The first fifteen minutes of this is blazingly funny. Non-stop, high-octane riffing. (Actually, the last fifteen minutes is also terrific. And the in-between 50 minutes are pretty dang hilarious.) Maybe the best yet.
In the latest Cinematic Titanic, the guys take on Roger Corman’s ‘50s classic The Wasp Woman. “Classic” may be too strong a word here, but actually, it’s a real movie with a beginning middle and end, real actors, and a real plot which makes sense, after a fashion. In typical Corman low-budget style, of course, it has little in the way of action, giving lots of space for riffing.
More coherent than The Doomsday Machine, and less oozy than The Oozing Skull, I’m sensing a new Golden Age Of Riffing with this latest one. Josh seemed a little subdued this time, and the “Board Meeting” and “Buddy Rich” sketches still didn’t quite come off–though the Board Meeting just needed a little more tweaking to go from mildly amusing to a gem–but overall the flow is flowing, and the shape is shaping up.
Oh, and unlike most movies, the mixing is kick-ass. You can hear what the guys are saying, you can hear what’s going on in the movie, the music is often obnoxious but, hey, it’s B-movie music, and it doesn’t blow your eardrums out so that you’re fiddling with the remote constantly.
Problems? Well, while I’m still not crazy about the political humor (Trace! A John McCain is old joke? Really?) they’ve kept a lid on it. I know this stuff goes down big at the cons and live performances, guys. Hell, even I’ll laugh and clap with a bunch of other morons at a reference like that. It just falls flat in the living room.
Worse, for me, though, is the swearing. I’m no shrinking violet. I can quote Chapter and Verse in “South Park”. Hell, I could probably act out the entire movie, complete with musical score, which isn’t something I’ve been able to do with a musical since The Muppet Movie.
But one of my favorite aspects of the old MST3K was the gentle ribbing and walking-the-line profanity (“Is dickweed a bad word?”) and the clever censorship. (Remember City Limits where Joel opens his umbrella to cover the nudity?) All that stuff was funnier than working without a net is.
Now, I’ll admit, Trace’s line about “I’m just going to fill my nostrils with your perfume before returning to the world of rat shit” was pretty good. But there was another “shit” right after that, and then the Buddy Rich sketch with the “goddamns”.
It’s a slippery slope. You could doubtless do 80 minutes of political clap humor and working blue, and probably some people would eat it up. It’s a way to go, and it’s gotta be easier than actually being clever. But it won’t fly here.
P.S. We sill miss the robots.