krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
After making preparations (of a sort), I've at last launched into the trio of "Coleman Francis episodes" of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The first may itself still be sort of a warmup compared to what's yet to come, but even so there are plenty of peculiar and amusing things about "The Skydivers," which is given a high standard to live up to when it's introduced as "kind of like 'Manos' but without the lucid plot." Before the movie itself, though, first we're asked "Why Study Industrial Arts?" ("Because you're bad at math?")

Much fun is had by the "riffers" imitating the authentic Midwestern accents of the high school students (and their teachers) seeking answers to this question. As seems usual, industrial arts is declared to be of use to just about any career (including that of industrial arts teacher), and if nothing else you can keep your house in good repair. ("Okay, we can use the toaster or a lamp." "Of course, when the house began sliding downhill that was a different story.")

As for the movie, it features lots and lots of skydiving, and it even makes it look sort of fun so long as there aren't any closeups of windblown faces. ("Your face is really flapping, Irv!") However, there are tense undercurrents on the ground, what with coffee-liking Joe Moss working his way in between the big-haired Beth and her husband Harry, who seems to have a thing with Suzy, who's also ensnaring Frankie ("He's like an idiot savant, minus the savant."), who was fired by Beth and Harry. In the meantime, Bernie never quite opens his chute during a jump and hits hard ("Oh, get a spatula and a garbage bag."), and when that's been got over at last (and there's a big dance featuring a very clean-cut early-1960s band and a crowd of peculiar dancers), Suzy and Frankie have dumped acid in Harry's parachutes and he hits hard as well. However, they're found out at once and chased by car and plane (with director Coleman Francis in a cameo role firing from the plane), and gunned down at last. ("Uh, we do have frontier justice in this town, right?") Joe says a reluctant goodbye to Beth. ("A stranger comes to town, touches nobody's lives, and leaves.")

In some ways, the draggy plot ("Looks like they forgot to have things happen in this movie.") gives a greater scope to "riff" on the small peculiarities (including some shaky continuity work). I did find myself thinking, though, that the "host segments," as brief as some of them are, do seem to have the characters being "casually cruel" to each other as I've wondered with some other episodes from the sixth season. Still, we do also get Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank competing against Mike and the bots through the medium of swing choirs.

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