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DVD Talk review of 'The Wasp Woman (Cinematic Titanic version)'

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DVD Talk review of 'The Wasp Woman (Cinematic Titanic version)'

Old 09-08-08, 10:42 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'The Wasp Woman (Cinematic Titanic version)'

I read Stuart Galbraith IV's DVD review of The Wasp Woman (Cinematic Titanic version) at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=34574 and...

It's so great to see somebody besides me who thinks MST3K and their ilk are unfunny and smug (ugh). Nothing infuriates me more to hear people call an older movie bad without actually seeing it. THE KILLER SHREWS, for instance, is pretty entertaining WITHOUT the 'benefit' of MST3K-style 'commentary', yet few have bothered to investigate in original form.

Great review --thanks
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Old 09-08-08, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay M View Post
Nothing infuriates me more to hear people call an older movie bad without actually seeing it.
That is pretty infuriating. Unfortunately, I don't see where you're coming from here as the MST3K/Cinematic Titanic guys have clearly seen the movies.

Galbraith's piece pretty much comes across as the review equivalent of a threadcrap, as he admits in his review that riffing pre-existing movies is stupid and in his footnotes that he's anti-MST3K. So why bother review it in the first place? Did he think that he'd suddenly enjoy it after all these years? No. It's just another excuse to condescendingly sneer at Joel and company "sneering at an old movie, rattling off extremely obvious, condescending comments at the easy targets onscreen".

The irony is hilarious.

You don't like the movie riffsters. Fine. Great. Stop watching 'em then.
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Old 09-08-08, 02:54 PM
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I understand where Galbraith is coming from when he talks about having to suffer through audiences MST-ing a movie in a theater that he genuinely wanted to see. No one should have to put up with that. (Honestly, I believe that talking over a movie in a theater should be punishable by prison time.) But at the same time, I feel it's a bit wrong to blame MST3K for it. While it may have inspired these morons to do it, it's a bit like blaming video games and movies for children perpetrating violence. I, for one, am actually a big fan of MST3K, but it was never just the concept of people cracking wise at bad (or "bad") movies I enjoyed. For me, it was just the jokes made by those particular writers/actors that kept me coming back.

I also wanted to point out that Galbraith, in his Ann Arbor News article, incorrectly stated that "The folks behind the TV show...lack both the talent and the guts to do stand-up before a real audience." Joel Hodgson was actually a stand-up comic well before appearing on MST3K. Either way, though, as far as I'm concerned, that's like accusing sitcom writers of being cowards because they write their jokes for other actors to deliver in front of cameras to a laugh track. Aside from that, I've always hated the whole criticism of "Well, until you make a better movie/song/etc., you have no right to criticize." Hey, I don't need to be a gourmet chef to assess that Spam tastes like crap. It's a completely empty argument.

Like I said, I sympathize with Galbraith when it comes to having to sit through an audience attempting to MST a movie he genuinely wanted to see (especially considering that the films in question, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, are legitimate classics), and I was even more horrified to read that the theater management seemed not to care. But I agree with Meglos; this comes across as nothing more than a case of the pot calling the kettle black, nowhere better demonstrated than in Galbraith's assertion that the humor is "rooted in an attitude of superiority - We're so much hipper than that garbage - yet the unfunny material utterly contradicts that assertion because it's on such an anti-creative level." Well, Mr. Galbraith, I somehow doubt you don't feel yourself to be superior to the creators and fans of MST3K, otherwise I don't think you'd feel the need to attack them in such a smug and condescending manner.
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Old 09-08-08, 02:56 PM
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Over on MST3Kinfo.com another DVDtalk reviewer popped up to say that on the pool of films available for review, The Wasp Woman omitted the fact that it was a Cinematic Titanic release.

My guess is Galbraith won't review anymore CT releases, and he and CT fans will be happier for it.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:26 PM
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Even though I feel Mr. Galbraith is a mostly good writer on this site, MST3K tends to be his downfall as he just doesn't get the premise. I felt his Get Smart review was valid since he actually liked the premise of that show, but in this review, he just comes across as pretentious, snide, and misguided. If one absolutely abhors a show's premise, why even review it in the first place other than to just tick off its intended audience or to misguide non-fans? I, for one, love MST3K and I can respect any negativity just as long as it's credible, which wasn't the case for this review.

