The Masked Reviewer
Some Members of the Cast
of Mystery Science Theater
and Interviews Them
Welcome back to Part II of the Masked Reviewer's interview with Kevin Murphy and Mike Nelson, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" alumni and authors. Click here for Part I. The Masked Reviewer presents this interview in audio/slide format (click here for Part 1, click here for Part 2). For some interesting tidbits and their thoughts on upcoming movies, click here.
Mike Nelson: Well LORD OF THE RINGS, it makes a lot of sense.
Kevin Murphy: Self evident.
MN: But otherwise I haven’t seen the others so I can’t comment.
KM: I think it’s quite in the interests of marketing. The whole idea of having franchise films, it has nothing to do with content, it has everything to do with marketing. And it doesn’t necessarily improve the film, busting it into multiple parts.
MN: THE CAT IN THE HAT PART I, I think they’re going to do that in seven parts, it just doesn’t seem necessary.
MN: I walked out on PULP FICTION. I had young children, I went out with my wife, we go to see a movie, suddenly there’s ball gags..it’s like, we’re done, we’re outta here. We’re gonna go have a nice martini.
MR: With the children?
KM: I haven’t walked on a film since…a very long time. I walked out on a film called THE FORMULA with Marlon Brando and..oh, what’s his name? I’m just losing it with the names…George C. Scott!
MN: [despairingly] Oh, that’s right…
KM: It was a really stupid pot-boiler about the oil industry. And it was so poor. And it was so boring and tedious. And so canned and corny. I just gave up on it.
MN: You ran out screaming from BILLY MADISON, ‘cause I was with you.
KM: No that was Trace. That was afterward. Right after the film ended. He actually ran screaming from the theater.
MR: Wow. Literally?
KM: The one you just asked.
KM: DR. STRANGELOVE is right up there on my list.
MN: Not all of it, but ANIMAL CRACKERS can sometimes make me laugh more than anything. The ingénue parts you just fast forward…
MN: But the art thriller is just…still. When he’s brought in on the…
KM: The litter.
MN: Yes. That whole beginning scene where he insults Margaret Dumont it’s just so lovely.
KM: The first thing he does is ask her to pick a card, is that the same film or Rufus Firefly? Here, pick a card.
KM: JAWS is one of those. If it’s on television and I switch the channel, I put down the remote control and I watch it to the end, no matter where it is in the film.
MN: I do that with ROADHOUSE with Patrick Swayze. I’m serious. You can’t not watch it. It’s so damn funny.
KM: There’s something sublime about that film.
MR: And you’ve seen that…ten times? A hundred times?
MN: Oh, I’ve seen it easily thirty times.
MR: And you with…
KM: JAWS, and THE GODFATHER, when that’s on. I’m getting to the point where I know the lines.
MN: There are others, but that’s the one…it’s on so often, you know.
MR: And is that with or without the nudity?
MN: Well since it’s usually TNT…
MR: So that’s even without the nudity?
MN: Without the nudity.
KM: “Moby Dick”.
MN: I agree.
MR: Safe. You don’t consider either of those books the same caliber as “Moby Dick”…in some way?
MN: Maybe the title.
KM: Yeah. Wasn’t…”the whale”, wasn’t that the subtitle on “Moby Dick”? I believe it was “the whale”.
MN: “Moby Dick: the Whale?”
KM: I think it was “Moby Dick, or The Whale”, because “or” used to be used a lot in titles and it’s not, so maybe that’s a trend that’ll come next, is that we’ll start seeing “or” put in the titles again.
MN: Agatha Christie used to do that, constantly.
KM: So did “Rocky and Bullwinkle”.
MN: Terrible would be…Keanu Reeves. Great would be, you know…Michael Curtiz or something like that.
MR: Or ROADHOUSE star, Patrick Swayze.
MN: Yes. Or what’s his name…Rowdy Herrington. Anything by director Rowdy Herrington.
KM: I think when you get Michael Bay involved, you’re guaranteed of a certain level of banality. Although I’ve come around on…who’s that fellow we just despised who did the BATMAN film.
MN: Joel Schumacher.
KM: Joel Schumacher. He’s come around and he’s actually made some pretty darn good films. TIGERLAND, did you ever see TIGERLAND?
KM: Quite a good film. You never know.
MR: Is that the only one you can think of?
KM: He has a recent film and I can’t think of the name...
MN: ST. ELMO’S FIRE.
KM: Did he do…Joel Schumacher?
MN: That’s his.
MN: Yeah. Uh-huh.
MN: Well, ROADHOUSE…but the other one, which I’m not sure of, it’s hard to tell, they ride the line is WILD THINGS.
MN: With Robert Wagner as the heavy and…
KM: Well, we’ve got Bill Murray in the neck brace in that film and it’s definitely a benign winking sort of film. And that’s Kevin Bacon…
MN: Yes. In which you get to see his thick cut peppered bacon in all its glory.
[If you want to know more about Kevin Bacon, check your local library. To play the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game on-line, visit the Oracle of Bacon.]
MN: Well, I remember one. There is a moment – and I swear they were dead serious – in the Bert I. Gordon film about the tall, the “Incredible Gigantic Man”, or whatever..
KM: THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN?
MN: THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN. It’s the sequel to it, he’s already turned into the amazing colossal man. His sister goes to look for him and gets this guy. And they find a huge footprint in the desert. And the guy measures it and goes ‘why, the man who made this footprint must have been 40 feet tall.’ And she goes ‘Glen was 40 feet tall!’ Well, maybe it’s Glen! But they did it dead serious. Nothing followed it, it was beautiful.
MN: The assignment of who said what was the very last thing that happened and often changed on the fly. There were very few that were either, ‘that’s a Crow joke, that’s a Servo joke, that’s a Mike joke.’
KM: It was written and the script was edited and then rehearsed all in a group. It was always a group function.
MN: Then we watched the movie through twice, it took at least 8 hours each time to get the original comments. And then we would slap them down, and go through and cut them out, and that was a very long process.
MN: A felt-tip pen, because I could get high on my own fumes at all times.
KM: I was thinking that an orange felt-tip pen in the shape of a baseball bat would be the way to go.
MR: Non-commital, I like that.
KM: Always and eternally.
MN: There’s that one with the really stupid name…the Masked Reviewer or something like that?
KM: The painted reviewer. The Masked and…naked reviewer?
MN: The naked and tattooed reviewer.
MR: Thank you both so much for doing that…
MN: Our pleasure.
KM: Thank you Mr. Masked.
More of their wacky thoughts can be found here.
Kevin Murphy and Mike Nelson have both written amazingly funny books about movies. You can buy them and find out more here:
Kevin Murphy's homepage: http://www.ayearatthemovies.com/
Mike Nelson's homepage: http://www.michaeljnelson.com/home/
To buy the DVDs of "Mystery Science Theater 3000", try here:
Copyright 2003, Michael D. Lynn