on bad movies (and sometimes good movies), selling their alternative comments at their Web-based business, RiffTrax.

And that explains Rifftrax Live, with three of MST3K’s writer/performrs coming to the Rafael next Sunday evening. What movie will they take apart for our entertainment? They’re not telling.

Speaking about bad movies, I saw Shrek the Third today. Not that I wanted to see it, but parenthood has its duties. You’ll find my review here.