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Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese 70

Laith writes "Former Mystery Science Theater 3000 writer and Satellite of Love castaway Michael J. Nelson has a new book out,'Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese' in which he applies the same rapier wit to big-bucks Hollywood as the MST3K crew did to low-budget bombs. A story on it can be found at the Providence Journal."
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Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese

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  • He trashes Batman. I can see the other three especially, but Batman? What's wrong with Michael Keaton?

    Mike Nelson lives in his own little world with his robot friends (designed by Joel...). Hazzah!

    Even the samurai
    have teddy bears,
    and even the teddy bears

  • Still, Deep Impact was a lot easier to take than Armageddon. "It's the size of Texas Mr. President." I'll believe secret bunkers before I believe secret super-fast space plane type shuttle replacements.
  • I love MST3K, but I found this to be a little bit of a tough read because it is so resoundingly negative throughout. By the end I found myself asking 'does Mike like ANY movies at all?'

    Some funny stuff, for sure, but probably more enjoyable little pieces at a time.
  • Amusingly enough, I'm living in Mississauga, Ontario, and looking at a job that might see me moving to Providence, RI. Looks like I won't notice much of a change....
  • damn...you took my post.

    i always found that the only MST3K's worth watching were the ones with joel (this, of course does not include the hilarious movie). He always had that quiet idiot-esque feel to him. I'm kinda sorry that Joel has been thrown out of the loop, so to speak. Personally, i say give credit where credit is due.

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • What astounds me is how every other country insists on buying some of the garbage that we put out. I will never understand Europe's (or Asia, or South America's) thirst for bad American programming. Contrary to what you may believe, we don't export our best stuff; there are good American shows, but they tend to lose out to the louder/dumber ones in terms of viewer success even here. It's also important to note that in recent years a lot of the better and more innovative programming has cropped up on American cable rather than in syndication or on networks, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fits into this category. I was a little surprised to find so many people criticizing it on /.; I've found every episode I've watched hilarious.
  • Yeah, there's work being done on replacements, but its all conceptual & design work now (and even more so 2 years ago). There aren't any fully-functional prototypes sitting in hangers at Canaveral. And there's no way that space-plane type ships or going to slingshot around the moon.
  • No-one can surrender like a Frenchman, even an Italian. It's a matter of pinache, I think. And, I did not say the Poles were the most successful fighters, just tough (which is surprising considering the gentleness of the Polish sense of humor.)
  • Again OT, but this whole story has been mainly OT. So...

    Buddy, Buddy, Buddy! A while back they did a city audit. Missing: One building crane, 3 trucks, and something like 40 manhole covers. Manhole covers? A local politician get convicted. His crime? His used car dealership was turning back odometers! How cliche! Another politician changes his name by adding A to the last name so that we would be listed 1st on the ballot. An opponent does the same. The 1st guy then changes it to a little A. He wins. The Providence police once had a raid on a whore house. The walked to it as it was next door to the Police station. A few cops got caught up in the raid. In the pre-Revolution days, the "import" businessmen met at a tavern, got drunk and decided to burn the damn Brit ship (Gaspee), thereby striking a blow for freedom.

    Gawd I miss RI.:-) The people of RI are great once they get to know you; then you are like family. RI is a laugh a minute and I did like living there (10 yrs). But I do not back down on one thing. RI drivers are "interesting".

  • Well that's obvious. He's going to do like Hammer in Xenogears. Duh!
  • Agreed, Armageddon was sh*t!

    I call it the worst modern movie I've seen.

