03 December 2007

Slaps in the Face.

Hoo, boy.

Thanksgiving's over, and it seems as if things are going nuts on me lately. I'm fighting a mutant cold virus that spawned both a head and a chest cold. I was told by the city I live in to clean up my yard and given a time limit which led to me spending three hours in the sleet and rain trying to comply before fined. Then, my basement flooded.

Fast-forward to the very next day, in which I'd been given a message by (one of) my credit card(s). For the privilege of keeping a *closed* balance and paying on time, I'm rewarded with an increase in my interest... instead of paying $112 and getting $10 off my balance monthly, I get to pay $154 for the same right to knock $10 from my bill monthly.

Good gracious. Even calling them didn't help. When I called I found out a few things.

#1: I'm a good payer... so good that they can't find one missed payment. This doesn't mean that I get any kind of discount though; they'd have to OPEN the account, reassess, then close it again. But they can't do it, since it's been closed for more than 90 days and the computer refuses to analyze my account unless it's open. What a shock.

#2: However, THEY have the right to raise the rates whenever they choose, even when the account is closed. I hadn't used the card for thirty-six months when they sent a letter informing me that they intended to raise my rates. Diplomatically, they offered me the chance to opt out by telling them no. How nice of them. Take a wild guess which option I chose.

Three years' payments of $4000 has netted me a decrease of $1000 in balance. What a terrific deal.

If there's two things to learn from this, it's the following.

Don't EVER dare become unemployed. If you do, it'll take you decades before you're able to pay off that extra loaf of bread.
You can ignore the cries of hungry children by putting your fingers in your ears.

(Yeah, I'm mad)

If there is one thing that any loyal readers (?) from the U.S. could do, it's to tell your Senator to support the Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act. It's currently in committee, but it may be the best chance for these credit card companies to be reined in. I have written a letter to my own Senator, who happens to have introduced the bill, and while I know that it would take at least a year for anything to happen, having it come up in the election cycle may be helpful for passage too.

Check it out at this link

I hope that others can clearly see the benefit that this would have; after all, what other business is allowed to have such open-ended contracts that allow terms to float so freely on only one side?

Hope your Thanksgiving is going better...

15 November 2007

Ever since MST3k was cancelled....

I know that more than a few people were rather disappointed to hear the news in mid-2000 that MST3k would be stopping production. As for myself, that was the one and only show that I cared to sit down and watch on a regular basis. When MST3k left the air, I did give some time to a couple other shows to see if they were still worth watching.

While "South Park" was a decent satire and had some intelligence to its writing, Parker and Stone were also content to fill it with all sorts of rather unintelligent vulgarness. I don't really mind vulgar to some extent, but I do mind the spirit with which it was presented... as pure humor. That's not humor to me, it's just laziness. I left "South Park" in 1999, and have never looked back.

The next show which seemed to offer some promise was "The Daily Show". The first ten minutes, "Headlines", delivered on a pretty regular basis. Unfortunately, "The Daily Show" could not keep my attention for even half an hour... almost every interview ranged from mildly boring to completely excruciating, and many of the comedians they booked to be commentators were rather unworthy of even being called comedians.

It took a couple of years, but I have found at least a bit of relief on the television. Ever since 2005, I have become a fan of "House" on FOX. Some people could certainly draw apt comparisons between "House" and "South Park", but I feel that "House" is just more interesting. I haven't seen too many episodes of "House" where the humor becomes scatological just because it can, for instance.

It also has a high level of snark in the form of the main character, and while some of the medical cases get stretched so thin that I can even see the light between the plotholes, the writing is pretty darned decent... jokes fly at a well-rhythmed clip, the mystery of the week is presented and resolved, and the characters have becomed nuanced and interesting.

My recommendation, if possible, would be to see Season 2... S2 hooked my attention to the show because of the overall quality. While current episodes of "House" haven't quite reached that level since then, it's still worth checking out.

Of course, I also have a recent entry in this list too. I don't know why my wife and I sat down to watch it, but a few weeks ago we caught the second episode of the new "Kitchen Nightmares" series on Fox. It also has some elements of MST3k in it, where one expert (rather than three) checks out a substandard restaurant (rather than movie) and makes comments on what he sees.

Of course, the "humor" contained in "Kitchen Nightmares" is of a far guiltier cast... this IS a reality show, and of course when truth is introduced, especially with the bluntness of the main star Gordon Ramsay, feelings will get bent. On the other hand, two facts are immensely apparent. Ramsay's bluntness is just who he is, it's really not an 'act'... and that he seems geniunely involved in trying to bring
restaurants into a better shape. Seeing the inner workings of a restaurant also brings a very close appreciation for people who run restaurants... and may also give you (possibly reasonable?) pause to make sure any restaurant you're going to is serving good food.

I will be the first to admit that most shows I avoid are because I don't give them a try... I'm not the type that just goes up to the television and flicks it on. I would be far more apt to either turn on a video game or read a book. It was actually surprising that I found the two shows above, in all honesty. On top of that, late-night television (such as "Adult Swim" on Cartoon Network) has always been out for me, due to me graduating from college in the same year that my
daughter was born (2002). And as a young professional on one income, I've had cable television for a total of perhaps 40% of the time since 2002.

Our readership at this blog, I assume, enjoyed Mystery Science Theater 3000 or its offshoots such as MST fanfiction. Therefore, my question to anyone reading is this: What shows on television do you see which continue the Mystery Science Theater 3000 spirit?


Postscript 1 / Strike 2

Most recent possible job fell through. Rather surprisingly too, I thought that I received indications that it was actually moving along successfully. While I know that intellectually, disappointments will happen, that doesn't mean that I *welcome* them. Especially since this was a job that I was really looking forward too, one that could have provided me with a lifetime of fringe benefits. Which leads me to:


Postscript 2 / Effing viral marketeers

Not the ones that try to stir up a word-of-mouth buzz, but the ones that hide little chunks of code into seemingly-legitimate computer programs that end up completely destroying someone else's property... namely, my computer. Last night, I attempted to reload WinXP on my computer. Now I'm working on about four hours' sleep plus having to move back a step (from XP to 98) due to a scratched WinXP CD which now won't install correctly. Today's really starting to become a massive pain in the butt, and I'm more than ready to just take a four-day weekend. Thank heaven it's already set up to be a three-day weekend.


Postscript THREE / Blogger!

I wrote this entry in Notepad, which theoretically has no formatting whatsoever... it's text! Yet I have to spend time formatting this darn thing 'cause I love you readers so. Darn you, Blogger, for your crufty interface and text breaks!


(Note to world. Please don't make me get to Postscript Four. Please?)

08 November 2007

Insert pithy song reference here. ;P

Hey everybody, thought I'd post something too since I haven't done so in a while. As Zoogz mentioned, we have a new MSTing in the works that should hopefully be available in the next few weeks or so if things go smoothly.

I've finally updated the Rifftrax reviews so feel free to check that out and see me do a complete 180 on not one but two previous reviews. ^_^; http://www.nabiki.com/mst/zoogz/mst/blog/2007/03/really-quick-n-dirty-rifftrax-reviews.html

I still haven't got my flu shot yet because I have this stupid virus that refuses to let go and I'm using a prescribed inhaler twice a day now to try and kill it so I can hopefully be flu free this Christmas unlike last year. We just celebrated my mother's birthday recently and fixed a whole bunch of things around our house that we'd been putting off for a while which made her very happy.

I'm so obsessed with Whose Line Is It Anyway? (US version) lately that I'm even watching Price is Right again and the Canadian version of 'Smarter than a Fifth Grader' because Drew Carey and Colin Mochrie are hosting.
I've also ordered the first two volumes on DVD along with the new Bret Hart book which I may review here at some point if I think I can do a decent job of it.

I gotta say I'm really looking forward to this sunday's 'Family Guy' as the cliffhanger last week was very well done and had a pair of very nice callbacks which included a gag from the very first episode of the series and mimicking one of the greatest season finales of all time from Star Trek: The Next Generation right down to the music. Here's hoping they don't screw up the conclusion.

I hate my slim jim PS2. I only got it because my reliable older model died after six years of loyal service and this one is not only a pain to open up but if I fast-foward too much (say past the opening credits of each episode of Garfield and Friends on DVD because Fox is too fucking lazy to put in chapter stops) the disc starts to randomly skip and only resetting the machine seems to fix it. I realize getting a seperate DVD player for movies and merely playing the games on the PS2 would probably solve the problem but damn it, I shouldn't have to do that!
Suffice it to say, I'm not getting a PS3 (or any other system) anytime soon until the price goes down, the game library fattens up and they work out all the bugs. I'll stick to cheap used PS2 and GC games for the next couple of years.

Speaking of games, I rented Manhunt 2 last week. I wanted to get 'The Simpsons' game but it was already rented out, as was 'Okami' so I figured what the hell, the first game had a passable story... what a fucking mistake. This game eats. Big time. The outdated graphics didn't bother me that much as I mostly care about a good solid story to keep my interest but Manhunt 2's storyline was weak and predictable, your character, hell ALL the characters in this game were duller than a Harrison Ford interview and the supposed big draw of this series, the numerous executions, were heavily filtered thanks to the ESRB overreacting, though honestly even if they were unfiltered, they wouldn't have helped make the game any more interesting for me anyway. While I'm a big fan of some of Rockstar's other games 'GTA III', 'Vice City', 'Bully' and 'The Warriors', this sequel was a complete waste of my time and will probably do more harm than good for Rockstar in the long run even if the current controversy sells more copies of the game. (Ooh, it's banned in the UK? Give me five copies!)

Ok, I think I'm rambled enough for now. ;P

Sincerely,

Megane 6.7

06 November 2007

As time goes by.....

A couple updates to provide both on the personal front and on the MSTings front. Megane 6.7 and I are still working on a new MSTing, and we're projecting it to be done when it's done. :) We're currently trying to polish the jokes so that they shine, and we'll see what the results are soon. There were more than a few spots in this MSTing that I enjoyed, and hopefully you folks will enjoy the finished product when it's posted!

For those people waiting for updates from me, well, there is a bit of an update. I had an interview for a job that was at least six states away from me. This was thankfully a phone interview. In the course of the phone interview, I was asked my current wage and then asked what my requested wage would be. I provided them both numbers. The interview went well... so well that the recruiter I was working through called me only forty-five minutes later saying that said company wanted to fly me to their location for a face-to-face interview. On top of that though, she also said that this company told her that the most they would offer was lower than my request, by only 13%.

While I'm sure others would probably say, "That's negotiable, get your foot in the door, and go from there," I dragged my feet. This is a major move, projected to hopefully be the last move in my life, and this company isn't anteing up the money in my mind. I told the recruiter that unless they can come up the final 13%, that I would not even attend the interview. I feel that this was the best solution, because ultimately I want my new company to know that they have to work with me immediately and that they're not able to steamroll me. And I have that kind of leverage because of the things I know as well as the fact that I want this to be my last move. That and the fact that if this company called the recruiter almost immediately after my interview, and did not need to take time to consider my answers, that they thought that I was a good candidate. Now's the time to see if they want to put their money where their intentions lay.

This all happened between yesterday and today. Ordinarily, I would not have probably bothered to write anything, but on the other hand a blog with no actual content is a sad blog indeed.

As a postscript to this whole situation, I received a second call only five minutes after the lowball offer from the interview. This one was from my supervisor. It seems as if my dream job is contacting him for my background information. I am not only keeping my fingers crossed but also my toes, because I would take this dream job ten times out of ten even over a better offer from the first job. This may be another reason that some may accuse me of sabotaging the interview process for the first job, but on the other hand even if I work at the other job for all of six months and get an offer for this dream job, it'll be a lot of wasted effort in my opinion. Granted, I may never get an offer from this dream job, but I would be extremely content to wait them out prior to possibly taking any other job south of $80k yearly, and that's probably not happening anytime soon.

