"Oh no! Half in the Bag has jumped the shark! It's never been the same since episode four!"
Nadine: Mister, please, just let me go! I promise won't say anything! I'll do anything, just let me go! Mr. Plinkett:Quiet! I'm making my YouTubeStar Wars review!
RedLetterMedia is a film production company with a channel on YouTube and a webzone that produces a number of films and shorts. It is made up of a small creative team and has made submissions for various film festivals. The group's real claim to fame are the Mr. Plinkett Reviews. Created by Mike Stoklasa, who plays Plinkett, the reviews tackle primarily sci-fi films.In these reviews, Harry S. Plinkett is an elderly man (he claims in one review to be 119 years old) with Deadpan Snarker and Serial Killer tendencies who's been in various marriages where his wives have died under suspicious circumstances (and he routinely kidnaps other women as well).To date, Plinkett has reviewed:
Plinkett also released a RiffTrax-style audio commentary for The Phantom Menace (for anyone who was willing to watch it again, anyway).Though Stoklasa has refused to do formal Plinkett Reviews for the original trilogy of Star Wars films, he did release an audio commentary, slightly more serious and analytical than his ersatz-RiffTrax of The Phantom Menace, for the originalStar Warsfilm.Stoklasa also released a Plinkett-style commentary for Star Trek V, where Plinkett presents the film as a noble failure, a well intentioned concept that was ruined though an amazing combination of Shatner's ego (while most reviewers tend to put all the blame on Shatner, Plinkett contends that while it was a major factor, it was far from the only, or even prevailing, one), Executive Meddling (who demanded unnecessary humor be injected into the script), a WGA strike that prevented a necessary rewrite just before shooting began, a Teamsters strike that held up trucks and forced many exterior shots to be scrapped, ILM pulling out of doing new SFX (they had otherthings to do) resulting in sub-par SFX, and a reduced budget.In addition to the Plinkett reviews, RLM also hosts Half in the Bag, a traditional review series featuring Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman discussing new releases. The show is more in the style of Siskel And Ebert, and while the two are supposed to be repairing Plinkett's VCR, they usually spend the whole time drinking beers and reviewing movies. The Plinkett character also appears, played by Rich Evans. Another new segment has been introduced called Best of the Worst in which three bad VHS movies are watched by Mike, Jay, Rich and the rest of the crew, and discussed afterward.You can find the YMMV page right here....now this is where it gets complex, my lovelies...
Their Analysis of the Star Wars Prequels
Criticism of the Star Wars prequels can normally be written off as easy (as well as being a bit behind the times), but the Phantom Menace review was widely spread around the internet and was even tweeted about by celebrities such as Damon Lindelof and Simon Pegg. Plinkett's reviews, while often containing borderline dark and tasteless humor, offer many insightful explanations as to why the prequels pale in comparison to Lucas' original trilogy — and these explanations don't involve Jar-Jar (he's barely mentioned throughout all three reviews).note During the Revenge of the Sith review, Plinkett does refer to Binks as a "loathsome cunt''. Some key critiques of the prequels include:
How much exposition is given through dialog and talking heads when compared to simple visuals from the original works. (Note how long the discussion of events of extravagant battles that are never shown to the viewer in the establishing shots of Revenge of the Sith are.) Also the fact that despite this, core concepts like who the Trade Federation is and what the original dispute is about are never explained and so nothing really makes sense.
The lack of anything resembling an empathetic everyman character for the audience to relate to (including the complete lack of a central protagonist in Phantom Menace). In the Phantom Menace review, Mr. Plinkett gave four separate people the task of describing four characters (Han Solo, C-3PO, Queen Amidala, and Qui-Gon Jinn) without mentioning their appearances or actions — while they each were able to expound greatly on the first two, they all fumbled for words for the prequel characters.note Rich Evans on Amidala: "That's fucking impossible and you know it. She doesn't have a character."
The extravagance and over-reliance on special effects and blue-screen filming to create a fantastic world in lieu of actual story. (At one point, Plinkett calls back to a much younger George Lucas, who once said special effects were a means to an end.) Compare with Titanic, a film written by a man as limited in developing his characters as George Lucas, which is arguably the last 'Golden Age' movie made with practical effects and real sets, reserving its CG visuals for special circumstances.
The "dissolution of tension" in nearly every scene that should be exciting, mainly because viewers either don't care about or don't understand what's at stake in the scene (e.g. the fight scene with Darth Maul), don't understand what's happening (due to poor storytelling and/or cluttered visuals), or can't project ourselves into the outlandish events that happen (e.g. the overly long light saber duel over an erupting volcano in Sith).
Reusing imagery and concepts from the original trilogy without understanding why such scenes worked on their own in the first place. (In the Attack of the Clones review, Plinkett compares Leia's desperation at losing Han Solo to Boba Fett at the end of The Empire Strikes Back — and the audience's emotional investment in those events — to Amidala's weak retort at failing to capture Count Dooku.)
While there are a few overly-nerdy jabs at continuity and nitpicking at illogical story elements, much of the commentary is given from a filmmaker's point of view, which made the reviews enlightening for numerous viewers. A number of Star Wars fans disliked the approach — and one fan even wrote a 117-page rebuttal of the Phantom Menace review (which Plinkett scoffed at). The style of the Star Wars reviews (and the reviews which followed those) are similar in style to his earlier Star Trek movie reviews (though those reviews nitpicked even more, mostly about details and inconsistencies between the movies and the show).
Aborted Arc: Plinkett being apprehended by the police. It happens at the end of his Phantom Menace review, it's mentioned that he's "in the clink" in the Attack of the Clones preview, and then it's never mentioned again.
"Stay back, coppers, I'm packin' heat!"
The preview of his Episode II review seems to suggest that the ghost of Johnny Cash magically & inexplicably broke him out of jail.
It's also weird how Mr. Plinkett gets feedback from other people about describing characters from the old and new prequels instead of them fleeing in horror or being kidnapped.
An Aesop: Plinkett dispenses several of these over the course of reviewing the prequel trilogy, but at the end of the Revenge of the Sith review, and as the very last line of the review proper, he distills everything he's said into a single sentence:
Plinkett: And in the end, all the computers in the world can't generate the most basic thing that a movie needs: an emotional connection with the audience.
The Alcoholic: You'd need a drink, too, if you had to review these movies.
"Maybe It's time for another vodka gimlet... [trips over furniture]GW'OOH FCK!"
All Is Well That Ends Well: Following his duel with Nadine, subsequent hospital stay, and near-assassination, Plinkett cheerfully returns home to...microwave his cat.
All There in the Manual: Plinkett abhors this trope, or at least despises the fact that fans so often invoke it to explain away the all but incomprehensible plot and setting of the Star Wars prequels:
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Invoked in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull review where Plinkett states that the scene where Mutt uses a snake as a rope to get Indy out of quicksand couldn't happen since the snake would get ripped in half.
Mr. Plinkett: I don't know, it just doesn't seem realistic to me. Now go ahead and post comments about how people have used snakes as ropes for years in the Amazon or whatever, you fuckin assho-
Ambiguously Gay: Mr Plinkett himself. Apparently, he made out with George Lucas and he compliments William Shatner's "merkin"note if you don't know what it means, don't look it up in the Star Trek the... Star Trek review.
We should also remember that he's a deranged, psychotic, senile old man who's frequently drunk, so make what you will of his occasional hilarious offhand comments.
Angrish: several minor occasions scattered throughout the series, usually with The Scary Voice, but the best example would have to be when confronted with the asspull of Yoda telling Obiwan how to talk to Force Specters.
And then Yoda tells Obiwan that he should talk to Qui-Gon's ghost! (Laugh Track plays) WHAT THE FUCK?! No-one-evermentionedanyoneeverdevertime 'bout talkin' to ghosts!!!!!!"
Mr. Plinkett: I don't think I've ever seen a movie like this, with mind rape, child slave labor, guy getting impaled on a spike and then pulling it through his own guts, horrific scenes of death, close-ups of Marina Sirtis...
He even does a positive example of this, listing two really important good things cultures with technology has before listing something far less important.
