A couple weeks ago, a post by my IRL friend Jim Winter reminded me of something I used to love, and had mostly forgotten: Mystery Science Theater 3000. I was first introduced to it when I was in college, by Jim and my mutual friend, Rob. It ran on Comedy Central and later the Sci-Fi Channel for several years in the late 80s and early 90s, and is now available on Netflix!
For the uninitiated, MST3k (as it’s affectionately known by fans) has a simple premise: mad scientists have kidnapped a janitor so they can monitor his brainwaves while they force him to watch really, really bad movies. His only companions are two robots, and the three of them survive by making snarky commentary throughout the whole show. Hilarity ensues!
When Jim’s post reminded me of the show, I checked to see if it was available on Netflix. It is! I knew my daughter and her boyfriend would love it, so one night, we settled in to watch one they’d picked. The movie in this one was Final Justice, starring Joe Don Baker. I’d never heard of either. But wow…. this was a level of badness I’d thought had gone out with the 60s, or at least the 70s! My daughter kept commenting, “I can’t believe how bad this is!” Final Justice has it all: cheesy dialogue, implausible situations, re-used segments of footage, multiple boat chases, and of course, the ditzy female sidekick. I especially liked how the main character’s cheesy cowboy-sheriff outfit never got torn or dirty throughout all of this, until one scene near the end, where he washed up on the beach after a boat chase, and a friendly island family washed -and ironed! – it for him. The commentary was great, watching was great fun, and I got a wonderful family night out of it. (Amazingly, my daughter does not mind hanging out with me, and neither did her boyfriend.) I expect this is family fun that will be repeated!
Did you ever watch MST3k? Have you ever rediscovered something you’d forgotten you loved? I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment, and share!