    A space shuttle with a f*cking gun on the top when it costs $100,000 to lift a pound into space?
  • > About all I could think about while
    > watching "Independence Day" was how it was
    > crying out for MST3King

    If you go to a lousy movie, be it ID4 or a DePalma flick, don't rely on Crow and Servo to save you. Sometimes you have to take measures into your own hands. Just because you're in the theater, surrounded by others who paid for their tickets, do not assume that they like the movie any more than you do. So riff. Your fellow movie-goers will thank you for it.
  • I think something similar was done with the episode "Eegah!" which was recently released on DVD. Using the wonders of modern technology, you can now have the joy of watching not only the MST version, but the original, uncut, unriffed film. Although why you would want to is completely beyond me. Well, without the silhouettes of the seats at the bottom of the screen, an Eegah! viewer would be able to watch out for snakes.
  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Sunday August 20, 2000 @12:25PM (#841344) Journal
    It is too bad that Mystery Science Theater 3000 never got the chance to give a lot of major Hollywood films the same treatment they were able to give to the low budget B movies.

    I'd love to hear what kind of comments that Mike, Crow, and Tom would dish out to films such as "Independence Day" or "Mission to Mars." Even a good movie, or a movie with a lot of fans, could probably benefit from a good chewing out by Mike and his robots.

    What MST3k really did was squeeze the entertainment value out of even the worst of films. Films so bad that they make Jar Jar seem like the coolest character ever. What else could make these movies watchable?

    Mike, I salute you.

  • Linking to the site, I had higher hopes.
    Alas, tripe.
    Oh well there's still OMM.

  • If you check the rhino catalog
    the MST3k DVDs have the MST3k episode
    then the movie in its entirety on commented upon
    unfortunately they don't have Mitchell yet

  • When I finally watched it, I was really primed, but ... the thing was, they weren't funny. Not even a little bit.

    I know this sounds pretentious, but the humor is largely referential, and most of it relates to pop culture from the 60's on to the 90's. A bulk of the jokes will fly over my head, but the ones that hit are absolutely gold. Mostly because they are very subtle, and will not try to beat the jokes to death by trying to explain them.

    I also suggest watching the Joel Hodgson episodes (Comedy Central), as opposed to the Mike Nelson episodes (Sci-Fi Channel), since the older episodes had more classically bad movies like all the Godzilla/Gamera stuff and a lot of the Ed Wood movies (Plan 9 from Outer Space).

    Also don't forget to view the all-time best episode: "Manos" Hands of Fate. The ending scene with the Torgo Pizza Delivery Service still cracks me up even after my 8th viewing!

  • What I would _really_ like to see is an MST3K audio commentary track on all of my DVDs. I doubt that idea would really fly - unlikely that the studios would enjoy paying someone to make fun of their movie for 90+ minutes. Still, it'd be hella fun to see what the guys can come up with for good movie like the Matrix or Fight Club. At least, I think so.
  • Mystery Science Theatre is unknown outside the USA. Perhaps this is why - the "wit" involved is the kind that keeps "comedy" shows like SNL going after too, too many years without even the slightest piece of talent.

    In defense of the show, many fans (myself included) felt that the general level of wit (yes, there was some, once upon a time) and the modicum of intelligent humor that the show displayed just tanked after the departure of creator Joel Hodgeson (sp?). Mike Nelson didn't show nearly the sense of timing or have nearly as effective a delivery as Joel's droll, offhanded lines; the show's writing suffered similarly although whether by coincidence or by his hand is an exercise left to the reader and individual fan.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here [msnbc.com]'s the MSN story that appeared about a day earlier...
  • And, the Polish were the doughtiest fighters of the World Wars first and second. Against machine gun fire they would jam Tiger tank's treads with wood beams, get a man on top of the tank with a pistol, a bottle of water and a bag of oats. This man would shoot any German emerging from the tank until he was killed himself. Charging tanks on horseback also gets the Big Brass Ones award. (don't piss-off a Pole..so to speak.)
  • I must admit, I've only seen MST3K a couple of times, after hearing a great deal about how hilarious it was.

    When I finally watched it, I was really primed, but ... the thing was, they weren't funny. Not even a little bit. They clearly *thought* they were funny, but it was like watching a couple of grade school kids telling fart jokes for an hour; not something for which you would use the word `wit.' In fact, the movies themselves weren't all that bad, and the thing I kept thinking was `I wish those morons in the front row would shut up!'

