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Monday, July 2, 2012

MST Monday - "The Rebel Set"

Hello there. And welcome to the first edition of MST Monday, the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 recap segment. What you'll find here is a recap of various episodes of MST3K with my own unique take on the show peppered in there. So without further ado... we've got Blog Post Sign!

Host Segment #1

As we begin the episode, Joel is trying to read some very scary bedtime stories to Crow and Tom Servo. But they being jaded kids of the 90's, they seem to have no effect on them. Tom says that Joel has subjected them to In Cold Blood and "the 17 novels Stephen King came out with this year". Joel decides it's time to break out the big guns and pulls out Life's Little Instruction Book and begins to read it. The Bots are suitably and understandable horrified as we go to commerical sign.
Invention Exchange

 The Mads' offering is TV's Frank's Quick Primp Kit. It consists of a full length mirror that you hang off the back of a person standing in front of you in line for, say, a movie as well as a toiletry hat to place on their head. Frank admits that the effectiveness of the invention depends very heavily on the goodwill of the person in front of you. Dr. Forrester bashes the mirror over Frank's head off-screen while Joel and the Bots present their invention.

Back on the Satellite Of Love, Joel's submission is the Paint-By-Numbers Mark Rathko kit. Since Mr. Rathko specializes in paintings that consist of a single color, this is the simplest Paint-By-Number kit in existence.

My pick for the winner: SOL!

Short: Johnny At The Fair

One of my favorite shorts. Joel asks the Bots not to get too dark as the short begins. I'm sure you can imagine how well that goes. Johnny and his parents go to a national fair in Canada. Johnny, being the curious kid he is, decides to wander off on his own for a while and meets in his travels Joe Frazer, a former Prime Minister of Canada, figure skater Barbara Ann Scott and the Hellzapoppin Boys - Olsen & Johnson. 

I think this short may have the dirtiest riff ever in it. At one point, Johnny goes to a horse show at the fair. A young foal trots around the exhibition floor and then walks over to an adult horse and makes as if to nurse. The foal walks away not soon after and Crow comments, "Whoops. Sorry, Dad". ...Wow, talk about slipping one past the radar! I've watched this short numerous time and this was the first time I ever caught this riff.

Easily my favorite riff of the short was a call back to a comment made by the narrator. Johnny catches sight of a "heel-a-copter aeroplane" taking flight. "'Jimminy', thinks Johnny. 'If only I could get a ride in one of those.'", says the narrator. Shortly after that, Johnny meets up with Barbara Ann Scott who kisses him in the cheek. He puts his head down in shyness afterwards and his face is level with her chest. At which point Crow says "'Jimminy', thinks Johnny. 'If only I could get a ride in one of those.'". Hilarious!

 The Rebel Set Segment #1

The opening credits roll over footage of people in a coffee house sitting around and listening to a jazz band.A guy by the name of Sindey enters and approaches his boss and the owner of the coffee house, Mr. Tucker - or Mr. T for short. Mr. T tells Sidney he's planning "a move". Sidney has his reservations, but Mr. T tells him not to worry.

We then cut to a guy in his kitchen running lines from "The Taming of the Shrew". Turns out, he's running lines opposite a record which begins to skip. Favorite riff of this segment comes from Joel, "It's too for acting lessons now. They've already started filming". This man is John Mapes, an out of work actor. His wife Jeane then arrives home having just finished working late at the drive-in. John tries to reassure her something will come soon and not long after that he gets a call from Sidney. John claims it's a call from his agent who tells him a producer wants to meet with him at midnight. Jeane has her suspicions, but John pays her no heed and gets ready for his meeting.

Host Segment #2

A package has arrived for Crow. He was inspired by the movie to order an acting instruction kit, a record called "Co-Starring With Scott Baio... You!" Crow tries it out with a scene from "Joanie Loves Chachi". He struggles to find the subtext to his line, "Hi, Chachi!"

Movie Segment #2

Sidney meets with George Leland, the estranged son of a formerly famous actress, and Ray Miller, a struggling writing, and tells them to meet at the coffee house for instructions from Mr. T. Tucker tells the three men that he has brought them together tonight to improve their finances and is recruiting them to participate in a heist of $1,000,000 in Chicago. Tucker guaruntees each man will be given $20,000 if they'll participate.

John returns him and feeds his wife a story about having to meet with a producer in Chicago based on this meeting. Jeane buys the story hook, line and sinker.

Movie Segment #3

 The next night at the coffee house, the three men meet and wait to receive their tickets from Karen, a waitress who works at the coffee house. She tells the men to look away and pulls the tickets out from their secure place, her cleavage. Favorite riff of this segment comes from Crow as Karen retrieves the tickets, "Hey, while you're in there, could you get me a newspaper?"

Sidney and Tucker are driving to the train station that night. Sidney asks Tucker why he hired "those three creeps" to be part of the heist. Tucker explains it's all part of his plan figuring they will follow through to the best of their abilities since much importance has been thrust upon them.

Everyone arrives at the train station separately and boards the train. John's wife, Jeane, is accompanying him, much to Tucker's visible consternation. As the train pulls out, Joel and the Bots became to name other movies that deal with trains such as Silver Streak and Murder On the Orient Express. They also name drop  Golan-Globus, a producer duo that is responsible for a future MST3K experiment, Alien From L.A.