Like what Meglos said, the crew actually does watch the films before they are announced by the crew; however, it wasn't until the episode, The Sidehackers, the crew started watching films from start-to-finish.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MJM86 View Post
If one absolutely abhors a show's premise, why even review it in the first place other than to just tick off its intended audience or to misguide non-fans?
This DVD was just labeled in DVD Talk's review system as "The Wasp Woman", and the fella doing the data entry added cover art from a public domain disc. Stuart didn't know he was requesting the Cinematic Titanic version. (I'm guessing that oversight is why he made sure to label the review the way he did when he posted it.)
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Old 09-08-08, 03:32 PM
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Oh, okay, I suppose it was a bit of a mix-up, but my opinion of the actual review still stands.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by MJM86 View Post
... but in this review, he just comes across as pretentious, snide, and misguided.
I take umbrage with that statement, sir.

It is generally accepted that I'm the most pretentious, snide, and misguided reviewer at DVDTalk.



You twit.
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Old 09-08-08, 05:42 PM
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Once again the deep loathing of MST3K rears it's head in DVDTalk. I will never really understand the reasons why. When MST3K is condemned here, it is always suggested that they are untalented, that they mock the work of good, serious, hard working folk, and that no one who has not tried to make a movie has any right to mock those who do.
Well, I don't know where such a thought leaves Mad magazine, or Saturday Night Live, or Johnny Carson or Jay Leno or Jerry Seinfeld or...
It's the grim condescension in his opinion that does leave me scratching my head... by his accounting, I can't enjoy MST3K and still honor old movies. Well, call me a low grade moron if you must, but I gladly shelled out $30 for The Crawling Eye, which I recognize as a superb film, yet enjoy the MST3K skewering of it as well.
I will always refute the assertion that all films are works of love and therefore, even if unwatchable, deserve our respect. An incoherent mess of drunken incompetents spending a weekend on one set to make something to toss into the drive in circuit for quick cash is not art; it's commerce. It deserves as much respect as a Big Mac. Galbraith defends Manos? Do I need say more?
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Old 09-08-08, 05:50 PM
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Gotta jump in, as a diehard MSTie. Didn't agree with a single thing Stuart had to say, but I'll defend his review because his arguments (minus one) were expertly delivered and smartly written. When it comes to what I love, I'd rather read a good slam than badly written praise any day.

The "minus one" comes in his assertion that the CT crew (and, by extension, the entire MST3K staff) mock bad movies because they're not talented enough to come up with good comedy on their own. Not the case: MST3K's host segments, separated from the movie, were at times the best thing about the show, whip smart sketch comedy that tops most shows out there.
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Old 09-08-08, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tomtexas View Post
Once again the deep loathing of MST3K rears it's head in DVDTalk. I will never really understand the reasons why. When MST3K is condemned here, it is always suggested that they are untalented, that they mock the work of good, serious, hard working folk, and that no one who has not tried to make a movie has any right to mock those who do.
Once again? I just did a search of MST3K reviews on this site and the lowest ranking I found was "recommended." There were tons of "Highly Recommended" and even a DVDtalk Collectors Series ranking for Vol. 7.

The last two Cinematic Titanic releases and the Film Crew releases also got strong reviews. I'm not crazy about the Wasp Woman review, but it hardly seems to be part of a larger trend.

Last edited by majorjoe23; 09-08-08 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:44 PM
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I was checking out the "Review" section here and read some negative reviews of a lot of movies by someone named Stuart Galbraith IV. Does he really think he could do better than the filmmakers under similar circumstances? Probably not. It's as if someone like Stuart Galbraith IV lacks the talent to create his own original movies, so instead like a parasite he latches onto the efforts of others with his reviews that are rooted in an attitude of superiority.



(Yes, I'm completely kidding, but the utter hypocrisy of any critic writing a review like this one is so thick, you can slice it with a knife!)
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Old 09-08-08, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
Once again? I just did a search of MST3K reviews on this site and the lowest ranking I found was "recommended." There were tons of "Highly Recommended" and even a DVDtalk Collectors Series ranking for Vol. 7.

The last two Cinematic Titanic releases and the Film Crew releases also got strong reviews. I'm not crazy about the Wasp Woman review, but it hardly seems to be part of a larger trend.
Good to know - but the reviewers have been taking potshots at MST3K within their reviews of non mST3K titles. Notably a big argument a couple years back when Mr. Galbraith lauded the brilliance of Parts: The Clonus Horror and took MST3K, and later me, to task. Even my favorite reviewer, DVDSavant, bemoans what MST3K has "done" to the "legacy" of old sci fi films.

