Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. XXVI
I'm afraid that admitting this this is going to get me branded a heretic, but I think I'm to the point where I prefer RiffTrax to MST3K. Which I know sounds weird, because I once said that when RiffTrax does a movie MST3K did it comes across as them using their B material. Granted, when they redo a movie it's an bloody MST3K classic like Manos or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, whereas stuff like Danger! Death Ray is just another bad James Bond knockoff.
As for my leaning towards RiffTrax, most likely it's because the RiffTrax model allows them to take the piss out of big budget movies, whereas most of MST3K's targets are dull B movies nobody expected anything from. Maybe I've also gotten ADD from RiffTrax's higher joke saturation, so when a lighter MST3K comes along, especially in earlier episodes like Magic Sword, the aforementioned B movie sticks out more. And in Alien From L.A., virtually every joke related to the Gus character is "He's Australian". I know that in The Avengers the trio couldn't stop making "Hawkeye sucks" jokes, but at least they lampshaded that towards the end.
Also, the host segments that break up the movies are really hit-or-miss. I didn't care for the subplot in the Magic Sword episode where Frank gets mutated dysentery, and there was one in Alien From L.A. where the crew are naming supermodels that goes on for-fucking-ever. Also, due to the nonlinear release of the episodes, some of these segments make no sense. Specifically, at the end of the Mole People episode where Crow is talking about finding remnants of an ancient civilization, which is his own garbage from the past 500 years. I haven't seen the episode where it happens, but I guess at some point Mike and Tom got hurled 500 years into the future while Crow piddled around the SOL? Hell, I'm not even sure where I learned this, and I'd hate to be trying to make sense of it without that knowledge.
Oh don't get me wrong, I still enjoy me some MST3K. I just think it has some kinks that RiffTrax worked out.
Fun in Balloon Land w/ RiffTrax Audio
I... I... I have no idea what I watched here. The first twenty or so minutes is a bunch of elementary plays with no connectivity to each other, and then it turns into a city parade narrated by a drunk woman. Did the RiffTrax crew pillage somebody's home movie collection for this one? Or the people who made this "movie"?
Also, shame on you guys for not making a Henry Slinkman joke when the oyster-eating walrus float was brought out.
Myth-Directions (Robert Asprin)
Going into this, I did not remember shit about Myth-Conceptions. I remembered bits and pieces of Another Fine Myth, like how Aahz lost his powers and became Skeeve's teacher, how Skeeve got his dragon Gleep, the attempted hanging scene, and how they beat the bad guy at the end. But Myth-Conceptions? Nope. Nada.
I was able to recall bits and pieces while reading this, but no memories solid enough I'd wager money on them - oh yeah, there was a war with somebody named Big Julie, and Skeeve accidentally recruited a bunch of demons who came to him in a pub? Although I don't remember who that assassin-turned-magician that was holding the busty vixen captive was.
Although I did like the line "I'm slow, but I'm not dumb", even this book is already starting to fall through the cracks. Part of the problem may be that reading the book is one big "who cares"; Aahz is like a cranky Dumbledore, right about everything until the plot requires him to fuck up, and the story can be summed up as "Skeeve gets himself into trouble, plays fictional football to get himself out of it". Another problem may be that, like the Xanth series, the Myth series seems geared more towards horny teenagers and perverts, although Asprin isn't quite as bad as Anthony about using his writing to feel up every girl in the book.
And what the hell is wrong with Skeeve's legs on the book's cover? And why is there a unicorn there, when one doesn't appear in the book? Is it another character from a previous book I don't remember?
Magic Zero (Thomas E. Sniegoski and Christopher Golden)
When his best friend dies, the mage Leander finds himself as the foster parent of his son, Timothy, who was previously thought to be dead. His father was in fact hiding him in some pocket dimension because in a world of magic, Timothy can neither use magic nor be harmed by it. After A Spell for Chameleon, Black Sigil, and The Familiars, I'm expecting the big twist will be that Timothy does in fact have magic in the vein of Bink's magic being that he's immune to magical harm, or his brilliance as an inventor.
Well sure enough, as soon as Timothy sets foot in the magical world he's targeted by assassins, so Leander transfers him to the care of his guildmaster who might as well end every sentence with "moo hoo ha ha!" for obviously the villain he is. And since you're no doubt reeling from all this innovation, let's meet the rest of cast; a smartass talking crow, the last of a proud warrior race, and Timothy's mechanical man, who have all literally been thrown together by Timothy's father in the aforementioned pocket dimension. Oh, and the villain's familiar is a hairless cat. *sigh*
It's the first of a four book series so I'll give it benefit of the doubt that it's just a scene setter, but the best I can say about it is it's inoffensive, which is like defending my McDonald's lunch for not killing me (well, not immediately killing me, anyway). Still, the most emotion this got from me was when the crow drops the cat into the sea around the villain's magic castle, so make what you will of that.
Bad Hair Day (Weird Al Yankovic)
This is the first Weird Al disc I ever owned so I'm biased as shit towards it. Yeah, okay, the polka cover sucks a fat one but "Bohemian Polka" is the only one that doesn't, "Gump" is just noisy, having two spiteful anti-love songs on one album seems unnecessary especially when "I'm So Sick of You" is a poor man's "One More Minute", and while it's pretty decent to listen to "Syndicated Inc" quickly fades from memory. I like "Cavity Search", but I also understand it's not everyone's thing, what with the electronic echoing effect and drilling noise. But come on, this is the album that brought us classics like "Amish Paradise", "Everything You Know is Wrong", and the definitive comedy Christmas song "The Night Santa Went Crazy". That last one is worth four Skitties by itself.