Ah, who doesn’t miss the only show that managed to get a generation of kids to sit down and willfully watch terrible, terrible movies of old*? I’m speaking of Mystery Science Theater 3000, of course. While it’s true that MST3K lives on via the web, it’s not quite the same.
Oddly enough, there’s a little competition for web-based commentary on films in the form of RiffTraxx, created by none other than MST3K’s Mike Nelson (you know, the guy that wasn’t Joel Hodgson), Kevin Murphy (aka Tom Servo) and Bill Corbit (aka Crow ver 2.0).
What makes RiffTraxx a little different is that the boys are effectively recording alternate commentary tracks for popular movies, which you can then download and sync up (either by hand or via their own dedicated player) for at-home mockery.
The other difference is that RiffTrax are a pay-for-play operation, with commentaries costing just south of 4 dollars per to which I say ‘good on them’. It’s a very clever business model (albeit a familiar one for that crew), and they do manage to up the ante by corralling a number of famous folk (Fred Willard, Weird Al, Neil Patrick Harris, and Something Awful’s Rich Kynaka, for example) and other MST3K alum to give it a go. I also like that RiffTrax don’t limit themselves to crappy films of old. Oh yes… modern cinematic trainwrecks like Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Transformers all get the treatment alongside gems like the ill-conceived and infamous Star Wars Holiday Special
I’ll admit I’m rather tempted to give it a go. Buddha knows Matrix Reloaded could only be improved by some serious mockery (which I suppose is not dissimilar to my theater experience with the film. Except we were drunk, and a bit surlier than I imagine Nelson & Co. will be).
So give RiffTrax a try already, or if you’ve made the plunge fire off in the comments.