Monday, May 29, 2017

Owning Your Okayness: MST3K The Return: A Review

After a ton of hype and a lot of well-placed promotion, the MST3K Revival season kicked into high gear this past April.  Now that the season’s been binged and with a tour waiting in the wings,  I thought I’d peel back the layers of what’s good, bad, and just plain okay about the new season of MST, as broken down into several different categories.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

An Extremely Brief Tribute To The Undertaker

I’ve been an Undertaker fan since I was ten years old.  I suppose that’s a common story.   Many of us saw him for the first time at that age, when he towered over the heads of nearly everyone in the company, accompanied by a mugging Paul Bearer, rolling back his eyes like a zombie in heat. 

No one pretends that the Undertaker was an elegant wrestler.  He could walk the ropes and pull off the whole zombie thing, but he was creaky and imperfect and imprecise.   It took years for him to build up this sort of cool nonchalance, this sort of image that made questioning his skills kind of a moot point.   The Undertaker was just The Undertaker: like a pillar or a supporting wall, he was always there if you were a wrestling fan of a certain age, always solidly available.    Performance over athleticism was his game.  For spectacle he was at the top of his game.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Not Too Distant Past: The Top Fifteen Best (Slightly) Obscure MST3K Episodes

If you ask someone where you should start a binge watch of Mystery Science Theater 3000, they’ll probably name one of  these episode.  Or, if they have more obscure taste they’ll mention “Hobgoblins” or “The Lost Continent”, or anything that’s gotten some kind of foothold on the fandom or in pop culture because of a meme.  All of those episodes are amazing, don’t get me wrong, but there are some really great

My rules for inclusion on this list are simple: the episode has to be slightly more obscure than the ones usually listed in top twenty or top ten MST episode lists; and they shouldn’t contain a mematic catchphrase.  I have made allowances, however, for episodes that contained a short with memetic features when the episode did not.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Movie Review: Bang Bang Baby: A Sudden and Surprisingly Dark Fable

Bang Bang Baby comes on like a cross between Top Secret!  And Psycho Beach Party at first.  It treats its heroine’s dream to become a teen idol with absolutely sincerity while surrounding her with goofy stock characters: the drunken yet eloquent father, the creepy stalker intended to provide a counterpoint to the dreamy, perfect hero; the scenery-chewing aw-shucks movie hero stuck in a small town; even a folksy moonshine slinger.    

Blood and Circus: A Retrospective of my Time in Wrestling Fandom. Part 2: Running Away

I was fourteen years old by the time I went to my first pay per view.  It was the Royal Rumble, and it opened a  definitive year for some of the worst years the business would ever experience.  The Undertaker was barely a babyface, Vince McMahon couldn’t decide between Bret Hart and Lex Luger for the next Face of the Company, and the steroid trials had barely vindicated the industry.   These were the years I became a huge fan, the years that I spent, well – spending most of my tiny income on pro wrestling. 

I wasn’t inside of course; not yet.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

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Blood and Circus: A Retrospective of my Time in Wrestling Fandom. Part 1: In the Beginning

“Would you like to watch WrestleMania?” 

My cousin Kerry was about seven years old, I was just over ten.  We were at her house, and the charm of playing with her tiny turtle and fish had worn off.  The question left me wondering; I knew vaguely what pro wrestling was, having seen well-oiled men yelling from the screen during the business’ boom period during my childhood, but I never sat down to watch it myself. 

Kerry had been a fan for much longer.  “Why don’t we watch WrestleMania 6?”  That sounded fine.  She turned the TV on and The Ultimate Warrior was ranting about the skies and the heavens, and suddenly I was hooked.