Now that the MST3K Reunion Show is over, it’s time to start thinking about the next ten years at RiffTrax. Ever since Mike Nelson founded RiffTrax in 2006, fans have been suggesting their favorite movies, bad or otherwise, for them to riff. While impossible to riff every movie ever made, RiffTrax has been doing their damned-est to get as close as possible to that goal, having riffed more movies than the entire original run of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Today, let’s take a look at a few films they haven’t done yet, that we’d like to see them tackle.
Disclaimer: The results below were compiled from entries solicited by me on both Twitter and Facebook, along with perusing the RiffTrax suggestion database, and the RiffTrax forums to find out which movies are favored over others. While it’s far from scientific, I’ve endeavored to be as representative of the entire fanbase as possible — but at the end of the day it came down to my judgment, and these are the movies I felt would be most interesting/hilarious to see in the RiffTrax library.
Road House (Three Riffer Edition) – What better way to kick off their second decade than by revisiting the first riff released under the banner of RiffTrax. This pilot riff (for lack of a better term) was a solo effort by Mike Nelson and remains a classic to this day. However, whenever I watch the riff, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if Kevin and Bill were brought in for a more complete RiffTrax experience. It wouldn’t be the first time RiffTrax has taken another swing at a movie that Mike had previously done by himself, so there’s absolutely nothing to lose and a whole lot of be gained by revisiting this one.
Double Down – Neil Breen is an up and coming Tommy Wiseau in his own right. His disasterpieces are famous among bad movie lovers. Double Down is his first film about… well, I’m not really sure. It features Breen living in his car outside in the desert outside Las Vegas, and he’s some kind of assassin bum. Look, don’t try to make sense of it, it’ll only anger you. This is one of the biggest holes in the RiffTrax library and it should take it’s place alongside The Room and Birdemic.
Templar Nation – And speaking of up and coming Tommy Wiseaus! Joseph James, the genius behind such brilliant cinematic masterpieces such as The Masonic Map and The Freemason, has a bizarre fascination masonic lore and conspiracies, most of which he gets completely wrong, in his poorly executed films that are all exactly the same. The second entry of this anthology more or less represents what a Joseph James is all about. It even has Erik Estrada and Utah film legend Richard Dutcher. What star power!
Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters – RiffTrax fans will squeal/groan with glee/disappointment when the movie begins and the first two and a half words on screen are “K. Gordon Murray,” director of the legendary Santa’s Village of Madness shorts! Those squeals and groans will grow even louder upon seeing the return of Stinky the Skunk and Ulcer Wolf! This thing… This is something great that will please many-a hardcore fan.
Capricorn One – Long before the horrendously offensive, continuous string of lies known as JFK, the standard for bad conspiracy films was set by Capricorn One. And to it’s credit, even with it’s obvious parallels and inspirations, this film never pretended that it was anything but pure fiction. In an allegory of bullcrap moon landing conspiracies, Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O. J. Simpson land on a soundstage that the conspirators are trying to pass off as Mars. I can’t imagine how you could make fun of ANY of that.
Pacific Rim – I’ll admit, this one is a bit of an enigma to me. Sure, it’s a goofy Power Rangers vs. Kaiju CGI monstrosity, but it was no better or worse than any of the other CGI monstrosities released in 2013. But it is on more than a few RiffTrax wishlists, and to make things ever weirder, the people who want it riffed absolutely LOVE it. And not in the ironic way that many people now love Twilight. They genuinely like the movie, but want it riffed more than anything in the world, as it currently ranks #3 (among THOUSANDS) in the suggestions database at RiffTrax.com. And I say give them what they want. It’ll be a fun MP3 outing in an era when MP3 riffs are few and far between.
A Christmas Story – Probably the most iconic Christmas film of the second half of the twentieth century, A Christmas Story used to be good until it started playing back to back to back for an entire month all over cable television, and every unfunny clod constantly makes references to it no matter what time of year it is. Now it’s just annoying. I’d love for RiffTrax to make this one of their Christmas entries.
Mortal Kombat – Another title that ranks very high over at the RiffTrax suggestion database, the first Mortal Kombat movie is a wonderful schlock movie in the very best sense of the word. There’s so much to like about the movie and so much to poke fun at, and at the end of the day you have to admit that it truly is a great movie. …NOT the second one, though! If I ever have to watch that pile of garbage ever again for the rest of my life, even with RiffTrax, it’ll be way too soon.
Watchmen – Long before people were up their own you-know-wheres about Bats v Supes and Man of Steel, Zack Snyder was taking flak for DARING to adapt Alan Moore’s most beloved graphic novel. And while everybody was just as wrong back then as they are now about Snyder’s work, there’s quite a lot of fun to be had with Watchmen in a RiffTrax commentary. From Rorschach’s psychotic narration to Doctor Manhattan’s big blue flopping ding dong, the potential for LOLs is too rich to pass up.
The Ten Commandments – This is my absolute favorite movie of all time, #NoFoolin! It had a huge impact on me growing up and I’ve probably seen it more times than I have seen any other movie in my life. (And no, I’m NOT an old man! I was born in 1980, so shut up!) The only thing that could possibly make it better is if RiffTrax would take it on. While amazing, there’s still plenty of riffing fodder in it, and I would love nothing more than for two things I love to come together and create three and a half hours of pure awesome. Yes, it is very long, and that is part of the reason I consider it to be the “Movie Riffing Holy Grail.” If you can riff The Ten Commandments in its entirety, there’s very little that could top that.
And now for the bonus round! I’ve taken the liberty of choosing an iconic movie for each of the RiffTrax Presents teams, (riffing lineups taking on movies that have been commissioned by Mike Nelson himself,) to take on. I tried to find movies that fit each team’s style and strengths, as well as push the boundaries of what we’ve seen them do to date. I submit the following for their consideration…
Witness for the Prosecution (Matthew J. Elliott and Ian Potter) – Wanna kiss me, Ducky?! The movie that quite literally invented the Spoiler Alert, Witness for the Prosecution is the iconic Billy Wilder courtroom drama with the powerhouse cast of Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich. It made a huge splash in 1957 and deserves to be introduced to a new generation. Matthew J. Elliott and Ian Potter not only possess the cultural sensibilities required to take on this film (being British and whatnot,) but their chemistry and timing are perfect for the pace and tone of the movie.
The Never Ending Story (Cole Stratton and Janet Varney) – Cole and Janet have kind of made 80s cheese “their thing” when it comes to RiffTrax Presents. They have riffed Dirty Dancing, Footloose, The Lost Boys and Dreamscape to name a few. When it came time to choose a dream riff for them to do, it came down to three movies: Xanadu, The Breakfast Club, and The Never Ending Story., And while the two former choices would have been a lot of fun, Never Ending Story is a universal choice among fans to be part of the RiffTrax library, and one that should have been done a long time ago. I can think of no better team to take it on than C&J.
Barbarella (Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl) -Bridget and Mary Jo have been tearing it up this past year with their critically acclaimed RiffTrax Presents shorts, along with their first two full length riffs, Catwomen of the Moon and Gravity. Since they’ve been developing a reputation of “riffing for ladies,” it would be only too appropriate for them to take on the iconic Jane Fonda garbage-fest, Barbarella! I think their take on this one would become and instant classic.
Don’t agree with this list? Do you think there’s some obvious classic waiting to be riffed that’s been overlooked? Then head over to ideas.rifftrax.com, the best place to submit suggestions for riffs, and let them know what you want! Personally, I’ll be over here waiting in eager anticipation for my Ten Commandments riff… although I have a feeling it’ll be more than 40 days and 40 nights before I get it.