Thursday, December 22, 2011

MST3K: Episode K15 - Superdome

If you've been following along, you know I'm attempting to watch all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. Some background here and here.

Episode K15: Superdome

First aired: KTMA on 12 March 1989

What can you say about a movie about a football game that ends before the game begins?

That right there is all you need to know about the movie. And that it's really bad. But, you knew that already. MST3K doesn't have any Academy Award winners. Well, that's not true. There is an Oscar-winner shown in Season Four. More on that later ... when we get to Season Four.

There's a story behind this episode. Not the actual episode, but the availability of the episode.

As you may recall, none of the Season Zero/Season K/KTMA episodes are commercially available. They exist, but only in Jim Mallon's vault. The only way fans of the show get to see the KTMA episodes is for them to obtain a copy of the "circulating tapes" ... and that's what I have.

For years, the most complete copy of K15 (Superdome) was missing the final host segment. Then, one day, the lady whose letter was read at the end of the show shared her tape with the masses. While her copy isn't good quality or even complete -- someone had taped over much of the show -- it had the "lost segment," but not the closing credits.

A sort-of-complete version of the show is now circulating that includes the better-but-incomplete version up to the end of the film when Joel & the Bots leave the theater. Then, it switches to the letter-lady's copy through the final segment, then Episode K20 - The Last Chase's credits are grafted on.

Football players, but no football game
The movie itself is boring. Sure, there's some real-life football players -- including Bubba Smith, Dick Butkus, Marv Fleming, Les Josephson, & Shelly Novack -- but the soap-opera plot is really boring.

It's a typical 1970s TV-move cast, with David Janssen, Edie Adams, Clifton Davis, Ken Howard, Susan Howard, Van Johnson, Donna Mills, Ed Nelson, Jane Wyatt, & Tom Selleck. They even reveal the identity of the killer (yes, there's a killer on the loose) half-way through the film. But, the movie is so bad, I really don't care. In fact, I was hoping (*SPOILER ALERT*) she'd off the rest of the cast before they caught her.

Servo types with his feet
The premise of the host segments is Servo typing a letter (with his feet) to his non-existent uncle about what's been going on. Which, of course, means ... flashbacks! Only, turns out just one of the flashbacks is really a flashback from a previous show. There is a video montage set to Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World, but the others skits are all new.

Riffing was okay, but not great. Of course, you can only work with the material you have. The movie was lame, and I'm thinking that was the reason.

Crow looks for the audience
Late in the movie, Joel says that he can't think of anything funny. The Bots agree. Crow later mentions the movie's a yawn-fest. Servo asks "Who are you talking to? Most of our home viewers have tuned away anyway." Crow turns around and checks. I thought that was funny.

My buddy Mad Max refers to really bad movies as "That Which Shall Not Be Named." He said this one was nearly in that category, except "an intrepid and prolific assassin made it somewhat interesting."

Oh, one final thing. The movie ended with the National Anthem being played before the Super Bowl. Crow kept asking, "Who won?" as they left the theater. Who won? I'll tell you who won: anyone who didn't watch the film.

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