It was a sad day for fans of sarcasm and incisive film criticism when Mystery Science Theater 3000 ended its run. Fans mourned the loss of Tom Servo, Crow and the gang for days, maybe even minutes. Where, oh were would an easily accessible form of film mockery come from, now? Well, where there’s life, there’s hope… hope that has been rewarded by the advent of The Film Crew. Yes, the minds and hearts behind the MST3K experience have cobbled together another silly plot scenario that results in three guys having to make fun of bad movies under the pretense of providing these creaky gems with film commentaries…
Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett are three of the demented geniuses [genii?] that made the late and lamented Mystery Science Theater 3000 the class of the film mockery world. Now, they have banded together [ostensibly to provide film commentary tracks for the unsung – and almost completely lost – films that have never had that honor] and, under direction from their new boss, Bob Honcho, attempt to work their way through the films he sends them. Honcho, it should be noted, has virtually no taste at all – which is good for us.
The initial release by The Film Crew is their commentary on Hollywood After Dark, a sleazy little number that combines an ineptly planned heist and the world of shattered Hollywood dreams, or as Honcho puts it, “Rue McClanahan stripping!”
Shot on a budget of around forty-five cents in 1968, Hollywood After Dark has been absent from any form of rebroadcast – and deservedly so! While it night have been a real eye-opener in the drive-ins and grindhouses of the day, HAD is a film that lacks the sophistication of a Roger Corman film and the intelligence of a tree stump.
Nelson, Murphy and Corbett find plenty to ridicule – enough so that, halfway through the film, they take a break for lunch [most likely to give their sides a chance to stop aching]. The lunch break is filled with an attempt by Corbett to apply lessons learned from the film into the group’s own work habits. Fortunately, Nelson and Murphy will have nothing to do with that and we return to the film.
There is one bonus feature on the DVD – a little ditty called Ode to Lunch, a sonnet about the merits of the midday meal. It’s funnier than a good part of either Hollywood After Dark, or the trio’s commentary – largely because it doesn’t sound like an improv.
The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark may not be up to the high standard set by MST3K, but it is still a lot of fun. With the addition of the Ode To Lunch [which clocks in at about a minute-and-a-half], it’s safe to say that film mockery for the masses is in good hands.
[b]Final Grade: B-[/b]
Eclipse Review Posted by Sheldon Wiebe
Originally Posted on 08/08/07