Release Date: November 4th, 2014 Music by: Lauren Pardini, Daniel Sternbaum Cast: Axel Alonso, Hayley Atwell, Gerry Conway, Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Seth Green, Clark Gregg, Jimmy Kimmel, Stan Lee, Ralph Macchio, Todd McFarlane, Patton Oswalt, Nicole Perlman, Joe Quesada, Peter Sanderson, Jim Shooter, Kevin Smith, Jim Starlin, Emily VanCamp, Len Wein, Ming-Na Wen
ABC Studios, Disney, Marvel, 42 Minutes
I recently reviewed a short, made-for-TV documentary on Disney+ called Assembling a Universe. That one was a piece on how Disney and Marvel assembled a movie franchise based off of Marvel’s rich treasure trove of characters and stories.
This short documentary is kind of more of the same but it focuses mostly on the comic books themselves and how Marvel grew into what it is today.
Like the previous documentary, which came out earlier in the same year, this one is really just a marketing tool to try and get people to go see their movies. It’s made by Disney, Marvel and ABC, all of whom are essentially the same company, so this is made to sort of pimp themselves out.
Ultimately, this is an autobiographical puff piece. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things of value in it. It’s informative and gives you a good amount of info to start with for those interested in Marvel’s history but there are much better documentaries, books and magazine articles on the subject.
Rating: 6/10 Pairs well with:Assembling a Universe and Empire of Dreams.
Also known as: Blade III (working title) Release Date: December 7th, 2004 (Hollywood premiere) Directed by: David S. Goyer Written by: David S. Goyer Based on:Blade by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan Music by: Ramin Djawadi, Rza Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Dominic Purcell, Triple H, Natasha Lyonne, John Michael Higgins, James Remar, Patton Oswalt, Christopher Heyerdahl
Marvel Enterprises, Shawn Danielle Productions Ltd., Amen Ra Films, Imaginary Forces, New Line Cinema, 112 Minutes
“[licking one of Hannibal’s wounds] You’re tasting a little bland, lover. Are you getting enough fatty acids in your diet? Have you tried lake trout? Mackerel?” – Danica Talos, “How about you take a sugar-frosted fuck off the end of my dick?” – Hannibal King, “And how about everyone here not saying the word “dick” anymore? It provokes my envy.” – Danica Talos
Well, revisiting Blade II wasn’t fun but at least this one was a bit better, in my opinion, even if the consensus doesn’t agree with me.
But let’s be honest, this is also pretty much a total turkey unworthy of being a sequel to the first film.
What’s kind of baffling is that this installment has the best cast out of all three films. I mean, there is a lot of talent on the roster but what we got was a movie that has given most of these actors something to scrub off of their resume.
For instance, Parker Posey is a dynamite actress. In fact, she may be mostly known as an indie darling but she’s one of the best actresses of the past twenty-five years. She has range, she delivers and it’s hard to think of anything else that sees her performance be anywhere near as cringe as it is here. But I don’t blame Posey, I blame the atrocious script and poor direction of David S. Goyer.
So speaking on that, I have to point out how bad the dialogue is in this picture. It’s heinously bad. So bad, in fact, that it almost makes the dialogue in the first Blade come off as Shakespearean. It’s worse than the dialogue in Blade II, which was also shit. But I guess it’s kind of surprising, considering that Goyer wrote all three films. But maybe it’s worse here because he took over the directing duties and thus, didn’t have a more talented director that was able to work around terribly written lines and find a way to salvage them. Maybe Goyer kept a tighter leash on his actors than Guillermo del Toro or Stephen Norrington.
I mean, even Ryan Reynolds who is one of the most charming and funny actors of his generation, stumbled through his clunky and unfunny lines, trying to make them work but failing at delivering anything other than unfunny edgy boi humor that sounds like it was written by a middle schooler trying so hard to impress his older brother’s high school friends.
Don’t even get me started on Triple H’s performance but regardless of how convincing he is as a wrestler, his heel game is weak as hell here and I actually had to subtract some cool points from him when I saw this in 2004.
This chapter also lacks a real story and it isn’t even sure which character it wants to make the big bad of the movie. Dominic Purcell plays Drake, who is really just Dracula, but he comes off as the lamest Dracula in the last twenty years of film history. But Purcell is another guy that’s cool and pretty capable of putting in a good performance if given the right direction.
Ultimately, this is a film entirely bogged down by poor performances, bad writing and sloppy direction.
