[In case it isn't clear, "Monkeyshines" posts are simply short, lighthearted posts with no other purpose than to amuse, distract, and allow me to post stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else... like this awesomely disturbing video I stumbled upon.]
In what some would probably say was an inevitable outcome, the über-group consisting of Bill Corbett, Mike Nelson, and Kevin Murphy — aka The RiffTones — has been crowned the champion of Quick Stop’s “Masters of Song Fu” tournament. Despite a vocal minority who will undoubtedly continue to cry foul, The RiffTones defeated talented challenger Jason Morris, 222 votes to 135.
Some might say this was a little unfair, pitting a relatively unknown amateur songwriter up against a mighty triumvirate of geek gods — and they’d be right to say so. But ultimately, Jason’s the one coming out on top, with the nice juicy prize of exposure. Still, the boys at Rifftrax do manage to take home a trophy that is surely made from the finest plastic unicorn-horn ivory. So congrats, everyone.
As usual, hit Quick Stop to download all The Rifftones’ songs.
You might recall that Bill, Mike, and Kevin are participating in the “Masters of Song Fu” challenge, at Quick Stop Entertainment. In the contest, a number of challengers and “masters” are charged with writing and recording a song about a specific subject each week. The “RiffTones” have managed to survive the voting process, beating out the other masters, and now they’re up against the last remaining challenger.
This week’s challenge was to write a ’70s pop song for the soundtrack of a 1970s Lucas/Spielberg film. The RiffTones chose Jaws, while their challenger, the talented Mr. Jason Morris, chose Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Both songs are good but, really, it’s quite unfair to pit Jason against three gods of geekdom. Still, you can vote here, and while you’re at it, you can download The Rifftones’ previous songs, too.
And as Bill notes on the Rifftrax blog, some of the Song Fu voters have found something to complain about. Namely, a few of them are upset that Mike, Bill, and Kevin didn’t take the song seriously, and it just doesn’t sound like it could really be “The Love Theme From Jaws.” Imagine that. The stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000, not being totally serious. Shocking. Comic Book Guy would be proud, folks.
In case you missed it, Rifftrax has continued its dabbling in the field of combining Rifftrax with video and passing the savings on to you. They’ve now partnered with Overcast Media for a test-run of a new (old) style of riffing, taking free-and-legal video from Hulu.com, and using Overcast to automatically sync in the Rifftrax commentary.
Their first attempt can be found here, a riffing of an episode of the classic Incredible Hulk TV series, starring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. And best of all, the cost is absolutely free. In all honesty, I wasn’t that enthused by the riffing, but if this means more free riffs, then I’m all for it. (Word of caution, though: The Hulu servers are getting smashed, so the video may not work is temporarily down. Also, there may be syncing problems. If so, check the forums for assistance.)
Remember that animated short entitled Max the Hero, featuring Mike, Bill, and Kevin’s vocal talents? Well, apparently it won the award for “Best Animated Comedy” at Dragon*Con, a couple of weeks ago. The man behind it, Mike Salva, even had the award presented to him by Brad Dourif. Not a bad deal, if you ask me. Congrats, guys.
My apologies to Mike for not posting this sooner.
As you all know, I, like, totally follow all the stock market and business news and stuff, being a multi-millionaire with an internet empire and all. So, I was naturally thrilled to see some Rifftrax-related news coming down the wire.
Legend Films, the parent company of Rifftrax (remember those original Mike Nelson-commentaried DVDs?), has managed to secure $5 million dollars in funding. Now, truth be told, I of course know nothing about business matters and I have no clue where it came from or how they got it, but this can only mean good things for the keepers of Bill, Kevin, and Mike.
According to the press release, the money will primarily be channeled towards their efforts in “3D conversion technology,” or converting 2D film into “stereoscopic” 3D. If this money can bring us a few steps closer to finding the technology to literally make Tor Johnson burst forth from the TV screen, then I support them in their work.
There’s been a noticeable lack of Rifftrax coverage here (though not purposefully) — but no longer! The next Rifftrax release has been announced, and it’s the first of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. As you know, the film is a loose adaptation of the Disney themepark ride, a concept that somehow managed to tickle Jerry Bruckheimer’s brain. It stars many well-liked, attractive people and that guy from the better version of The Office. The Rifftrax is out on September 9th.
You can pick up the DVD here, if you feel so inclined. And while you’re at it, you could pick up a copy of Spiderman 2 here, since Rifftrax Presents just released a commentary for the film (featuring Kevin, Bill, and The Comics Curmudgeon). Go ahead, buy a Rifftrax. Bill needs the money so he can write Meet Dave Again: Beyond Thunderdome. (Bill, you know I love you.)
A couple of weeks ago, Bill announced that he, Mike, and Kevin would be participating in Quick Stop Entertainment’s annual “Masters of Song Fu” challenge. In the game, a bunch of challengers and a handful of “masters” are given a very specific songwriting challenge each round, and they must write and record a song within the parameters of that challenge.
Calling themselves “The Rifftones,” a name which undoubtedly has a ska band somewhere flipping through the Yellow Pages for a lawyer, their first challenge was to write a song about the moon. And they did. As with all Song Fu songs, the mp3s can be easily downloaded from the site. Here’s their first song, “Moon Shine”:
Good to hear Kevin crooning again. And as you can see above, Len Peralta of Jawbone Radio decided to make the guys some “Moon Shine”-inspired artwork. After the first week, the Rifftones came in second only to comedy duo Paul & Storm, and beat the absolutely amazing Jonathan Coulton by only one vote. (The fourth “master,” Venture Bros. maestro Doc Hammer, was unable to participate, this round.) I’m not sure whether or not they can be eliminated, but hopefully we’ll get at least a few more songs from the guys, before this is through.