    I certainly hope I just caught them on a bad day...


  • WTF? Has /. stooped so low to post a story from the ProJo? This is the lead paper from the great state of Rhode Island (pronounced Row Die Lan). Yikes.

    RI a state whose capital of Providence has a mayor (Cianci) who once had to leave office because he kidnapped and beat up his ex-wife's lover. The ProJo once published a picture (on the front page) of the State's Chief Justice zipping up his pants as he was leaving a motel. RI, a state with the fine cities of Pawtucket and Cranston (Ever here a person from Cranson say, I need a fork? ROFLMAO). Honest to God, the RI multiple choice written test for your driver's licence had "Honk your horn, proceed with caution" as an answer for all of their questions. Ahh yes, the RI slide, right turn from the left lane.

    RI, the thirteenth of the original states. The last because they didn't want to give up a major source of income, smuggling.

    A school in RI sent me a brochure saying, "And the beaches in RI are excellent". Yo! Dudes! I'm from Hawaii, your beaches suck. Well you do have Moonstone beach.

    RI, a state that gave us the Farrelly brothers. Do you know what the inspiration for Dumb and Dumber was?

    Providence, the site of a sappy chick flick TV show.

    Have a Gansett neighbor!

  • ...a MST3k movie about Hollow Man. That movie was some ass! I have got to plead ignorance when I forked over my $9.50 for that piece of shit. That is prime MST material. Too damn bad they're gone :( Come on can't we get a special or something? Please? Remember the invisible man getting torched, hit in the head with a crowbar, blown up... and still managing to climb the elevator shaft? I can only imagine the jokes about that sorry flick...

    I don't want to read a book about how sorry a movie is... I want MST3k dissing it in real time. In a book if you haven't seen the movie... well you're not gonna get it.

    James Crawford
  • Well, Battlefield Earth should have been released straight to MST 3K...

  • MST was great...I really loved it...but megacheese? Is that like some really sharp cheddar or something?

  • by K8Fan ( 37875 ) on Sunday August 20, 2000 @11:06PM (#841359) Journal
    I don't want to read a book about how sorry a movie is... I want MST3k dissing it in real time. In a book if you haven't seen the movie... well you're not gonna get it.

    What they need to do is take advantage of the multiple audio tracks on DVDs to let the MST3K crew have a crack at it. Take some stink-bomb (like "Mission To Mars") that only did what it did at the box office on sheer inertia. Do the full treatment on it for the people who want to see it straight. Maybe even have a commentary track from the director and stars offering their excuses for the film. The real enjoyment would be on the MST3K audio. They could even do like the Ghostbusters DVD, using the graphic overlay ability to put the silouettes in front. It might be able to sell the otherwise unsellable.

  • damn, K8Fan suggested it before i did. and i really thought i was being clever too...
  • What, prey tell is to stop the likes of you, me, Mike or anybody from doing MST3K and distributing it as a seperate "overlay" that can be added to someone's DVD? The B-movies are great and all, but I'd love to see Mike an' da bots spoofing something more recent. Couple this with an easy to maintain budget and the high compression you can achieve on what is fundamentally a silhouette and you're onto a winner. Or at least something I'd enjoy. On a side note, Best Brains is still auctioning off all kindo of memorabilia on ebay. Search for 'MST3Kprop' to find (currently) a mock up of the 'door sequence', bobo's remote controlled brain, and more.
  • I have only seen MST3K - The movie, so I can't really have an opinion regarding the series. The movie was pretty funny sometimes though.

    But there are cool american comedy shows out there. David Lynch & Mark Frost's (Yeah, the Twin peaks guys!) - "On the air [imdb.com]", for example. Too bad most ppl never understood (or liked?) the humor.


