Monday, April 30, 2012

Last of the "Obama Ate A Dog" jokes

It's time for the "Obama Ate A Dog" jokes to end.

Not because the jokes aren't funny. Some are.

Not because he didn't eat a dog. He did.

But because now Obama is telling them:

[Direct link]

Obama doesn't do something unless it's way too late or it was a bad idea to start with.

Well, there is the whole Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton make it happen over Valerie Jarrett's objections, but this doesn't fall into that category.

No, this is definitely Obama deciding to tell an "Obama Ate A Dog" joke. Which means it's time for them to end.


So, here's your last chance. Share your favorite "Obama Are A Dog" joke.

[Click for more "Obama Ate A Dog" humor]

MST3K: Episode 504 - Secret Agent Super Dragon

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 504: Secret Agent Super Dragon

First aired: Comedy Central on 7 August 1993
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 12), Rhino (Volume 12), Best Brains (Volume 12)

Too bad the movie wasn't super.
It's a spy film! And it stars Sean Connery as Ian Fleming's James Bond.

Okay, that's not true.

Well, the Sean Connery part. And the James Bond part. And the "stars" part. But it is a spy movie.

I wasn't familiar with Ray Danton, who had the lead role in this movie. But, I suspect I've seen him in stuff. He appeared in guest-starring roles on 77 Sunset Strip, Bat Masterson, Maverick, Laramie, The Virginian, Temple Houston, Wagon Train, Honey West, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Big Valley, The Name of the Game, Ironside, It Takes a Thief, Love, American Style, Dan August, The F.B.I., Night Gallery, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Story, McCloud, Toma, Cannon, Hawaii Five-O, The Rockford Files, Switch, Barnaby Jones, and other shows.

Ray Danton plays Super Dragon, who is Secret Agent, Super Horny.
So, yeah, I've probably seen him in other stuff before I saw this episode of MST3K. And you probably have, too.

But, I didn't recognize him. That whole, "Oh, that's the guy that was in that show that time" thing? No, it just didn't happen for me.

Guy's got a real deep, distinctive voice. But I didn't recall it. None of that "Oh, he sounds like that guy that was in that show that time" thing, either.

For some reason, he never made an impression on me. But he made an impression on the ladies. At least, that's what the script writers had going on.

He's not in The Village and he's not Number Six.
Bryan Cooper is retired Secret Agent Super Dragon, who goes back into the spy business when a buddy is killed over some chewing gum or something. That part wasn't clear. Or maybe it was. I don't remember. So, Secret Agent Super Dragon goes looking for his buddy's killer only to find a drug ring that's giving away spiked chewing gum in Michigan. Naturally, this means Secret Agent Super Dragon must go to Amsterdam to solve the crime, so he does, after he springs another buddy from jail. Secret Agent Super Dragon meets and beds some young lovelies along the way as he uncovers a drug operation that smuggles drugs inside Ming vases, chosen so they won't attract anyone's attention or something. Secret Agent Super Dragon saves the day and college students in Michigan can chew gum with confidence again. The end.

Secret Agent, Super Dragon is not the worst film MST3K has given the treatment, but it's certainly not the best, either.
Minsky.Crow's screenplay for The Spy Who Hugged Me.
The riffing wasn't great, but it was good. Just enough to keep the chuckles coming, but no out and out belly laughs.

The best invention wasn't in the Invention Exchange. You see, the Bots made a robot for Joel. Only, it didn't do a log. Sort of like all the robot toys that existed when I was a kid. Still, I thought more of it than I did Frank's Virtual Comedy Club or Joel's Micro Golf.
Secret Agent Super Dragon at work.Secret Agent Super Dragon in disguise.
J&tB did cover the spy movie staple of post-kill puns. Like, shooting a guy with a spear gun and saying "I think he got the point" or a villain getting electrocuted and the hero saying "Shocking" and such. They do a good job of taking a premise and punning with it.

See? Now I'm doing it.

A pretty good episode, just not up to par with the last several ones.

Friday, April 27, 2012

MST3K: Episode 503 - Swamp Diamonds

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 503: Swamp Diamonds

First aired: Comedy Central on 31 July 1993
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon DVD (Volume 10), Amazon DVD (Volume 10.2), Rhino (Volume 10/out of print), Rhino (Volume 10.2/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 10.2)

A Roger Corman film.
This episode was released twice. Or once. Or something.

Remember back when we covered Episode 212: Godzilla vs. Megalon and Episode 402: The Giant Gila Monster? Sure you do.

