This June fans of the cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 will get to witness the kind of event they have only dreamed of since the show went off the year more than a decade ago. The cast of Rifftrax (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett) will be joining the original cast of MST3K (Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff and Mary Jo Pehl) as well as newcomer Jonah Ray for a one night only reunion show sure to blow your minds. The event will be simulcast in theaters all over the country on Thursday, June 28, at 8:00 p.m. ET, with a tape-delayed airing for those in MT and PT.
We sat down with the cast of the reunion to talk about how the show came about and their favorite moments over the years.
Q: You’ve been doing this for, like, decades now. How do you think your riffing style has evolved?
Trace Beaulieu: I only riff in French now.
Bill Corbett: Mine hasn’t.
Kevin Murphy: Boy, I don’t know. Probably, well, I’m old now, so I can’t keep up with the current culture so I really heavily depend on our younger writers to know what the hell is going on.
Bill Corbett: I only riff for money now.
Trace Beaulieu: Kevin’s jokes are all about the Big Bopper and Chubby Checker. So, you’re a little bit more contemporary than Frank, because Frank was told (Inaudible). He’s still riffing on the 20’s. Joe Besser jokes.
Kevin Murphy: Yes.
Trace Beaulieu: I’ll try to answer semi-seriously. I don’t know that I’m self-conscious enough – well, I’m plenty self-conscious – don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think I’m smart enough to know how it’s changed until after the fact. And I think there’s been some natural, just slight shift in this now that we’re in the characters of ourselves, the middle-aged dudes, as opposed to Crow and Servo, a slight different anyway. Because with Servo and Crow, you could kind of pretend that they just fell out of the turnip truck or the robot factory, whatever, and our mashing together everything, and they can be a little more extreme and violent in their reactions. So, I think it’s just become a little more in our own voice; although, we do play psychopaths pretty convincingly, not quite at puppet level.
Q: So, I understand that as part of the RiffTtrax MST3K reunion special you guys are going to be doing a lot of shorts, a lot of short films. It really harkens back to the classic days of MST. What is it about educational shorts or informational shorts that really kind of resonates with what you do? And what’s the thrill like when you dig up a new one that you see so much potential into, for riffing?
Kevin Murphy: I think I love them because they’re just so – they seem at this point in time to have come from another planet and it’s like Lost or How To Live Your Life that is imposed by creatures from another civilization or another time. So, they also end up sounding very silly and very weird and filled with rules on how you should or should not run your life. And they’re so serious that they’re, like, the perfect straight man for us.
Alex Biese: Definitely, yeah. Trace, Bill, any other thoughts on that?
Trace Beaulieu: I like that they’re short.
Bill Corbett: Yeah. That is no small matter to me. I have to say, for someone who has a limited attention span, that is kind of a perfect unit for my wandering mind. Yeah. Kevin’s right. They’re like little archaeological digs to mid-20th Century America, and they are pretty tight-assed. I think they are really micro-managed aspects of life. As well intentioned as they were, they really dig in and they’re fun because exactly that; they’re good fodder because they take themselves seriously.
Trace Beaulieu: And they’re short.
Q:All right. This is a more general question for Trace and Kevin and Bill. Having been away from the franchise for over a decade and a half, what was it like collaborating with each other once again? And, for Jonah, I’m wondering seeing that you’ve never participated in the previous incarnation and series, do you have any expectations that were met or exceeded? And just, in general, what expectations did all of you have working once again together?
Bill Corbett: It’s going to be rough. I won’t lie to you,
Trace Beaulieu: I don’t think we ever stepped away – we all carried it with us. We all got that DNA on us from the same womb and we’re now carrying it with us into other projects that are all very similar.
Kevin Murphy: It’s true. And it’s funny, when I talked to Trace or Mary Jo or Bridget or Frank or any of the folks involved, there’s a kind of shorthand we have when it comes to actually doing the stuff that we all know. So, I think we haven’t really actually collaborated yet for the show. So, it’s hard to comment. But when we do, I anticipate that it’s going to be kind of easy, because we all know sort of each other beasts and each other’s shorthand.
Bill Corbett: Yeah. So far, we’ve collaborated on a bunch of emails to agree basically.
Trace Beaulieu: And I’m looking forward to seeing what Jonah brings to the whole thing. I’m hoping for food.
Kevin Murphy: That would be great. If he can bring some snacks, that would be great.
Jonah Ray: Yeah. I’m going to be Team Mom; that’s the title I’ve given myself.
Trace Beaulieu: Awesome.
Jonah Ray: Some Chee-Tos.
Trace Beaulieu: And Fritos.
Jonah Ray: Yeah. This is all still very surreal to me, even beyond a phone call with these guys that have – especially shaped my sense of humor. I’ve never had so many – I don’t think anyone has had as many surrogate fathers as me from the Midwest. I find myself – the way I joke around my friends and the way I like to write jokes and the comedic stuff I do, it’s all really based off of the rhythm that I learned from watching Mystery Science Theater. So, it’s going to be really exciting and surreal for me. Also, waking up, just to let you know this is an odd thing for these guys. I’m not sure if you know this, but my most watched movie is The Mystery Science Theater for This Island Earth. I had it on VHS and I watched it all the time. And then, it became one of those things where I knew it so well that I could turn it on and then fall asleep to it because I knew it so well. And so, you guys have put me to sleep more times than my mom. And so, to come, to start, and I’ve riffed on movies and stuff before with friends or shows and stuff like that, but the work that goes into it is now, like, I’m more in awe of all the guys, just because it’s such applause. It’s, like, no one ever told me that the idea, like the whole concept of the show is also what you go through while making the show. And so, you’re really just slogging through these cheese balls and I’m really excited that, even just to get to go to the show in Minneapolis, so it’s very exciting.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm