“My two favorite Crows standing right next to each other!”
Justin’s rating: Three hosts, two Crows, two Mads, two guest stars, one Tom, and a bunch of laughter
Justin’s review: There are so many reasons to take delight in Mystery Science Theater 3000 beyond its initial run of hilarious riffs on horrible movies. I love that this project came from the minds of dorky Midwesterners. I love that it always looked low-budget in the best of ways. I love that the cast still is, by and large, fond of each other. And I really love that MST3K didn’t end with its 10th season finale in 1999, but continued on with so many other projects: Cinematic Titanic, a new run of MST3K, The Mads, and, of course, RiffTrax. If you’re a fan of MST3K, there really is no end — at least not yet.
I was thrilled to discover that in 2016, the greater cast of MST3K gathered together for a huge RiffTrax Live show in Minneapolis. With the exception of J. Elvis Weinstein and Paul Chaplin, all of the big MST3K names were there: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Bridget Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, and Jonah Ray. The show itself was a lot of chatter between these fan favorites as well as a whole lot of collective riffing on “shorts” (short films, usually of the old timey instructional nature).
Some of the seven shorts are riffed by specific groupings, such as Nelson and Pehl or Beaulieu and Conniff, although the last two are an MST3K geek’s dream come true: a full cast riff involving everyone. There was also a clip show presentation of RiffTrax’s 10 years sandwiched into the middle of this busy presentation.
One of my favorite moments was when Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester/Crow from the first six seasons) showed up and said, “I forgot to tell you, Mike, I was going to be late for work. For about 30 years.”
So really, you’re getting a two-for-one deal here: lots of very, very funny riffing and a reunion of MST3K greats in the same place. I truly loved it from start to finish, often finding myself laughing out loud at the latest quip. It felt warm and fuzzy the way that you do when nostalgia meets the present to demonstrate that what you loved in the past is still worth loving today.