It's a project months in the making. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumni who now make up the group known as RiffTrax were finally able to bring their laser wit to bear on the 1997 Paul Verhoeven stinker "Starship Troopers" to the Belcourt Theatre for a live show on Aug. 15.
What began as a Kickstarter campaign in February to attempt to secure the right to riff RiffTrax favorite "Twilight" live saw as many twists and turns as an action movie. Unable to secure licensing for the still money making "Twilight", Plan B ended up being a pretty good one, as "Starship Troopers" offered up plenty of cheesy action flick goodness to riff on.
As has been the case for most of the RiffTrax Live events, this one originated from Nashville's own Belcourt Theatre but was also cinecast to movie theaters across the nation and in Canada. While several hundred of RiffTrax Kickstarter backers packed the sold out Belcourt, fans in Nashville not lucky enough to snag a live ticket descended on the Opry Mills 21 and the Green Hills 16 to watch the cinecast.
Unlike recent RiffTrax Live events, there were no short films preceding the riffing of "Starship Troopers", although perennial favorite Norman and his trademark "Unngh!" made an appearance in the pre-show "Movie Quotes" cards. This entire night was dedicated to Starship Troopers.
Mike, Kevin, and Bill opened the show by commenting on the kind words "Starship Troopers" stars Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, and long time friend Neil Patrick Harris had to say about the riff of their movie. They then apologized to them all saying "you have seen us, right?"
No one was spared during the night as Van Dien was ribbed for his beefy good looks and goofy one-liners. Harris was prodded with "Doogie Howser" and "How I Met Your Mother" jokes, and Meyer actually got a more interesting arc than her actual story in the movie, with the riffers turning her into a "Fatal Attraction" style stalker. Not surprisingly, it was Denise Richards who got the worst ribbing of the night, with numerous jokes made about her vacant smiles, flat delivery, marriage to Charlie Sheen, and "Wild Things."
Fans who were upset about RiffTrax doing an R rated movie with two nude scenes needed not worry. While the guys were contractually obligated to show the uncut movie, Kevin did hire a pair of Gorillagrams that conveniently decided to show up to deliver during the nude scenes, causing the cameras to cut away and show very little of the nudity.
Next up for RiffTrax Live is George Romero's classic "Night of the Living Dead." That show will be held on Oct. 24 with tickets to the live show at the Belcourt going on sale Aug. 30.