Mr. Plinkett: Plus they (savage cultures without technology) don't got things like antibiotics, indoor plumbing, or Taco Bell.
He complains about the recent trend of Star Trek movies all being revenge films. "I'm filled with so much hate I don't know what to do with it! Usually I turn it into murder. Or complaining at the Post Office about the price of stamps."
Author Appeal: Mr. Plinkett isn't the only foul-mouthed sociopathic elderly person Stoklasa's created, ie. Recipe for Disaster.
Ax-Crazy: He's killed several of his ex-girlfriends and wives, several Koreans, and now needs to go because his cat isn't going to milk itself.
Bait and Switch: In the Episode 3 review, he talks about the "funniest scene in movie history". He goes through the part when Vader arises in detail, and shows the moment as... Yoda telling Obi-Wan to talk to Qui-Gon's ghost.
Bait-and-Switch Comment: "Fuckin' Ray Charles could have seen that coming...and he doesn't even know anything about Star Wars!
Another good one from the same review, where he rants about how reviews have called the movie better because it's Darker and Edgier
MY STOOL IS DARK! And doctor says that's bad! ...I don't know why he thinks he knows so much about interior decorating though (Rim Shot and a picture of a leather stool)
Avatar ushered in a new age of 3-D film-making.note And by age I mean six months.
Chalks up the misfire of Star Trek V to an issue of ego. "James Doohan's ego was out of contr—!!...wait."
Continued in the conclusion of his Titanic review, Plinkett ends up rambling about how James Cameron was very inaccurate. He goes on to mention how he actually crashed the ship because another talking pizza roll talked him into it, the ship was unmanned as Plinkett's mother was having sex with the captain at the time, aliens caused the ship to snap in two, his father died hiding in a suitcase, and the whole thing was covered up out of embarrassment.invoked
Breakout Character: There's a reason this page is 99% about Mr. Plinkett despite being a page for all of Red Letter Media's productions.
Brick Joke: When describing the sex appeal of the Na'vi, he pointed out, "Look at 'dem lips! Aren't those the kinda lips you wanna put duct tape over— I mean, kiss." A few years later, Plinkett actually abducts a Na'vi cosplayer.
"Now I've anal-yzed this scene with a team of scientists/engineers/perverts/from the Hair Club for Men/cheerleaders/dead people/two experts on the field of love, porn star Joslyn James and Tiger Woods/etc."
"You might not have noticed [some visual element of the movie he's discussing] — but your brain did."
Before complaining some more about Crystal Skull, I thought it'd be fair to point out some of the things I liked about the film. Don't worry, this won't take long.
Titanic aimed for the middle. And it hit the target perfectly.
Decided By One Vote: Where did the Star Trek franchise go horribly wrong? [Why hello, Generations.] Now, I ain't sayin' no one in particular is to blame... [Unrelated publicity video of Rick Berman]
So do the prequels basically expose Lucas as being a shallow, emotionless businessman? I'll let you decide! — but the answer is yes.
"So, y'know. You might like the characters, you know... If you're stupid."
"Now, whether an idea is good or bad is subjective...Except for here, these are all bad ideas."
"Again: A matter of opinion, but mine is right."
"I guess everything is a matter of opinion, unless it's my opinion, and then it's right!"
Delicious Distraction: Subverted and combined with Squick of the highest order. Plinkett is at one point comparing the Filler in the Star Wars prequels to the filler in Twinkies, when he suddenly goes "Mmmm...I like to fuck my cat..."
When weighing the faults of Titanic's characters, Plinkett can't find any aside from a tendency toward suicide and littering. He then lists off the memorable traits of Hockley (Billy Zane): Objectifies women, beats woman, and tries to shoot at women.
"So Yoda might be a powerful Jedi, but wise he is not. (Get it? I—I did like a Yoda thing?)
"Maybe he should download a program into his brain about child care." (That was a Matrix joke! Didya get it?!)
The Cop Dog is suffering from "post-partner depression. Geddit? I SAID GEDDIT?
Although Plinkett also subverted this: His attempts to save time by giving the description of four different films at once are acknowledged as a bad idea not because his speech was incomprehensible, but because he forgot two films he wanted to describe. He then discusses six films at once.
Drop The Cow: He usually cuts a segment short really abruptly (like in mid-sentence) if his picking on a point is beginning to ramble.
Early-Installment Weirdness : Back in 2005, Mike Stoklasa did a precursor videos to his Star Wars reviews, called the United States of Noooo!!! which explored what he considered to be the Jumping the Shark Dethroning Moment Of Suck of Star Wars, namely, the scene when Darth Vader utters a Big "NO!" after Palpatine tells him Padmé is dead. While rather funny, the video is also a very ordinary talk-to-the-camera video, without the antics that made Plinkett's reviews famous. Stoklasa's uncannily good imitation of Palpatine's voice can already be heard in this video.
Easily Forgiven: Nadine waves the white flag in her Revenge video. Unfortunately for Plinkett, it seems he's made an even worse enemy...
The Faceless: Mr. Plinkett's face actually has been seen in several instances, both in illustrations and in a still photo from one of the Star Trek reviews. Throughout the Star Wars material, however, Mr. Plinkett seems to be abiding by this trope; we see only his first person perspective while he wanders through his basement and captures women.
Fanservice/Toplessness from the Back: The inclusion in his Avatar review of the iconic shot of Rose from Titanic dropping her robe to show her butt to the audience. May also apply to his sex puns (with accompanying sexy pictures) for Megan Fox, Natalie Portman and Chris Pine.
Filler: Arguably the Baby's Day Out review and Cop Dog review to some fans, as no one would really care much about these movies and would rather see Plinkett review another important Blockbuster. These shorter reviews would tease the audience for the next major review.
Flanderization: Plinkett says that the Star Trek remake took minor character traits from all the original crew members and ELECTRIFIED them, to make the characters more interesting.
Also applies to Plinkett himself; in the earlier reviews his penchant for murder is just hinted at with a few offhand comments, while in the later reviews we actually see him tormenting his victims and his serial-killer tendencies are mentioned much more often and become much more central to his character.
For Want of a Nail: Reviewing Star Trek (2009) creates an alternate timeline where Plinkett's cat is still alive. Cue the chaos.
"Bambi's alive in this timeline! ...Only, now she's my first cat. I'm so confused."
Foreshadowing: "DON'T TRY TO ESCAPE LIKE THE OTHER ONE!" He says near the end of the Episode II review to the two girls making the Puzzles.
Four Lines, All Waiting: Plinkett tears into Episode I for this happening at the climax. Well, not him so much as selected clips of Lucas and co. looking less than comfortable about having done this and not being able to change it so late in production.
Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Parodied in Plinkett's occasional youtube updates where Palpatine harasses him into making reviews, although these mostly exist so he can show off his impressive Ian McDiarmid impression.
The 108 page rebuttal to the TPM review is, however, astoundingly real.
Freudian Excuse: Plinkett's serial killer tendencies make a lot more sense the more we learn about his past. His father died on the Titanic when he was six, and Plinkett has a history of mental illness. Not to mention that he's senile.
Go Mad from the Revelation: In his review of The Phantom Menace when a plot hole so enrages him he begins to wonder if someone was screwing with his meds, leading to an... interesting scene in which he repeats "Who's fucking with my medicine?!" while he scoops several Pizza Rolls into a paper envelope before slurring "What's wrong with me?!" and blacking out.
And again in his Attack of the Clones review upon seeing the prop from Star Trek that has red lights moving back and forth in one of the The Last Starfighter clips and then seeing PKE meters being used in another movie.
"Do those guys have PKE meters? Am I going insane?! MY BRAIN IS COLLAPSING IN ON ITSELF-okay, back to the review."
Finally, in Revenge of the Sith, he has an almost pitiful breakdown as he realises just how much of the film refers back to the original trilogy.
"Oh god, all I hear is Star Wars inside my brain! Someone help me!"
Handicapped Badass: An evil version in Mr. Plinkett. Despite having one amputated leg, he is at least able to kidnap several women and fight his way through numerous police officers at the end of his Phantom Menace review (despite being shot at least once)
Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Harry explains the somewhat tacked-on nature of the Spock/Uhura romance as a case of the NotGays wherein the director draws undue time away from the plot in order to establish that a character is in fact heterosexual. He then goes on to show how other characters have a case of the NotGays and begins to refer to it as the disease the director seems to think it is.
"Geez, you stupid people need to learn your history right."
"This film is racist against Chinamen!"
"Babies are fragile! This kind of disgusting, misleading and irresponsible film should've never been made! Now to talk about my favorite scene: The one where Baby Bink is trapped in a gorilla cage and nearly Eaten Alive..."
"Can't they leave this sex stuff out of a kid's movie? I mean, kids have up until they're eight to start havin' sex, leave 'em with those precious few years of innocence, for God's sake!'
Generations and Crystal Skull convinces Plinkett that it's time for retirement, and he Rolls Into the Sunset for good. —Wait, who's gonna review The Matrix, Twilight, and Red Tails? "Shit, I ain't even close to done yet!!"
After several shot-by-shot comparisons of Titanic with previous films based around the ship, Plinkett confesses that it's too much to sort out; he's too busy for this. He then continues to play an endless stream of camera shots cribbed by James Cameron and stitched back together, talking over them for a solid five minutes.
"George Lucas is kinda mocking the civil rights movement and the memory of Dr. Martin Luther Jones."
Idiot Ball: Another pet peeve of Plinkett, such as Padme being transferred to be "processed", even though the villains not knowing what happened to the Jedis and the fact she's central to their entire plans.
Idiot Plot: invokedDiscussed in the Star Wars reviews. Contends that if any of the characters had exercised even the tiniest amount of common sense in the prequels, Palpatine's plans would have been easily thwarted and Anakin wouldn't have become Darth Vader.
Plinketts list of types of New Media includes "the zoo".
Baby's Day Out as the modern-day take on The Three Stooges: There's the slightly smarter one that's in charge, there's the dumb one, and lastly the guy that was in The Matrix. Whaaaaa?
In a visual twist on this, when showing how a protagonist "often gets the girl in the end as icing on the cake", he shows four clips of pairs kissing... last of which is Charlie hugging Willy Wonka.
Likewise, James Cameron's fifth wife is a Na'vi.
A very telling comparison of Indiana Jones' adversaries and their on-screen crimes. Spalko's dossier says, "Patriot, Hero of Socialist Labor."
In his Cop Dog review he names a series of dog based children's film titles. One of these is Ghost Dog.
In the Episode III review, Plinkett mentions how a long, uncut entirely computer-generated shot is no longer impressive, since entire movies are made by computers without real actors these days. As examples, he shows The Incredibles, Toy Story, and Transformers.
Laugh Track: Employed sarcastically during the Prequel reviews, such as when Yoda tells Obi-Wan to talk to Qui-Gon's ghost (preceded by a "WhaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaat the FUCK?!?!" from Plinkett.)
Letting the Air out of the Band: During the Credits Gag in KOTCS, Plinkett plugs a few of his YouTube comments. "I Squeeze Gats" abruptly stops when he reads a (presumably real) comment from one of YouTube's innumerable trolls.
Looks Like She Is Enjoying It: The gag behind his 'original' Abrams Trek review. A girl gets dragged into an alley by the movie poster, then comes out looking disheveled yet satisfied.
The idea was that J.J. Abrams took a bloated franchise and ruthlessly twisted it into something marketable again; Mike thinks this is a good thing in the long run. Of course, he had to address the joke in his extended review, explaining that he doesn't really believe Star Trek was "raped".
"Oh, no! OH, NO! Somebody please make it stop! I'm gonna fuck my cat, then eat my cat, then kidnap a hooker and fuck the pain away!"
Malaproper: Related to the trope below, he does this with names. Thus we have Boba Fett instead of Jango Fett, Queen Armadillo, Ewan McDonald, Kate McGowan, Cliff Huxtable, General Grievance, William Shakesman/Shatner, et cetera.
Opinion Myopia: invokedPlayed for Laughs in Plinkett's Episode III trailer, where Palpatine shows a 108 page rebuttal he wrote to the TPM review. His opening lines explain how Plinkett is a stupidpants because he didn't like the prequels, and how the prequels were extremely complex "like a very deep game of chess where both players don't know how to play chess." This is in direct response to an actual rebuttal that surfaced on the internet that was 108 pages long.
The Other Darrin: Sorta. The Plinkett character originated in a couple of short films, where he was portrayed by Rich Evans. Mike Stokasa, the main writer of those shorts, decided to use the character for the reviews, and performed the voice himself. Evans portrays the character in a full-length movie that came out well after the reviews started, but was produced earlier. Unlike other examples of this trope, the two versions of Plinkett are not in canon with each other, and it's possible that Evans will continue to portray the character in the future.
The line between the two different Plinketts (described by Stoklasa as "Plinkett A" and "Plinkett B") was blurred in "The Revenge of Nadine" short and the Half in the Bag series. In them, Plinkett (as played by Evans) is the same Plinkett that made the Star Wars reviews and became an internet sensation (and who was, of course, voiced by Stoklasa); essentially they seem to have become a kind of The Other Darrin tag team; this was Lampshaded in a Half in the Bag intro which has Plinkett shouting "I don't even know who I am anymore!!!" at the top of his lungs.
Lampshaded in the Half in the Bag review of The Dark Knight Rises, where Mike is forced to do an impression of Mr. Plinkett. Jay tells him that's the worst Plinkett impression he'd ever heard, and no one would believe it's the real Plinkett.
In the teaser for his Star Trek rifftrack, Plinkett refers to his guests as "Man" (Palpy), "Creature" (Jar Jar), and "James Doohan" (Boss Nass). He's now living in fear of Disney suing them.
"Wassa matter, Palpy? Mouse got yer tongue?" "FUCK YOU."
Out-of-Character Moment: A major problem Mr. Plinkett has with the Next Generation movies is that Picard acts like an angry, vengeful, action movie character rather than a diplomatic captain who uses violence as a last resort.
Also, Plinkett points out how the Borg in First Contact randomly act like Frankenstein's monster. Plus Obi-Wan has random moments of being foolhardy and showing off in Episodes II and III.
Also Palpatine using a lightsaber and everything Yoda does in the prequels.
As far as Plinkett himself goes, doesn't anyone else think him saying that he really liked Twilight was weird? Twilight is about a 100-year-old guy who looks young for his age who stalks someone ...Oh, wait.
Overly-Long Gag: "And the four-letter-word I'm thinking of is 'fuck'. (Yoda stares) Naah I'm just kidding the word is 'crap'. (Yoda stares) Naah I'm just kidding the word is 'shit'. (Yoda stares) Naah I'm just kidding the word is 'poop'. (Yoda stares) Naah I'm just kidding the word is 'piss'. (Yoda stares) Naah I'm just kidding the word is 'garbage'. [Beat] (Yoda stares) Naah I'm just kidding the word is 'tone'."
Popularity Power: Plinkett argues in the ROTS review that this kicks in for Darth Vader. Before the PT, Darth Vader was an iconic character and a symbol of the Empire, formerly a good man gone bad, but come TPM, he becomes Space Jesus and the most pivotal man in the Galaxy. Plinkett believes this is because Vader is a popular and iconic figure, his life is central to not only the story, but to the in-story universe as well, when it was not suggested in the OT.
Plinkett also questions why in the world Padme would bother thanking R2-D2, "a piece of equipment". Why would the queen be ordered to clean a dirty droid? If she's thanking inanimate objects, why not thank the spaceship. This, despite in previous films R2-D2 was treated as just another machine by Luke and others. Once again, R2-D2 is famous to the viewer, not to the characters in the original film.
And, of course, Tostino's Pizza Rolls - which goes meta whenever a Pizza Rolls ad is played before or after a video.
CHUNKY'S CHICKEN!!! Yes, they actually went to the trouble of creating a fake website and "promotional video" for the sake of a gag.