However, the story is better and more clever than the previous film. This had elements that could have saved it and turned this into something great. The opening in the desert and then the first action sequence were all well done and set the stage for what could have been a really solid picture but everything becomes a mess after that.
I also liked the idea of Blade finding a team to work with but the film fucks all that up by having Limp Bizkit Dracula killing just about all of them off except for Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel.
Now I really liked Biel in this, even if fighting vampires while jiving to your iPod seems incredibly careless. She gives a better performance than this weak script should have allowed and maybe Goyer was more lenient on letting her alter her performance, as she’s pretty hot and this was only the second time he directed.
Other great performers were all pretty much wasted and were forgettable. In fact, I forgot that James Remar, John Michael Higgins, Christopher Heyerdahl, Patton Oswalt and Natasha Lyonne were even in this.
In the end, this had the ability to be something much better but it suffered for all the reasons I’ve already bitched about. I liked that this wasn’t over stylized like del Toro’s Blade II and that it had a more interesting story that put Blade up against Dracula but the film’s execution snuffed out the possibility of something solid.
And while it seems as if I’m bashing Goyer, he would improve. But his best work has always come when he’s worked under a much more talented director than himself. Christopher Nolan, for instance. But he’s still put out some shitty scripts and unfortunately, the shit outweighs the gold.
Rating: 6/10 Pairs well with: the other Blade movies.
Published: July19th, 2018 Written by: Harold Buchholz, Joel Hodgson, Matt McGinnis, Mary Robinson, Seth Robinson, Sharyl Volpe Art by: Mike Manly, Todd Nauck, Wes Dzioba Based on:Mystery Science Theater 3000 by Joel Hodgson
Dark Horse Books, 16 Pages
I got this digital version of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 ashcan for free on Comixology. It was actually a free physical ashcan comic book that was given out at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con.
This thing is really short though and it’s only real purpose is to get you excited for the upcoming MST3K comic, which is supposed to hit in September.
This is a good prologue to what is coming and it sets up the story by showing Kinga Forrester and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (a.k.a. Max) debuting their new machine, which is able to take shitty comic books and turn them into a virtual world that Jonah and the ‘Bots have to live in and interact with.
All you get, as far as an adventure, is seeing Tom Servo accept this new form of Forrester torture and get swept into a “teen investigator” comic where he becomes, Tom Servo Teen Reporter. Even then, the story ends a bit anticlimactically, as 16 pages isn’t enough to really let you delve into this.
I am interested in the comic, as I have been a fan of MST3K since I was in middle school.
I just hope that the full comic gives you something to really sink your teeth into and is handled with care and respect for this franchise and these characters. It has the potential to be great. But from this, it is hard to gauge whether or not it will be.
Rating: 6.5/10 Pairs well with: The upcoming, hopefully longer and more exciting Mystery Science Theater 3000 comic.
Also known as: Lawman (working title) Original Run: March 16th, 2010 – April 14th, 2015 Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:Fire in the Hole by Elmore Leonard Music by: Steve Porcaro, Gangstagrass (theme) Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel, Natalie Zea, Walton Goggins, Jere Burns, M.C. Gainey, Brent Sexton, William Ragsdale, Stephen Root, Margo Martindale, Brad William Henke, Neal McDonough, Stephen Tobolowsky, Scott Grimes, Jeff Fahey, Garret Dillahunt, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Danielle Panabaker, Amy Smart, Alicia Witt, Michael Rapaport, Patton Oswalt, Gerald McRaney, Adam Arkin
Justified was one of those shows that everyone told me to watch. I really loved Deadwood and was pissed that it ended when it did, only after three seasons and on a cliffhanger. Timothy Olyphant was fantastic in that show. When Justified came around, it seemed like the modern spiritual successor to the near perfect Deadwood. And many people went on to confirm that to me, before I even saw it.
Then I saw it.
I don’t know what it is about majority opinion and my own opinion but when it comes to television shows, they don’t seem to match up. The thing is, I hate this show. “Awful” isn’t a strong enough word to describe it.
Maybe there is just something about FX that is horrible because every single FX show I have ever watched, except for Always Sunny, has completely underwhelmed me and left me befuddled as to how so many people are in love with FX’s product. The network is perceived by many to be on par with the greats like HBO, Showtime and AMC. Justified is just one of a string of many shows that feels just as safe and generic as the episodic crime drama bullshit found on the big networks: CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox.