    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • On the air [imdb.com]

    Me thinks "target" didn't work out very well.


    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • About all I could think about while watching "Independence Day" was how it was crying out for MST3King - and I'd only seen MST3K twice at the time. Given that it only took 40 comments before someone else brought this up, I suspect it is a common sentiment. (To add another to the list: 'Deep Impact': so they made caverns for 5 million people to live in for several years and kept it a total secret until the president announced it?)
  • So saith the article. Well, it would be nice if
    we could trust their vigilance. But look at


    Joey has suckered nationwide TV news shows, over
    and over, for decades. Joey says it's not getting
    harder. When he was showing CNN his "legal
    supercomputer" that had "judged O.J. Simpson was
    guilty", one of the cameramen said something
    like "Hey, haven't I been here before? Something
    about fish condos?" But the anchorman didn't
    notice and didn't check. And that's typical.
  • Um, Megacheese isn't new. It's been out for at least a year or two now.

    Still, in light of the "50 least influential movies list" (or whatever) it might be worth a look.
  • Mike sucks!! Long live Joel!!!

  • We're looking into your suggestion that we give Anonymous Cowards full participation as moderators. In principle, it would allow far greater participation amongst all members of our Slashdot community. As a preliminary test of the effects of such a system, we're giving you 300 moderation points. Use them wisely. The fate of scores of First Posters rests squarely on your competent shoulders.

    Some guy impersonating Cmdr. Taco

    Okay, okay, it's flaimbait. I promise to do fifty "hail Linus"'es as penance.

  • Here here!

    Don't get me wrong, the show is still good (thanks to Cambot, Gypsie, Tom Servo and Crow) but it has lost some of the punch that Joel put into it.

    Anyone seen any of Joel's stand-up? Great stuff!


  • This is a book about movies. Websites have nothing to do with it except this write-up. I like Science-fiction movies. Like Horror movies, however, most of them are rubbish. I also like books, and failing to find one more decent movie in either genre, perhaps cracking this book, a beer and playing Frank Zappa's "Cheepnis" would distract my boredom for an evening.
  • Showing my age here, but I remember a television series from the '60s, Fractured Flickers, in which old movies (typically silents) were given zany voice by a cast of veteran cartoon voiceovers. Similar to what Woody Allen later did to a Japanese spy movie (his title: "What's Up Tiger Lily"). Anyone who's a fan of MST3K would probably also enjoy FF (or "What's Up Tiger Lily" for that matter), so if you ever see it replayed somewhere, don't miss it.
  • I would just love to see ID4 MST3K'd. The truly remarkable thing about that movie was that at almost every point in the movie, even if you assumed that everything up to that point happened, the next event wouldn't. If I ever could get myself to watch it again, I would like to make a list of those events, and why they make no sense.

    Amusingly, I saw the latex model of the alien at a showing of the "Special Effects" IMAX movie, and it was more lifelike than it looked in the movie.

  • These look like they may be reprints of some of his articles in Home Theater [hometheatermag.com], or at least re-writes. If so they are well worth reading. When I used to get the mag his column was always the first thing I read.
  • The thing I always liked about MST3K was their willingness to let jokes go over most people's heads, while nailing the skulls of a select few. It was a strange feeling being the only one in the room who got a "gom jabbar" reference (hint: Dune). I'm busting up laughing while the rest of the family is giving me dirty looks. Obscure jokes like those are part of what keeps Fraiser so enjoyable.

    I would go so far as to say that jokes like those really defined the series: Not everyone is going to appreciate a guy and two robots mocking such Hollywood classics as "The Pod People" and "Gammurah." Some people will sit down, watch an episode, and demand those two hours of their life back. But those who did enjoy it enjoyed it immensely.

    Before I go watch "The Chicken of Tomorrow" for the bajillionth time, let me leave you with a thought that both fans and critics can agree with: As long as these guys are mocking movies, they aren't peddling drugs in your neighborhood.