Promoted Fanboy: A fan who created a number of animations about Plinkett (using sound collage from various sources for the voice work) was officially invited to create further episodes under the Red Letter Media banner, complete with newly-recorded Plinkett dialogue specifically for the cartoons.
A Real Man Is a Killer: Believes that a good Indiana Jones movie is reflected in how many people Indy brutally murders throughout the film.
George Lucas' theme song appears to be "We're in the Money."
Really 700 Years Old: If he was a kid on the Titanic, he's no less than 100 years old, especially if he remembers bits of it. This is also supported by his claims to have sold big & tall menswear to President Taft, being in his forties back in 1950s, and to have had grandchildren in the 1960s.
Role Association: Plinkett regrets the missed potential lesbian sex scene between the mother and the nanny in "Baby's Day Out" since Lara Flynn Boyle and Cynthia Nixon have "done their fair share of dirty roles, why can't they make room for that here?".
Rooting for the Empire:invoked Not five minutes after being introduced to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, Plinkett is shouting advice at the droids on how to poison them (as Plinkett has experience in that area).
Not technically rooting for the Empire, but Plinkett wonders how Obi-Wan automatically knows the Trade Federation attack on Naboo was totally unprovoked.
Mace Windu decapitating a poor working stiff who's just trying to make his way in the universe.(Jango Fett)
In Crystal Skull, McCarthyite America terrifies Plinkett way more than Spalko does.
Mike (The United States of Noooo!!!):"[that scene] ruined everything. Not just Star Wars movies, but every other type of movie ever made."
Plinkett (Star Trek Generations review):"It ruined everything. And not just Star Trek movies, but everything."
Sanity Slippage: The chapter introductions to The Phantom Menace. They start out with fairly basic titles, but degenerate into "Is It Time For Death Yet?", and, "Oh God Make It Stop Please Make It End"
One riled up Star Wars fan threatened to punch Stoklasa in the face if they ever met in real life.
Unrelated to RLM, but a direct nod to Plinkett: a forum poster on WingCenter compared that "terrible person called Mike Stoklasa" with another web personality, The Spoony One (for his unflattering views on the Wing Commander film), and said they deserved to die in a car fire. Spoony referenced this in his Highlander 2 review, but left out the part about Plinkett.
Shoot The TV: Plinkett's ejaculation is powerful enough to do this, albeit unintentionally.
Shout Out: Most younger viewers don't get the pinball table reference, which is a reference to the infamous rape scene from The Accused.
One of the Jedis lying in wait for Darth Maul is none other than...Star Wars Kid.invoked
Shown Their Work: Compared with the earlier TNG reviews, Stoklasa clearly makes an effort to begin the Phantom Menace review by piquing your interest and establishing his credentials as anything but an angry Fanboy. The first ten minutes include an explanation of basic storytelling, familiar examples of other movies which use those techniques successfully, lists of (better) filmmakers who don't use them, and interviews with people which demonstrate the poor characterization in the Phantom Menace. Don't expect to find any nerd rage directed at poor Jar Jar (though Plinkett calls him a "loathesome cunt" in the Revenge of the Sith review.)
When asked in an interview why he didn't make fun of Jar-Jar in his TPM review, Stoklasa said that while Jar-Jar was a horrible character, he also had the most coherent story arc in TPM.
Sickbed Slaying: After Plinkett is hospitalized by Nadine, George Lucas himself arrives to unplug his respirator.
Significant Anagram: Mr Plinkett on the title of Episode 3: "[...] if you simply rearrange the letters in the word 'SITH,' you could spell out a different word that just might predict what this movie was gonna be: TSHI'note (which is Chinese for 'disappointed in the cooking of the duck meat.')"
Spoof Aesop: Baby's Day Out has a lesson all of us can relate to. "If you live in a giant mansion and want a picture of your baby in the paper, you better care about your baby too, or else he'll get kidnapped, crawl across a busy street, and a truck will drive over him."
Stalker with a Crush: Towards the woman held captive in the Attack of the Clones review. He just needs someone to share his pain!
Stealth Pun: He refers to the Neimoidians as the "Shatnerians", a double pun on the fact that their actual name sounds like Leonard Nimoy's surname, as well as how they talk much like the typical Shatner parody.
You never see, like, a "Cat Cop" movie. Why? Why not? I guess it's because CATS ARE FUCKING CREEPY.
Surreal Humor: During the Episode II review at one point a levitating probe droid impossibly shows up in Plinkett’s basement.
Suspiciously Apropos Music: Mike is evidently a fan of the Rat Pack and swing music in general. This is reflected in Plinkett, a resident of Joisey who actually sold toupees to Sinatra at some point in the past ("SINATRA, YOU FUCK!!"). Most of his Plinkett reviews have featured instrumentals from a song by Frank or Dino:
Plinkett offering dating advice, using Anakin Skywalker as a poster boy for what not to do. This can be best summed up with "Nice N' Easy".
The courtship of Anakin and Padme is set to the strings of "Love and Marriage", "You Make Me Feel So Young", and "That's Amore."
"My Way" plays over George Lucas' homages to Ridley Scott.
Titanic featured "The Summer Wind", "The Tender Trap", and "Strangers in the Night" (in the latter's case, the Peter Hughes cover from Eyes Wide Shut).
But wait! Marvin Gaye and Kool and the Gang get their time in the spotlight, too:
As the logical fallacies keep piling up in Phantom Menace, a hapless Plinkett plays "What's Going On."
"If you didn't like the Star War prequels then you're stupid-pants."
The Crystal Skull opens with a YouTube comment calling him a "fat homo" for splitting his time between Half in the Bag. Later on, Plinkett mentions that audiences love "sameness and predictability", then interjects with the tired pizza roll gag.
"Enough of this sellout crap! When's the next Plinkett review?! Oh wait, I'm me." invoked
Tweet: Technically, the Titanic didn't split down the middle. It split between the third and fourth funnels, which is not really in half! CHECK YOUR FACTS! Plinkett: ...W-What? What the fuck? Tweet: UNSUBSCRIBE!
Talking to Himself: Smash Cuts are a frequent occurrence, making it seem like Plinkett interrupts himself. Before finishing a sentence, the screen will switch and he'll break out with the next point he's making. It seems to be a massively efficient and time-saving maneuver, as there are plenty of ideas the viewer understands before Plinkett completes the entire thought.
Creator Mike Stoklasa has also said he finds these sorts of "jump cuts and hard edits" humorous.
The Tape Knew You Would Say That: "Special effects are just tools. A means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as ends themselves. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing." — George Lucas.
Plinkett: You said it brother... Wait, you said that?!
Mike's promotional popcorn tub for Titanic's initial release date suggests a more action-oriented film, including the tagline, "Collide With Destiny." Compare to the finished tagline, "Nothing On Earth Can Keep Them Apart."
"But something DID keep them apart. It was an iceberg! Oh wait, it said 'nothing on Earth', an iceberg's in the water. I get it..."
They Just Didn't Care: Invoked; Plinkett often seems so genuinely uninterested in actually reviewing his movies, that sometimes he doesn't even care to finish words or to enunciate them whatsoever properly. This works perfectly with Mr. Plinkett's trademark sloppy style, as the sloppy style itself seems coordinated with brilliant craft.
Implied in the Star Wars reviews. See, for example, the mention of two Jedi Knights in the Phantom Menacetitle scroll or the difference between Gungas and Gungans.
Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Plinkett has a starring role in RLM's film Feeding Frenzy, in which he's wearing a tacky jacket with an American flag emblazoned over it. The jacket frequently reappears in Half in the Bag.
Willing Suspension of Disbelief: According to Plinkett, gets broken when characters act like weird, unrelatable space aliens (which they are) and by seeing live-action actors put into physically impossible and unsurvivable situations, such as in Baby's Day Out and Attack of the Clones, that serve only to draw attention to the artifice.
Annoying Laugh: Rich Evans. His laugh is referenced multiple times within the episodes as quite possibly the worst thing you'll ever hear.
Anything But That!: When Jay shows a poster of Jeff Who Lives At Home, Mike exclaims, "NO!!! Get that away from me!", then calmly tears the poster into tiny pieces, while Jay deadpans, "Oh, no" in the most emotionless tone possible.