I also don’t know who the music director is at FX but Justified easily has the worst theme song in television history. It is eye rolling, stomach churning and just a horrendous attempt at trying to force together hip-hop and bluegrass. But FX shows have a history of having really shitty theme songs, except for Always Sunny. The Justified theme, actually makes the terrible Sons of Anarchy theme, sound like a masterpiece.
The worst part, is that I like Olyphant and even more than him, I love Walton Goggins. This show has great talent on the screen but the final product is still crap. Sure, the acting is better than average but the plot, the characters and everything else is so drab and cookie cutter.
I only made it about halfway through the third season before giving up. I rarely give up on a show. But nothing really grabbed me by that point and the consensus from the fans of the show is that the first three seasons are the best and then it falls off after that. Well, it was never really on for me to begin with so I certainly don’t want to invest another twenty-plus hours in it “falling off”.
I wish there were more westerns and even neo-westerns on TV. I just wish more were like Deadwood, Hell On Wheels and Longmire (once it went to Netflix) and less like this basic bag of bullshit.
And ultimately, it’s just made me go back and start re-watching the far superior Deadwood once again.
Rating: 4/10 Pairs well with:Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Fear the Walking Dead and Deadwood.
Release Date: December 9th, 2011 (limited) Directed by: Jason Reitman Written by: Diablo Cody Music by: Rolfe Kent Cast: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser
Mandate Pictures, Mr. Mudd, Right of Way Films, Denver & Delilah Films, Paramount Pictures, 94 Minutes
“Sometimes in order to heal… a few people have to get hurt.” – Mavis Gary
It may be easy to watch Young Adult and to just see Charlize Theron’s Mavis Gary as a self-absorbed asshole. It may also be easy to just dismiss her as an unlikable character and someone that isn’t relatable. But this isn’t a movie about a terrible person, it is a movie about a person with mental illness.
The film follows Mavis, shortly after her divorce, as she decides to go back to her small hometown to reconnect with the man she feels she is destined to be with, even if he is already married and just had a baby. In the process, she runs into a bullied kid from high school, Patton Oswalt’s Matt Freehauf. The two start to develop a bond and Matt becomes Mavis’ voice of reason.
As the film plays out, you start to see through Mavis’ surface and start to understand that she is not well and probably never has been. Matt is the only person that ever had patience with her and understood what was happening that didn’t just tolerate her because she was the prom queen in high school. It’s the dynamic and the solid chemistry between Theron and Oswalt that makes this movie work so well.
Mavis’ day job is being the ghost writer for a young adult book series. The movie starts with her suffering from writer’s block but then she starts to write the story, reflecting on her own life as a form of literary therapy. Theron’s narrations of her character’s written work serve to give some sort of metaphorical insight to her thought process and her eventual closure. While this is a trope that has been used to death in film, I really like how it was used here.
The biggest strength of this film is the acting. Theron was exceptional and while she is already seen as an exceptional actress, this just felt very personal and she’s never been more convincing. I’m not saying that she is mentally broken like Mavis but it just felt as if there was a real part of herself in this character. Additionally, Patton Oswalt has never been better and I’m a long time Oswalt fan.
This film was also a collaboration between director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody. Both of them worked together on the critically acclaimed Juno. This re-teaming produced a better product, however. Yes, I really enjoy Juno but this picture eclipses it and it’s kind of disheartening that this didn’t get the recognition and fanfare that Juno did. But the Academy and the top critics are just weird in what they accept and what they don’t.
Young Adult is a better film than its lack of award show buzz would have you believe. Many critics did seem to like it but it came out in a year where people thought Moneyball deserved a Motion Picture of the Year nomination. That’s not a knock against Moneyball but c’mon, Motion Picture of the Year caliber? Really? And I’m not saying that Young Adult is the best film of 2011 but it’s a better movie than half the films that got the big nomination. And to put it bluntly, Theron put in a better performance than Meryl Streep that year, who already had more Oscars than wieners in a pack of hot dogs.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with:Margot at the Wedding, as the two share some themes and narrative similarities.
Original Run: September 24th, 2013 – August 12th, 2020 Created by: Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen Directed by: various Written by: various Music by: Bear McCreary Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, John Hannah, B.J. Britt, Mallory Jansen, Ruth Negga, Adrian Pasdar, Kyle MacLachlan, Powers Boothe, Mark Dacascos, Blair Underwood, Constance Zimmer, Patton Oswalt, Bill Paxton, Gabriel Luna, Peter Mensah
I remember watching the pilot to Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it premiered and I wasn’t a fan of it. I immediately lost interest but as that first season rolled on, I started to hear good things. When the series entered into the phase of setting up Captain America: The Winter Solider, people couldn’t stop talking about it.