Well folks, last night I had the opportunity to go the 7PM showing of Rifftrax Live’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, and let me tell you, I was in quite a bit of pain from laughing so much!
I’ve never been to a live riffing event so, naturally, I was very excited to see how this was all going to work out. First person I saw walking into the theater was Rifftrax writer Conor Lastowka, wearing the Jar Jar Binks shirt that he promised he would wear, on the Rifftrax Blog. I complimented him on his choice of shirt and he was quite startled by it. Had no one told him how stunning he looked in the shirt that portrayed the most beloved Star Wars character of all time? Such a shame. You deserve better Conor. :-)
The Balboa Theater is absolutely gorgeous. The theater itself didn’t seem to be very large, but it made for a more intimate space (granted, I was sitting in the fifth row… You’ll have to ask the balcony-goers what it was like for them), and there were lots of beautiful artistic details on the edges of the stage. On both sides of the stage, there were these lovely dioramas of a mountain view in the walls, with a waterfall with actual water going down it! However, we were warned by Kevin not to go chasing them. I was tempted to take pictures, but upon entering I could see that the theater management was already freaking out about all the cameras the fans had, and I didn’t want to do anything that might get me kicked out. But believe me, it was a beautiful backdrop for such a fun event. (More after the cut!)
To those who were unable to attend Comic-Con 2008 this year (Hugh included), I have been asked to report the goings-on to your eagerly awaiting computer screens.
By now, you all know that the DVDs for the 20th Anniversary Box Set are Laserblast, Werewolf, Future War, and First Spaceship on Venus, but did you know that Dr. Forrester has a third lightening bolt streak…in his pants? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Kudos to Trace for sharing that deeply intimate detail! Unfortunately, it made Mike and Kevin try to rip out their own eyeballs.
Anyway, the 20th Anniversary panel was a roaring success, and everyone on the panel seemed to be having a great time. No tension at all, just fun. At the beginning, the lights were dimmed and we were treated to our favorite opening theme song, mishmashed so that all the eras were blended into a single song. Joel’s voice flowed into Mike’s and each of the Bots were given a double Robot Roll Call to cover the cast changes for each one. (Click for more, after the cut.)
As I write this, the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con has officially begun. The event that will house the first ever gathering of the entire former cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is finally here, and Satellite News was recently kind enough to recount the full schedule of MST3K-related happenings.
Sadly, the convention is sold out, so if you’re late to the party, you’re out of luck. But if you’re there now, or are going later, then you might find this information useful.
- 2:30-4:00PM, booth #3251: Bill, Kevin, and Mike will be signing autographs.
- 7:15-8:15PM, Room 6B: Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Reunion. Joel, Mike, Trace, Kevin, Josh, Bill, Jim, Bridget, Mary Jo, Frank, and Paul will all be on-hand for a Q&A panel hosted by Patton Oswalt. But you already knew that, and that’s probably why you’re there at all.
- 11:00-1:00PM, booth #3251: More Bill, Kevin, and Mike autograph signing.
- 7:00 and 9:30PM, The Balboa Theatre: Rifftrax Live, featuring Plan 9 From Outer Space. Two consecutive live riffings with Bill, Kevin, and Mike. And who knows who else will be in the audience…
- 10:00-11:00AM, Room 8: The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd. Not exactly MST3K-related, but this live performance will feature the vocal stylings of one Frank Conniff. And that’s some sexy stuff.
In case you haven’t figured it out, booth #3251 is the Rifftrax/Legend Films booth, which should be open for most of the con. Shout Factory also has some real estate there, booth numbers 3749 through 3751. Well, guys, tomorrow’s the big day… Are you ready for the awesome?
In case you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting much. This is due to a volatile mix of health issues, the fact that I’m moving in a couple of weeks, and too many video games. I’m trying my best to remedy this. Until then, here’s some stuff I missed.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
- Entertainment Weekly placed Tom and Crow at number 12, on their list of “Hotshot Movie Robots.” I’m sure this is relevant to someone, somewhere.
- Former MST3K tech guy Brad Keely won a freaking Emmy for his camera editing work on PBS kids show DragonflyTV.
- Satellite News is going to Comic-Con. Find ‘em and buy ‘em a sammich.
- The A.V. Club pits Manos and Troll 2 against one other. Oh, the horror.
- io9 determines where Crow T. Robot sits in the great spectrum of robotkind. Somewhere between Robocop and Marvin The Paranoid Android, it seems.
- Bill extended an invitation to the Cinematic Titanic crew.
- Jawbone Radio interviewed Bill.
- Bill was on TV. Is there anything Bill hasn’t done, of late? Busy bee.
- Satellite News has photos from CT’s June live show.
- Joel appeared on the Water and Power web series. (Auto-play, beware.)
- Josh was the answer to a Jeopardy question.
- Frank wonders if Doomsday Machine is worthy of a Manos Award.
- Autographed 8x10s have hit the CT store.
- Mary Jo blogged for the MN Film & TV Board again, here and here.
Came across this fantastic picture of Vampira recently, presumably mugging it up for some young fans. I just felt like sharing it. And I feel like this sort of post should have a title. Like “Deep Photos” or “Apetography,” or… Okay, I’ll stop.
Also, I know I’m really behind in posting. I’ll try to catch up!
Mike Nelson lives again, as the next Rifftrax release will be a regular, run-of-the-mill commentary — no Rifftrax Presents shenanigans. Along with Bill and Kevin, Mike will be diving head-first into the astoundingly overrated world of M. Night Shyamalan, riffing on his breakthrough film, The Sixth Sense. On June 25th, you’ll have more Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osmont than you could ever want. Which should be none.
The above video is some Sixth Sense-related mischief from yon Rifftrax Blog.