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RiffTrax: Please talk during the movie

January 1, 2006

in All Articles,Audio,Culture,Photo and Video

In the not-too-distant past, television gave us a unique and successful experiment in the field of satire and intelligent humor. “Mystery Science Theater 3000” was the unwieldy yet appropriate title of a show where you watched people making fun of movies. Literally watching an entire movie with the cast of MST3K was the reason each episode was two hours long.

What, that doesn’t sound fun? How about this: All of MST3K’s movies were bad. Stinky cheese bad, like “Hercules Against the Moon Men” and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”.

Yep, sounds weird, I know. But the odd premise of watching people ripping on cinematic turkeys worked wonderfully. MST3K was truly funny – witty commentary and constant jokes made the experiment fun. There’s something primal and cathartic in giving bad movies a taste of their own medicine.

Your honor, I’d like to say for the record I’m against people talking during movies in the theater. But when I’m at home, watch out. It’s open season.

After a solid ten-year run, MST3K stopped making episodes, but has retained a huge fan base. The concept of giving bad movies a verbal lashing is important, particularly in our world of Hollywood’s overemphasis on explosions, actors’ salaries and lame and unnecessary remakes. Today, MST3K is off the air. But one of MST3K’s head writers and stars, Mike Nelson, has made sure we can fight back.

Nelson makes “RiffTrax”. These are downloadable MP3 audio commentary files meant to be played in sync with a movie. For example, get your hands on Patrick Swayze’s classic B-movie “Road House”. Then download the RiffTrax commentary, and listen to it while you watch the movie. We have instant transformation, making a bad movie worth watching.

Due to movie licensing costs, MST3K did its thing with older, lesser known movies. RiffTrax, being just an audio file, has no such legal or monetary restrictions. Get ready for treatments of big Hollywood blockbusters, like “The Fifth Element” and “The Matrix”. RiffTrax are available for $2 each.

RiffTrax is brand new, and doesn’t yet have a large selection. If you can’t wait, head over to, and download fan-made commentaries for hundreds of movies. Also use the free software to create your own “CROW” (Commentary Released On the Web). If you’re tired of stinky movies, if you’re sick of going to the theater and losing hours of your life (not to mention selling all your plasma to afford tickets and popcorn), take control and fight back.

Movies take themselves too seriously. Hollywood, it’s time for a polite but firm knock on the forehead.

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