We mentioned that Episode 212: Godzilla vs. Megalon was released in the Volume 10 four-pack, but there were rights issues with that movie, so they re-released the four-pack as Volume 10.2 with Episode 402: The Giant Gila Monster taking its place.

The other three episodes on that DVD four-pack? They were on the Volume 10.2 release, too. So, those three were released twice in 16 months. This is one of those episodes.

Cat fight!
It's a Roger Corman film, which means it's short. And still contains padding. Simple plot, simple characters, simply bad film. When it was released, it went by the name Swamp Women, but it also went by Swamp Diamonds, which is much better.

It does star Mike Connors and Beverly Garland, so it's not all bad. Still, despite that, it's bad. I mean, it's a Roger Corman film.

A police woman goes undercover in prison to break out members of a gang that stole and hid a bunch of diamonds so they can lead her to the stash. They break out and kill a couple of civilians as they make their way to the hidden gems. But, it's to recover diamonds, so it's all okay. Mike Connors kills an alligator and Beverly Garland gets speared in a tree, but kills a rattlesnake before she falls dead. The diamonds are recovered and the lady cop gets to keep Mike Connors. The end.

Back in the 1950s, when this movie was made, Mike Connors went by the name Touch Connors. J&tB wondered what other names he considered before "Touch":
Dr. Forrester reaches for a snack.
  • Thrust
  • Jab
  • Fudge
  • Crunch
  • Blast
  • Smidge
  • Shout
  • Batch
  • Scrod
  • Flake
  • Wink
  • Sploot
  • Pinch
  • Probe
  • Wing
  • Snake
  • Grunt
  • Flink
  • Pat
  • Hal
  • Snack
  • Slap
He eventually became "Mike" and then Joe Mannix. Why the name change? Well, he was born Krekor Ohanian, but since they don't like two actors to have the same name, he changed it.
What to do on a date.What not to do on a date.
Oh, this episode was also highlighted by the short film, What To Do On A Date. The short was released three times. It was, of course, part of Volume 10 and Volume 10.2, but it was originally on the Shorts Volume 2 disc that was included in Mystery Science Theater Collection: Volume 3.

Not a Weber grill, but an Andrew Lloyd Weber Grill.
It's a fun short, and J&tB have lots of fun with it. In fact, it inspires the Host Segment arc of Tom asking Gypsy out on a date. It doesn't go well.

Oh, and the Invention Exchange, while not great, is still good. I'd like to see more stuff fuel the Andrew Lloyd Weber Grill. And U-View, showing what you'd be doing if you weren't watching TV, was funny.

This episode is fun. Not great, but good. Really, really good.

A bad Roger Corman film, but thankfully short. A short film that just begs to be riffed, and the crew obliges. Fun Host Segments with an episode-long story arc.

What's not to like? All in all, this was a fun episode.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MST3K: Episode 501 - Warrior of the Lost World

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 501: Warrior of the Lost World

First aired: Comedy Central on 24 July 1993
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 16 standard edition / Collector's Edition), Shout Factory (Volume 16 standard edition / Collector's Edition), Best Brains (Volume 16 Collector's Edition)

The plot was lost, too.
Remember The Paper Chase? No, not the movie. The TV show. Sure you do.

One of the stars was Robert Ginty. He wasn't in the movie, but was in The Paper Chase: Season One, which aired on CBS. When Showtime picked the series up, he didn't come along. He had moved on from TV and was making movies by then.

When The Paper Chase: Season Two made its debut on Showtime, Warrior of the Lost World was getting ready to make its world premiere ... in Italy. It finally made it to American movie screens in 1985.

Persis Khambatta talks to Paper Chase Unit
Even though this movie took two years to make it to America, it was out of theaters and on video by the time The Paper Chase finally ended its TV run.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 never did The Paper Chase. But they did Warrior of the Lost World.

Just think, if Robert Ginty had decided to move with The Paper Chase to Showtime, he might never have appeared in an episode of MST3K. Then where would be be? Okay, he'd still be dead, but you get my point.

About this episode...

MegaWeapon, my hero.
In the future, Paper Chase Guy rides a goofy motorcycle that speaks fluent 80s. He's hired by the bald chick from Star Trek: The Motion Picture to rescue her dad from Blofeld. Dad gets rescued but Lt. Ilia gets captured and brainwashed to kill her dad. She shoots Blofeld, but it turns out it wasn't him and the bad guys get away. The end.