Admittedly, it is nice to be able to negotiate from a position of strength.

Thanks for the indulgence from our fans for our extremely limited release schedule, and there certainly may be more and newer projects afoot from at least my desk shortly.

23 October 2007

Yet again with the silence and stuff...

Hey again!

ConGlomCo's been busting my butt again. I'm sure that most of the people who read this don't really care much, but it's been tough. I've been there for only one year again, but for a multitude of reasons -- well, really two, but they're pretty darned big reasons -- I'm looking for another job again. Because of this, my available free time has really been limited.

In the intervening since my last post though, I embarked on another project as well. I have never written an FAQ before, but I managed to write one and post it to gameFAQs.com . If anyone is interested, it is an FAQ for the game Railroad Tycoon 3. I found this game to be a lot of fun, and I was rather surprised by the fact that I did not burn my enjoyment of this game out by writing the FAQ. I still need to scan one last submission to complete the FAQ, but it's pretty darned comprehensive.

One day, this blog will probably be filled with all the exploits I've had while searching for a job in one of the United States' worst possible places to find lucrative employment. Suffice it to say that for the time being, and until I actually find the job, I will likely stay close-lipped. Considering some of the jobs that I have applied for though, I think that there may be some interesting stories placed here. I have applied at places that would make ConGlomCo seem insignificant as well as a few places that I could have run out of my house. Last time I went through this process, it took me roughly three months or so... as far as I am concerned, the clock has been running since about late September.

Thanks for all your support, and I'll keep updating when I can!

25 July 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Well, the Simpsons Movie is coming out this Friday and you know what? I don’t give a shit.

Not one little nugget.

This movie should have come out ten to fifteen years ago. Why the hell would I want to see it now that ‘The Simpsons’ has consistently sucked the bag for years now and nobody seems willing to accept it. And if the movie IS funny, then why the hell hasn’t that same effort been put into the TV show the last several years? If the writers are out of fresh ideas for the Simpsons universe then I have a suggestion: CANCEL THE FUCKING SHOW.

Seriously, how many memorable moments can you think of from the Simpsons from the past five seasons or so? Does even ONE come to mind? Face it, this show has become the SNL of animation and it’s high time Simpsons fans stopped being apologists and face the truth.

I’m not going to see the Simpsons movie, will not rent it on DVD and will probably not even bother catching it on free TV because, and I’m completely serious here, I don’t give a damn about the Simpsons anymore. They haven’t given me a REASON to give a damn anymore.

Have they given you a reason?

Sincerely,

Megane 6.7

20 June 2007

Long silence:

Hey folks,

Short post for today, most likely... ConGlomCo has limited all but a very select few Internet sites and has generally kept the attitude that it is such a privilege to work there that your own satisfaction with your job is inconsequential. There's been a litany list of other changes which amount to the same "screw the worker" mindset but I won't go into that right now. Though in full disclosure, even if it's been only months since I've started, I have already sent resumes to other locations. ConGlomCo's name alone should be worth some cachet at least.

As far as writing goes, I'm midway through chapter three (of a planned eighteen) of a Sailor Moon/Ranma crossover. Yeah, I know, not another one. Hopefully, it turns out decently and should have enough twists and turns to make things enjoyable. As far as MSTing goes, there hasn't been much progress in that regard, and it's mostly my fault as well. If it helps though, one of the few targets that Meg and I have isolated is one that we started... years ago, surprisingly enough. We're going to pick it up, dust it off, and see if it squeaks just right.

Thanks again for all the support and patience from you guys. It's nasty how real life can rise up and swallow you whole for weeks at a time. I'm trying to reclaim those parts of my life which are the worst wastes of time and turn them into more productive.... wastes of time.

Stay tuned for further updates!

20 April 2007

More Status updates:

And since this is a different topic, this warrants a new entry.

Megane 6.7's and my latest MSTing is in the final edit stages, and will be posted soon to the FFML and to A MSTing For All Seasons. By all means, any comments regarding possible revisions or edits are gratefully accepted, and we will hold off for about two weeks or so to hopefully receive and integrate worthy ideas. After this, we will post to SVAM and most likely to Usenet, and reupload any new version(s) to AMFAS.

Thanks again for the patience, and we hope you like the finished product!

Most recent Rifftrax reviews:

Hey folks,

Megane 6.7 added to the list of Rifftrax reviews, but Blogger won't bring the Rifftrax thread back to the top. So therefore, I will copy/paste Megane 6.7's latest Rifftrax reviews here and direct you to the link at the right, which says "Megane 6.7's Riffrax Reviews", to see the entire list.

As well, I perma-linked all Rifftrax-related Blog entries... which currently consists of the Review thread, and this. Well, hopefully, we'll also have more Rifftrax-related articles in the future as well.

Megane 6.7's most recent reviews:
___
"Lost: Season Premiere" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- Haven’t seen it yet. Haven't even seen any of 'Lost' at all yet.

"Star Wars: Episode Two" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- Chad Vader had about ten lines maybe during the whole rifftrax so he wasn’t really a factor. Overall, it was good, some good riffs on the oh-so-lame dialogue and painfully obvious CGI. There was a bit of recycling jokes from the last Star Wars trax and the whole poking fun at goofy names bit is getting tired IMHO though it didn’t ruin the track for me. I do wonder if Mike will ever
try tackling a film from the original Star Wars trilogy someday...

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" w/ Mike Nelson & Neil Patrick Harris -- While the teamup of Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy will always be my favorite, Neil Patrick Harris did a pretty good job here and worked very well with Mike. The movie was creepy and bizarre as always but the rifftrax really helped make a pleasureable experience out of a film that was pretty much unwatchable to me before. I'd easily rank this among the upper tier of Rifftrax released so far.
___

16 April 2007

Drying the MSTing Well:

We have just passed 150,000 hits on our website maybe about a week ago. I don't know if I could ever create another website that would have even half of this response. A MSTing For All Seasons has been up for seven years, which makes it almost a senior citizen as far as the 'Net goes.

When we first started A MSTing For All Seasons, Mystery Science Theater 3000 had already announced that there would be no new shows. The Sci-Fi Network would show all of the remaining shows they ordered, and then would put MST3k on semi-permanent rerun status afterward. Our website opened about three or so weeks after the Sci-Fi Channel had broadcast the last new MST3k episode, the delayed "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders", which came about five months after the 'official' end, "Diabolik", was broadcast.

In that time, I've seen a staggering amount of attrition. Of course, without the show around to remind people what MSTing was about, it was not a surprise. First, the MST fandom seemed to grow a bit older. As all other fandoms, while some people lose time or grow out, others find the fandom and obtain a desire to write. And without MST3k around, it seemed as if the new author flow of MSTings was slowed to a trickle.

Of course, one of the other watershed moments was when Web Site #9, Dr. Michael K. Neylon's online published MSTing archive, was taken from the Internet. Keith Palmer is currently running the MSTing Mine at http://www.keithpalmer.ca/msting-mine/ , and I wish him the best of luck in reconstructing what remained of Web Site #9 by scouring Usenet. Shinji's Vault of Anime MSTings has also morphed more than a few times, even adding a message board for a while. The same forces of inertia, few new authors and natural lossage due to the ravages of time, took place at Shinji's too. Tim attempted to morph it into Shuuichi's Vault, and then remorphed it into Everything What Is Crap.

The latest MSTings update to Everything What Is Crap was in late May, 2006. By all means, this is not a criticism; other than this blog, AMFAS has not been updated with a published MSTing in almost a year itself. (However, stay tuned, we almost have one finished and ready to publish). This is just more evidence that the fandom is still coming to a slow close.

This was not meant to be a rant, and I'm not making a call to all authors to do MSTings. Of course, people will write what they would like to write. So far, Megane 6.7 and I still choose to spend our time writing MSTings, and we do still hope that we have an audience out there. If nothing else, we have also found that we still enjoy it, even if the process gets a bit tedious at times.

It is not my intent to write a eulogy. I do not believe that this fandom is quite dead; after all, we are still seeing visitors to places like EWIC and A MSTing For All Seasons. It is more of an enconium, I suppose, as I would like to at least say that there have been more than a few MSTings in the past that I have enjoyed, and I hope that those authors have been able to move on to bigger and better things. To all of the readers and MSTers still active, by all means thank you for your support. We hope that you do enjoy your visit(s) to AMFAS, and that you are able to derive some sort of enjoyment from our works. While Mystery Science Theater 3000 is rapidly coming to the point where it has been rerun/off the air for longer than it has been on, I hope that all of the readers and MSTers out there are still trying to keep the spirit of the show alive in keeping an open mind about the world around them, and not afraid to make fun of the stuff that doesn't make much sense.

Again, thank you all for 150,000 hits, and seven years of activity. Thanks also to our website hosts, Nabiki and Lorien. While our content has slowed (significantly?) through the past three years, we're still here and we hope you are too.

12 April 2007

Don Imus, Duke University, and the Art of Media Persecution:

Since this is a blog, this provides a forum pretty much world-wide in its scope. These opinions are purely mine, though I would be more than happy to enter debate on this matter as well.

Today's subject though may seem recycled to many. I hope that is the case, because I have also reached my saturation point on two issues as well. These two issues, Don Imus and the Duke University lacrosse team, are inextricably linked in my mind. This is because the court of "Public Opinion" has tried and convicted both, and doesn't seem to see any sorts of lesson to learn from one matter to apply to the other.

Firstly, the parable of the Duke University lacrosse team. If many may remember, the Duke University lacrosse team threw a party, and also had some women at this party. One of the women who attended this party leveled allegations against members of this team which resulted in criminal charges to these members. And then the media got involved. Because of shield laws, all the information could not be published, which is and should be absolutely fine. BUT, the same mass media published incomplete accounts. Due to the media's description, everyone became outraged and reacted rather than to take a step back to say, "Wait. These men are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around."

Now, the last of the charges have been dropped against these men. Now, here's a key distinction: because my information is still incomplete, for all I know they could still be guilty, and the prosecutor may just not have the evidence. I honestly don't know. What I *do* know is that a much more exhaustive investigation than the initial publishing of the charges has happened, and as a result of that investigation charges have been dropped. And in the court's eyes, this does mean that these men are innocent. Following this announcement, the last point of the matter is that the media was completely irresponsible in broadcasting "news" to inform people, they merely attempted to inflame people in order to hopefully justify more coverage and therefore more viewers, so that their profit margins could be satisfied.

Congratulations, mass media. You did it again.

The latest controversy is Don Imus and the comments he made in regards to the Rutger's women's basketball team. I took the time to at least obtain the transcript for his comments. His exact words were "nappy-haired ho's". While this is not exactly respectful and the word choice is poor, the resulting media blitz of blame for Don Imus is morally bankrupt. I'm sure that we as humans have all been in unfortunate situations, and that we do make mistakes. Don Imus has taken many pains to apologize, and whether or not you may believe it is your choice.

People were offended. So be it. However, this is not a crisis. This should not even be a tempest in a teapot. The mass media has constructed yet another crisis out of something that is terrifically and horribly minor. Additionally, how is anyone helping the situation by dwelling on what has happened instead of moving on? He was wrong, and I will repeat that as many times as needed. But this does not justify all of what is STILL going on. I have seen this same topic on NBC's flagship morning program, "The Today Show", at least three days in a row. ESPN was more than happy to discuss it too. This topic has been kept in the public view for days now, and in a number of different ways. And like it or not, this situation is being exploited.

