RiffTrax are hilarious movie commentaries written and performed by the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000, the TV show that taught many a Cracked writer how to speak smartass. As a sign of our gratitude, we offered them the chance to do our jobs for us for the day.
At RiffTrax, we spend a lot of time watching bad movies and making them funny, because we're big fans of laughing, and also making ourselves suffer. There are many breeds of bad movie. Some are so inept that they're unwatchable, some so psychotic and bent that the viewer comes away feeling like his very soul has somehow become greasy, and some are Transformers movies, which manage to combine both. Our favorite breed, though, is the unintentionally hilarious movie -- the movie that misses its mark so widely, all you can do is cackle through confused tears of joy, delighted by the raw, stupid chaos of the void. Or maybe that's just us. One timeless great of this genre is Manos: The Hands of Fate (which, incidentally, we'll be riffing live nationwide August 16). But you don't have to go all the way back to the '60s to find these accidental gems -- they're still being made today. Here, now, are some of our absolute favorites from the last decade.
7Sex and the City 2
The lovely ladies of Sex and the City have baked you a tasty gourmet cupcake! A cupcake prepared from the dandruff of that homeless guy who wears a Fran Tarkenton jersey from 1977 made crunchy by his own accumulated effluvium and still sleeps on his dog that died three weeks ago; one filled with the earwax of Norway rats and frosted with lard left over from Nick Nolte's liposuction. (So you can see that while my calling it "tasty" may have been misleading, it is technically accurate.)
Much like the title of this movie.
Sex and the City 2 is such a shocking misfire that it is almost literally impossible to watch it without scrunching up your face and backing up a few inches from your television. By the end you'll be behind the couch weeping, cursing God and gnawing skin off the back of your hand.
It's not very good.
Spot the camel.
Oh, all the main characters are back. There's that whore-y one, that other whore-y one, the one who's supposed to be cute but isn't and the one whose face looks like a dromedary camel who used a moisturizer with methylparaben, causing all its hair to fall out save for the thick black ones on its wart (dromedary camels are, as you well know, allergic to methylparaben). There's also Mr. Big, of course, who, improbably, is not a circus strongman, but rather the oily, repulsive husband of one of them (do you really care which one?).
When the pressures of modern life, which as far as I can tell consist wholly of swilling liquor and buying crap, start to wear on them, does our cast seek relief as any normal person would, e.g., eating a four-person portion of smoked pork shoulder straight from the aluminum tray it came in from the store? No, they hustle off to that hotbed of drunken trampdom, Abu Dhabi. Really, they do. The stars of Sex and the City spend the bulk of their time in the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Above: The gang is rescued by Sarah Jessica Parker's parents.
Though as a film it is 99 percent twisted wreckage, in one scene it does ably cater to an underserved audience: That is, those few but highly passionate people who long to see a woman hurl fistfuls of condoms at a crowd of devout Muslims and then flip them double birds while shrieking vile profanities that would cause the demon Pazuzu to say, "Hey, whoa, back it down there, lady. We're not animals." If you are one of those people, seek help.
For all others, I believe you'll enjoy surgery on that bone spur in your foot more than this film.
At least the surgery comes with painkillers.
So what, then, is hilarious about this? It is a hilarious trick to invite someone over for a movie, show this and watch their intestines boil as they claw their own eyes out!
There's a lot of Travolta going on here, and I promise we'll get to that. We are not made of stone! And we all know this is a legendarily bad movie. But did you know that the people who created this unintentionally comic classic were deadly serious about its important message? Oh yes they were! Battlefield Earth is one of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's dreary sci-fi tomes that some dum-dum Hollywood people (and some dum-dum others, too, to be fair) literally treat as the Gospel. In this particular story, L. Ron's goal was stated by the proto-fascist charlatan himself: "I was a bit disgusted with the way the psychologists and brain surgeons mess people up so I wrote a fiction story based in part on the consequences that could occur if the shrinks continued to do it."
Aha -- so this was Freud's plan all along!
Yep. A "fiction story." He just went ahead and wrote that thing. Battlefield Earth tells the tale of humanity's bleak future, in the conveniently round year of A.D. 3000 (can you imagine using that in the title of any respectable piece of entertainment?!). Earth has been conquered by a bunch of smelly, dreadlocked giants called the Psychlos, who somehow represent that great demon psychiatry. Subtle nomenclature, I know, but if you think about it, the words sort of sound the same: Psychlo, psychiatry, OF COURSE I AM KIDDING IT'S AS SUBTLE AS A CINDER BLOCK UPSIDE THE HEAD. It is a ridiculous book, but for some reason the people at St. Martin's Press published it in 1982. Its initial title was Man, the Endangered Species, and the fact that a respectable publishing house put it out made a good case for that title as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is Mitt Romney's favorite novel. No, seriously.
Well, years later, a decent-for-a-white-guy dancer/fan of exciting massage/Hollywood dum-dum named John Travolta -- acolyte of all things L. Ron -- decided that it needed to be a movie, and achieved the impossible: He made the book look great by comparison. The great pleasure of watching Travolta chew scenery in Battlefield Earth is knowing that he really thought he was saying something deep, man. But it's a clown show through and through: All the poor bastards playing Psychlos along with Travolta (including genuinely excellent actor Forest Whitaker) join him in gnawing the furniture, performing like drunk thespians at a particularly down-on-its-luck Renfest. The actors playing the humans must have all been told on pain of being fired, "Your main job is to portray incredible, mind-bending dumbness, and with the least amount of charisma mathematically possible." The Psychlos call things they don't like "craplousy" -- one word -- and while awkward, it describes every single goddamned second of this film perfectly. The "hero" humans' battle cry is, I swear to God, "Blow the Dome!" Man, nobody gets out of this Scientological poo-fest with any dignity, and that makes it all the more Schadenfreudentastic. Praise Xenu!
Nothing Travolta does will ever make this un-happen.