An older Millennial trying to embrace what makes her generation special.

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

MST3K: The Gauntlet


I promised that I did not get drunk and just decide to not watch Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Gauntlet, and that was accurate. I attempted it.

And I'm not sure if I won or lost.

I made it through the entire 8 hours and 9 minutes. From 10:01 am to 6:10 pm, I was watching The Gauntlet, only taking breaks during the 4 minute end credits.

But I think a part of me died. And it died during Mac and Me.

I took minutes like a gosh darn secretary during the entire marathon. Not to share them with you guys in detail. You don't need to know everything. I just knew my brain would go so numb, I would literally forget half of the movies. And that's true. Mere minutes after the marathon, I couldn't tell you what I watched that wasn't Mac and Me, Killer Fish, or Ator.

Taking minutes, though, tracked my own spiral into insanity.

But before I get into that, let me explain that all my breaks were during the 4 minutes that the end credits ran. All of them. My bathroom breaks, making food and/or coffee breaks, or even doing the adulting things I needed to do like take out the trash and empty, load, and run the dishwasher was done during the 4 minute breaks. You can do a lot in 20 minutes, apparently.

So, the first movie was Mac and Me. According to the minutes I kept, I was watching this from 10:01 am until the credits started at 11:20 am. At 10:09 am, I wrote, "already questioning my life decisions," followed three minutes later at 10:12 am with, "everyone who has managed to make it past the first 5 minutes of Mac and Me deserves a medal." And I stand by that. Brian Thompson, you sat through that movie for your Investigative Journalism Program (IJP) "Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald's," and you haven't won enough Pulitzers for that.

Oh, so I took a picture of every movie I feel like to prove that I was watching it, but I have no intention of sharing them because I took a picture of my TV. It's grainy and gross. But I do need to share a picture from Mac and Me because I have feelings.

Younger Gen X and Older Millennials remember birthday parties at McDonald's.
Okay, so Mac and Me came out in 1988, which is kind of like the height of being able to have your birthday party at McDonald's. I went to one in early 1989, for the other Amanda in my kindergarten class. I don't remember all the random dancers, but I do remember Ronald McDonald really did come to the birthday parties. That was 100% accurate.

Mac and Me was emotionally scarring. It wasn't a great start. They tried to kill a handicapped kid like 1000 times. It was emotionally draining, and it was the first movie.

From 11:24 am until 12:40 pm, I was held captive by Atlantic Rim. I wasn't captivated by it. I was participating in The Gauntlet, which meant I was stuck there. My living room was the new Satellite of Love.  Anyway, the one thing that really, really bugged me about Atlantic Rim - well, everything did - but the one thing that stood out was how many women I was expected to believe had leadership roles in this movie. Like, one oil rig only had one guy on it. It was so outlandish, that you can't even appreciate the inclusivity - you're just like, "oh... they gave no cares." I did have some observations here, like the Admiral gave a weird YouTube shout out early into the movie, but by the end I decided that he was an old Millennial, because this movie clearly took place in the future. Like, clearly. They were fighting monsters in robot suits.

Then, from 12:44 pm until 1:59 pm, I was stuck watching Lords of the Deep. Even in my notes, it's clear that I had absolutely no idea what was going on, except that Terri from "Three's Company" spent a significant part of the movie tripping balls. I also wrote, "I don't think someone who keeps tripping should trust it when they see a dead person," and you know what, that's valid. How can you possibly know what's real at that point? Also, it was that kind of movie. That's why even as I was watching it, I was severely confused.

From 2:03 pm until 3:22 pm, I was tuned into The Day Time Stopped. At this point, I was like this was a real mixed bag of alien movies. I also have notes like, "I am seriously concerned for Jenny," "Jenny is possessed," and "I would not trust a vortex person," so there was a lot going on there. But, the end of the episode had Dr. Laurence Erhardt, one of the original mads! That was exciting and fun and basically saved my life 2/3rds of the way through The Gauntlet.

Even though, at this point, I did notice my roommate's dog was trying to escape the television and life.

He never sleeps like this.
Poor puppy.

From 3:28 pm until 4:43 pm, I was watching Killer Fish. At this point, I realized the MST3K theme song is never, ever, ever getting out of my head. I had notes like, "70s movies take way too long to get started," which is a totally fair observation. Avalanche also took forever to get started last season, and just in general - Carrie wasn't even a horror movie until the third act. Until then, it was just about a bullied telepathic teen. I also just had a lot of questions about the pirhana, but then I was really mad at the everyone wins ending.

Then, finally, from 4:47 pm until 6:10 pm - I stayed through the credits at the end this time - I was held captive by Ator. I was mostly excited by how close to the end it was. At one point, I compared this episode to Masters of the Universe, which is one of my favorite bad movies. There was a solid plot twist near the end - I mean, as solid as a plot twist in a bad movie can be, but then it had a weird happy ending.

I also noted, as I was dying, that the host segments were really saving my life throughout this marathon. I also wrote down all the pop culture references I liked: Joker and Harley Quinn, "Saved by the Bell," "The Snorks," and a lot of Alvin and the Chipmunks. I also really liked the ending of the season.

But do I think I would ever binge another six hours again? At this moment, I'm saying no. It was really hard for me. I tend to fall asleep after two MST3K episodes because of the sheer badness of the movies - you can wrap shit in chocolate, and it's still chocolate covered shit. The awesomeness of the riffers and the host segments can only do so much. But who knows? Could be, in a year I forget just how miserable I was and I attempt it again with the next season.

I watched all 8+ hours. It's a win that only cost me my sanity and possibly my soul.

Are you a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Could you sit through 8 hours? Did you attempt The Gauntlet? Let me know!


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