So once the first series came to an end, I binge watched it. I have now also watched season two in its entirety.
One thing I can say about this show is that it took about half a season to find its footing but even then, it is pretty inconsistent.
The show has high points and it has some very low points. If you are a fan of Joss Whedon’s style, you will probably love the show. I’m not a Whedon fan however and I find the style to be superfluous, predictable, forced and tedious at times.
The characters are likable enough but no one stands out. You don’t truly care for any of them and as great as Phil Coulson was in the movies that came out before this series, in the show he just becomes an uninteresting one-dimensional character. In fact, each episode almost serves as a way to forcibly remind the audience of how cool Coulson is supposed to be.
Most of this show just rides on by and none of it feels as important as the producers and many of its fans make it out to be. I get that it is used as a vehicle to develop more background to the plot of upcoming Marvel films but in that it falls victim to itself and feels more like a show on rails than something free to go its own way. It gets distracted from dealing with its own separate narrative, as it is forced to tie into the plots of the films. While that worked well the first time around with Captain America: The Winter Soldier it didn’t work so well with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The second season was pretty uninteresting and the highlight of the series was the last third of the first season, which dealt with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the aftermath of that. While the show is now establishing the mythos of the Inhumans, who will be getting their own Marvel movie several years from now, the plot and the execution hasn’t been as cutting edge and exciting as the showrunners have anticipated.
This isn’t a bad show, there are things I like and I will continue to keep watching in an effort to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to unfold but I would almost rather binge watch the seasons after they end than force myself to sit down and watch this religiously every Tuesday night at 9 p.m.
At its very best, this show has had great moments. I just hope that there are more of those in the future and less filler and drawn out plots that could be dealt with much quicker. I also hope that at some point Patton Oswald becomes a full-time cast member because his contribution to this show is the best thing about it. I also hope we haven’t seen the last of Kyle MacLachlan’s Mr. Hyde, as he was the highlight of season two.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has promise and potential and if it fulfills that, it could become a stellar show. As of right now, it falls below its superior sister show Agent Carter and it can’t hold a candle to CW’s The Flash or Netflix’s Daredevil.
I have now gotten through four seasons of this show. Season three was really slow and just a bore overall. However, season four introduced Ghost Rider to the Marvel cinematic mythos and things really got interesting. Season four was broken into three parts, where the middle bit wasn’t interesting but the end caps were stellar. In fact, the last third of season four, titled Agents of Hydra, was the absolute high point of this show and you actually discover that you care about these characters more than you realize. If the momentum can continue on from the last portion of the fourth season, then this show could be one of the best on television. Unfortunately, it has a long history of inconsistency.
With Mystery Science Theater 3000 returning this year, I thought that it would be cool to compile a list of films that they should consider riffing. There were many great/bad films that they missed over the course of their eleven years of existence from 1988-to-1999. There are also several films that have come out since the show ended that deserve to be riffed.
The show is returning this year thanks to the fans on Kickstarter and the people who make the big decisions at Netflix – its new home. Hopefully the enthusiasm and excitement gives us several more seasons of the fantastic show.
I certainly don’t expect MST3K to cover all of these one-hundred films in a season, although that would be the most amazing season of any television show ever. I’m assuming it will stick around for awhile, so I wanted to provide a big enough list to give us something to hope for in the long-term.
Also, not all of these are necessarily bad movies, as the show sometimes featured stuff that wasn’t awful. But these are movies that fit the vibe of the show, in some way, while providing a lot of things to poke fun at.
Now before someone pipes up and says something about (insert movie title here) would cost too much to acquire the rights to, just know that this is why I listed so many options. Also, Netflix has a lot of money, so maybe some of those films that MST3K couldn’t afford before, might be more affordable now.
And if someone says (insert movie title here) is too violent or has boobies, well… the show is on Netflix now. So down with those fascists at the FCC and the butt hurt advertisers!
And I did all of this without bringing up Showgirls! Okay, I just did… but that was to make a point. But I don’t even want to sit through a riffed version of that movie.
So without further ado, here are one-hundred films I would like to see featured on MST3K. These are really in no particular order, even though they are numbered. That’s more for a reference point and so that I, the author, don’t miscount.
And please, feel free to discuss in the comments.