Bait and Switch: A common running gag consists of them building up the "plot" of the episode to the movie they're about to review (which the audience knows since it's in the title), but then mention the movie in a completely different context and proceed to review it.
Jay: "Speaking of hungry, have you seen The Hung-" Mike: "We should now talk about the recent films we've seen." (The Hunger Games trailer rolls)
Jay: "I never thought I'd be so happy about rape!"
Brand X: The bottles on the title card are labeled "CHEAP BEER". Averted within the show proper, in which Mike and Jay are quite frequently seen to be drinking Wisconsin's own Spotted Cow.
Broken Record: The "Red Letter Media Talks About Prometheus" segment. Mike asks endless questions "Why did they...(x20) Whhhhhhhyyyyyy?". Jay stares vacantly into the distance and says precisely nothing.
Butt Monkey: Plinkett has essentially been flanderized into this trope on Half in the Bag. He's still creepy and a pervert, but he's generally portrayed as ineffectual. He's suffering from amnesia, and is abused by Jay and Mike on a regular basis, up to attempted murder. He even shows some form of genuine affection for them in some episodes.
Call Back: In the review for Jack and Jill, Mike uses Plinkett's memetic line, "you may not have noticed, but your brain did," complete with the identical "child playing with molding clay" image.
Calling the Old Man Out: While having a female guest who enjoys "chick flicks" discuss What's Your Number with them, she eventually gets frustrated and calls Mike out for trying to insinuate she and fans of the genre must be stupid for liking it.
The Chew Toy: Plinkett has gradually evolved into this. The show makes light of his age, deteriorating health and senility, and constantly getting killed over and over a la South Park's Kenny only to arise again next month.
Couch Gag: Plinkett knocking over the beers at the start of each episode.
"Fuck movies." "I don't even know who I am anymore." "Jay and Mike are frauds." "Hey, ain'tcha got anythin' better to do?" "Why are you even watching this shit?" "Who do these guys think they are? Rick Berman?" "Everyone always complains about things on the internet!" "I just shit in a coffee can." "Whatever happened to Meg Ryan? oh right, she died"
Catchphrase: Mike, in his lawyerly way, will always ask, "Are you suggesting that...", as a lead-up to Jay openly accusing the filmmakers of being hacks.
Jay's final word on The Lone Ranger was "don't bother", but he complimented them for using the ''The William Tell Overture" to trick the audience. Said theme rises to a crescendo as Mike responds, drowning out his complaints.
Deadpan Snarker: Mike Stoklasa appears to be this in Real Life, and it's a trait that all his characters share, but especially Mike on "Half In The Bag". He's usually able to get his co-host Jay to laugh without even cracking a smile himself, and any time he's called upon to show any kind of emotion, he always does it in a very phony and insincere way. He also likes to say things that he knows will piss off his audience (i.e. Dr. Seuss is overrated and The Muppets are for babies).
Plinkett: I'm just watching the end of the movie on my iPad... These things are great. You know all about it - yours is in my TV. (chuckles) I sure loved watching the same movie 68 times tonight. Maybe that'll teach you fucks not to LIE to me.
Doorstopper: The Prometheus box set promises to answer all of Mike and Jay's questions... which is why it comes in 47 discs.
Even Evil Has Standards: Jay, who's spent most of the series exploiting, belittling, abusing, and even attempting to murder Plinkett, objects to Mike trying to take advantage of his recent meth addiction. Though how much of this is due to genuine concern or because the story demanded it is unknown.
Genre Throwback: In the review of Red Tails, Stoklasa deconstructs this, asserting that making a film a throwback to 1940s wartime B movies actually hurt the film overall, because, while the subject matter and presentation were familiar and nostalgic, other, less positive tropes (cliched characters, illogical plotlines, caricatured and demonized villains...) were not excised and had already been a part of the genre from the beginning. He further asserts that this makes Red Tails an uncomfortably offensive film because "we know better."
Jump Scare: Their main criticism of Paranormal Activity 4 is that it consists almost entirely of these. The review includes some Jump Scares itself to spoof this practice.
Knight of Cerebus: Jocelyn Ridgely seems to be their go-to actress for playing these characters. When she first appears in the show, it marks the beginning of a lengthy story arc which culminates in George Lucas attempting to destroy every VCR and kill every VCR repairman in the world, so that nobody will ever be able to watch the original edits of the original Star Wars trilogy, which were only ever released on VHS (at least, for the purposes of the story).
Lack of Empathy: Jay and Mike. They almost never feel... gooeelt? Gooey-elt? Gweelt? Guilt— no, that doesn't sound right.
The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: During the review of A Haunted House, Jay talks about Scary Movie as the template for the "horrible plague" of the modern era of spoof movies, and examples of movies that fits the template such as Epic Movie, Date Movie, Vampires Suck, and Meet the Spartans are shown on the screen. The last of the "horrible spoof movies" examples is I Am Sam.
Mid-Review Sketch Show: There's generally one at the beginning of the video, and one at the end. Sometimes if they're reviewing two movies, they'll include sketch material in between.
Exaggerated and parodied in Episode 37. In what is supposed to be a review of Step Up: Revolution, only about 7 seconds of the 8 minutes long episode is spend talking about the film ("It sucked!"), the rest is about wrapping the season's running storyline.
Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: In their review of Jack and Jill they make a very half-hearted one as they make the transition from the review proper to making their case that the movie is basically a scheme to pump the cash from an inflated movie budget into the pockets of Sandler and his friends. Though the first two notes they start to read from their lawyers are themselves libelous (and even in the third, Mike has to change the word "cohorts" to "associates" as he is reading statement.)
Mike: They wanna get Al Pacino in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial. Jay: Dunkin' Donuts? Mike: Dunkin' Donuts. Jay: Did you say Dunkin' Donuts? Mike: Dunkin' Donuts. Jay: Oh, so Dunkin' Donuts is in the movie? Mike: Dunkin' Donuts plays a prominent role in the film.
Put on a Bus: In the Man of Steel review, Mr. Plinkett is forced to move out of his house since the city is going to pave a highway over his property. Later reviews so far have only taken place in the Lighting Fast VCR repair shop.
The Bus Came Back: Mr. Plinkett is revealed to have moved into an apartment that he shares with Palpatine and still calls Mike and Jay to fix the very same VCR.
Reset Button: Mr. Plinkett's Laser-Guided Amnesia thanks to dementia allows Mike and Jay to mooch off him as VHS repairmen once more, after Plinkett had exiled them.
Rule of Three: Discussed while talking about Lucas' record of creating cultural icons. To quote Mike "Two means coincidence, three equals a pattern." They cannot come up with anything else besides Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Their guest for that episode, Alexandre Phillipe, suggests American Graffiti, which was a big hit in its day, but which Mike oddly seems to dismiss because it does not appeal to his generation.
Sarcasm Mode: Mike puts on an extraordinary thick layer when he claims that 2012 is one of his favorite films.
So Okay, It's Averageinvoked: Their general consensus is that this is the worst kind of movie, or at least the least interesting one to talk about on their show. In contrast, they dedicate several episodes to showcase So Bad, It's Good movies.
Technology Marches On: Mike and Jay hasn't had a VCR repair job in 15 years before Plinkett called them..
That Poor Cat: Nearly every time one of the guys throws something offscreen, we hear an unhappy cat.
They Just Didn't Care: invoked They show that even this trope isn't bad in the review of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. One of the reviewers watched the first half of the movie and the other watched the second half of the movie out of protest of the bloated nature of the movie. They then compare notes about what happens in their respective halves of the movie and manage an effective criticism by showing the disconnects between the first and second halves of the movie.
The Untwist: invoked The mastermind behind all of the attempts on Jay and Mike's lives is — George Lucas (again), trying to wipe the original cut of Star Wars from the face of the Earth (again). Jay and Mike make small-talk over Lucas' Motive Rant, barely even paying attention to him.