To begin, the mainstream media gives time to people who would normally not warrant national media exposure but who are happy to receive such attention in situations like these Examples include Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, both "Reverends", who seem not to have heard of the creed of forgiving others as God would forgive. Can anyone name the last time that Al Sharpton appeared for two days in a row on the Today show on NBC? These people are more than happy to continue this idiocy, due to the recognition and national scope they are provided. In other words, they have a *VESTED* interest in keeping this mess rolling, and they are doing an admirable job. Of course, this dovetails nicely into the media's wishes to keep this issue at the forefront of national news, as analyzed below.

Secondly, the media members themselves (namely the anchors) as well as the network (MSNBC, where Imus's show used to be simulcast on television) get to show the viewers how very indignant they are, and therefore superior, fair, and steady mouthpieces who are far more inclusive and sensitive than Imus is. Special mention goes to MSNBC, who first decided to suspend Imus for two weeks, and now has completely pulled his show less than 48 hours after deciding its initial punishment. I would like to mention that it is a good thing that the corporate supervisors at MSNBC are not in charge of our court systems, as I would hate to be the convict who received sentencing, and further sentencing, and further sentencing.

Third, further special note goes to the fact that MSNBC removed Imus from simulcast. Your message to your viewers is so mixed, I can't even decipher it. You knew that Imus was not the most politically correct person to host a radio show, or at least I can only presume that MSNBC has some sort of screening process for the people who appear on MSNBC's airwaves. But when the man says something the slightest bit controversial, not even something that is up to libel standards, you fire him. So, what is your choice? You want controversy, but now you don't? You purport to give your viewers facts and information, but you were broadcasting the OPINIONS of a radio host, and then let him go when his opinions become unpopular. Are you afraid that people can't think for themselves if they hear unpopular opinions? You don't think your viewers are capable of saying, "You know what, he may be wrong about this issue"?

While I believe the above is true to some extent, I believe that the truth lies elsewhere. MSNBC, you have reinforced a valuable lesson to every last one of your viewers. Imus's sponsors pulled their ads due to what he said. What if he had said something extremely unpopular but true? If sponsors pulled their ads due to what he may have said, would he still have been let go? If Snoop Dogg was a guest of Imus and had said the exact same words about the exact same people, would the statement still have been completely false?

Now as a result of all this attention, we have an issue that is at everyone's lips. This is for all the wrong reasons and it is because the media conflated it into a major issue. Congratulations, NBC, and other major networks. I do not know if you feel that this is *gaining* you viewers, but you have just guaranteed to your sponsors that I will NOT be watching the commercials which you have based your business decisions on. Enjoy your pursuit of "news" without me.

The epilogue of this matter is that gross profiteering, especially in organizations that are supposed to be "fair" and "unbiased", is just as shameful as any of the comments that Don Imus uttered.

I am sure that I will be labeled as a conservative purely due to the side that I am taking on this matter, which presupposes that this is not an important matter. I am sure that some people feel that this is an important matter. So be it, I will not argue that point at present. But I do not feel that this matter should have been blown up to these proportions. I am currently arguing for a rational point of view. These comments were uttered on 5 April 2007, and it is now 12 April 2007 and this is still a major news story.

To all who disagree with my stance above, please explain why this is still a major news story. The man has been punished, twice, so when does the story end? Is there nothing else going on that needs the media's attention, such as Iraq or any current legislation that is being passed in Congress? In this situation, I really have to question the motives behind how this issue has been reported by the media, and who really stands to gain the most from what has happened.

Many apologies to the people who live outside the United States who were subjected to the above rant. I hope that your medias aren't as exploitative as ours.

I do not have a lot of time to surf the Internet, so therefore I do not know if this rant is written elsewhere. However I can assure you that these are my words, and any debate they engender would be welcome.

05 April 2007

Status Report:

Hey all,

After some feverish work, I am finally rounding Meg's and my latest MSTing into form. It is currently into second draft/third edit stage, and I have high hopes that it will be polished enough to publish in a short amount of time.

Stay tuned!

04 April 2007

Looking for the life of Reilly... receiving the life of Schitt.

Oh, the blog... I haven't forgotten about it, but when it rains it pours.

On Wednesday last, which was the 28th, I ended up in a car accident on a rather busy road. The car accident was a result of a bunch of different converging factors, which included a county truck changing streetlights at 2:30PM on a busy road and stopping up a lane, people not caring to allow other people to move over, and other people who don't pay attention to the fact that there are STOPPED VEHICLES on the road. I ended up getting hit in the rear tailgate of my minivan by a truck, which happened to have a snowplow setup (sans snowplow) on the front of his vehicle. Needless to say, he received no damage to his own vehicle except for the glass that my window threw at it as it shattered into tens of thousands of pieces.

Body work is bad, but then worse happened; the momentum from the rear-ending was enough to make me hit the guy in front of me. Who happened to have a trailer hitch on the back of his truck. My radiator was punctured by his trailer hitch, which rendered the vehicle undriveable to boot (other than to get it off the road, which I quickly did). I watched my radiator fluid dump all over the pavement as both drivers probably chuckled silently and then drove off without a care in the world.

Oh, and did I mention that the only reason I ended up in this accident was because this was my last meeting off-site for work before reassignment?

Since the van was my only vehicle, I'm currently borrowing my mother's car for the time being until I get up the motivation and singles required to take the bus (which I figure will be a better option anyway, it will give me far less stress at least). The only good news is that it seems the repairs from the accident itself won't be much more than $550, thankfully, because also according to my insurance despite the fact that every last bit of the damage done to my car was due to OTHER PEOPLE, since the fine state of Michigan is a no-fault state the best I can possibly get is $500 since I don't carry full insurance on a freaking 1994 minivan. Which also will probably mean that I will have to cover the repairs myself and wait for reimbursement as well.

And going on with the story, the next day I was off of work and I ended up at the doctor's office. Twice. The first time was to check my health out due to the accident. The only pain I really had was a bit to the center of my back. They took X-rays and determined that it was due to an underlying condition. Then, I thought to myself that I would try to rebuild the computer my children use. When trying to get a hard drive out of a disk bay, I managed to slice my thumb all the way to the tendon (and break the hard drive in the process). I went to the doctor's office again, and was told that because it was such a deep cut that they would not stitch it there. They insisted that I needed to see a hand specialist to make sure the tendon was not nicked. So therefore, I would have to travel to the hospital emergency room. That prospect did not make me feel good, as I had to drive in rush-hour traffic (at about 3:30PM) to this hospital. I signed in with difficulty, and settled in to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait more.

When I arrived, I was told that it would be between one and two hours to be seen. After two and a half hours, I was no closer to being seen period. A (slightly) helpful security guard called to a different hospital, which had far fewer people waiting in line. At about 6:30, I jumped back in the car to go to emergency room #2. After another hour and a half, I finally was seen. Mind you, I had an open gaping wound in my hand this whole time. I didn't even care about *getting* a bed, I just wanted someone to stitch the darned thing up. Which they finally did, at 9PM that evening.

Postscript: I never saw the "hand specialist", and to boot I had to pay five times the cost that I would have had to pay at the doctor's office (and I may even have to pay more due to the fact that I went to a different hospital; they took my insurance, but because it was not the hospital I was *assigned* to, I wouldn't be surprised if more charges lurk in the mist.)

So therefore, the only good thing that happened through this whole week was the fact that I ended up getting both Thursday and Friday off. Small consolation.

I'm back to work, and now doing the reassignment. Originally, I was told that this reassignment was for training purposes. So be it. But now I find out that I'm in a "lather, rinse, repeat" kind of position, which by the way took me possibly two weeks to learn. Which completely and utterly irks me to the core. I cannot count the number of times that I have had to bite my lip, bite my tongue, and stop my hand from miming my exact mindset at this point. Especially since I managed to keep some of my old duties at the same time that I am getting new ones placed on me. As before, I suppose that this is the best motivation for me to save some money and hit the college trail again, but in the meantime I will be right back to submitting resumes... six months after I just started. (At least I get to be super-picky about where I end up, I suppose.)

This year really started with a whole lot of promise, but these last two weeks have been extremely difficult to get through. I must admit, I'm still afraid for my hands, and possibly any nearby walls. I also hope that things will turn around soon, and realize that all I have is that same hope; especially since there's been such little proof for that recently.

So, as many people imagine, many writing projects have been stalled for the previous two weeks. Sincerest apologies to everyone; Megane has told me in the past that some of his best writing was as a direct result to negative stimuli, and that's great. All I know is that if I attempt to MST right now, your monitor would probably be dripping with blood from my dull axe taken to a few fanfics, which tends not to be fun for all involved.

I will at least leave you with a happy note, and thank everyone through the years who has supported us at A MSTing For All Seasons; our counter has just passed 150,000 hits, and that's pretty cool in my book. I hope we've entertained you, our readers, and that we will continue to entertain you for a long time to come. Even with our recent snail-like publishing pace. Thanks again!

25 March 2007

300... Computers Bled For This Piece of Crap.

I can sum up my problem with this movie in one word: Digital.

The blood effects were so ridiculously digital as to be actually insulting. Every time someone was killed, it looked like somebody fatally wounded a Pentium and it completely took me out of the movie. Digital blood, digital arrows, digital wounds, digital backgrounds and warriors, etc... I am so sick of this bullshit infecting more and more action movies and it’s time somebody with a brain started saving money and go back to more traditional and realistic methods. Seriously, watch Braveheart after this one and tell me which one has the more realistic battle scenes.

So, in closing, this movie sucked digital donkey dick. If you want brutality that involves more than a handful of ACTUAL human beings, rent Braveheart and fast forward to the battle scenes. It’s a helluva lot more satisfying and cheaper to boot.

Sincerely,

Megane 6.7

19 March 2007

"Goldenboy" and the Art of Building a Career:

Good day to all out there in Bloggerland.

It's taken me three days to sufficiently calm down and rationalize in my head some of the events that had happened to me on 16 March (Friday), but I think I'm about ready to report them. But first, a segue!

Way back in the mid-90s, (I believe) ADV published a title called "Golden Boy". To sum up the story quickly, it was about a guy who was armed with a bicycle, a notebook, and a backpack... and instead of settling down at all, he went from place to place pretty much doing what he could. His backstory included him going to Toudai University and dropping out right before he was to complete a law degree.

Throughout the series, the main character took a multitude of positions: computer programmer, swimming instructor, political campaign worker, chef, and two others I can't think of. And he also ran across a girl at every job, but he ended up leaving on his bicycle before anything could happen. The title featured comedy and more than a bit of ecchi as well. I enjoyed the show back when I saw it in the mid-90s as my college's anime library had all six episodes. (Only six episodes, which is a bummer.)

In true Bill Cosby style, I tell you that story to tell you this one.

I have been graduated from university ever since 2002. For every February afterward with only one exception, I have worked at a different job ever since. IT support for one, sales support another, then two years of export, and this year import. And this leads to Goldenboy... much like him, I can't find the one thing that will help me to settle down and enjoy, have fun with what I'm doing... yet everywhere I go, I'm always learning.

And on Friday, I learned that once you're in a big corporation, you're the one bending over as they lube. How educational.

When I started at BigConglomCoInc. last October, I was doing import work; in essence, I was collecting information so that shipments could be cleared by Customs. Three months after I started, I was reassigned. At the time, I was told that it would be a position that would have more responsibility and that I would be given some time in order to grow into the position. And on top of this, I was given this position because the other person they offered it to declined.

