Misfit Monday: How to Watch Misfit Movies

Mike and the two robots (lower right) settle in for a really bad one!

A couple weeks ago, a post by my IRL friend Jim Winter reminded me of something I used to love, and had mostly forgotten: Mystery Science Theater 3000. I was first introduced to it when I was in college, by Jim and my mutual friend, Rob. It ran on Comedy Central and later the Sci-Fi Channel for several years in the late 80s and early 90s, and is now available on Netflix!

For the uninitiated, MST3k (as it’s affectionately known by fans) has a simple premise: mad scientists have kidnapped a janitor so they can monitor his brainwaves while they force him to watch really, really bad movies. His only companions are two robots, and the three of them survive by making snarky commentary throughout the whole show. Hilarity ensues!

"The last thing a sausage sees..." - robot Tom Servo while watching - LOL!

When Jim’s post reminded me of the show, I checked to see if it was available on Netflix. It is! I knew my daughter and her boyfriend would love it, so one night, we settled in to watch one they’d picked. The movie in this one was Final Justice, starring Joe Don Baker. I’d never heard of either. But wow…. this was a level of badness I’d thought had gone out with the 60s, or at least the 70s! My daughter kept commenting, “I can’t believe how bad this is!” Final Justice has it all: cheesy dialogue, implausible situations, re-used segments of footage, multiple boat chases, and of course, the ditzy female sidekick. I especially liked how the main character’s cheesy cowboy-sheriff outfit never got torn or dirty throughout all of this, until one scene near the end, where he washed up on the beach after a boat chase, and a friendly island family washed -and ironed! – it for him. The commentary was great, watching was great fun, and I got a wonderful family night out of it. (Amazingly, my daughter does not mind hanging out with me, and neither did her boyfriend.) I expect this is family fun that will be repeated!

Did you ever watch MST3k? Have you ever rediscovered something you’d forgotten you loved? I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment, and share!

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My Town Monday: The Fourth of July in Dayton

Fireworks imageThe 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. Not only do I like fireworks, explosives, and hanging out with friends and family, I also like it for the same reasons that Memorial Day was one of my friends’ mom’s favorite holiday: I don’t have to cook, clean, or buy presents for anyone. (The only reason my friend’s mom didn’t like the Fourth as much was because their house was on a parade route, so there were always guests.)

Dayton’s main Fourth of July celebration takes place at Riverscape Metropark on the shore of the Great Miami, at the north side of downtown. This year, it was on the third of July, the culmination of the three-day Cityfolk Festival. In years past, the celebration has been elsewhere. In the seventies and eighties, I remember going to Welcome Stadium a couple miles down the river to see fireworks, often following a performance of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra inside University of Dayton arena.

Interestingly enough, the site of Riverscape Metropark was also the site of Dayton’s very first Fourth of July celebration, in 1809. There were a lot fewer people, as Dayton’s entire population was less than 400 at the time. There were also no fireworks – this was frontier country back then, and not many folks had the kind of money they surely cost, and animal pelts were the more common frontier currency. Instead, people sang songs, paraded around town, listened to speeches, and held artillery salutes. After a dinner hosted by one of the townspeople (cost: $ .50/person), there were wrestling matches, shooting competitions and horse racing, followed by dancing.

I’ve been to the Riverscape celebration before, but for the past few years, we’ve spent the evening with my brother and his wife, who live way out in the country. Although there are no crowds or traffic (big pluses!), it’s far from quiet. : )

Does your hometown do anything special for the Fourth, and do you go? (Or your country’s national holiday, if you’re not in the U.S.?)  Do you know any of its history?

See more at the My Town Monday blog

Reference: For the Love of Dayton: Life in the Miami Valley 1796-2001, published by the Dayton Daily News, 2001.
Photo via Images on office.microsoft.com