Staff Picks for the MST3K Revival

Staff - April 13, 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000 (stylized as “MST3K”) was a film commentary series bashing hilariously bad films that aired in the 90s, but was cancelled due to low ratings. However, its cult popularity has remained to this day, and the series has been the source of comedy for funny-bad movies for many people, including Moviegoer writers Stephan and Rahel. With its crowd-funded Netflix revival airing tomorrow, we’ve decided to list some movies we hope MST3K will review in their series.

Rahel:

A Talking Cat?! (2013)

I don’t think I need to explain what this movie is about--the title does that pretty well on its own. The context of this film in terms of its director’s previous work is almost as bizarre and fascinating as the film itself. A Talking Cat?! was directed by David Decoteau, who has produced and directed almost 90 films in about 25 years because of his consistent efforts to make films as cheaply and quickly as possible. This film, like many of his previous ones, was very obviously shot in his own home, and is accompanied by an absurd amount of stock footage and affable CGI. These jarring elements would make great material by the MST3K crew.

Ben and Arthur (2002)

There aren’t that many gay-themed films made in general, even fewer of which serving as prime bait for MST3K. Ben and Arthur fits this category, and is an absolute romp. Often considered the “gay” version of The Room, Ben and Arthur claims to tell the tale of the unfortunate demise of a gay couple by the hands of homophobia and (a gross misinterpretation of) Christianity. However, the film only manages to produce a cheap and preachy story with the cinematography and set design of a middle school student.

The Langoliers (1995)

Famed horror author Stephen King has scared his readers with his deft prose and his mastery of suspense. However, many of his film adaptations, such as The Langoliers, are also noteworthy, but for completely different reasons. Its stiff acting, absurd plot elements, and gaudy CGI makes it grossly entertaining in a comedic standpoint. Thus, with It hitting theaters soon, I think it would be apt for MST3K to return to one of King’s earlier film adaptations.

The Skateboard Kid (1993)

The Skateboard Kid, produced by schlock auteur Roger Corman, is about the new kid in town who builds a skateboard that comes to life, voiced by famed voice actor Dom DeLuise (All Dogs Go to Heaven, Secret of NIMH). Though many children’s films have used similar premises, The Skateboard Kid is unique in its lack of plot cohesion and the absurd visual effects on the skateboard. The film itself is an apt exaggeration of the skateboard craze of the 90s, a novelty that I’m sure the MST3K crew will appreciate.

Stephan:

Fateful Findings (2013)

One of the most memorable recent additions to the bad movie canon. Every decision made by auteur Neil Breen (watch the credits to the end - it’s worth it) is baffling, ill-advised, and almost impossible to take your eyes off. It’s hard to even summarize what Fateful Findings is, besides the uncompromised vision of the most irrepressibly beautiful, intelligent and talented man on the planet (in an alternate dimension). No recent film deserves the MST3K treatment more than Fateful Findings.

Bratz (2007)

Bratz, strangely enough, has inspired some of the greatest works of pop culture in recent memory. First, there’s the iconic clip from Just Paula in which Paula Abdul comes to the conclusion that there is no God after she is fired from a movie about four plastic bobbleheads. Second, the lunacy of Bratz’s time jumps, pasta viscosity, and questionable depiction of hearing loss inspired one of the finest episodes of The Flop House podcast, perhaps the best modern successor to MST3K. (The Flop House co-host Elliott Kalan is credited as head writer on the upcoming MST3K reboot.) Hopefully, the MST3K crew will continue in the great tradition of art inspired by Bratz.

Fantastic Four (2015)

The modern superhero movie that gets everything wrong about the genre. One of those bad movies where every bad decision made at every step of the filmmaking process is also baffling and completely ridiculous. Watch out for Kate Mara’s infamous blonde wig in the film’s fascinatingly bad third act. Definitely a great jumping off point for some great comedy by the MST3K crew.

Foodfight! (2012)

A paean to late-period capitalism featuring some of the most terrifyingly bad animation you’ve ever seen. This tale of brand mascots trying to overcome the evil forces of sensible store-brand options combines interspecies sex, Nazi iconography, and the Uncanny Valley into one of the most unintentionally disturbing kid’s movies ever made. A strong candidate for the MST3K treatment.

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

As with Foodfight!, the live-action Beauty and the Beast adaptation is an unintentionally terrifying kid’s movie that exposes the disturbing undercurrents of the beloved Disney classic. Much has been made about how the live-action adaptation raises the question of bestiality between Belle and the boar-esque CGI creature played by Dan Stevens, but there are also plenty of other aspects of the Disney classic that become terrifying in a live-action context. Consider, for instance, how the charmingly rendered inanimate objects in the animated version compare to their photorealistic equivalents. Beauty and the Beast might be one of the biggest hits of 2017, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the MST3K treatment.