When I got this episode on DVD, I wasn't sure that I had seen it before. It really didn't see familiar. I was 1/3 way through it before I was able to confirm that I had seen it. The Invention Exchange didn't stand out, although I thought the segment was great. I don't know why I didn't remember them.

Maybe when I saw it on Comedy Central, I only saw part of the episode. Whatever the reason, I didn't remember the first half-hour of the episode. But, once we got to the rescue, it all came flooding back.
The Square Master.Joel builds slot cars for the Bots.
I liked this episode. Yes, the movie was bad. Really, really bad. I didn't like the characters. Robert Ginty was a good actor, but even Laurence Olivier in his prime couldn't have done anything with the Warrior role. I hated the Warrior, I didn't think much of the heroine, either. I even hated the bike. Like J&tB, I also enjoyed it when that annoying bike bought it. MegaWeapon is my hero.

Donald Pleasence was good, though. But he was good in anything. He was always a great villain. I miss him.

Good, fun episode, with some great riffing and some fun skits.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MST3K: Episode 502 - Hercules

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 502: Hercules

First aired: Comedy Central on 17 July, 1993
Availability: MSTAvailability:

He's ba-a-a-a-ack!
Remember the Hercules movies from Season Four? Betcha though they were over and done, since Joel & the Bots did that "last of the Hercules movies" celebration at the end of Episode 412: Hercules and the Captive Women, huh?


Or, the Mads gotcha.

Season Five opens with ... Hercules.

Yes, it's Episode 502. It aired before Episode 501. I don't know why. But it did. So, we're watching it next. Or watched it, actually. I mean, I can't exactly write about an episode I haven't seen, can I.

"Wait! This is ancient Greece. They didn't have ruins yet!"
Well, yes, I can. But I won't.

As far as you know.

This is the first Hercules movie starring Steve Reeves. Actually, Steve Reeves only starred as Hercules in two movies: this one, and in Episode 408: Hercules Unchained.

I never saw this episode during any of the 18 times it was broadcast on Comedy Central. So, until I obtained a fan copy, I had never seen it.

What did I think about it? Well, I'm not a fan of the movies featuring big oily dudes running around in sandals. Besides that, there's a scene where a character talks about wanting to finish the marathon. However, the race wasn't named until the 19th Century. The first written account wasn't until the 1st Century A.D. And the Battle of Marathon itself was in 190 B.C.

"Geez, you’ve got to take orders from Pete Townshend in a dress."
Now, while Euripides, who wrote the stories of Hercules, lived from 480 - 406 B.C., there certainly wasn't a race known as a marathon during the time of Hercules (had Hercules been real).

Notice that the error in the timeline is the problem, not the whole son of Zeus thing. I can deal with bad mythology, just not incorrect mythology.

The movie is a little hard to follow. Part of the reason is that the crew cut the heck out of it. The whole episode is 92 minutes. Take out the opening and closing themes, the Invention Exchange, and the Host Segments -- a little over 18 minutes all totaled -- and you only have around 74 minutes for the movie.

Consider that the original movie was 104, that's 30 minutes, or 1/3 of the original film, that was cut.

No wonder it was hard to follow.

Of course, it may not have been that easy to follow, even without the cuts. Maybe I'll watch the original Hercules on Amazon Instant Video.

Or not.

Here's what I do know:

Hercules travels to Iolcus for some reason, then gets the hots for Iole whose father Pelias killed the rightful king, his brother. Hercules tries to teach Iphitus, brother of Iole and son of Pelias, how to be a man, but gets him killed by a lion instead. Hercules then helps Iole's cousin Jason capture the Golden Fleece by way of a visit to the Amazons and reveals who really killed the king. Jason gets the throne. The end.

The Cellular Desk
The Invention Exchange is a double-winner. I loved Dr. Forrester's Cellular Desk, and Joel's Instant Karma is great. We all shine on!

The Host Segments, featuring the new constellations, the Hamilton, Joe Frank, & Reynolds debate, and the Match Game show, Crow and Servo discussing the advantages of having Amazons on board, were all winners.

Oh, and we got to see Mary Jo Pehl make her first on-screen appearance as one of the Amazon Moms.

I know I said I didn't like these sword and sandals movies, but this one is funny, with a capital FUN and a capital E.
Amazon Women in the Mood.Amazon Women. Not in the mood.
Season Five started off with a winner. The crew is firing on all cylinders, and it's smooth sailing ahead. For the next 11 episodes, anyway.

What happens in 11 episodes? You'll find out.