  • [Start flamebait]

    Cripes, man, I'm from South County and I *MOVED TO* Cranston. Guido City. Trust me on this, Where else can you go to an Italian Catholic feast nearly every weekend, depending on which society is throwing one? I love it here. Every where else seems to be bland in comparison.

    I LOVE the Providence Renaissance. Dave Brussat is my GOD (Ever see Mississauga, Ontario? If you're looking for a vat of fermenting Modern Architecture, that's the place to be. It's butt ugly.)

    As for the smuggling bit, to you honestly think it ended when we signed up with the other 12 states? How do you think Brown University was funded?? The answer? There are TWO WORDS; they both begin with an S.

    I think RI is the only place in the WORLD that has made Politics into the Spectator Sport that It Is. Even CANADIANS cannot outdo us!

    Gimme Caesar Cianci over Jean Cretien.

    He's an asshole, but he's the best cheerleader Providence has ever had.

    You wanna leave? Go to Boston? Seattle? Denver? San Fran? NYC? Toronto? Do you seriously want to spend $500K for a Cape in the BAD part of town?

    They're all "better" but try "living" in them (with the exception of Toronto, I would give all of em a "thumbs down" on livability).

    [End Flamebait]

    Anyway, back to On Topic....

    I want to see a MST3K fest at the Avon. Joel And The Robots on the East Side.
  • I used to spend hours watching B-movies and being witty about them, and nowadays all I have to do is watch someone else do it. Its great. I have a whole new lease of life

    I genuinely love MST tho, its great.

  • They never obtained the legal rights to any of the pre-Comedy Central episodes, so they're legally forbidden from ever rerunning them, even assuming they wanted to. Its the same licensing issue they had to contend with towards the end of the Comedy Central run, and with at least one episode during the Sci-Fi Channel era.

    On the other hand, its not likely they'll ever really desire to rebroadcast them, anyway. They've indicated a degree of public embarrassment over their earliest work (including the KTMA-broadcast episodes and the first Comedy Central season) and have tended to release them only kicking and screaming (only two or three season one CC episodes have been publicly released, either on video or over the air, since 1994).

  • This could be due to any number of factors, but probably not wholly to Mike Nelson's input. He'd been the head writer since the second Comedy Central season, meaning most of Joel's material had been written by Mike for four-odd seasons.

    A number of other contributors left the show shortly after Joel's departure. Frank Conniff (TV's Frank) left at the end of season 6, and Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester and the original voice of Crow) left in the gap between the last Comedy Central season (season 7) and the first Sci-Fi Channel season (season 8). I didn't really notice much of a difference, and tended to enjoy the later episodes just as much as the earlier ones (in many cases more so), but a lot of people do complain.

    As for Nelson's acting skills, I've always considered him better for the show than Hodgson, as much as I admire Joel. Particularly as the show dragged on, Hodgson tended to have a vaguely condescending air, and in many cases it seemed he treated the show like a bit too much of a bore. Mike brought a fresher taste to the show. I tend to think that a lot of the complaints he recieves have more to do with the changed dynamic of the cast (as was previously mentioned, Mike had more of a "best-friend" relationship with the bots, whereas Joel's relationship was more fatherly), and an inability to adapt to it, than any real lack of skill on Nelson's part.

    In any case, his acting skills probably wouldn't affect a written book, anyway. So it's a bit of a moot point.

  • I think something similar was done with the episode "Eegah!" which was recently released on DVD. Using the wonders of modern technology, you can now have the joy of watching not only the MST version, but the original, uncut, unriffed film. Although why you would want to is completely beyond me.
  • I have been trolled. I know. I don't care. But you sir, are a damn fool. 20th-century ass-kicking? Are you German? It was the Germans who kicked the UK's ass in the 20th century. The US did it in the 18th and 19th. Yes, I'm American... So don't go calling me a damn limey or any such damn thing. Bugger off. Moderators: go ahead, mod me down. But this guy was asking for it!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2000 @12:15PM (#841381)
    It is good to see that the MST3K crew has kept themselves busy since they wrapped up the show sometime last year. For those of you who are interested in finding out more about the new projects of former MST3K writers and performers, you can check out the following web sites:

    The brainchild of Kevin Murphy, Mike Nelson, Paul Chaplin, Bill Corbett, and Patrick Brantseg.