Host Segment #3

Joel asks what everyone would do if they had a four-hour layover in Chicago much like the characters in the movie. Gypsy would go do some shopping. Tom would rob a bank, Al Capone style. Joel would visit King Richard's Ren Fest and buy a leather mug. He'd then take that leather mug to Wrigley Field and drink beer from it. Crow would take an intricate and detailed walking tour of the city. In fact, he goes into a little too much detail about the sights he'd hope to see and bores the crap out of everyone until Movie Sign sounds and snaps everyone out of their stupor.

Movie Segment #4

Ray and George confront John in the cafe car about bringing his wife. John insists it was all her idea and the subject is dropped.

The train arrives in Chicago and Tucker waits for his men to leave the train. John tells his wife to find something to occupy her time during their layover. Jeane asks why she can't come with to the supposed meeting with the producer, and John claims it's because he'd get self-conscious if she were there.

The men set up an ambush for the armored car and wait for its arrival. And they wait, and wait, and wait... until it goes to commercial

Movie Segment #5

Sidney cuts off the armored car in his own car and poses as being injured in the accident. John and Ray drive in disguised as policemen and then succeed in accomplishing the robbery. After making off with the money, the group pulls off to a side road and buries the evidence of the heist in a hole.

John returns to the train station and reunites with his wife just in time to board the train which is now departing for Newark. A reporter stops George as he tries to board the train trying to get a quote from him about his estranged mother. As George tries to push past, he drops the gift box that they had hidden the stolen money in. George recovers the box and makes his way onto the train.

Jeane tries to press John for details about his meeting, but he is very curt with her and not saying very much. He then apologizes saying he's feeling a little on edge. This if followed by Crow delivering my favorite riff of this segment, "George Bernard Shaw was making fun of me".

Movie Segment #6

The conductor comes into Ray's room and tries to make some small talk after discovering that Ray is a writer. Ray has no interest at all.

John goes to George's room to get a look at the money. George has decided to go rogue and take all the money for himself, throwing John's cut to him. The two men fight and John takes off with the box of money. He sees Ray in the cafe car and signals for him to follow. Ray doesn't want the money to be hidden in his room, but John says they can't use his room because his wife is there.

John and Ray head back to George's room and see a Do Not Disturb sign on his door. Ignoring the sign, they open the door and walk in to find George has been shot. An apparent suicide note has been posted. Ray realizes the murder used his typewriter because of the alignment of the "e" on the paper. The two men set out and try to discover who killed George.

Ray decides to chuck his typewriter off the train so that the note won't be traced back to him. Tucker, who has disguised himself as a bald priest, confronts Ray and threatens to kill him in order to eliminate another division of the spoils of the heist. Same reason he killed George.

Host Segment #4

Joel and The Bots have a writer's workshop based on the book Writing Down the Tracks written by Merritt Stone, the conductor in the movie. Tom, however, insists it's not him. Joel rejects Crow's sample as well as Tom Servo's sample even though he plagiarized Joyce de Witt... I mean James Joyce, simply because neither of them mentioned anything train related. Gypsy recites one of those "Two trains leave a station..." math problems, and Joel approves.

Movie Segment #7

Tucker comes to George's room to see the conductor is already there and discovered the corpse. The conductor points out the suicide note but Tucker, still disguised as the priest, says it's possible that it was murder.

John confesses to Jeane that he participated in the Chicago heist and she is heartbroken.

We see footage of a train pass and Crow asks if there is a love scene happening.

The train finally arrives in Newark and the police and coroner are there to meet the train. John confesses to the police that he was part of the heist and offers to lead them to the money.

Tucker whacks the policeman standing guard outside the train with his cane and is able to exit the train. Tucker takes this opportunity to recite scripture to himself, "And thus Samson slayed the Philestine". To which Crow replies, "He hit him in the head with a sitting stick? I did not know that."

John leads the police to Ray's room only to find the money is no longer in the box. John glances out the window and sees Tucker walking past and tells them he's spotted the killer. After forcing the police officer out of the room, he breaks the window in the room and gives chase.

Movie Segment #8

John begins to chase Tucker while the police are in pursuit of John. The chase goes all through the trainyard. Favorite riff of this segment is as follows;

Crow: Now there's something you don't see everyday, Chauncey.
Tom: What's that, Edgar?
Crow: A priest beating the hell out of some guy in a factory

The fight culminates in a generator room. Tucker is knocked into some high voltage wires and is killed by electrocution.

John and Jeane reunite in the train station only for John to be taken into police custody seconds later. George's mother walks into the station giving an interview to a reporter dealing with her estranged son. She says she's ready to reconcile and be a real mother to her son. At that moment, the coroner wheels the covered corpse of George through the station and past his mother. Joel comments on the dark social commentary of the moment.

And the end, Joel sums it up thusly, "So all this happened because Johnny got lost at the fair?"

Host Segment #5

Tom Servo enters as Hercule Poirot claiming he'll solve The Great Merritt Stone Mystery. By analysing five of the films the crew had watched, Tom surmises that Merritt Stone and Gene Roth might be the same person. Crow posits that Jack Kosslyn might be Merritt Stone, but if that's the case then who is Gene Roth?

Servo's head explodes... poor guy.

Frank tries to do some research of his own on the subject and breaks down into confused tears much to Dr. Forrester's chagrin. Dr. F pushes the button himself and the credits roll.


A freaky looking beat poet says "I am bugged!"

I'm not big on heist movies, and this movie didn't change my opinion any. I also thought this episode was sort of a weak one. The short is always entertaining, but I didn't feel like many of the riffs in the movie hit their mark. In all, an average episode. My rating, 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5




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