To quote Mr. Galbraith's review of Clonus: "Without their consent, the film eventually turned up on the execrable Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1997, and the contempt heaped upon it then gave Clonus wide exposure at the expense of carelessly considered ridicule. "

Execrable - he compares the show to feces. That's quality reviewing for you.

I understand not finding humor in MST3K, but the venom it has inspired in his reviews always bugs me.. I still wonder if there is something personal going on here.

Last edited by tomtexas; 09-08-08 at 07:08 PM. Reason: found quote from Galbraith; edit spellings
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Old 09-08-08, 07:59 PM
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I have always avoided Stuarts reviews mainly because they can be pretty pretentious and "snooty" (but I have no problem reading Video Watchdog, go figure...). If he wants to hate MST or CT, then that is his right, just like we don't have to read any of his reviews. To each their own I guess...
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Old 09-09-08, 04:33 PM
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Hey folks, new here. I have to say the review comes across as someone who just hates MST3K and won't give that show any credit. I have my own opinions on who was funny and who wasn't funny on MST3K(The SciFi years are superior, I feel), but whether anyone thinks it was or wasn't funny, the show did run for eleven years in spite of notoriously poor support by the networks it aired on during it's entire existence. I don't know too many shows that can run for eleven years if the cast and creators are as untalented as obviously bitter reviewers like Galbraith think.

The Wasp Woman is a horrible movie. I've seen it several times, and originally watched it long before MST3K existed. Clonus did have a genuinely creepy premise and some brilliant ideas, but was a poorly executed film laced with horrible actors. Bad movies outnumber the good ones, it's just a simple fact, and many older movies are horrendous.

The ironic thing is that Galbraith criticizes the people behind MST3K for latching onto other people's works like parasites because they have no talent or originality(as mentioned in previous posts), yet it seems Galbraith has done nothing but make a living off other people's work as a reviewer and author of cinema reference books, career efforts that don't exactly scream talent or originality. Sounds like there's some serious projecting going on there. I would guess that, after looking over Galbraith's profile at IMDB, he's a failed entertainer who is bitter over the success of those he views as beneath him. The easiest thing in the world is criticizing somebody else, criticizing things you can't do well yourself. Musicians say the same things about music critics; most are bitter, untalented, failed musicians looking to take their revenge with the written word.
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Old 09-09-08, 11:13 PM
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I'm all for purity in showing films, but there's really no use for a lot of films other than being re-used as MST3K/CT episodes.

First, if the "parasite" argument is to be used, there's plenty of filmmakers just as deplorable. This would go for a LOT of avant-garde films, such as those by Joseph Cornell, Jonas Mekas, and Kenneth Anger. Yes, they did use copious amounts of found footage, but they are highly regarded.

It's a myth that any film is sacred, except perhaps The Passion of Joan of Arc. But there's also a clear dividing point between riffing a genuinely good film like Casablanca and riffing The Wasp Woman. MST3K did use many films that aren't terrible - many I'd consider to be good. Diabolik, The Crawling Eye, the Russian-Finnish fantasies (like Jack Frost), and This Island Earth are all genuinely good films. Not masterpieces, of course.


With that being said, the reviewer in question has written lots of great reviews for DVDTalk and I appreciate them. This time, he wrote what was basically a rant that had more to do with his pre-existing desposition rather than a judging of this actual release.

Come on, even Roger Ebert gave the MST3K movie a positive review and he's about as hardcore of a film purist as one can get.
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Old 09-10-08, 02:22 AM
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Who'd have thought it?

Over the years I've written my share of negative reviews. Typically I'll get a smattering of emails per review, more often than not readers will respond with very intelligent, polite correspondence, some of which I've occasionally even posted as an addendum to the review, so good/helpful/interesting are their comments.

As for THE WASP WOMAN, I can honestly say there's been more vitriol chat and email about this one minor release than my 879 other DVD Talk reviews combined. One example: http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=1090#comments

What's so striking is the incredible irony: The very foundation of these shows is to mercilessly mock and criticize the work of others -- yet when someone turns the critical microscope on them, the fans get all thin-skinned and indignant.

It's really quite amazing: the response is so incredibly disproportionate both in terms of volume and outrage as to defy all logic. Why should the opinion of one person matter so much to so many people? Damned if I know.

