It should come as no surprise to anyone who has taken even the most cursory glance at this journal that I am a big fan of Mike Nelson, MST3k, and Rifftrax. In the case of Rifftrax, I'm ecstatic that Mike and his tremendously talented colleagues are able to apply their mad riffing skills to contemporary movies.
But it really, really, really annoys me when people get on their high horses about Mike, et al. riffing on "good" movies. And it's not just people on the outside looking in; every time I've gone to the Rifftrax forum to see if a movie has been suggested, the posts go something like this:
Person_1: "I suggest Ecs movie!"
Person_2: "No way! Ecs movie is an awesome movie!"
Person_1 (or possibly _3): "What? Ecs movie sucks!"
I find this debate tedious and pointless. Read the frickin' FAQs, people; it doesn't matter whether the movie is good or bad, what matters is whether or not it can be made funny through wise-cracking commentary! As much as I love MST3k, there are some episodes that I have never been able to get into because the movie is so boring to begin with that, indeed, not even MST3k could save it. For example, "Racket Girls", of which I didn't even watch the whole episode, but mostly just the "Are You Ready for Marriage?" bits. And even if the episode is initially amusing, towards the end I often lose interest in it, particularly if the final and penultimate host segments is weak (for example, "Manos: the Hands of Fate"--though its host segments start out weak and steadily improve--and, indeed, most of the the Joel-era; sorry, fellow MSTies, but I'm a Mike-girl all the way and sometimes Joel just doesn't do it for me).
And that is why I welcome the advent of Rifftrax, because for me, half the fun of movies is making fun of them. I do a lot of amateur riffing myself, in the privacy of my own home, for my own personal amusement, and I riff on movies I like. I'm not going to waste money on movies I don't like just so I can poke fun at them; furthermore, because I'm not Mike Nelson and can't make money off it, I'm not going to waste time watching movies I don't like just to make fun of them because I don't have the patience to sit through them and wait for funny inspiration to strike. For example, I think that 2005 Academy Award Winner Crash has tremendous riffing potential (unfortunately it also, because of its content, has the potential to stir up some real controversy, not just disgruntled Star Wars fans snarking about it on YouTube), but I, for one, couldn't stand to watch it time and time again in order to make up comments wittier than "This is stupid", and "What the fu*k is going on?" Admittedly there are some movies I enjoy that are so good they don't lend themselves easily to riffing, but for the most part, the movies I enjoy are the movies I make fun of, and vice versa.
Ergo, almost all of the Rifftrax I have downloaded are to movies that I already know and enjoy, with or without comic enhancement. The few others are to movies I hadn't seen but belonged to genres that I usually enjoy (examples: Star Treks V and VI, Eragon, and Plan 9 from Outer Space). I have no interest in the Rifftrax to Road House or The Bourne Identity because I have no interest in those movies to begin with and so even Rifftrax could not save them.
My point is this: I view Rifftrax as parody, and parody is usually created by and for the fans because it requires certain knowledge and love of the source material, and is to be taken more as a tribute than an insult.