Where The Hell Is Plinkett's House: Early episodes of Half in the Bag are contradictory about whether the show is set in Teaneck, New Jersey (setting of the Plinkett Reviews) or Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Real Life home of Red Letter Media). About the same time that the "two separate Plinketts" theory prevailed, so too did the show's setting in Milwaukee.
Your Costume Needs Work: The one time Mike used the Mr. Plinkett voice on-camera, Jay told him that it was a terrible Plinkett impression.
Best of the Worst
Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: The crew gets a lot of mileage on the actors of Russian Terminator clearly reading all their English lines phonetically, leading to hilarious line reads like, "That's what friends are for?"note It wasn't a question - the line reading made it sound like it was a question.
"Kenny Rogers": What the hell is this? Phil Davis: I['ve] SEen one of THOse beFOre.
The crew discuss the possibility that "Backdoor Mayor", from the same video, really did have a legitimate UPS package for the boy's mother, and the kid screwed up the shipment by not letting him inside.
Though the protagonist of Exterminator 2 is meant to be a straitlaced, sympathetic hero, he is agreed upon by the crew to instead be an Asshole Victim, the Designated Hero, a complete simpleton, and even a Villain Protagonist. Rich also speculates that the one scene in which the actor portraying the Exterminator actually tried to act was filmed first, immediately after which the actor was diagnosed with MS.
Author Appeal/Ho Yay: The Killer Eye has many, many shots of shirtless beefcake in their underwear with their crotches thrust toward the camera and rubbing their chests when they see the monster. The crew accuse the director of getting off on the male flesh. It's not a surprise David DeCoteau is an openly gay horror film director.
Bait and Switch: At the beginning of R.O.T.O.R., Back Problems spends several needless onscreen minutes preparing coffee, retrieving carrots from his fridge, and walking across his front lawn to his horse. When he finally gets there, he gives the horse the coffee and eats the carrots himself. Rich is not amused.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Ever since since the Wheel of the Worst was introduced the crew have waited for the chance to watch Tree Stand Safety. When it finally happens the video switches between their excitement before watching it and their bored reactions watching it.
The climactic battle with the snake in Hard Ticket to Hawaii, which has no relevance to the rest of the film's plot.
The ending sequence of The Amazing Bulk, which features the Bulk jogging through a disjointed multitude of stock CGI locales populated by a leprechaun, a kid playing soccer during a helicopter air strike, and a hostile, lightning-hurling Zeus. The crew declare it the most baffling thing they've ever watched.
The five-second shot of the creepy birthday clown in Bloody Birthday, who has no significance to the plot but provides the movie's only genuinely frightening moment.
From Crazy Fat Ethel II, the lengthy scene of the spider-guy erratically moving around a small section of the backyard. The group speculates that, during filming, the camera was pointing in the wrong direction and filming the director instead of the actual scene.
The scene from Psycho From Texas in which the titular psycho forces a young female bartender to strip naked and dance as he pours beer all over her. The crew explains that, though it could have been a genuinely well-done piece of disturbing character-building in a different context, it comes out of nowhere, clashes wildly with the rest of the film, and gives the impression that the director made the whole movie out of a Sick and Wrong urge to film that one scene.
Not only does The Aftermath's tone and content shift wildly between family-friendliness, gut-wrenching violence, and nihilistic despair, but all of the film's darkest content is set to music reminiscent ofLooney Tunes.
The Dance of Birth, a.k.a. "the greatest movie that David Lynch never made."
Shapeshifter is described as at least five completely separate movies (or potential elements of one miniseries) packed into a single, incomprehensible children's film.
Boring, but Practical: While admitting that Let's Rap About Fire Safety is horribly out of date, Rich Evans says that the information on the video is useful because it would have helped him as a child; a dramatized incident in the video where somebody started a grease fire while trying to cook french fries actually happened to him once in real life. Though not for the same reasons, Mike comes to the same conclusion.
Broken Aesop: After the heroes of Miami Connection have graphically and brutally killed a band of ninjas (in a severe Mood Whiplash from the rest of the film which the crew says resembled a college edition of Saved by the Bell), the end card says, "Only through the elimination of violence can we achieve world peace." This earns perhaps a bigger laugh from the crew than any other they had while watching the film.
Cat Scare: Quite literally in Psycho From Texas, as a cat is literally thrown at an actor in an attempt at a Cat Scare. Doubles as That Poor Cat.
Chekhov's Gun: Averted in Deadly Prey. The grenades on the evil merc leader's desk are always prominent in every shot of him at his desk, but they're never used.
Chekhov's Gunman: The snake in Hard Ticket To Hawaii, which appears only a couple times early on and doesn't appear again until the end where it kills Seth.
Chewing the Scenery: The crew felt that Gene Simmons was by far the most watchable aspect of Never to Young to Die due to his playing up the camp value of being a villainous, glam hermaphrodite.
Cliché Storm: Deadly Prey is considered by the group to be filled with nothing but stock 1980s action movie cliches with little to no plot or character developement. Even more so by it's sequel, The Deadliest Prey, which reuses all the same cliches the previous movie had until the twist ending. invoked
While reviewing Psycho From Texas, Mike, Jack, Gillian, and Jay are given two lists of titles that the director of Crazy Fat Ethel II made and try to read them without laughing. All four of them fail to do so (though Gillian gives the best effort). Even Jessi, who is offscreen, couldn't maintain her composure. note Titles include Wendy's Naughty Night, Fire In Her Bed, Sex Weirdo, Confessions of a Dirty Pair, and The Slut.
Covers Always Lie: Ninja Vengeance, Never Too Young to Die, Playing Dangerous, Shapeshifter, Thunderpants and Bloody Birthday. By far the biggest offender is Playing Dangerous, with Never Too Young to Die's tantalizing claim of "one-against-a-hundred bazooka battles" in a close second.
Perhaps the most disappointing example of this is "Tree Stand Safety," the cover of which promises spectacular safety film injuries, with a man or dummy falling out of a tree. That scene, nor any other mishap, aside from a brief slip off the bottom rung of a ladder, never appears, and 60 minutes of the video's 75 minute runtime is a stealth advertisement for a new type of tree stand that requires none of the preceding safety tips, and allows an old lady to kill and puppeteer a deer.
Jay: The movie really should have ended right there. Josh: You know, fine if the colonel gets away, I don't care - because that happened.
Playing Dangerous spends nearly thirty slow-motion seconds building up to the kid firing a Super Soaker filled with gasoline at a Mook trying to light a cigarette, with the crew on the edges of their seats all the while. It turns out to be an unintentional subversion; when it finally does happen, the film awkwardly cuts to a brief shot of the mook screaming and falling out of frame with only a weak smoke effect to suggest that he was even lit on fire. The entire group simultaneously gives an identical dejected groan at this.
The crew surmises that the characters of The New Gladiators have to masturbate in order to land their flying vehicles.
After Psycho From Texas ultimately comes across as an excuse by the director to film the perverse "dancing" scene, the group accuses him of "furiously masturbating" while shooting the scene. The same accusation is summarily leveled at Rich Evans, who provides us with a short scene confirming this.
Deadpan Snarker: The Robot Cop in R.O.T.O.R., who is constantly complaining and sass-talking to the head scientist.
Gary Coleman's safety lessons might be a little easier to swallow if he wasn't the one repeatedly putting the kids in danger with his divine powers.
Diabolus ex Machina: An audio issue forced the crew to re-record Episode 6, and because The Vindicator turned out to be too mediocre to derive much entertainment value from, the group decided to watch a different movie in its place. Their second pick, Class of '99 II, had a promising premise and positive word-of-mouth, but their copy broke the moment they tried to play it. Only after attempting to watch a third movie, Cyber Tracker, and finding that it was the most boring movie they'd ever tried to watch did they give up on the whole business and resign themselves to discussing only the two remaining films. Of the two, Robot Jox turned out to be a legitimately good movie and thus ill-suited to the show, while R.O.T.O.R. may have proven too good a fit for the show.
Jay: So, what started out as an innocent attempt to watch some bad movies with robots in them has turned out to be the most miserable experience in any of our lives.
Basically the only plot to be found in Exterminator 2 is all of the people close to the Exterminator being taken from him one by one and him seeking revenge.