Which brings us to Friday. On that fateful afternoon, I found out that I would be swapping jobs with someone else. Incidentally, it was with the someone else that declined this position the first time. I really do not know why this was done... after all, I was already in the position. It was three months after the fact. And I was finally achieving some level of a comfort zone with it.

The only highlight of the transaction was the fact that as near as I can tell, because my salary was never advanced when my responsibilities were raised, this new position will be closer to my current level of renumeration. But that's not exactly a happy thought, as I really did want them to raise my salary rather than to have this happen.

About the only other positive about this episode is that it may be what I need to inspire me. I have already hit the U.S. Federal job announcement board, and will be filing another FAFSA in order to see if I can go get my master's degree (or another bachelor's, depending on possible avenues). It is times like this that I'm re-reminded of that Goldenboy show, which usually ended with the main character pedaling away from that episode of his life. While my episodes last far longer than half-an-hour, it is events like this that confirm that my episodes will just keep going on rather than ending. And I can clearly remember leaving the last four towns that we used to live in, with a moving van and a hope that this departure will be the last one for a long time.

With this being said... does anyone want to buy a house?

14 March 2007

More Movie Reviews: "Click"

Adam Sandler. Christopher Walken. People are of mixed opinions on the former, but tend to enjoy the latter's work. I actually don't mind Adam Sandler, and think that he can be funny at times. And "Click" seemed to have an interesting premise to it, so with our new Columbia House membership we bought this movie for a nickel.

And... well, it wasn't bad at least. The battle of minds between Adam Sandler and the goofy next-door neighbor's kid who boasts about his parents is funny at times. David Hasselhoff turns a good performance as Sandler's smarmy boss. And Henry Winkler, long past "Fonz" days, plays Grampa. All decent performances.

And Christopher Walken turns in a decent performance as the facilitator to the real star of the show, the remote. Yet somehow he never really threatens to turn in an A+ performance, he stays safely in the C+ "I'm not going to upstage the stars"-level of acting.

Which brings us to Adam Sandler himself. His movies always tend to have a certain attitude and sameness about them, and I can certainly understand why people would find his movies unpleasant. There was more than a bit of South Park-type humor, with some children swearing up a storm... while some people do enjoy this type of humor, I'm not a fan.

But this brings me to the very nature of the movie. If I knew the facts I'm going to disclose below before watching the movie, I may not have bothered. So...

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Fact #1: This movie skews away from "comedy" about forty-five minutes in.

Fact #2: This movie is one of those movies where years pass in seconds.

First, an explanation about Fact #2: I find movies that pass time like that extremely depressing. I don't know if it is because I start thinking, "What if this happens to me, I don't want to miss my life" or if there's another reason behind it... but I just don't like movies like this. The other best example I can name is a movie from the early 90s called "Sandlot", where the movie was about a bunch of boys for 95%, and the epilogue showed two of the main characters... about twenty-five years later. It's almost like reading a beginning and then an ending. I am very highly interested in the journey of life, and movies/books that skip stuff like that depress me even if it is supposed to be the point of the plot.

(Another uncomfortable movie for me was "Howl's Moving Castle", where the 16-year-old main character was changed into an old woman by means of a magic spell... but she does return to being young again. It's *still* uncomfortable to me though...)

If nothing else, you can treat my dislike of movies/stories like this like I treat people who don't like Adam Sandler movies... just to shrug, accept and move on. Though again, if someone had told me the two facts above, it would have made me avoid this movie, and after having seen it I would not have minded.

Anyway, for more spoilers, the remote in question is used to "fast-forward" Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) first one year in the future, to a promotion at work. Then the remote takes over and involuntarily fast-forwards Michael's life ten years in the future, to another promotion at work. Then six years in the future, to skip a long illness. And probably a couple more times that I completely missed (the credits allude to the younger daughter ending at 28, and my math doesn't add up). Towards the end, Adam Sandler's character had a heart attack somewhere around his early 50s and sees his kids only like once at ages 7/6, then once again at 17/16, and at the end at 29/28. And in the movie, he dies after a "heartwarming" family scene...

only to be revealed as a dream...

yet after the above reveal, Morty (Christopher Walken) has put the remote back in Michael's hands, with a note, in essence asking Michael if he learned his lesson. Yes, emphatically, Michael did, and he throws it out.

So be it. I just remember that this is the same Hollywood that grinds people underneath their heels and typically goes with 20-hour shooting schedules and the like. Not that the message is a bad one... far from it. I just think that the originator of the message should just... conform a bit more to it.

Anyway, if you think that Adam Sandler can pull off drama and you're not put off by the two facts outlined above, by all means check this movie out. But if you're uncomfortable about either fact, you might as well stick with the first forty-five minutes, and fast-forward to the end like Adam Sandler does.

13 March 2007

Tons of movies that I could get to, but that'll be on later dates...

Today though, a topic that warms my heart literally. Today's topic is "Awakening from Winter Day". I live in Michigan, which definitely gets winter, and as a result every time I drive around during winter I see very few people on the sidewalks, out and about. The only place they typically walk is in parking lots, from cars to heated stores.

However, yesterday was the first day where the temperatures reached 50ยบ(F) for more than three months. And while it wasn't exactly the warmest, it was nice to see people outside, walking around, enjoying the weather. I know that I miss those temperatures too, and I was finally able to recover my bicycle from storage to use it.

And while I love the day that Michigan truly escapes from winter, it also reminds me of the love-hate relationship I have with this state, and how I'd love to leave it. Oh well, that's a blog for another day...

02 March 2007

Really Quick N' Dirty Rifftrax Reviews

Zoogz was nice enough to let me post stuff on his blog so to test it out, I've decided to give brief reviews of all the Rifftraxs I've seen thus far:

"Roadhouse" w/ Mike Nelson -- A great start for Mike, he obviously has great affection for this film and the rifftrax crackles with energy as a result. A must-have.

"The Fifth Element" w/ Mike Nelson & Disembaudio -- I don't know where all the hate for Disembaudio in this trax came from, personally I liked it a lot and didn't find Disembaudio's comments annoying at all but oh well. Another winner.

"Star Trek V" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- Still my favorite trax so far, this one made Star Trek V an enjoyable experience for me and that's no easy feat. The audio quality has also improved from the first two traxs. No surprise Kevin Murphy and Mike still work great together and it was great to see them in top form. Absolute must-have.

"Cocktail" w/ Mike Nelson. -- I might have given up on this one a little too soon, but I only listened to it once, hated the film and the Rifftrax didn't help. I usually listen to a trax twice before passing judgement. Oh well.

"xXx" w/ Mike Nelson. -- Another case of me hating the film, and more specifically its star, too much for me to enjoy the Rifftrax. It was okay, I guess.

"Crossroads" w/ Mike Nelson. -- This one had some laughs, not spectacular but solid and the movie was goofy enough to help me endure Britney Spears when she wasn't bouncing around in her panties but just barely.

"X-Men" w/ Mike Nelson and Bill Corbett. -- Readers of my MST6.7 series know I prefer Trace's Crow to Bill's but Bill's Crow can still bring the laughs for me at times. As for the rifftrax, I wanted to like this one, but the riffs just felt... forced a lot of the time and some of the humor just plain missed the mark for me. I did laugh at the MST3K ref near the beginning though but otherwise, this was a miss.

"Top Gun" w/ Mike Nelson and Bill Corbett. -- For some reason, I didn't enjoy the teamup of Bill and Mike as much as Kevin and Mike, I just think the latter sound more natural together. I did enjoy this trax a bit more than X-Men but overall, I found it a solid if unspectacular effort.

"Point Break" w/ Mike Nelson. -- Swayze plus Keanu plus Busey makes for some prime cheddar and Mike does a great job with this one. The movie is a little too long, especially the skydiving sequence but I still enjoyed it overall.

"Halloween" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- I'm not a fan of horror films but man, Halloween did not age well at all and the guys gleefully tear the film apart. The opening scene with Mike pretending to be John Carpenter coming home from work was just priceless and I thoroughly enjoyed this track.

"The Matrix" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Well, I liked the film a lot and the rifftrax was decent too. Still, I like the film alone better if I had to choose but still, the rifftrax was fine.

"Star Wars: Episode I" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- The first time I listened to this Rifftrax, I laughed my butt off but also felt anger and sadness for the mess the new trilogy turned out to be and how much potential was wasted there. (Thank god for Knights of the Old Republic, well the first one, at least.) Then I watched the trax again a couple months later and just laughed my butt off. Plus they had a reference to a Tim Schafer game, a guy who once worked for Lucasarts! Cool, huh? Well, it is to me.

"The Grudge" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Another winner with Japanese jokes aplenty to boot. Those supposed death rattles always sounded like a forced burp to me too and while the "Lost" riffs went over my head (Haven't gotten around to watching it yet and probably never will) I enjoyed this one.

"LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Another case of liking the film too much to enjoy the rifftrax at times, despite owning the extended version as well. Still a good trax but I just plain like the film by itself more.

"Island of Dr. Moreau" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Didn't really like the film, the trax was good but the movie's a bitter pill to swallow when Marlon Brando isn't making a spectacle of himself. Too Apocalypse Now-ish which I also hated.

"Firewall" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. Lots of good riffs here on Harrison and the cliched plot. The film is too slow paced for my liking though, but the trax is solid and worth repeat listens.

"Nestor The Christmas Donkey" w/ Mike Nelson. -- Oh man, this was depressing. Mike's riffs helped but it's unlikely I'll ever be watching this one again.

"Reign of Fire" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Another unpleasant and dreary film but I liked the rifftrax for it more than Island of Dr. Moreau and while it may not be in my top five, it was good enough to be worth keeping.

"Daredevil" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- This was just fantastic. All three were on their game and they really did a number on the film and its stars. I've heard the director's cut of this film is supposed to be better but somehow I doubt it'd help that much. Definitely worth checking out.

"Battlefield Earth" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- Unfortunately, I bailed on this film 40 minutes in or so and have yet to summon the courage to watch the rest of it so I can't fairly judge it. I did like the laugh track bit though.

"Star Trek VI" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- This was fun, not as great as Star Trek V, IMHO, but still very good and well worth checking out.

"Over the Top" w/ Mike Nelson. -- This was great, nostalgic yet hilarious and Mike handled it really well. Loved the Stallone impressions too. I liked how Mike cracked up over 'The Smasher' and the whole rifftrax reminded me of Roadhouse, in the good way. One of my favorites. I really hope Rifftrax will do more Sylvester Stallone movies in the future.

"Aeon Flux" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Some great riffs here in the first half but it drags a bit in the latter half. Overall, it was a lame Matrix-ish clone but the rifftrax does a decent job ribbing on the film and its Oscar Award Winning star.

"Wicker Man" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- Well, I've only seen the film once so far but YIKES. The rifftrax was good as usual but the film was just horrible and for me, far more on the infuriating side than goofy. I may have to wait a couple of months before seeing it again to make a fair judgement but right now, it's not something I want to see again anytime soon.

"Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy. -- This was pretty funny, I liked Kevin's blatant ogling of the female Terminatrix even when Mike kept pointing out her homicidal flaws and Governor Arnold got his fair share of jabs too. I liked this one a lot.

"Star Wars: Episode II" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- Chad Vader had about ten lines maybe during the entire rifftrax so he wasn’t really a factor. Overall, it was decent, some funny riffs on the oh-so-lame dialogue and painfully obvious CGI. There was a little too much of recycling jokes from the last Star Wars trax though and the whole poking fun at goofy names bit is getting tired IMHO though it didn’t ruin the track for me.

