RiffTrax Presents: The Bridget & Mary Jo Series - Well, if you have two fantastic performers at your disposal, might as well use them, right? MST3K-alum Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl make a triumphant return to RiffTrax Presents with their new series of shorts that we here at RiffWiki.net have cleverly dubbed “The Bridget & Mary Jo Series.” Like Batman and Robin before it, these shorts look to be an extended series with no clear endgame in sight, and that is just fine with all of us. The shorts also seem to take on subject matter that is of interest to the lady-types. It's unclear if any of it passes the Bechdel Test, but seriously, who gives a f*** about that stupid b***s***? These are some seriously funny ladies, and it's no wonder to us that the series ran away with the inaugural RiffTrax Presents of the Year award!
RiffTrax Presents: Dreamscape - What a great year it was for RiffTrax Presents! Not only did we get the awesomeness of Warning from Space and the Bridget and Mary Jo Series, but we got the long-awaited return of Cole Stratton and Janet Varney, whom we haven't seen in their own feature since 2012's Flatliners, (although they have been keeping busy particularly with Night of the Shorts in both 2013 and 2015, which you can get at RiffTrax.com!) Dreamscape features the concept of dream invaders long before Inception (and sort of concurrently with A Nightmare on Elm Street, but who's keeping score?) And it has a near perfect 80s cheese cast! Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Kate Capshaw and George Wendt! What really isn't to love about any of this? Hopefully this is a sign that we'll be getting a lot more Cole and Janet in the future, because they are certainly welcome!
Fever Lake - I've been a RiffTrax customer for seven years now, and Fever Lake was the first time I ever said aloud “Where the hell do they find this stuff?”
RiffTrax Live: Sharknado 2 - Because the first Sharknado just wasn't enough, dammit! There had to be a second one! And what better way to celebrate this basic cable cash grab than to have it be the second chapter in The Crappening? That's right, there is no better way. Keep your own celebrity cameo scorecard at home. Really the only one that I even recognized was Kurt Angle.
Stone Cold - This was RiffTrax's 200th Feature Length Riff. Even Mystery Science Theater 3000 didn't have that many, even if you include the 13 upcoming reboot episodes. Sadly, it does not feature the legendary and iconic, six-time WWE Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin, for that you'll have to watch The Condemned (something RiffTrax and iRiffers out there may want to take a look at for as possible future release.) No, this features the far more recognizable and iconic [washed-up athlete] as a renegade former cop with nothing to lose. Yeah, that always turns out well, just ask Billy Ray Cyrus after the smash success of Radical Jack. Go to their lengthy IMDB pages to see. ..GO ON! LOOK! DAMN YOU!
Julie and Jack - What do you get when you take Birdemic and remove the actual Birdemic? What you get is Julie and Jack, James Ngyuen's first movie. It literally has all the hallmarks of the RiffTrax classic minus the titular bird attack. There's a dude with no girlfriend who works in the sales department at a software (or in this case, a computer chip) company, makes a series of successful sales because he is inspired by his new girlfriend who just happens to be a dead girl who transferred her consciousness onto the servers of a sketchy dating website. ...okay, maybe that last part isn't in Birdemic. But there's still the horny, air-humpy best friend, the hot Ferraris, the total dipwad co-workers, the ridiculously round numbered business deals and idiot bosses you come to expect from a James Ngyuen production. This riff, I felt, represented how far RiffTrax had come creatively and as a company since the Birdemic release in 2011, that I decided to bestow upon it the Editor's Choice Award for 2015. It really is an amazing entry that any hardcore RiffTrax fan should have in their library.
MegaForce - Every year, it seems, there's one super surprise hit that I don't expect to just get blown away by at RiffTrax. Last year it was The Last Slumber Party, in 2013 it was The Apple, which I still contend is among the top ten RiffTrax releases ever, and this year it was MegaForce. I didn't even know this movie existed, but apparently it's a big damn deal in lots of bad movie circles, and I can see why. I didn't think anything with the suffix “Force” in it could out-“Force” Future Force, but MegaForce did just that. Sure, David Carradine had that stupid faux-Power Glove, but MegaForce had an entire army of early 80s uber-dorks on motorcycles AND IT'S OWN THEME SONG! Sorry, big guy, but even a sequel with your time traveling son can't overcome the cheese that is MegaForce.
