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mst3k the movie Mystery Science Theater 3000:
The Movie

Directed by Jim Mallon


Prologue:

CRANKY: So let me get this straight. I'm supposed to pay Eight Dollars (NY first run ticket price) for a movie ticket to watch some guy and a couple of robots watch a bad movie and talk back to the screen while it's running?

CRANKY'S EVIL TWIN BROTHER CYNIC: Yep.

CRANKY: I could watch my friends get ripped and do the same thing to old Brady Bunch TV shows.

CYNIC: You don't have any friends.

CRANKY: That's just a technicality.

CYNIC: I'll wait . . .

[the Theme from Jeopardy plays]

CRANKY: Okay, let's go.

[And at this point the third-person, lucid Cranky interjects the very specific disclaimer that he never compares what he sees on screen to the source material, which is re-runs on Comedy Central. Now on to our review . . .]

CRANKY: So I'm sitting in the movie theater as this guy in a lime green lab coat (that'd be the evil Dr. Forrester) raves about world domination through brain-mushing bad movies, when the woman sitting behind me starts muttering, "Where's the theme song? Why don't they sing the theme song?"

T'ain't there, McGee. The all-new MST3K:TM is seeking to lure non-cable viewers into movie houses all over the country. Which means it has to hold its own as a comedy. The question is, "Does it succeed? Is it funny?" The answer is, "Well, kinda sorta maybe some-of-the-time but not all-of-the-time but not as bad as you'd expect."

Which is the kind of sentence which would have gotten me slapped by the nuns if a) I had gone to Catholic school or b) I spoke in those kind of run-on sentences. Which I don't.

Except in the above exception.

Not being a MSTie, I can honestly report that MST3K:TM succeeds at some of what it does, and fails miserably at everything else. If you're a fan of the show (i.e. you know which kind of Toblerone Tom Servo prefers) you'll have a great time. If you were dragged into the theater by friends yelping "You gotta see this," and you don't mind silly stupid stuff, you'll have an enjoyable time.

If you don't know the show, briefly, there's this big dog bone orbiting the Earth called the Satellite of Love. Inside it, Mike Nelson (played by the similarly named Michael J. Nelson) is trapped. Mike doesn't seem to mind being a captive as much as his robot companion Crow does. Two other robots, Tom Servo and Gypsy crack jokes and run the dog bone, respectively. Mike, Crow and Tom are summoned to watch the movie, in this case This Island Earth -- which stars Russell Johnson (under the name Russell Adams, aka "the Professor" from Gilligan's Island) in a bit part in which he bites the big one -- starring actors (sic) who never got stars on Hollywood Boulevard. I'm not about to describe TII, 'cuz that defeats the entire purpose of the exercise. I will applaud the creators of MST3K:TM for picking this turkey because, start to finish, it makes no sense whatsoever. Most of the quips, snide remarks and other sarcastic lines tossed back at the screen by Mike and Co. are funny. A couple of 'em are downright hilarious. But all in all, it's all just okay.

It struck me that MST3K:TM would make a great TV show. Except that it's already been there done that. If you're a rabid fan of the original series, you can't go by my judgments 'cuz I wasn't. Some of the fans I talked with afterwards liked it. Some hated it.

Cranky was amused.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for MST3K:TM,he would have paid . . .

$4.50

You can see it on TV. You can wait for the Pay-Per-View. Better yet, if you have nothing better to do, see it in a packed theater. Laughter is always better in big groups than in a drunken stupor on the living room floor.

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