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Exclusive: The Rifftrax crew talk about their Summer Shorts special & more!

06.14.2017by: Eric Walkuski

Rifftrax summer shorts beach party

We have a massive appreciation around here for the good people at Rifftrax, as has no doubt been proven in the past (see our extensive interview with them HERE). Having been an avid watcher (and listener) of Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy from back in their Mystery Science Theater 3000 days, I consider these guys personal friends of mine. (They don't realize it, but they feel similarly!)

Every few months, the folks from Rifftrax put on a live show from Nashville that is broadcast across the country thanks to Fathom Events. This June, they'll be performing of their heralded shorts programs - a Summer Shorts Beach Party, to be precise - showing a bevy of educational shorts that will no doubt be even more educational once the crew is finished with them.

Mike, Bill and Kevin will be joined by special guests that any MST3K/Rifftrax fan should know: Mary Jo Pehl (MST3K's Pearl Forrester), Bridget Nelson (MST3K's Flavia, among others), Frank Conniff (TV's Frank), Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Clayton Forrester) and comedian Paul F. Tompkins; the live show goes on Thursday, June 15th, with an encore on June 20th. For ticket info, visit Fathom Events!

To prepare for this hot and sweaty riff-fest, I asked the gang a few questions about summer movies and these particular shorts. Their answers have been oiled up and listed below for your gawking pleasure!

Johnny depp private resort
Johnny Depp in Private Resort

What's your favorite summer movie and why?

Mike: Private Resort: Hear me out -- Johnny Depp, Rob Morrow, Hector Elizondo, and Andrew Dice Clay. It's like if Weekend at Bernie's were even stupider.

Kevin: First one that came to mind was “Jaws,” because it’s just so wonderful and hinged on summer as a setting, and it’s one of the few horror films in which nearly all the horror takes place in broad daylight. But then I thought of “Dazed and Confused,” which is the American Graffiti for people my age, and so perfect in capturing that release of pent-up energy that comes with the end of the school year. Everyone who was ever in high school and wasn’t a total suck-up can relate.

Bill: Smiles of a Summer Night, by Ingmar Bergman. That's the one with the giant robots that turn into trucks, right? I like when robots turn into trucks.

Bridget: Lifeguard, 1976. I never saw it but I was in love with the cartoon drawing of Sam Elliott on the poster. It seemed naughty yet somehow important. I rode my bike past the theater a lot that summer.

Mary Jo: How Yukong Moved the Mountains. Any movie that keeps me indoors for 12 hours on a "nice" day is A-OK with me. I don't like "nice" weather.

Lifeguard poster sam elliott

How did you pick the shorts for the upcoming live show?

Mike: We got a list of our favorites, then divided into two teams and played shirtless volleyball on the beach while a Kenny Loggins song blasted on our boombox. The Kenny Loggins song, oddly, was not Playing with the Boys, but House at Pooh Corner.

Kevin: We cast a broad net for these shorts,and we found a few of the strangest ones in their original 16mm form. I daresay some of these haven’t seen the light of day since they were put back in their cans by some pimply kid back in 1971 or so.

Bill: By slogging through many many titles methodically, looking for the perfect mix of qualities. Then being driven mad by that, giving up, and choosing randomly.

Bridget: Since none of the options included Sam Elliott as a foxy Life Guard we choose one featuring dorky teens from Iowa.

Mary Jo: Bridget and I chose our short because we had a lot of fun with it when we first released it - there's a lot of hilarious stuff going on it, and felt like it'd be great to revisit and rework.

Which is your favorite of the shorts?

Mike: We're leading off our show with a safety short featuring the weirdest animal mascot in the history of weird animal mascots. I don't want to give anything away but you've almost certainly seen the scat of this animal while walking in the woods, and probably picked up a nasty stomach issue from the bacteria it spreads.

Kevin: Well, without giving anything away, they range from mashed-potato bland browbeating to the outright hallucinogenic, and just about everything that might fall between those points on a spectrum.

Bill: I can't reveal the title but know that my favorite has people dancing like overcaffeinated whirling dervishes about common household appliances, much like I do in my kitchen.

Bridget: My favorite shorts ever were these SUPER cute red Dittos cutoffs that my Mom said were too short... Real answer: I love the short MJ and I are riffing about dorky teens in Iowa.

Mary Jo: Of Bridget's and my RiffTrax shorts, I really loved The Maturing Woman, Oh, Boy, Babies, and our second annual Christmas Special.

Rifftrax summer shorts beach party

You can visit the Rifftrax crew's official site HERE and get tickets for the Summer Shorts Beach Party HERE.

Extra Tidbit: Will you be attending the Summer Shorts Beach Party?

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