In honor of the “Rifftrax Live!” show I recently attended, I’ve decided to make your movie recommendations this week Rifftrax themed. Although there are many fine movies that have received the Rifftrax treatment, I have a nostalgic fondness for their shorts. They remind me of the shorts that MST3K used to do. (If you don’t know MST3K, you should stop reading right now and go watch some.)
Therefore, the first recommendation for you this week is “Rifftrax Shorts Volume 1.” This collection includes 9 shorts being riffed by Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy of Rifftrax.com. The first is the safety short Down and Out, which sets the tone for the whole disk and features large novelty props tripping up perhaps the clumsiest person ever. The disk also includes the shorts Patriotism, Buying Food, Right or Wrong, Drugs are Like That (my personal favorite), Skipper Learns a Lesson, The Trouble With Women, & It Must be the Neighbors.
Most of the shorts are simply done with the boys providing an audio commentary of jokes over the film, but for the safety short film Shake Hands with Danger they did something different. There are animated (and in some cases, mutated) versions of the riffers on the screen doing the jokes. At first I found the animation a little disturbing (half man/half parrot thing creeped me out), but I got used to it. If it bothers you, you can look at the film since the figures are at the bottom of the screen.
The second movie this week is Volume 2 of the Rifftrax Shorts. It features such lost classics as One Got Fat, Lunchroom Manners, Each Child is Different, Why Won’t Cathy Eat Breakfast-Petaluma Chicken (which dares you to figure out what it’s about), Act Your Age, Safety: Harm Hides at Home, Coffee House Rendezvous, Are You Popular? (which was done in collaboration with our own University of Oklahoma!) & Good Heath Practices.
All of the shorts are hysterical just like volume 1; however, I have a warning for you here about One Got Fat. From the title of this film, you would never guess it was about bicycle safety. You will also be surprised and disturbed, as I certainly was, to find that the children in it are wearing the sort of malformed, eyeless monkey masks that more readily belong on the faces of killers in slasher films. Why? You just have to watch it and even then I don’t guarantee enlightenment, just laughter.
If you don’t care for humorous riffing on silly films, these will be far too funny for you. However, if you are a MST3K fan who misses the old shorts, these collections are definitely for you. Or if you are simply in the mood for absurdity and laughs, look no further than the “Rifftrax Shorts Collections.”