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" w/ Mike Nelson & Neil Patrick Harris -- While the team-up of Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy will always be my favorite, Neil Patrick Harris did a pretty good job here and worked very well with Mike. The movie was creepy and bizarre as always but the rifftrax really helped make a pleasurable experience out of a film that was pretty much unwatchable for me before.

"Casino Royale" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- Ah yes, the new Bond... Maybe this version of him is more faithful to the books but for me he wasn't nearly as fun and enjoyable as Pierce Bronson in "Goldeneye" and "Tomorrow Never Dies". I prefer entertainment to realism, though the Prince of Persia-esque chase sequence at the beginning was a nice touch. The rifftrax was pretty good for the majority of the movie with a few riffs (don't want to spoil them) making me laugh pretty hard. Unfortunately, the last twenty- five minutes of the movie [Aw, Bond's in wuv!] or so dragged a lot for me so I can only give this a mild recommendation.

"Eragon" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- The first time I saw this movie, I was unimpressed but Zoogz implored me to give it a second chance so I did and to my surprise, I found myself enjoying it a lot more the second time through. I dunno, maybe I was just in a bad mood or something the last time because there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this trax besides the CGI cracks. I can admit when I'm wrong and I can honestly recommend this rifftrax now.

"Predator" w/ Mike Nelson -- Oh man, this was great. It must've been tough to come up with riffs for the scenes with endless walking and no dialogue but he pulled it off pretty well overall. Definitely much better the 2nd time through if you find yourself getting caught up in the movie the first time. There were lots of great riffs, I really don't want to spoil the majority of them but as a Gary Larson fan, the 'cow tools' reference was very much appreciated.

"Fantastic Four" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- I was a little surprised by this movie. Having avoided it in the theater and on DVD until now, I fully expected another disaster like 'Daredevil' but to my great surprise, it was actually half-decent, thanks in no small part to Michael Chiklis who I felt single-handedly saved this film from being unwatchable. The rifftrax for the film was great as Mike and Kevin slip into their usual awesome groove and pummel the film and it's characters mercilessly, especially Chris Evans. 'The Shield' references were also appreciated.

"Star Trek: Generations" w/ Mike Nelson & Kevin Murphy -- This film had the opposite effect on me as opposed to Eragon. Whereas my first review of this trax was positive, I checked it out again a couple of months ago and again today just to be sure and found it downright painful. The first fifteen minutes or so were amusing but once the film goes grim, it just seemed to drag on FOREVER and the quality of the rifftrax seemed to plunge with it into the murky depths to drown. There were a few gems, in regards to Data's one man show, Kevin Murphy absolutely NAILS the problem with the latter Star Trek films with the line "You know, the Prime Directive of Star Trek should've been *NEVER DO COMEDY*. Unfortunately Mike and Kevin seemed far more comfortable with riffing TOS than TNG or maybe the film just sucked the energy out of them like it did me. I can’t really recommend this one anymore. It's a bitter pill.

"300" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- If you’ve read my previous review for ‘300’ http://www.nabiki.com/mst/zoogz/mst/blog/2007_03_01_archive.html then you already know my feelings about this film. Unfortunately, not even a rifftrax could save it for me. I just found the riffing kind of flat, too many repeated jokes on Sparta and the movie didn’t really lend itself well to a Rifftrax, IMHO. Oh well.

"The Bourne Identity" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- Ah, now this was a fun rifftrax. The first hour was among the best stuff they’ve ever done and had me laughing pretty consistently despite the film being rather bland and pedestrian taken by itself. Things slow down a bit, as does the film in the 2nd half, but overall, it was still very enjoyable and highly recommended.

"Independence Day" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- This is my favorite of the trio Rifftraxs thus far. It was a pure joy from beginning to end for me with Mike, Kevin and Bill in top form. I can’t recommend this rifftrax enough, it was pure cheesy gold and probably my favorite trax next to Star Trek V. Highest recommendations.

"Star Wars Episode III" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- And the Prequel trilogy concludes with a pretty good Rifftraxing. I definitely enjoyed this one much more than Episode II. Recommended.

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- Well, I loved the original film and the rifftrax very nicely compliments it without being annoying or interfering with the enjoyment. I liked the callback riffs to ‘Firewall’ and other Ford films as well as the playful mocking of the music and characters. Highly recommended.

"Spider-Man" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. -- Now this movie I didn’t care for at all but I hoped Rifftrax could make it enjoyable. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way for me and I found watching this movie even with the Rifftrax to be more of a chore than anything. Plus there was a rather unpleasant and unfunny gag at the end with Kevin crying hysterically over Mike beating him up. I see where they were trying to go with it but honestly, it just plain sucked and ended an already mediocre rifftrax on a rather sour note. Here’s hoping the next trio rifftrax can ascend back up to the quality of 'Independence Day' or 'Raiders' next time.

"Next" w/ Mike & Bridget Nelson -- I was dreading seeing this movie after 'Wicker Man' but to my surprise, the movie wasn't unwatchably awful. Silly and full of CGI car crashes but not awful. The rifftrax was good as well, Bridget and Mike worked well together and the husband/wife dynamic was pleasant yet cute without being nauseating at all. Recommended.

"Transformers" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett -- Another movie I absolutely loathed with five times the bad comedy of Star Trek: Generations. Just to be clear, I'm not a fan of the cartoon either so this isn't a purist thing. But the worst part for me was I found this rifftrax painfully mediocre. I sensed a strong 'going through the motions' vibe to it and while there were a handful of funny riffs scattered about, I found the trax as a whole to be uninspired and cannot recommend it.

"Star Wars Holiday Special" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Wow. God bless the 70’s huh? I had never seen this special before now and I doubt anything I could say hasn’t been said before many times over. Without Rifftrax, this film probably would’ve killed me within the first 10 minutes of warbling wookie but thankfully Mike, Kevin and Bill delivered one of the best rifftrax treatments I’ve heard so far. It was obvious they were having a blast doing it too and they even made Bea Arthur’s singing bearable (though to be fair, despite it’s greater length, it still pales in comparison to the sheer horror of her rendition of ‘Do The Urkel’.) Having them riff old commercials was also a blast and something I hope they could do again someday if the opportunity present itself. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I absolutely LOVED this Rifftrax and it’s in my top five along with being my favorite of the Star Wars rifftraxs. Highest recommendations.

"Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Having enjoyed the first movie rifftrax, I went into this one with slightly lowered expectations since the Star Wars Ep. 2 rifftrax wasn’t nearly as funny to me as Ep. 1 and they repeated many of the same jokes. To my pleasant surprise though, this rifftrax was just as funny if not funnier than the original. The trio do a great job roasting this film to a nice golden brown and they sound like they’re having a blast doing it, which is always a plus. Highly recommended.

"A Visit to Santa" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Garsh! Well, uh, it's not the WORST Christmas short I've ever seen but it's definitely a contender for most irritating soundtrack. Two Sumerian speaking kids have their sleep interrupted by a creepy elf child and brought forth by helicopter to Santa's... low rent apartment. The apathetic Santa, probably played by some bored security guard at the mall where most of this thing was filmed, shows the kids around and makes them look at stuff. For a long time. This Rifftrax is amusingly dark and I enjoyed it for the most part. Recommended.

"Plan 9 From Outer Space" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I originally got this movie with just Mike’s commentary track from Legend Films and I somewhat enjoyed it then but this do-over with all three riffers is a big improvement, especially with the final 15-20 minutes of the film which had a fair amount of dead spots in the original commentary. And while there was some riff repeats from that original commentary, it didn’t hamper my overall enjoyment of the rifftrax. Recommended.

"Jurassic Park" w/ Mike Nelson & Weird Al Yankovic. -- Ah, finally! I’ve been waiting for Al to be a guest commentator for a while now and he didn’t disappoint. Both he and Mike do a great job of riffing this film and I pretty much enjoyed the trax from start to finish. Very highly recommended.

"Batman & Robin" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Folks, if you ever had the unfortunate... "pleasure" of watching this film, even on free TV with seemingly nothing else to watch... I recommend renting or buying Batman: The Animated Series on DVD and NEVER watch another live action Batman film again. I know Batman Begins supposedly saved the franchise but IMHO, Batman TAS will always be better than live action. Always. That being said, this Rifftrax was a mixed bag. On one hand, it had some really funny riffs, all written by the fans. On the other, we had some rather large gaps near the end of the film and every second of the film not Rifftraxed is pure agony. Plus the riffing sounded rather stiff at times due to the script not being written by them. Still, the trax did end on a funny note and it’s worth checking out overall.

"The Matrix Reloaded" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Hmm, well the rifftrax for this was definitely good, but when the film doesn’t involve an action or Yuen Woo Ping wire sequence, (I refuse to besmirch the good name of chop socky with THIS film), it is just painfully dull. Don’t get me wrong, the rifftrax definitely helped but the film is still such a chore for me to watch regardless. I wish this was an MST3K episode so they could edit out the boring stuff. Seriously, I’ve played RPGs that were less pretentious and dull than this movie as a whole. To be fair, the rifftrax was funny and I probably will listen to it again in the future, but definitely not on a regular rotation.

"Beowulf" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Now this was a fun movie, and far more enjoyable for me than "300". Putting CGI characters instead of live ones in a CGI world for a seamless experience, who would’ve thought that would actually work! Sarcasm aside, this movie still has quite a bit of cheese and the riffers do a great job with it, making this one of the more enjoyable recent rifftraxs I’ve listened to. Highly recommended.

"Safety: Harm Hides at Home" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I've only watched a few of the shorts so far and found the majority of them to be okay but nothing to write home about really. This short, however, is quite good and goofy. Kinda like a 1970's Mr. B Natural only tamer. It's definitely more than worth the 99 cents to get though.

"Spiderman 3" w/ Mike Nelson & James Lileks. -- James who? That was basically my reaction but okay, I liked Neil Patrick Harris and Weird Al with Mike so I gave James a chance. But once again, the movie was just a total bitch to get through and the rifftrax failed to make it bearable. Actually the rifftrax in general was kinda lifeless as well but that may be the fault of the movie more than anything. Needless to say, I won't be chomping at the bit to get the rifftrax for 'Spiderman 2'... ^_^;

"One Got Fat: Bicycle Safety" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This short was an odd mix of disturbing and goofy. It would almost be depressing if it weren't so frigging goofy. One by one kids fail to use common sense with their bicycles and get maimed but onward they trek, with their monkey masks and cheap wire tails towards their ultimate reward of lunch. As you might expect, this short is very riffable and while it's not quite as good as Safety: Harm Hides at Home, it's still worth checking out.

"Cloverfield" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This was a tough one to judge. On the one hand, the rifftrax did a good job and had me laughing many times. The film however was not fun for me at all. Imagine making a Godzilla movie and taking all the fun and cheesiness out of it. Then add some stomach churning camerawork, some blatant '9/11' imagery (which I'm surprised wasn't commented on by the riffers considering how they jumped all over X-Men for using the Holocaust as a plot point), and reduce 80% of the dialogue to 'Oh my god' and 'Dude', which got old VERY fast. Some people on the Rifftrax board seemed to think this movie was too good for Rifftrax to tackle, I couldn't disagree more, this film SUCKS. Still, the rifftrax was good and I can recommend it but if you've never seen the film, don't be surprised if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

"Star Trek New Frontiers: World Enough and Time" w/ Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Well, the fanfilm was surprisingly well done, but I found the rifftrax to be rather average, not bad but nothing special either.

"LOTR: The Two Towers" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Much like the last LOTR rifftrax, it was good but I kept losing myself in the movie. If you liked the Fellowship rifftrax, you'll like this one too.

