Mike Nelson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, has a new project out called Rifftrax. It’s a continuation of the MST3k theme, except that you have to provide the movie yourself. You rent whatever movie he’s riffing on, and watch the movie while you listen to his comments on your iPod.As Shamus notes, this is brilliant and it allows the opportunity to make fun of movies that would never show on MST3k because of licensing fees. Imagine all the big-budget crap that comes out, made better by some quality MST3king. Shamus mentions Star Wars, which would make a great candidate, but to be honest, I think MST3k could work with any movie, even a really good one. Let's see an MST3k of The Godfather or Pulp Fiction. It's easy to make fun of movies with bad writing, acting, and direction. Let's see something good get slaughtered.
Unlike in MST3k, he doesn’t need permission from the owners of the movie to do it, which means he can take on larger, more mainstream and big-budget films that would never give their consent to a MST3k-style airing.
Though this is the first I'm hearing of the idea, it's apparently something of a trend, complete with overactive fan base (with way too much time on their hands) and even software to aid in synchronization. Also, it appears that Kevin Smith will be releasing his own commentary for Clerks II on iTunes (though I can't seem to find it), perhaps in an attempt to get people to see the movie multiple times in theaters.
Have I ever mentioned that Kevin Smith's commentaries are the best examples of the oft-maligned DVD commentary genre I've ever heard? There are tons of crappy commentaries out there on special edition DVDs, and a lot of mediocre ones, but Kevin Smith's are almost as good as his movies (to some of you, I'm sure that's not saying much, but I really enjoy both his movies and his commentaries). He's even great when he does the commentary for movies other than his own, like Donnie Darko (and he's apparently provided commentary for a newly-released deluxe edition of Road House. Yes, that Road House.) The idea of letting someone who's just a fan provide a commentary is a great one, though you rarely see it (indeed, it appears that Mike Nelson has provided a commentary track for a recent release of Plan 9 from Outer Space).
Speaking of Kevin Smith, this whole Joel Siegel thing is a riot, mostly because of Smith's response:
So last night, at a press screening of “Clerks II” in New York City, “Good Morning America” movie critic Joel Siegel decided he’d had enough of my shenanigans, and walked out of the flick at the forty minute mark. You’d imagine this would bother me, and yet, I’m as delighted by this news as I was with the eight minute standing ovation “Clerks II” received in Cannes.Read the whole thing, and then listen to the Audio clip of the Opie and Anthony Show where Siegel and Smith go at it (the clip is at the bottom of Smith's Response). It is downright hilarious. Clerks II is also pretty good, if you're in the mood for a raunchy comedy.
I mean, it’s Joel Siegel, for Christ’s sake. As Paul Thomas Anderson once said of the man, getting a bad review from Siegel is like a badge of honor.