    A great website that features a few articles from Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Mary Jo Pehl, and Paul Chaplin.

    Jim and Joel Hodgson's home page, where they showcase some of the projects they have worked on over the years.

    Hope you find this helpful! Now I have to go and finish watching Episode 210: King Dinosaur. :)
  • I don't think my fragile little mind can handle seeing the ProJo mentioned on /., the convergence of these two things could rip a tear in the fabric of the universe.

    Although I did like the ProJo radio adds that used appletalk voices for robots looking for work...

  • Slashdot has become swamp grounds for trolls. Quite sad.
  • I love all of those movies he's panning. I think this line from the story sums this guy up:

    "We recently sort of came to the conclusion at the same time that we're not all that thrilled with the Internet," Nelson says.

    Different strokes I spose, but I think I'll get my movie reviews from someone who's a little more thrilled by the Internet!

  • If you like seeing Hollywood movies abused, check out "Mr Cranky [mrcranky.com]" - reviews of hundreds of movies, every one a pan.

  • "Deep Impact" was mentioned in one of mst3k's summer blockbuster preview shows. Crow gave it a treatment something like: "Now for a movie about an important piece of legislation that changes the sex-for-money industry forever, "Dee Pimp Act""

    I found it very amusing.
    It us understandable to be surly sometimes.
  • You have a very good point. I, of all people, should have thought of that before returning fire. I've never served in time of war, but I could. I'm a sailor, if there were a war, I stand a pretty good chance of being in it. I should have looked before I leapt. My apologies for marginalizing such a serious matter.
  • test
  • Mystery Science Theatre is unknown outside the USA

    Give me a break. What exactly does that prove?
  • Yeah. By most accounts it was when Best Brains started scripting out ahead, at the beginning of the Comedy Central run, that Josh Weinstein (Dr. Larry Erdhardt, and the first voice of Tom Servo) was forced out. He was easily the best improv artist of the crew, and shone in the KTMA season, but when the show moved to Comedy Central, he was sort of left without a niche.
  • You can look at a Realvideo clip of this show at:


    It's quite funny and stuff.

  • Yes, preach on mah brutha.

    And Bill as Crow is not and could never be as good as Trace.

    (BTW, my license plate is SERVO. No sh1t.)

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • Somewhat on the topic of bashing hollywood...

    One of my favorite review sites is The Filthy Critic [bigempire.com]. Go look through the archives and find the reviews that got one or two fingers, they are the best reads; I know everyone here would enjoy his Mission to Mars review from a while back :)

  • http://ter.air0day.com/archives.html [air0day.com]
    I found this site from a slashdot Quickie a year ago. It rules. It just completely rules.
  • Mod the parent of this post up. It's the first infromative post of the entire discussion.

    I bought this book from the bargain rack at Barnes & Noble over a month ago. It mostly contains reviews that were written prior to 1998.

    It's not even close to being a "new book".

  • Actually I think the DVD copies of MST3K do it this way. They have the crew's comments as a separate track.
  • That's too bad. The unique thing about the KTMA era is that there was no writing whatsoever. It was all improvised. All that, and fan letters, too. *sniff*



  • Yeah, you caught them on a bad day.. see if you can find their rip of Warrior of the Lost World - goddamn, that's funny as hell.

    Megaweapon! Megaweapon! Make it slooooooww!

    It also helps if you've seen a lot of movies and TV shows - otherwise some of the references can sound kinda stupid.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.