"X-Files: Fight the Future" w/ Bill Corbett & Mary Jo Pehl. -- I've mentioned in the past that I wasn't a fan of Pearl Forrester but Mary Jo Pehl as herself did a great riffing this film with Bill Corbett. I've never been a fan of the X-Files but this trax made the movie a real hoot and I highly recommend it.

"Alien" w/ Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Okay, I know this movie is a horror classic and such, but I always preferred the sequel for its incredible adrenaline rush that still hold up over 20 years later. Thankfully Kevin and Bill do a great job riffing this film and I thoroughly enjoyed this rifftrax. I would go into more detail but I honestly don't want to spoil anything, very highly recommended.

"Drugs Are Like That" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I really have to question the wisdom of producing an anti-drug short featuring two kids COKED OUT THE ASS. Seriously, these kids HAD to be on something as they struggle towards a coherent thought and barely mumble their way through some sort of bizarre analogy with Lego and drugs. Apparently, much like patriotism, drugs are everyone, everything, everywhere. They are the alpha. They are the omega. They are... like that. As for the Rifftrax, it’s pretty decent with the riffers being frequently bewildered with the short and quickly losing patience with the brain dead brats. Recommended.

"The Sixth Sense" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I had a feeling I wouldn't enjoy this one but I took a chance anyway. I already knew the surprise twist so I suppose I can't judge the film fairly since I pretty much knew what was coming for the most part. The rifftrax was just sort of there for this one, nothing to write home about and rather dull to boot. Not recommended.

"Patriotism" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This was kinda weird, as apparently doing ANYTHING can be considered some form of patriotism and it doesn’t have to make much sense. Still pretty funny though. Recommended.

"Buying Food" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Yes, apparently people had to be told how to food shop back in the day too. What’s next, Centron? A short on how to scratch yourself? This is another hilarious short that makes a excellent companion piece with ‘Cooking Terms’ as food is hastily bought, cruelly wasted, harshly judged and subjected to a staggering amount of superfluous investigation. Very highly recommended.

"The Trouble with Women" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Ever see that old episode of Family Guy where Mr. Weed shows Ms. Ironbox the work training film from the 1950s that was blatantly sexist? Well, that’s pretty much this film in a nutshell as it tells us that women are a huge pain in the ass to train on the job but it’s still YOUR responsibility to do so, so suck it up, man. As you might expect, the trio just go way over the top with this one mocking the attitudes and characters in the film “You probably left bra marks on the table!” and it makes for a short but very amusing Rifftrax. Highly recommended.

"It Must Be The Neighbors" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- For some reason, I keep thinking of the phrase ‘It Must Be The Pretzels!’ whenever I see the title. Anyway, this short features fugly neighbors bickering over who’s the least responsible for the possible influx of mosquitoes, rats and bugs due to their combined laziness. Naturally it’s up to their super kids to keep the peace by forming a mob and cleaning the fuck out of everything till their parents get their collective butts in gear. After all, without video games and cable TV to entertain them, what the hell else were kids gonna do back then? The riffing for this was pretty good and I was entertained. Recommended.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I hadn’t seen this since it opened in the theater and it’s still a pleasantly fun film to watch, though its running time is a little too long and it had a rather weak ending I thought. The rifftrax was a lot of fun too and makes a great companion piece for the film. Overall, a solid effort and recommended.

"The Day After Tomorrow" w/ Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Ah, global warming. Well, that about sums up my feelings on that subject so let’s move on to the movie. It sucks. Onwards then to the Rifftrax! The first time I listened to it, I was disappointed because it wasn’t the home run I was hoping for but upon a second listen, I found it to be solid and pretty decent overall.

"Iron Man" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Once again, this was a case of enjoying the film way too much to follow the Rifftrax at times. It’s definitely the best film Marvel’s ever done (Spider-who?) Not to say the Rifftrax isn’t worth checking out, it is, but I highly recommend to watch the film by itself before doing so.

"The Happening" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Rifftrax... Rifftrax... Hot Dog... *click!*... Huh, out of ammo... oh well, onto the review then. Seriously though, ‘The Happening’ is PERFECT MSTing fodder, a thoroughly goofy film that takes itself WAY too seriously and utterly fails to terrify with its absurd premise of murderous trees and casual suicide while introducing us to some of the silliest characters to grace the silver screen in some time. Fans of my MST6.7 series may recall a parody of horror films I did once called ‘Money’ where global currency attempted to rise up against humanity. This film uses THE WIND. As you might expect, the Rifftrax for this film is FANTASTIC, keeping me entertained and laughing my ass off for pretty much the whole thing. Thankfully the film is barely 90 minutes long so the riffers don’t run out of energy and you can tell they’re having a LOT of fun riffing this film too. Highest possible recommendation.

(Oh, and one more thing about ‘The Happening’ DVD... when one sees an selection for a ‘gag reel’ on the DVD menu, one would assume it’s a montage of flubbed lines, mistakes and possible stunts gone wrong. However, upon selecting the ‘gag reel’, I was instead treated to minutes of the cast simply lounging around, playing guitar and generally doing NOTHING of amusement or interest. THEY COULDN’T EVEN GET THE FUCKING GAG REEL RIGHT! Or maybe... They Just Didn’t Care?)

"Indiana... no, fuck that.

"Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- The fourth installment of the Indy saga is truly a worthy successor to the original trilogy, combining a great story with a beautiful soundtrack. But enough about Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis...

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is NOT an Indiana Jones film. While I’ll give credit to Speilburg for making this film slightly more enjoyable than say, Star Wars Episodes 1 & 2, it still stinks on ice with so many blue screen effects, they should’ve just made the whole thing CGI like Beowulf and been done with it. And while the Indy Trilogy may have had a moment or three that required suspension of disbelief, almost all the stunts done in Crystal Skull are so ridiculously implausible as to be insulting. I mean, it’s hard enough trying to believe in alien crystal skulls with selective magnetism without having Old Man Indy not only survive a nuclear blast at ground zero, but be tossed around in a fridge in a manner that would break every bone in his body. And there’s plenty more stupidity where that came from. Two words: Greaser Monkeys. Anyway, the rifftrax for this was pretty good, not the home run of ‘The Happening’ but pretty good. The best parts were definitely during the action scenes and the constant ribbing of Harrison’s age. Though at times I was almost saddened by Kevin and Bill’s pitiful attempts to sing the Indy theme song during the lamer scenes in the film, of which there were plenty. Still recommended though.

"X-Men 2" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I liked this film a lot more than Part 1 and it was truly unfortunate that Part 3 sucked as badly as it did which sadly lessened the emotional impact of Part 2 as a result. Still, as taken on its own, X-Men 2 is still pretty fun and enjoyable overall. The rifftrax, on the other hand, not so much. We got more ‘Cerebro/Magneto’ jokes which for me are just excruciatingly awful and annoying and the rifftrax as a whole was just boring. Not recommended.

"The Dark Knight" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- It’s nice to see the quality of the recent live action Batman films finally step up after the numerous cinematic disasters of Burton and Schumacher. They still can’t hold a candle to Batman: The Animated Series, IMHO, but at least they have a little genuine SUBSTANCE now, which I appreciate. Anyway, The Dark Knight is a very good film, Batman’s horrible voice notwithstanding, and just like ‘Iron Man’, this rifftrax is definitely best watched after watching the film by itself. As for the rifftrax itself, it was all right, nothing bad but nothing special. Mildly recommended.

"Star Wars Episode IV" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- *sighs*... I wanted to like this one, I really did. And maybe the fact that this movie has been the subject of countless spoofs over the last 30 years made it virtually impossible to be original yet still funny but this rifftrax was just... disappointing. There was barely a standout moment during the entire track, they completely missed out on a prime ‘Trumpy’ riff during the film and turned what was a funny one-shot riff with a fat X-Wing pilot's name and just repeated it endlessly to the point where it became as unfunny to me as ‘Cerebro/Magneto’. For now, I highly recommend sticking with ‘Spaceballs: The Movie’ for a genuinely funny spoof of 'Star Wars'.

"Reefer Madness Redux" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I absolutely loved the original commentary Mike Nelson gave this film and still highly recommend it to this day. And perhaps the fact that I’ve listened to that track many many times influenced my judgment with this redux. Part of the problem is that the redux used a great majority of the same riffs from the original track only with Kevin and Bill now saying Mike’s lines and occasionally chuckling at each other which just seemed wrong to me, especially during the long walk down the hallway scene. Not to say there weren’t some new riffs, there were and a few of the additions to the original riffs were funny, such as Mike guessing what Bill would do once he was acquitted and the fact that Jimmy got away with his crime scott free. Also, I can understand why they would lose the colorization riffs but cutting the 'batshit insane' line? Come on, that was gold!

Anyway, I honestly just couldn’t enjoy this trax in the same way as the original. But maybe that’s just me. If you’ve never listened to the original commentary, or not listened to it as frequently as I have, you’ll probably enjoy the redux quite a bit. Mildly recommended.

"Jaws" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Much like the Raiders Rifftrax, this Rifftrax goes great with the original film, which is still an enjoyable classic and the Rifftrax also helped to liven up some of the more dull moments that films from the 1970s were seemingly forced to include by law. Also, there’s a nice surprise at the end of the trax, I don’t want to give it away but it was very enjoyable. Highly recommended.

"Playing Together" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Now this was funny, I loved the riffs on public pools, ‘the stickman’ and the fact that the short completely lost focus by the end and the riffers were just dumbfounded. Highly recommended.

"How Much Affection" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This one wouldn’t have been out of place on an episode of MST3K and it was longer than the usual short, about 20 mins or so. This short has a woman freaking out about her hormones and getting a long ass lecture from the ghostly head of her mother before she attends the whitest party in the world. White and Nerdy doesn’t BEGIN to describe these milk toasts. The riffing was quite good on this. Highly recommended.

"Your Chance To Live" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Ah yes, 1970s technology, truly a golden age except for cars apparently. The first half of this rifftrax was great, I was laughing pretty hard a few times but it slowed down considerably in the 2nd half. Still for 99 cents and 12 mins of your time, it’s worth checking out. Recommended.

"As You Like It" Short w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This short kinda surprised me as beer seems an unusual subject to glorify for the supposedly Beaver Clean 50s where there was like five hundred shorts on posture and manners alone. Also, the budget for the short apparently ran dry halfway through as the 2nd half features only still shots with narration which took me back to the filmstrips I had to watch in first grade, only without the inevitable blurring, projector failure or the cassette tape providing the sound being slowly eaten alive. Still, the short was pretty funny and having the trio hoist a few at the end was cute. Highly recommended.

"Going Steady" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This was yet another short on dating, this time asking if going steady is worth the hassle or not. Surprisingly, most opinions expressed in the short seem to lean toward the negative, even the parents of the middle aged kids. This Rifftrax was all right for the price, nothing special but not bad either. Recommended.

"Star Wars Episode V" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett & Chad Vader. -- Ahh, now THAT’S more like it! After a shaky beginning with ‘Star Wars Episode IV’ IMHO, the trio kept the running gags to an acceptable minimum (two or three Porkins jokes tops, thank god.) and delivered an excellent rifftrax for this film that I thoroughly enjoyed. Too many highlights to list here and I don’t want to spoil them anyway. Chad Vader also had more lines in this rifftrax and he did a good job with them without getting in the way of the other riffers. Very highly recommended.

"You And Your Family" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This brought back fond memories of the MST3K classic short ‘A Date With Your Family’. And while it’s only 7 mins long, it was pretty funny and I think worth checking out. Highly recommended.