It's not as if I'm kicking a defenseless puppy. I gave CT's WASP WOMAN the benefit of something they didn't provide the people who made the original film: an honest, sincerely-written reaction in which I logically explained my objections.

To each his own, I say. When the show was new my major objection was that some of the films they did weren't then available on VHS, laserdisc, or otherwise shown on TV in their original form. The MST3K version was the only way to see them. That's changed dramatically, and some of these DVD releases now include the original films as a viewing option. If THE WASP WOMAN had been included unaltered on the disc as an extra feature, based on the transfer I probably would have given the overall product a thumbs up.

To save myself the trouble of trying to write everyone back individually, I had planned to use this post to respond to the most common complaints levied against my original review: that only fans predisposed to write favorable reviews should be allowed access to CT and MST3K product (shades of Sarah Palin!); that film critics/historians are parasites who make no original contributions, etc. However, most of these complaints are so vacuous and without merit I don't even know how to respond to them. For me though, a world with only positive praise and no critical analysis, a world with no Leonard Maltins and Kevin Brownlows and Roger Eberts and Bill Warrens and Rudy Behlmers and Ron Havers to preserve and get us excited about old movies would be a less happy place.

As for me being a "bitter, humorless old man." Well, that's another demonstratively dopey accusation. If you read my reviews regularly (and why should you not?) you'd see I heap enthusiastic praise on all kinds of films, especially comedies. Indeed, I'd say my sense of humor is pretty diverse, as I consider myself a fan of all sorts of things: Keaton, The Three Stooges / The Marx Bros. / Laurel & Hardy, Preston Sturges / Billy Wilder / Lubitsch, Ealing / Carry On, Monty Python / SCTV / Kids in the Hall, ZAZ (Naked Gun series, etc.), The Honeymooners / Bilko, The Office / Seinfeld.

You want to laugh? Go rent THE TALL GUY. Hilarious film. THE NAKED MONSTER is another one, one that MST3K will enjoy, come to think of it.

And how could I possibly be "bitter" with such a wonderful daughter?



But enough of this nonsense. It's time for the daughter and I to laugh along with a batch of Max & Dave Flesicher Popeye cartoons.

Affectionately,

Sir Stuart Ballbreath IV, esq.

Last edited by S Galbraith IV; 09-10-08 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:04 AM
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I used to think all the good stuff was in Other, but now I get tons of enjoyment out of the Feedback and Reviews forums.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
Who'd have thought it?

Over the years I've written my share of negative reviews. Typically I'll get a smattering of emails per review, more often than not readers will respond with very intelligent, polite correspondence, some of which I've occasionally even posted as an addendum to the review, so good/helpful/interesting are their comments.

As for THE WASP WOMAN, I can honestly say there's been more vitriol chat and email about this one minor release than my 879 other DVD Talk reviews combined.
You mean vitriol like this?

Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV's review View Post
It's as if people like Hodgson et.al., lack the talent to create their own, original comedy, so instead like parasites they latch onto the efforts of others. People like Hodgson prefer to describe what they do as "[riffing] the movies we love," but that's really just a euphemism for contempt-laden mockery. Maybe what I find so unfunny about a show like this is that while on one hand it's a type of humor rooted in an attitude of superiority - We're so much hipper than that garbage - yet the unfunny material utterly contradicts that assertion because it's on such an anti-creative level.**

Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
What's so striking is the incredible irony: The very foundation of these shows is to mercilessly mock and criticize the work of others -- yet when someone turns the critical microscope on them, they get all thin-skinned and indignant.
As far as I’m aware, only one member of Cinematic Titanic has publicly commented on your review, and it’s the equivalent of a shrug and a “So what?” That’s hardly thin-skinned and indignant. Oh, you meant us, the fans? Should've reworded that diferently then.

Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
It's really quite amazing: the response is so incredibly disproportionate both in terms of volume and outrage as to defy all logic.
Wait for it...

Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
It's not as if I'm kicking a defenseless puppy. I gave CT's WASP WOMAN the benefit of something they didn't provide the people who made the original film: an honest, sincerely-written reaction in which I logically explained my objections.
Here we go. Honesty and sincerity and objections are all well and good. But you come out at bat with gallons and gallons of hatorade for this genre. You proudly proclaim it. You even provide a link to an anti-MST3K article you wrote years ago. You spend one actual paragraph reviewing the actual product and another five damning the movie-riffing genre, calling Hodgson et.al. sneering, condescending “parasites”. Where’s the objectivity?

Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
To save myself the trouble of trying to write everyone back individually, I had planned to use this post to respond to the most common complaints levied against my original review: that only fans predisposed to write favorable reviews should be allowed access to CT and MST3K product (shades of Sarah Palin!);
First off, kudos to you for being topical! And for comparing MST3K fans to the GOP! (That’s kinda…oh, I dunno, vacuous and without merit, though.)

Second off, NO ONE HERE is actually saying that. Either you’ve missed the point of most of the “common complaints” or you’ve chosen to deliberately misinterpret them (shades of Dick Cheney!). Nobody is saying that an MST3K fanboy should’ve been given this assignment. It just seems silly that someone who vehemenently hates this genre would be given this review. I’m paraphrasing from another site here, but that’s like a newspaper sending a vegetarian food critic to review a steakhouse.

We get that some people don’t like the genre. We get that you don’t like the genre. We just find the massive hard on of hate you have for the genre…weird.

Maybe we should all just tell ourselves that it’s just a show and relax.

In conclusion, I give you a picture of some cute puppies.



Thank you. And have a nice day.
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Old 09-10-08, 11:06 AM
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Thank you, Meglos - You have proven my points exactly.
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Old 09-10-08, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
Thank you, Meglos - You have proven my points exactly.
I think that was a little uncalled for Stuart.

Anyone would agree that it was a bit ridiculous to have someone with your prejudices toward the genre write the review.
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Old 09-10-08, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
Thank you, Meglos - You have proven my points exactly.
And with that comment, you've just proven mine.
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Old 09-10-08, 02:22 PM
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Hey Stuart, while I think your review was very well written, I still find the review to be worthless criticism; especially since you admit you weren't intrigued by the genre from day one. It's like a game critic, with no respect at all for old-school games, reviewing the upcoming Mega Man 9. Judging from your nearly 20 year old article, it seems that you had a very crappy movie experience and decided to take it all out on MST3K rather than complain to the theater management or owner on the issue; kind of a weak and cowardly low blow.

I understand you wanted a copy of the original Wasp Woman, but rather got the Cinematic Titanic version. How come you decided to go along with something you didn't even care for in the first place? You could have just pressed "Stop" on your DVD player as soon as you saw the CT logo and just passed on the DVD to someone with at least 1% of intrigue for the genre. Look, I understand that nothing's for everyone and I rightfully agree that criticism is, and should be, acceptable in most fields, but like what most have already said, this review comes across as clueless pandering from someone who detests the format completely.

What I also don't like is how you say that MST3K fans, in general, have little-to-no respect for old films. I can respect your opinion on the show decently enough, but to bring the fanbase into your critique is kind of unprofessional. Furthermore, I believe the satirizing of B-movies and celebration of the movies themselves could co-exist. Joe Bob Briggs, for example, tends to poke fun at B-movies; however at the same time, shows great respect for them. The same could be said for MST3K and its fans.

Cute daughter, BTW, but barely relevant to this thread.

Last edited by MJM86; 09-10-08 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 09-11-08, 12:20 AM
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I too think Stuart is way off on this one.
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Old 09-11-08, 02:33 PM
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I'm torn here, because I'm a MSTIE fan myself, but I hate seeing people come in from other communities just to gang up on somebody.

As noted above, the reviewer probably should have stopped the disc and sent it back to whoever distributes them, he does state it was mismarked in their internal database. If this type of thing isn't his cup of tea, he does nobody any favors by reviewing it just to trash it.

But I do have to agree with the comments about the "parasitic" nature of the MST3K crew and their current iterations. Some of these movies are truly, truly bad movies. They just barely qualify as art (and then only in a meta sense, if you will), and quite frankly are only tolerable through the assistance of Joel/Mike and the 'bots (kinda like in the show itself...)

I do admit not all of the movies are that bad. I own and truly enjoy the movie version of This Island Earth. Despite the hardwired sexism of the time period (the woman is a brilliant scientist, but yet she's still a screeching ninny when things start going bad), it otherwise carries itself with a decent bit of gravitas.

But that doesn't make it immune to fart jokes when they're in the acclimation tubes.


It's one thing to get varying POV's on something, that's why I like to read multiple reviews of DVDs and video games. Even if it's "not your thing", a person may still have something to bring to the discussion. But if it's something they outright hate? That's just a waste of bandwidth, pixels and time (on both sides) to even bother with it.
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