The Magic Sword - See, this is something I think they should have been doing a lot more. Find classic MST3K episodes that they can make their own, because God knows there's plenty in that body of work that can be riffed again. In my judgment, anything that was riffed prior to Bill's arrival as the new Crow T. Robot is fair game. To date, The Magic Sword is only the fourth such entry into the RiffTrax library, and the first not to be featured in a RiffTrax Live Show. With RiffTrax now selling old MST3K episodes in their entirety, however, more episodes like this gem don't seem likely, but at least we got this one and it's a keeper to be sure.
Rollergator - Rollergator really is a special kind of movie. It's one with no sets, no lights, no cameras, and (with the exception of Joe Estevez) no actors. I would be very surprised if there were even a script for this thing. And what does this “movie” center on? Why a rubber, purple gator toy the producers somehow turned into a modified puppet that needs to get back to a swamp (that is never seen) with the help of a girl on rollerblades. And thus was brought into the world “Rollergator.” People like to speculate what the worst movie RiffTrax has done is, but Bill Corbett put an end to all such speculation upon the release of this riff, declaring Rollergator as the hands-down winner. And it really is a sight to behold. It was no surprise to me when our purple pal won the RiffWiki.net 2015 Riff of the Year! Congratulations, little buddy. Your movie now sits alongside The Room, Birdemic, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny and others as an indispensable entry in the RiffTrax library.
Death Promise - Death Promise is one of those movies that you just sit there and wonder “how in the hell did this get made?” Somebody read the script for this, said “okay, we got a winner here” and went out and filmed it, edited it and released it for public consumption. This tale of people fed up with their corrupt landlords who also happen to work for the Yakuza decide to get revenge, and that all logically ends in a deadly confrontation on somebody's disgusting roof. What? That makes sense, shut up! It has to! IT GOT MADE!
RiffTrax Live: Miami Connection - There are no words to describe Miami Connection, so I'll simply recite the lyrics to Dragon Sound's biggest hit “Friends Forever.” It's really all I can do. Ahem... Friends through eternity, loyalty, honesty, We'll stay together, through thick or thin. Friends forever, we'll be together, we're on top, cause we play to win. You've got a friend in me. When times get tough, you'll see. We've been together for so long, when I'm weak you make me strong, I know I can depend on you, To show the way and see me through. We'll make our dreams come true. There's nothing we can't do. We've been together for so long, When I'm weak you make me strong, I know I can depend on you, to show the way and see me through. ...is it any surprise it won the Live Show of the Year Award? I think not.
No Retreat, No Surrender - Ingredients: 1. Standard Karate Kid ripoff elements. 2. Standard Breakin' ripoff elements. 3. Jean Claude Van Damme is a minor role, yet plays prominently in poster art. 4. Bruce Lee's ghost. And 5. Fat guy villain who shoves cake in his mouth and you have No Retreat, No Surrender. 2015 was big for martial arts films at RiffTrax, and this one definitely delivers it's share of the weird. Definitely a keeper.
The Wizard - Talk about a long time coming! For years, this film along with Super Mario Bros. have been among the most desired and requested films for Mike, Kevin and Bill to take on under the RiffTrax banner. It had long been expected that it would have been part of the team's "blockbuster MP3 commentary phase," but when the focus of the company shifted from blockbusters to licensed B-movie Video-on-Demand titles, hope began to slowly wane that either film would get riffed, as licensing either film for VOD was seen among fans as an impossible task. That is until March 2014 when Super Mario Bros. was released as a video on demand title. Since then, fans have patiently (and in some cases, not so patiently) for The Wizard to receive the same treatment. This year, that patience (or lack thereof) has been rewarded, and it placed second in the Riff of the Year competition, just like Super Mario Bros. before it. I guess the Power Glove just wasn't bad enough to overtake the awesome power of Rollergator.
RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny - I don't think there's a better way to end the year than with this alternate version of the 2010 RiffTrax Standard, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. The final installment of The Crappening featured the titular Santa and titular Ice Cream Bunny, but Thumbelina got the ol' heave-ho and along comes an extremely 70s re-telling of Jack and the Bean Stalk! And talk about the world's best lip sync since Milli Vanilli, Mr. The Giant! Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum indeed! Ice Cream Bunny doesn't like being showed up like that, you know! If he were here, I'm sure he'd give you an angry HRRR, HRRRR, HRRRRRRRR for your trouble!
And there's also no better way to end this look back at RiffTrax in 2015! Thanks to everybody who voted and made it all the way through this feature! Here's hoping that 2016 is even better! If you haven't seen any of the riffs we covered here today, head on over to RiffTrax.com and pick them up, why not? Also, be sure to check out Mystery Science Storybook and Night of the Living Storybook, Part One while you're buying stuff! Never too late to help keep this place running! Have a Merry Christmas and Happy 2016, everybody!