"Twilight" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This movie is fucking stupid. Honestly, that's pretty much the best way I felt I could sum up the film as a whole. Fucking. Stupid. And the Rifftrax? In a word: Brilliant. In more words: the writing highlights razor sharp wit and is very funny. It turned what was a vapid and shallow sack of shit into not only a watchable experience but an highly enjoyable one as well. While this may often be par for the course with Rifftrax, this trax truly speaks volumes of their talent and skill. Very highly recommended.

"Primary Safety: In the School Building" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Ahh, this was great. I remember having to watch films like this back in grade school. Of course we welcomed any chance to take a nap back then. Seriously though, this short was almost non-stop laughs as some poor kids is forced to pass judgment on his classmates for minor infractions to achieve the greater good of nurturing future generations of anal-retentive neurotics. Very highly recommended.

"Cooking Terms" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I watched this short before ‘Buying Food’ and I have to say it’s one of my all time favorites. Poor little Margie is cruelly lectured by the narrator when she makes a mistake on her husband’s dinner/dessert and shamed into learning proper techniques like how to sheep, boil water and the all important soft ball lesson of cooking. Needless to say, the trio pummel this short mercilessly with hilariously scathing sarcasm, making this one of my favorite Rifftrax shorts. Very highly recommended.

"Casablanca" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Mike starts off this Rifftrax explaining that he, Kevin and Bill took on this classic film as a personal challenge to test their skills, which I can relate to and greatly respect considering some of the fanfics I’ve MSTed over the years. And how did they do? Pretty well actually. The riffs here are definitely more of the light and playful persuasion than the sarcastic and brutally funny humor they save for movies like ‘Twilight’. They did rely on random pop culture references a bit too much in some spots but I found it mostly forgivable considering the difficulty of riffing one of the greatest films of all time. In conclusion, this Rifftrax makes a nice companion piece to the film, just be sure to watch the film first if you’ve never seen it. Recommended.

"The Room" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- “Oh hi, Rifftrax fans!” Hoo boy... this film is pretty much a glorified softcore porn, elevated by a mind-bogglingly goofy script and starring a long haired Euro weirdo with an accent even more incomprehensible than Jean Claude Van Damme, Tommy Wiseau. Tommy is apparently aspiring to be Orsen Wells by also writing, directing and producing this film but he’s far closer to Ed Wood Jr., despite the lack of any crossdressing... that we’re aware of. The man simply exudes limburger with every line he utters. All three of them. Over and over and over again. “Oh, hi, repetition!”

Anyway, you would think this would make for a pretty funny Rifftrax. And yeah, for the most part, it does. They tend to riff on Tommy Wiseau a bit too much, not that it isn’t well deserved but it does get a bit tired after a while. Where I felt the Rifftrax really stumbled though was whenever they had to riff any sex scenes. I realize it can be difficult to riff on basically the same sex scene repeated about five or six times over the course of the film with little variation and that Mike Nelson is personally uncomfortable with scenes involving sex and nudity in them but their solution of having Disembaudio show up over and over with his friends and family being as loud and obnoxious as possible was frankly downright painful to listen to and I really hope they can come up with a less irritating solution next time they tackle scenes like that.

Overall though, I’m still recommending ‘The Room’ Rifftrax for the price and the movie as a whole but you might find yourself turning the volume down at times. Fair warning.

“Back to School with Joan Miller" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Girls Gone Plaid! This is another short that would’ve worked well on MST3K as we’re forced to watch model after model smile through their pain as they parade their hot naked wrists for our pleasure while draped in endless variations of plaid, the epitome of high fashion... if you believe Joan Miller who couldn’t even be bothered to show up for this thing. The short runs twenty minutes and is generally repetitive but to their credit, the riffers do a pretty good job keeping things interesting and funny throughout. Recommended.

“The Bill of Rights in Action” w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This is one of those shorts that asks a question and expects you to come up with an answer. In this case, does freedom of speech grant a Nazi the right to praise Hitler while standing in front of a Jewish temple? The short is pretty straight forward and not really all that goofy, and while the riffers do get some funny lines in, I found it an odd choice for a Rifftrax. Still, I did enjoy the jokes, so recommended, I guess.

“Shake Hands with Danger” w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This short from the 70s is apparently still in use today and shows the dangers of being rock stupid on a construction site, with each work related accident being followed by an addictive little song that you’ll have stuck in your head for weeks afterwards. Trust me. It’s also cheesy as hell and the trio do a great job riffing it. Very Highly Recommended.

“The Tale of Moose Baby” w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Oh MAN... normally I’m not a fan of films involving animals but the first few minutes of this short had me laughing so hard, I thought I was going to pass out! That made it worth the 99 cents right there. The rest of the short wasn’t quite as gut-bustingly funny but still good overall with the editing jokes, constant ribbing of Moose Baby and the last minute or so had me giggling for another five minutes straight. Very Highly Recommended.

“Flying Stewardess” w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Wait, they used to have pull out BEDS in airplanes!? Bring them back! NOW! OK, OK, to business. This 1950 short basically tries to convince women how wonderful and fulfilling it is to be a stewardess instead of a dumb old pilot. And according to the short, most stewardesses get married within a mere THREE years so apply now, you lucky dames and be sure to brush up on your sailing and ping pong if you ever hope to land a man! Sarcasm aside, this 11 min short is nicely roasted by the trio. Recommended.

“Constance Bennett’s Daily Beauty Rituals” w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Five minutes of watching a woman putting on makeup and taking a ba? Sure, why not? And who the hell names their child, Constance? Anyway, this woman is more than happy to lead us through her morning routine, but before you know it, it’s a quarter of eight and she’s dressed to serve her lord and master (her exact words) also known as her son. Yikes. While this short’s pretty short, the riffing is pretty damn funny for those five minutes and worth checking out for 99 cents, IMHO. Highly recommended.

"Teenagers on Trial" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Don't trust anyone under 30! Written by old farts for old farts, this short sets out to prove what they already knew, all kids are rotten and not to be trusted. They're worse than Commies! THE BEAVER IS A LIE! Only having them join the US Army can set these kids straight! Or get them killed, which is also acceptable apparently. This Rifftrax was a fun way to kill 8 mins of your time. Recommended.

"Cork – Crashes and Curiosities" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Irish Sweep... I'm not a fan of modern or 1940s racing, so I really don't have much to say about this short. Irish jokes dominate this Rifftrax but it's all in good fun and I enjoyed it. Recommended.

"The Case of Tommy Tucker Pt. 1 & 2" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This disturbing short starts out with a Pagan children's play which is quickly interrupted by the Hitler Youth Move... oops, I mean, the SAFETY PATROL lead by a little self-righteous snot named Tommy Tucker that resembles Howdy Doody right down to his Joker smile. Creeped out yet?

Thankfully, Tommy is run over by a car soon afterwards and hovers near death but what does he care? He's on SAFETY ISLAND, which is apparently a gated community in Heaven, and he's a martyr to the righteous cause of installing 1984-esque safety procedures to Anytown, USA so people will stop running over annoying bossy kids that try to tell them how to drive! Yeah. As for the Rifftrax, while I wasn't a fan of it being split up into two parts (a practice they seem to have stopped now thankfully), the riffing was great and I enjoyed it a lot. Highly recommended for both parts.

"Women in Blue" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Yep, it's another short desperately trying to convince its audience that sexism was a dirty lie and women had more to look forward to in the 1940s than cooking, cleaning, and child rearing by showing them signing up to serve in the Navy so more men could be sent off to war. Of course, once the war was over, the women were quickly booted back to their old positions but hey, enjoy the fun while it lasts, ladies! Much like 'The Trouble With Women', the riffing here is nicely dark and sarcastic. Highly recommended.

"The Matrix Revolutions" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Well, the film itself sucks on toast but this was far more enjoyable for me with a Rifftrax than 'Matrix Reloaded', probably because this movie was more mindless action and less endless droning monologues sapping my will to live. The riffers themselves seemed more energized as well which always helps. Highly recommended.

"Star Trek 2009" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- *deep breath* Okay... I am a long time fan of the majority of the original Star Trek, The Next Generation, and select Deep Space 9 episodes. I knew this film was a reboot and I tried to watch it with an open mind and reminded myself how badly 'Nemesis' had botched it and with 'Enterprise' gone, the franchise needed this sort of thing to survive.

But this... this was a decent sci-fi action film, nothing more. You can dress them up as the characters, give them the characteristics of the original crew (and I will admit that Karl Urban was FUCKING scary as McCoy, he was practically channeling the DEAD with his portrayal.) and have old Leonard Nimoy himself show up to bless the reboot, so to speak, but it still ain't Star Trek as far as I'm concerned. Maybe that'll change with the next film, who knows, but for now... NO.

All right, rant over. Now for the Rifftrax. With the sole exception of the 'Funky Spock' sequence, which was hilarious, I found this trax to be dull and lifeless with very few laughs for me. Perhaps the riffers felt the same way I did with the film and couldn't muster up the energy, I dunno. Recommendation to avoid, sadly, but check out 'Funky Spock' on Youtube if you've never seen it.

"Cinematic Titanic: East Meets Watts" w/ Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. -- I initially avoided 'Cinematic
Titanic' for a couple of reasons. The trailers for their studio releases frankly sucked IMHO and I'm a cheap bastard who'd rather pay three bucks for a rifftrax that might suck than $14 for a DVD that might suck. However, when 'East Meets Watts' was announced, I checked out the trailer and was impressed enough to take a chance. And I'm glad I did.

The film is a mix of bad Blaxploitation and worse Kung-Fu, but mixed together, it became a somewhat watchable movie featuring several actors from M*A*S*H (No Alan Alda sadly, he could have used the style of the Hawkeye... *cough*)

As for the riffing, it's great overall and there's some big laughs to be found throughout. All of the riffers have some funny choice lines in this one and going live may have been the smartest move 'Cinematic Titanic' could have made as seeing the performers smile, laugh and react to each other and the audience during the riffing definitely adds a level of energy that a studio riffing, however funny, can't quite reach. It was especially great to hear Trace riffing again after all these years and he hasn't lost his touch. To be fair, though, there were three noteworthy spots where I felt the riffing quality dipped considerably:

- After the 'Journey' riff until Stud Brown first shows up.
- The majority of the gun fight in the dark.
- And the last seven minutes of the movie or so.

Still, the majority of this CT offering is well worth checking out. Very Highly Recommended.

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. --

(Note: This isn't the version from the Live Christmas Rifftrax DVD, nor are any of the shorts reviewed here from that DVD at this time.)

This was a fun 8 min short, of course I had to resist the urge to shout out rude phrases during the theme song but otherwise I enjoyed this. I do hope to see the live DVD version someday to compare them. Recommended.

"The Night Before Christmas" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- My personal favorite of the Christmas themed shorts, I was laughing pretty much all the way through this one and I don't want to spoil anything. Very highly recommended.

"Three Magic Words" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Oh man, this short was just AWESOME! And I thought 'Shaking Hands with Danger' was tough to get out of my head. This delightful marketing musical has 'Mrs. Newlywed' pleading with The Three (Low Rent) Stooges, who are everyone and everywhere apparently, to save her ass by cooking dinner to settle a bet. Only the power of PORK can save her now, or more specifically, a half dozen or so songs praising said pork with a little help from dark magic. This short was an absolute laugh riot for me from beginning to end. Highest recommendations!

"Parade of Aquatic Champions" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Another short I really enjoyed with plenty of laughs and belly flops. You'd think so-called 'Aquatic Champions' would be smart enough not to belly flop into the pool, especially when racing, but hey, I never competed in the 1932 Olympics so what do I know? And I have no idea what the deal with Larry is, but I haven't been that
confused/unsettled since Mr. B Natural. *shudder* Very highly recommended.

"Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- And so ends the riffing of Star Wars, unless they start doing 'The Clone Wars' which might be the only thing that could make that series watchable for me. I hadn't seen this movie for quite a while and was surprised by how amazingly DULL the first half was. Once things pick up in the latter half, it's all good but why the FUCK did they change the perfectly epic and enjoyable 'Yub Yub' song at the end to that generic piece of crap? Bleah!

Unfortunately, after a great performance with 'Empire Strikes Back', the riffing seemed to drop back to mediocre levels with this Rifftrax, though it was still better than the dismal effort for 'A New Hope'. There were the occasional funny moments, like the gay jokes for the droids and Kevin Murphy taking Lucas to task for adding crap like a completely asinine dance sequence to the movie but keeping cheap special effects like Han Solo defrosting from hibernation intact but overall I was more disappointed than entertained by this Rifftrax. Mildly recommended but just barely. So now, because I felt like doing it, here's my ranking of the Star Wars Rifftraxs from best to worst, IMHO.

"The Star Wars Holiday Special"
"Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"
"Episode I: The Phantom Menace"
"Episode III: Revenge of the Sith"
"Episode II: Attack of the Clones"
"Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"
"Episode IV: A New Hope"

"Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor" w/ Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. -- Ah, the hairy 70s. When even the monsters in your films were required by law to be unshaven. Actually, that's only one of the three monsters that invade a small town filled with the usual gang of idiots that make up the cast of these things. There's the nerdy scientists who don't actually do anything, the know-it-all stranger who has all the answers. The inept mayor. The drunken posse. The sheriff and his deputy. The movie star, the professor and Mary Anne, etc, etc...

The riffing for this one was good but not quite as funny for me as 'East Meets Watts', which may be the fault of the film itself as it can be a little dry and painfully dull at times. There were some great lines though, especially from Trace who provided some of the biggest laughs, including one PERFECTLY timed riff I won't spoil here that nearly brought the house down and broke up the other riffers. At one point, Josh even acknowledges to the audience during an extended walking scene how difficult some scenes can be to riff when nothing's happening for minutes on end. Still, I enjoyed the CT overall. Highly recommended.

"Molly Grows Up" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- At first I wondered if I was qualified to judge this short being a guy, but then the short itself doesn't seem all that knowledgeable on the subject either. So, I'll just say Molly's adventures with menstruation made for a very funny Rifftrax, especially hilarious was the list of "activities" one should and should not do when on the rag, as well as the riffing of the opening and closing credits. Very highly recommended.

"Little Lost Scent" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Meet Gregory, baby skunk and all around badass who rarely has to resort to his special weapon as he stares down every animal foolish enough to cross his path of PAIN. Even his vampire mom can't keep Gregory in line for long. This Rifftrax was a lot of fun and while they did talk over the admittedly long-winded narrator a bit too much
at times, I still enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

"Seat Belts: The Life Saving Habit" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- YES! I love cheesy shorts from the 1980s! The music, the fashion, the hair, it's all good. This short has its share of goofy moments but its mostly serious or as serious as 80s shorts can ever be. The first half of this Rifftrax had more laughs for me than the other half though, but still funny overall. It might be a bit hard to watch though if you have kids as some child sized test dummies take a few vicious shots into the windshield in this short. Recommended, otherwise.

"Avatar" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Continuing in the tradition of movies like 'TRON' and 'Star Wars: Episode I', combining state of the art special effects with a crappy script, it's CAPTAIN PLAN... I mean, AVATAR! Okay, sure, it has blue anorexics fighting the good fight against an evil corporation who employ cartoonish, gung-ho villains, but so what? Uh, besides, 'Dances with Wolves' and 'The Matrix' were darn fine movies so ripping them off should mean this film is good by default too, right? Right?? Sarcasm aside, the rifftrax for this was amusing for the most part, nothing outstanding but worth checking out once at least. Long ass movie though. Mildly recommended.

"Drawing for Beginners: The Rectangle" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Very funny Rifftrax for a rather dry short about drawing rectangles. The artistic skills shown here are about on par with my own drawing abilities so I can't judge it too harshly but still, funny stuff. Highly recommended.

"iRiff: After Last Season" w/ Noah 'The Spoony One' Antwiler. -- Spoony is my absolute favorite internet reviewer and if you've never seen his website 'The Spoony Experiment', I highly recommend checking it out. Anyway, to the movie...

I can honestly say in terms of sheer utter incompetence that this is the worst film I've ever seen in my entire life. It's worth seeing just to have your mind blown that something this horrible can not only be conceived of but be created, produced and released. I honestly thought it was a joke at first but apparently millions of dollars went into its promotion, and dozens of quarters went into its budget, judging by the laughably bad props. Even 'Manos: The Hands of Fate' had a plot you could follow, this thing is like being mixed in a blender on with a dull blade, everything was disjointed, the actors... weren't, and nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING made any sense whatsoever!

Whew... okay, now for the Rifftrax. For his first official Rifftrax, Spoony does a pretty excellent job keeping me entertained despite the movie. He even sings a bit during a couple of the films more numbing moments and though he starts to run out of steam during the last third of the film, it's honestly a miracle that he managed to keep his energy up that long considering the BRUTALLY long stretches of screen-saver padding. Very highly recommended and I look forward to checking out Dune as soon as I can find the DVD for cheap.

"Twilight: New Moon" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Okay, I've only seen this once so far and I usually like to watch a rifftrax twice before writing a review so take this with a grain of salt...

The movie: I found 'New Moon' to be infuriating when it wasn't boring, much like 'Wicker Man'. Bella is a disgustingly selfish character who treats her dad like shit and leads on every other male in the movie while crying for Edward, who's barely in the movie at all and amazingly, this DOESN'T make the movie any better! Not to mention the continuing pro-suicide message of these movies make me want to throw up in disgust.

As for the rifftrax, from what I remember of it, it just didn't seem to have the same spark, energy and venom the first one had. I remember looking at the clock about 40 mins in and wondering when the laughs were going to come and they never really did. In fact, I can't even remember one specific riff from the whole trax other than a repeat of the Benny Hill gag, which was funnier the first time.

Anyway, I'll probably check the film out again when I get a chance to be sure. Maybe a second viewing will change my mind on the Rifftrax like with 'Eragon', but somehow I doubt I'll be changing my opinion of the film.

"Cinematic Titanic: Danger on Tiki Island" w/ Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. -- You know, as much as I love Rifftrax, movies like this bring back warm and fuzzy memories of the golden age of MST3K and CT has brought us what I feel is their best live effort to date.

This movie has Percy Chiseljaw, Booby McHorny and Wally Cleaver arriving on BLOOD ISLAND to study radiation or something and encounter a native flannel wearing tribe lead by a shriner with a really hot granddaughter that have ‘returned to their primitive ways’ by sacrificing their virgins to appease the island’s screeching hentai tentacle trees and a monster that resembles a pile of melted tires who moans like a porn star. Meanwhile, a bald man named Goro (FINISH HIM!) plays tour guide for our heroes as they visit a midget sanctuary/slave labor camp, run by Mr. Rourke as played by Ricky Ricardo and... that’s all I’m going to reveal here. This is one GOOFY monster film that’s perfect for riffing, with plenty of WTF moments.

The movie is also a little more mature than the last two live films with occasional (really cheap looking) gore, a bit of bondage with flashes of ‘almost’ nudity and a great deal of cleavage, 70% of which is MALE, but damn that other 30% is nice. There’s an odd yet funny moment during the riffing where Joel just flat out asks the audience why guys are so attracted to women like Booby McHorny, not really expecting an answer.

(Crow: Boobies, the deciding factor in many a hasty marriage.)

Anyway, all the riffers did a great job with this one, especially Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. There were very few, if any, flubs this time that I noticed. The few dull spots that occurred during riffing were thankfully short-lived this time around as well. Overall, very highly recommended!

(Additionally, this CT release includes a short 17 min documentary featuring the Cinematic Titanic performers as they share their thoughts on each other and their experiences with CT as well as comments from fans leaving the theater after the show. While the documentary is a bit self-congratulatory, you can tell these people share a great deal of affection for each other and their fans as they playfully snipe each others' flaws and Trace mockingly threatens to sue a young fan who shares his name. Frank Conniff has a funny story about coming up with a riff that he was unable to say without bursting into uncontrollable laughter and when he finally did deliver it flawlessly during a live performance, it was greeted with dead silence from the audience.)

"Clash of the Titans" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Having never seen the original film, I have to say the remake was pretty disappointing and nowhere near as epic as the trailer promised. The performances weren't bad, really, just sort of there and the entire film had a lazy pacing to it, like 'We KNOW we're an epic so we're putting in in cruise control, baby." when what it really could have used was a serious kick in the pants. The Rifftrax, however, was very good and definitely helped the film go down easier. Highly recommended.

"The Last Airbender" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Oh, dear lord this was HORRIBLE! I've never even seen the original 'Avatar' animated series but I'm pretty sure it isn't nearly be as bad as this abomination. Whereas 'The Happening' was so goofy, it was enjoyable, this was just... punishing. It was like playing the 2nd disc of Xenogears on fast forward. Even the Rifftrax couldn't save this one for me and to be honest, the Rifftrax for it wasn't all that great anyway. Recommendation to AVOID, especially the movie.

"Inception" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I never really understood all the hoopla over this film. It was an interesting idea, sure, but it was not one of the best films I've seen, nowhere close really. Honestly, Inception just came off to me as another Matrix-ish clone. As for the Rifftrax, it was... alright. Nothing really grabbed me but it was okay. Sorry if I'm repeating myself but I really don't have much else to say about it. If you're a big fan of the film, maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did but personally, meh.

"The Devil's Hand" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This was a fun little film that was goofy yet watchable on its own. A guy is having strange dreams of a beautiful blonde tempting him, much to the chagrin of his fiancee who nonetheless supports his decision to seek out this woman and unravel this mystery. Unfortunately, the man decides he'd much rather unravel the blonde and nonchalantly leaves his fiancee for her and joins a pseudo-satanic cult on a whim. This cult, run by Commissioner Gordon of all people, enjoys spinning wheels of knifes above its members
while playing with voodoo dolls. I don't want to give away too much and the rifftrax for this film was quite good, it really felt like a classic MST3K episode and I highly recommend this trax.

"The Galaxy Invader" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- I've been curious about this film ever seen seeing it in the FVI credit sequence of Pod People but sadly the film ended up being a complete letdown for me. The Galaxy Invader in question is completely overshadowed in this movie by one of the most infuriating male Mary Sues I've ever seen in a film. This asshole dominates the entire film and makes what could have been a goofy monster film into a really unpleasant mess that was honestly uncomfortable for me to watch at times. If he had bought it early in the movie, it wouldn't have been so bad, but he survives till the very end! While the drunk idiotic hillbilly may be a staple of movies like this, this guy honestly ruined the film for me and the rifftrax couldn't get me past it, despite being decent.

"Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- A cheesy Sci-Fi movie with Jesse Ventura as the lead? I'm all over that shit! Unfortunately, the movie itself turned out to be just shit rather than cheesy goodness. It's long, boring, rambling and completely wastes Jesse as a lead. The movie is basically a bad Terminator ripoff with Ventura trying to stop his old partner turned bad who impregnates his love interest with his glowing hand and the kid ends up being the key to ultimate power or something, it was really hard to follow. The rifftrax was alright, I guess, but the movie was just excruciating and I don't think I can make myself watch it a third time.

Well, that's it for now. I guess I'll keep updating this post as the rifftraxs come and I get caught up on my backlog.

Sincerely,

Megane 6.7