Rich:R.O.T.O.R. is about a police program to create a robotic policeman who will execute people for minor traffic violations.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Heimlich maneuver scene from Gary Coleman For Safety's Sake, which includes a close-up of the girl making an... interesting face while rhythmically performing offscreen abdominal thrusts on her brother. The group later comments on the fact that there's no logical reason for that shot to exist in a scene meant to teach children how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
The glass harmonica from Shapeshifter.
Sorceror: You caress the lips. Mike: He's teaching him something else...
From Playing Dangerous's back-of-the-box summary:
Mike: "When his mom said to go outside and play... she didn't exactly have this in mind." Well, that sounds like- Rich: Sounds like a porno.
Don't Explain the Joke: Played straight by Rich and subsequently parodied by Mike when discussing Backdoor Mayor's claim that he has a "package" for the child's mother in Gary Coleman For Safety's Sake.
Not Exterminator 2, but the review of it, which ends on the note that the lead actor may have spent all but one scene of the movie having been diagnosed with MS. This provides the perfect segue into the discussion of...
The Aftermath, which ends after a Kill 'em All climax with a shot of a young child, who has just murdered an adult, walking down a highway by himself with a revolver in hand.
Deadly Prey, in misguided imitation of Rambo: First Blood.
Gene Simmons's character in Never Too Young To Die is said by the group to light up the film whenever he's onscreen.
The crew mentions that they'd like to watch a film entirely about the Exterminator's jovial Black Best Friend going to bars and picking up ladies - or, better yet, that he was the Exterminator.
Logan's wife's father from Deadly Prey, who provides one of the film's funniest deaths and gives a speech that earns a spirited applause from the crew.
Robot Cop from R.O.T.O.R. is rightly described as the film's only interesting character. He has a delightfully silly design, his vocal performance is hilarious and oozing with personality, all of his lines are gold, and the movie is just begging for him to face off against R.O.T.O.R. in the climax. invokedAlas, he disappears halfway through the movie, though the method by which he does so goes a long way toward making up for it.
Crazy Fat Ethel II has Granny, who is charming not only on the basis that her home, colleagues, and actress are seemingly those of the director's actual grandmother, but also because of her flawlessly condescending delivery of the film's best line. The man who thinks he's a spider is also highlighted.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The crew gets mileage out of the girl in The Family Guide To The Internet who doesn't know what an Internet Service Provider is.
Excuse Plot: Gymkata's Game of Death-esque plot is only there so that Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomasnote Technically an Olympic-level gymnast. His one shot at getting a gold medal was forever sidetracked by the US boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympics can show off his gymnastic skills.
Barrett Coldyron in R.O.T.O.R. is dubbed "Back Problems" since he looks like he's in constant pain and is always talking through his teeth; his female sidekick is similarly named "Skunk Lady" due to her Skunk Stripe hair.
A misheard line in Gary Coleman For Safety's Sake leads to the creation of the hypothetical character "Backdoor Mayor." Later on, when a sketchy-looking stranger shows up and asks to be let in the house, saying he has a "package" for the boy's mother, the name is assigned to him.
Just as the crew speculates, the movie Russian Ninja was retitled Russian Terminator to cash in on Terminator's popularity.
Never Too Young to Die aggravates Mike because it comes off as a studio-driven combination of then-popular elements: John Stamos and Vanity as the leads, a plot straight out of a James Bond movie, and inexplicable Mad Max villains.
Fridge Logic: Brought up by the crew in Deadly Prey when they see the protagonist walk home from the mercenary camp and note that he could have done this at any point during the movie, does so in the middle of the night while half-naked and covered in blood, and doesn't inform the police of his abduction or the camp's existence. invoked
Josh:What? Jay: "Directed by Lucio Fulci!" Josh: Holy shit, okay!
Happens once again with Robot Jox, although Jay is quick to point out that it was suggested by fans.
Rich: I don't know why people recommend this. This is not a bad movie. It's a B-movie, but it's not... bad.
And again with Thunderpants, which was so good they took it out of the judging section of the show.
R.O.T.O.R., in an episode where two sci-fi robot films proved to be terribly dull, one broke before they could watch it, and another one (Robot Jox) wasn't a bad film at all, wound up singlehandedly saving the day with its pure astounding awfulness.
Jay: I never thought I would say this in my life, but thank God for a little movie called R.O.T.O.R..
Even when it's not wasting time with establishing shots, it's finding astounding new ways to waste time with other shots.
Josh: So then, finally, once it's established that he's a guy who lives in a farmhouse, and has a coffee cup, and pullin' some carrots out of the fridge, and then he goes to hang out with his friend the horse, and his horse is way the fuck over there, and he's gotta take his time just amblin' on over there, and we needed to see every goddamn step he takes to get up to the horse.
invokedCrazy Fat Ethel II, in a severe example of Padding. A notable instance is the creepy orderly serving dog food as "pate": he sets each of the six dishes, then scoops out servings for each dish in a meticulous fashion for an obscene amount of time.
Mammy: Psycho From Texas has one of these in the movie and she has every characteristic that the trope describes. What really makes this noteworthy is that the movie was made - and probably takes place - in 1975.
Jay: The answer is yes. Mike: Which one? Jay: [nods] Mmhmm.
Meaningful Background Event: In R.O.T.O.R., while Coldyron brings the victimized Bait Lady beside a truck, the climactic fight scene is happening between Skunk Lady and R.O.T.O.R. not only in the background, but out of focus.
The Dance of Birth, a supposedly instructional video featuring completely nonsensical narration and randomly-arranged shots of flailing pregnant women, husbands, and women dancing with their babies (much of which is against a green screen for no apparent reason).
Jay:The Dance of Birth is the greatest movie that David Lynch never made.
The ending of The Amazing Bulk, which has the title character running through a CGI hillbilly town getting assaulted by stock CG entities and effects, including cars, random explosions, and the inexplicable lightning-hurling Zeus. The crew deems it the most confusing movie they've ever watched.
In Russian Terminator, the protagonist tells his female accomplice that he got attacked by the Russian Ninja out of nowhere. In the very next scene, said man and woman are cozying around a pool in bathing suits with no sync sound, shot in what seems like home movie 8mm film.
Jay claims that the tone of The Aftermath "completely fucked with my brain," cutting back and forth between cheesy, family-friendly, B-movie sci-fi scenes and graphic sequences of mass murder (including that of children, without a Gory Discretion Shot in sight) and rape. What's worse, even the violent scenes seemingly can't decide on a coherent mood, as they're all set to "Looney Tunes music."
Rich: So, they're a kung fu band fighting a biker band, being pursued by ... the girlfriend's brother's drug lord ninja friends. Jack: Who, I'm sure, are also in a band.
No Animals Were Harmed: Averted hard in Tree Stand Safety. Aside from a granny grinning over deer carcasses she just killed, the video shows a deer explicitly getting gut shot. Red Letter Media censor bars the actual bullet strike. The trope is invoked by Mike, who sarcastically wonders if the "No animals were harmed" disclaimer will appear at the end of the video.
Presumably because The Killer Eye blew most of its money on the prop of the titular eye, its set is incredibly cheap-looking. The crew surmises that it's the basement of a Goodwill location.
Rich: They couldn't even afford to buy the junk at the Goodwill. They actually had to film it at the Goodwill.
Very clearly shown in V-World Matrix, which has styrofoam cups used to drink beer in the virtual world and special effects that literally look like they were done in Microsoft Paint. The only remotely passable special effects sequence is lifted straight from another movie.
Crazy Fat Ethel II is even worse, in that it appears to have been shot with an old VHS video cameranote complete with audio bleed from the camera's motor and in someone's house, with the neighbors as supporting actors.
The Family Guide to the Internet crams all of its potentially useful information into the first few minutes, then spends most of its remaining running time on montages of various website pages.
V-World Matrix. Not only does it have scenes go on long just to cover songs from beginning to end, but there's a ten-minute sequence of Stock Footage from another, better film, in which it sounds like the leads are providing improvised commentary from their couch like a Let's Play.
