Every nerd worth their nerdiness from the late 80s and onward was (and still is) a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Here, using my stunning superior intellect and a series of elaborate algorithms, I've compiled the six most common fan-favorite episodes of MST3K. May your next marathon be joyous and filled with all the snorting laughter you can possibly handle.
NOTE: The Joelyness or Mikeyness of the episode was not a factor in choosing this top five, but I do make note of who the star is in each particular thingy.
6. Riding With Death
This movie would actually be pretty decent, if it didn't get completely lost midway through and meander off into a ditch. Mike and the robots are forced to suffer through the "antics" of Lazy Rider and his ridiculous but kindhearted compatriot, Buffalo Bill. They drive trucks. And this one time, there was dangerous stuff on the truck, and some sneaky scientists or something. Then they fought, and uh...oh! The one guy can turn invisible. ...Yep.
5. Puma Man
Mike and the robots attempt to cope with cheesy and completely unfitting fight and action scene music while trying not to stare in awestruck silence at the supporting actor's dark and incredibly prominent jawline. The plot of this movie is ridiculous, which is hardly strange - but here there's ancient spooky magic at work, so it's doubly ridiculous. That just makes it all the more charming. Oh, and it's about some superhero with weird powers nothing like a puma at all.
4. Monster A-Go-Go
One of my personal favorites with Joel, this movie is just outright awful, and not in the usual charming way. The plot is lukewarm at it's most "exciting" parts, the dialog is either monotone or utterly whacky, and the acting is so wooden you could swear this was entirely casted by old marionettes. The greatest part of this episode is the commentary, as always - in fact, this movie isn't really watchable without it. As is expected, the jokes & jabs at this particular piece of crap are absolutely golden.
3. The Final Sacrifice
A season 9 Mike episode, and one of my absolute favorites. This episode's movie has a convoluted plot, actors (and costumes) that try either way too hard or not nearly hard enough, and a soundtrack of stock "music" much akin to rusty nails on an even rustier chalkboard. It's one of those ancient-power-used-in-the-modern-age sorta movies like Puma Man, but done without any of the...Aztec flair. This is one you shouldn't miss for the jokes alone. In a word; Rowsdower.
2. Space Mutiny
I bet you thought this one would be first, right? Well it isn't. It's damn close, though. Space Mutiny is a movie that Mike and the robots truly seemed to have a good time with, despite how cliche, cheesy, and zero-budget it was. The sets are just cardboard taped to old dusty computer keyboards, and what I assume to be spraypainted kitchen countertops. The rest of the sets are...in a warehouse. Just a gross, dilapidated warehouse. Thankfully, this movie has so many hilariously bad moments and poor directorial choices that it was prime joke fodder, and one of the greatest episodes in this humble opinion. There really is nothing better than a completely undesirable set of romantic protagonists coupled with stomach-turningly terrible writing to make for a chucklefest for the ages.
1. Manos, the Hands of Fate
Not only is Manos, the hands of Fate one of the widely agreed upon worst movies of all time, but it's definitely one of those bad movies with charm you just couldn't avoid if you tried. The movie is earnest in it's awfulness, and the actors, though far more suited to a junior high recreation of Grease, were clearly, um...trying. This is a classic Joel episode, and it starts with a short; Hired! part 2. The jokes are top-notch and truly timeless, and somehow, you can feel how much fun was had in the making of this episode through watching it, even all these years later. The same, sadly, cannot be said for the movie itself. Long may you live in that spooky flophouse in the sky, Torgo.
As an extra super special treat, here's a link to watch Hotel Torgo, the making of Manos, the Hands of Fate. One of the cameramen that worked on the movie takes you through his memories of making the movie, all of it's actors, the before and after bits, etc. Watch it here.