EDITORIAL: Four modern movies begging for the MST3K treatment
4 Modern Films Begging for the MST3K Treatment
Watching quality cinema is all well and good, but sometimes a bad movie is even better. Giving a movie the full Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment can be a blast. Now that actually good projectors cost under $500 and are affordable enough for anyone, you can even do it on a big screen right in your home (since heckling in the theater is generally frowned upon). Old movies make great fodder for mockery, but there are movies coming out all the time that strike that perfect balance of patently ridiculous and super fun. So hang up your screen, find your favorite robot, and add these films to your list for your next movie night.
Yoga Hosers (2016)
What do you get when you take the daughters of two beloved actors, plop them down in small town Canada, and face them off against one of the most absurd movie monsters ever to grace a screen? Meet Yoga Hosers, otherwise known as the worst Kevin Smith movie you’ve never heard of.
The basic premise is as follows: two teenage convenience store employees in Manitoba invite their crushes to hang out at the store. Unfortunately, the crushes turn out to be Satanists, who are killed when the store is attacked by an army of tiny bratwurst Nazis. If you’re not already sold, keep in mind the two teenagers are played by Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp (Kevin Smith’s and Johnny Depp’s daughters, respectively).
This film has all the ingredients you’d expect from a B-movie cult classic. The acting and effects dance the line between campy and bad, and never takes itself too seriously. There’s even a bit of a Clerks-ish feeling to the set-up, and if it veers off pretty wildly from there it’s a nice nod to the broader Kevin Smith universe.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
There’s no arguing that Valerian is visually stunning. It’s the kind of movie you’d probably want to watch on a massive projector screen anyway—with the fast-paced space battles and sweeping landscapes, no standard TV is big enough to do it justice.
Dig down deeper and things aren’t quite as pretty. The movie buys in hard to genre tropes and archetypes, and the dialogue maintains a delightful level of cheesy throughout. When it comes to the plot, it hangs together well enough for an action flick but a closer examination reveals holes large enough to pilot a ship through.
In short, it’s not a big surprise that Valerian ended up a box office flop. There are a ton of fun moments, though—Rihanna’s performance of Bubble especially deserves a shout-out as one of the most entertaining musician cameos we’ve ever watched. Go into it with the right expectations and you won’t be disappointed.
The Happening (2008)
M. Night Shyamalan’s pendulum of a career has been back on an upswing with his last few projects, but let us not forget the fact that, in the aughts, making fun of M. Night Shyamalan movies was something of a national pastime. The Happening just might represent the nadir of his career thus far, and definitely qualifies as one of the most heckle-able films of the last decade.
The basic premise is a mysterious plague that causes its victims to kill themselves; the Shyamalanian twist is that the plague comes from the trees. A different director might use this concept as a cautionary allegory for environmental issues and how killing the earth is really killing ourselves. M. Night Shyamalan uses it to have someone commit suicide by lawnmower.
What’s truly remarkable about The Happening is how bad it is across the board. It has a decent cast, but there’s no saving the dialogue (and they seem to realize it, too, based on their delivery). The plot progression is stilted at best and the in-world logic is laughably tenuous. All of this together adds up to 90 minutes of unintended comedy gold.
Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Some movies just feel like they were made to be cult classics, and for us Knights of Badassdom definitely falls into that category. It features both Peter Dinklage and Summer Glau (of Firefly fame) as LARPers thrust into a real confrontation with an accidentally-summoned demon. Add in some stoner humor and extra-cheesy effects and you’ve got yourself one gem of a B-movie.
It’s actually hard to tell whether this movie is really bad or pure genius. There’s a bit of subtle irony, like how the protagonists go on the LARPing trip to help one of them get over a break-up and then end up fighting a succubus. It’s also nice that it feels like it’s laughing with LARPers instead of at them.
While the famous faces in the cast have gotten most of the attention, they’re not the only reason to watch this movie. You’ll definitely find a lot of fodder for running commentary, especially if you’re nerdy enough to catch the in-jokes and Easter eggs.
The Joy of Mocking
There are really two different flavors of bad movie: the ones that try to be good and miss the mark, and the ones that embrace their camp from the start. Both kinds can end up being really enjoyable to watch, if not necessarily for the reasons the director intended. Do you have a favorite movie to mock that you don’t see here? Tell us about it in the comments! We’re always looking for new flicks to ridicule.