Product Review: The Film Crew

Title: The Film Crew: The Giant of Marathon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Favorite Joke: “Athenian women always have the best jugs.”

It may not be the Bots but at least it’s something.

I’m sure Riff Trax are great but for someone with a lousy computer and no money they’re just a dream for the future. In the meantime my new riff material comes from “The Film Crew” featuring our beloved TV personalities Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Even if you don’t fall in love with it I feel it’s important to support the new stuff in order to encourage future work. Though I can’t help but notice that all the episodes of the Film Crew are copyrighted in 2005 and Mike now lives in San Diego so it’s unlikely there will be any more. After all, who would want to make fun of old bad movies and be on camera when you can make fun of any movie you want and just make it available for download?

For those unfamiliar with the series it’s about a small group of men who work providing commentary tracks for movies that have none of their own. These commentaries consist mainly of tearing the movies apart with witty and hilarious quips. There are no silhouettes, fancy sets, characters, puppets, or breaks every thirty minutes. There is a lunch break about halfway through the film as well as intro and outro playlets. With “The Giant of Marathon” there is also some special features including additional work and with “Hollywood After Dark” you get Bill’s “Ode to Lunch” playlet. To those who would say that these skits are less than brilliant I would probably reply by pointing out the facts that the guys aren’t working with extremely well developed characters amidst an elaborate setting that provides easily for humor and distraction. On the Satellite of Love if they needed someone else for the guys to talk to they could just open up that hexoport thing for aliens or have their captures call them on the viewscreen. The captures themselves were their own developed characters with their own sets to interact with which allows for more potential. Considering what they are working with the skits aren’t so bad and at least they’re trying. The special features on “The Giant of Marathon” are actually pretty good. I’m sure that if they had kept up with it they would have eventually developed more set characters and gotten even funnier.

Review: The Italian-made Greco-Roman period movies usually don’t do a lot for me. I would probably count the Hercules episodes of MST3K amongst my least favorites. I would say that this commentary is easily my favorite of the genre and overall is very good. Personally I found it a little tough watching all the animal cruelty but the crew’s ability to vocalize almost exactly want you are thinking eases the pain and even makes you laugh at it. And this is the overall experience of the film. Ordinarily the movie would be painful to watch and the whole time you’d have your own commentary going on inside your head but with the crew there with you, you find yourself agreeing with everything they say and chuckling when you would have just been staring blankly at the screen. The jokes are good and the material itself is delightfully awful on its own. The Lunch Break skit may have been a long setup for an obvious and ultimately unsatisfying payoff but I feel we should cut them a break. I doubt I could do any better and I find it safest just to assume you can’t either. Long story short, buy this DVD.

The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Favorite Joke: “Sorry, I just had sex so you might find me slippery in a few places.”

Review: It’s pretty good but the sound on the movie itself is so bad that it’s hard to fully enjoy it.

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