Rifftrax Live! Starship Troopers, and less exciting news. - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Rifftrax Live! Starship Troopers, and less exciting news.

http://www.cantstopthemovies.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Title.jpgAndrewCommentaryBannerShortApproximately 368 days ago I saw my first Rifftrax Live! event.  If you're unfamiliar with what this is all about, please feel free to check out my trip report from their 2nd riff on Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Tonight was a special occasion because the Rifftrax team had launched a Kickstarter to bring the event into fruition.  Unfortunately, while the Kickstarter was successful with the funds, the film that they wanted to riff on, Twilight, did not come through.  Instead they were able to get the rights to Paul Verhoven's 1997 fascist satire Starship Troopers.  I was a bit worried about the transition because Starship Troopers is already packed with a lot of dark humor and battle scenes don't typically make for the best riffing material.

Whether the switch from one film to the other ended up affecting the directly affecting the quality of the jokes I don't know, but this wasn't the strongest outing from Mike and the boys.  The energy level and kind of creativity I saw during the first live event for Manos and the accompanying shorts just wasn't there.  Sure, they were cheerful enough, but most of the riffing was at the level of making broad pop culture references and that being the punchline.  The two most disappointing jokes of the night, which also got some of the best reception at our theater, were when Dean Norris' character arrived and we got the line "He broke his bad" and the riff on how even in the future, AT&T will drop calls.  There were a lot of other jokes involving Slippy the Toad, Raid, and other products that were sometimes served well by the jokes (I did chuckle at the "Raid Division" line).

What struck me most about the experience was that shift in humor.  Since I've been bedridden because of my kidney and ulcer-related problems I have watched a lot of old MST3K episodes.  The humor has gone from a wide range of topics to such a narrow subset of geek culture that it seems like the only time we got true sports jokes is in making reference to old riffs that worked well ("Go packers").  Gone are obscure ISO-9000 jokes or weird literature references and in its place are video game and Kanye West jokes.  Neither are bad exactly, but they don't reward careful listening and wide knowledge like they used to.

The experience was still fun and I continue to encourage anyone remotely interested in either watching the show live or beamed live into theaters across the US.  It seems like a lot of audiences are afraid of getting invested in films while they're watching them anymore, and the Rifftrax audience tows a good line being obnoxious guffawing and having a good time.  Even though I was a bit disappointed by this outing, it's still worth the time and money.8-15-2013In slightly more uplifting news, the trailer for Hayao Miyazaki's next film, The Wind Rises, hit the internet today and I already came close to tearing up at the trailer.  All the Hayao-helmed films that I have seen are each wonderful in their own way, even if I don't exactly love them.  But this story, about Jiro Horikoshi, is simultaneously up his alley and also a more realistically-styled that I haven't seen from him before.  I would also love to see a great Studio Ghibli film, because the two that I've reviewed since we started the website have disappointed.  It spans two era's of Japanese history, telling the story of Hiro's development of the planes that would come to define Japan both in commerce and in war.  Give it a glance, it looks like something special.

Less inspiring, but not too much so, is the trailer for the Adam Scott-starring dramadey A.C.O.D. (stands for, A Child Of Divorce).  It's going to take something really unique to bring me back around to liking quirky, family-centered, indie films like this and the cast is a good start.  I'll follow Richard Jenkins into anything and it looks like Jane Lynch got cast in a role that is not playing directly from her overbearing character from Glee.  Toss in some Amy Poehler and I'm still game for viewing, but the trailer still relies on a few too many quirktastic touches making light of mental illness that has me worried.

Tomorrow, Kyle and I start our look at the films of Andrei Tarkovsky with his three student films - The Killers, There Will Be No Leave Today, and The Steamroller and the Violin.

Posted by Andrew

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