1. The Giant Claw (1957)
2. The Room (2003)
3. Troll 2 (1990)
4. Howard the Duck (1986)
5. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
6. Gamera: Super Monster (1980)
7. Starcrash (1979)
8. The Thing With Two Heads (1972)
9. Battlefield Earth (2000)
10. Munchies (1987)
11. Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)
12. Mysterious Island (1961)
13. Kazaam (1996)
14. Hercules In New York (1969)
15. Mac and Me (1988)
16. The Wicker Man (2006)
17. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
18. Captain America (1990)
19. Empire of the Ants (1977)
20. Hanuman and the Five Riders (1975)
21. The Vulture (1966)
22. Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)
23. Mosquito (1995)
24. Critters 3 (1991)
25. Beast From Haunted Cave (1959)
26. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966)
27. Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961)
28. Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)
29. Ape (1976)
30. Deadly Prey (1987)
31. Buffalo Rider (1978)
32. Leonard Part 6 (1987)
33. Steel (1997)
34. The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
35. Fantastic Four (1994)
36. Matango a.k.a. Attack of the Mushroom People (1963)
37. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
38. Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966)
39. No Holds Barred (1989)
40. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
41. Super Robot Mach Baron (1975)
42. Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (1996)
43. Blood Freak (1972)
44. Orgy of the Dead (1965)
45. Masters of the Universe (1987)
46. Reptilicus (1961)
47. Barb Wire (1996)
48. Konga (1961)
49. Arena (1989)
50. The Demolitionist (1995)
51. Yonggary (1999)
52. Game of Death II (1981)
53. Prison Ship a.k.a. Star Slammer (1986)
54. It’s Pat (1994)
55. The Super Inframan (1975)
56. Yor: The Hunter from the Future (1983)
57. The X From Outer Space (1967)
58. Uncle Sam (1996)
59. Space Warriors 2000 (1985)
60. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
61. Queen of Outer Space (1958)
62. Saturn 3 (1980)
63. Starship Invasions (1977)
64. Simon Sez (1999)
65. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)
66. Son of the Mask (2005)
67. Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)
68. The Bride and the Beast (1958)
69. Tentacles (1977)
70. Sleepwalkers (1992)
71. House II: The Second Story (1987)
72. Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958)
73. Killdozer (1974)
74. Space Rage (1985)
75. Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)
76. Maximum Overdrive (1986)
77. The Crippled Masters (1979)
78. Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996)
79. Night of the Lepus (1972)
80. Gymkata (1985)
81. Leprechaun In the Hood (2000)
82. Man’s Best Friend (1993)
83. They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1968)
84. Chopping Mall (1986)
85. Curse of Bigfoot a.k.a. Teenagers Battle the Thing (1975)
86. Space Raiders a.k.a. Star Child (1983)
87. Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977)
88. TerrorVision (1986)
89. Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965)
90. Piñata: Survival Island (2002)
91. The Stuff (1985)
92. Warning From Space (1956)
93. Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987)
94. Psychomania a.k.a. The Death Wheelers (1973)
95. Zombie Lake (1981)
96. Jaws 3-D (1983)
97. Gappa: The Triphibian Monster (1967)
98. The Wraith (1986)
99. Space-Men a.k.a. Assignment: Outer Space (1960)
100. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Forever (1991)
50 Honorable Mentions:
-Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)
-Surf Ninjas (1993)
-The Brain Eaters (1958)
-Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
-Danger on Tiki Island a.k.a. Brides of Blood (1968)
-The Apple (1980)
-Basket Case 3: The Progeny (1991)
-Glen or Glenda (1953)
-The Birds II: Land’s End (1994)
-The Magic Sword (1962)
-Night of the Comet (1984)
-C.C. & Company (1970)
-Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959)
-Miami Connection (1987)
-The Uncanny (1977)
-If Looks Could Kill (1991)
-The Neanderthal Man (1953)
-Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare (1995)
-Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)
-Chairman of the Board (1998)
-Wild Guitar (1962)
-Switchblade Sisters (1975)
-Kull the Conqueror (1997)
-Spawn of the Slithis (1978)
-Alligator II: The Mutation (1991)
-The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)
-Never Too Young to Die (1986)
-Tank Girl (1995)
-Robo Vampire (1988)
-Scream and Scream Again (1970)
-Samurai Cop (1991)
-Hot to Trot (1988)
-Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (1977)
-Tarzan the Ape Man (1981)
-Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991)
-The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967)
-Die Hard Dracula (1998)
-Return to Horror High (1987)
-The Nasty Rabbit (1964)
-Dream a Little Dream 2 (1995)
-Chopper Chicks in Zombietown (1989)
-The 72 Desperate Rebels (1978)
-Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1990)
-Mazes and Monsters (1982)