Somehow, someway, Crazy Fat Ethel II has tons of padding - despite a sixty-minute running time.
Psycho From Texas is even worse in the same episode - which features what's estimated to be a full half-hour of a dull chase on foot. Footage of the crew's reactions synced with sped-up clips from the movie drives the point home.
The granny shimmying up a tree in Tree Stand Safety is shown in its entirety.
Rasputinian Death: Seth in Hard Ticket to Hawaii. He gets shot on one cheek with a pistol, gets shot through the shoulder with an arrow, gets stabbed in the stomach with his own knife, and finally dies when a giant snake bites him on the other cheek.
Jay's claim that the natural, satisfying resolution to Bloody Birthday would have been for the kids to be graphically murdered by the adults onscreen, citing Beware! Children at Play as a positive example. Gillian's expression as he's saying this is what really seals the deal.
Josh: Are we going to hear that in every movie we watch?!
Lampshaded once again when Alexander from Robot Jox says "Yeah! We'll break your mind and kill you dead!"
Josh and Jay:(with bad Russian accents) You've got a problem...
Referenced one last time at the end of Episode 6.
Rich:Cyber Tracker has a problem. It's gonna die.
In the same style as Red Letter Media's other shows (particularly Half in the Bag), short clips from the movies watched each episode are used to comedically punctuate certain moments, sometimes multiple times. Examples include "What?" from Russian Terminator and "Excelente" from Key Matters.
Rich having almost burned down his grandmother's house while making french fries as a child comes up multiple times in the second "Wheel of the Worst" episode; roughly half of these take the form of the shot of Rich's reaction as the video shows a pan of fries spilling burning grease onto the floor, complete with asynchronously upbeat "Be Cool About Fire Safety" music.
During the Crazy Fat Ethel II review, Rich Evans (complete with Muppet News Flash music) repeatedly runs in with trivia about the original Crazy Fat Ethel, its sequel, their lead actress, and the director's other work.
Schmuck Bait: Jack offhandedly plugs a Shock Site to the camera for a second during the second "Wheel of the Worst," with Mike genuinely questioning what it is.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: R.O.T.O.R.. When R.O.T.O.R. goes on a vigilante killing spree, Robot Cop tenders his resignation almost immediately.
Sequelitis: invoked This was what made Jay worried before he saw The Deadliest Prey, having him think that the movie would just be like a satirical parody of Deadly Prey. As it turns out, it plays just as straight as its predecessor and is just as enjoyable to the crew, even if it looks like a Shot for Shot Remake.
Shout Out: Watching Gymkata, the crew tells, "GYMNASTICS!" when the hero attacks using gymnastics, then one yells, "GYMKATA!" when he does it again. It's unknown whether the crew is aware it was a Catchphrase for Mystery Science Theater 3000, though Mike professes to be a fan.
Pacing issues aside, the crew commends the people behind Robot Jox for making the best movie they could with the limited budget they had while adding very subtle world building details. Jay in particular was charmed by this and admitted that it made him like the movie more.
To a lesser extent, they admit that, while the miniatures and sets in The New Gladiators and the matte paintings in The Aftermath aren't 100% convincing, the craftsmanship and effort that went into making them is admirable.
Talking about Jay and Mike themselves, they are able to spot things -due to their film making background- that most normal viewers can't. The most clear example is when Jay theorizes that there were reshoots in Exterminator 2. This was months before the official DVD came out with commentary by the film's director which pretty much confirmed this.
The crew's reaction to the sadistic stripping scene in Psycho From Texas, which could have worked if it didn't come outof nowhere and give the impression that the entire rest of the film was a time-wasting excuse for the director to get off on filming that one scene.
So Okay, It's Average: invoked The crew's main complaint with The Vindicator and Cyber Tracker, saying that either the movie didn't have enough to criticize or it was so mind-numbingly boring that it doesn't even earn the honor of being deemed So Bad, It's Good.
Jay: There's nothing worse than middle of the road.
To a lesser extent, Ninja Vengeance, The Exterminator and its sequel, They Bite!, Let's Rap Fire Safety, Playing Dangerous, and Key Matters are all hit with the same criticism.
invoked The obviously fake dummies in Never Too Young To Die, including one that has a reverse Railing Kill.
invokedV-World Matrix. The only special effects scene that doesn't literally look like it was done using MS Paint lifts its footage from another movie, and even that sequence is done in rather obvious CGI.
invoked The crew devote their entire time with The Amazing Bulk to discussing the cheap visual effects in the movie and what shortcuts the creators took to create them.
Jessi:[sullen] Why don't they just slap me in the face with more feminist bullshit? [Pregnant woman raises arms, showing armpit hair] Jessi: Oh my God! Jay: That was perfect timing! Jessi: I'm offended!
That Poor Cat: When Jessi throws the VHS tape for They Bite! offscreen, a cat meows in pain.
Rich: It's a lazy script! They didn't bother to have a plot, bother to have characterization.
Invoked again with The Deadliest Prey, which is shot by shot identical to Deadly Prey until Danton's son shoots Thornton.
The Family Guide To The Internet is accused of being lazily made thanks to script mistakes being left in, production equipment and cue marks being visible onscreen, and most of the video being composed of montages of various webpages.
Invoked Up to Eleven by the crew when they outline the numerous shortcuts the creators made for the special effects for The Amazing Bulk, which includes stock CGI models a la Limbo of the Lost, Driving a Desk in what look like cars drawn in MS Paint, and a town that's only a series of repeated hypercolor polygons on a grid.
Invoked in Skull Forest when commenting on Len Kabasinski not fixing the aspect ratio of some Stock Footage to match the film.
Jay: That sounds like a lot of work. Jack: It's not! You just have to type in a single number. Jay: That sounds like a lot of work.
Scientist: If we don't stop these creatures, no women with big tits will be safe anywhere!
One of the greatest perceived crimes of R.O.T.O.R. was that R.O.T.O.R. didn't have a climactic battle against invokedRobot Cop.
Ninja Vengeance initially seems to be setting itself up as an underdog story wherein the titular ninja protagonist, after being summarily defeated early on, will go on to hone his ninja skills, grow as a character, and ultimately emerge triumphant. Instead, the ninja doesn't fare any better in the action climax than he did before, and the film is resolved by the female sidekick simply murdering the antagonist with a shotgun.
Throw It In: Jay surmises that Never Too Young to Die's first bad dummy shot was the result of the editor thinking it would be hilarious to include it in the final cut of the film.note It was.
Totally Radical: Let's Rap Fire Safety, complete with teenage rapping firemen (and -woman). Yo!
Unfortunate Implications: In-universe, the reviewers thought the Key Matters video came off as "subtly racist". In the end, Mike kicks the remains of the crushed tape and declares "Take that, racism!"
The Family Guide to the Internet's two female characters are the wife, who becomes visibly excited at any mention of online shopping, and the daughter, who's so clueless and incompetent at everything that she even makes self-deprecating remarks about it.
Daughter: And it's easy to do, too. Even I know how! (The crew bursts into laughter.) Jack: "And I'm a woman!" Jessi: "I usually only make sandwiches!"
Video Review Show: This is the most straightforward review show on Red Letter Media. Even the "sketch" material is very straightforward: choosing what movie to review, and then how to destroy the worst of the worst at the end of the episode.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: invoked The group was shocked at how violent and disturbing the movie Playing Dangerous is, thinking it was a Home Alone ripoff as advertised by the cover, and spent most of their discussion talking about why the distributors would market it like that.
No Budget: Many of the early shorts. While some of their newer stuff is a bit better backed by the bank, it is still pretty bare-bones.
Production Posse: Take everyone who appeared in at least two out of the three following projects: the Plinkett Reviews, Half in the Bag, and Feeding Frenzy; and there you have it. The "core" posse seems to be Mike, Jay, Rich Evans, and Jocelyn Ridgely, along with other, less well-known behind-the-scenes folks.
That Was Not A Dream: Mike in "The United States of Noooooo!" wakes up and says he had a bad dream about the ending of Revenge of the Sith stumbling out of a contraption and screaming "No", then invoked the Trope.