Mystery Science Theater 3000: INVASION U.S.A. Rewatch Season 6, Ep 2
Rewatch! One of a long line of propagandist movies intended to rile up the public against the USSR. It's easy to get this one mixed up with Rocket Attack USA, made under a similar zeitgeist. That was a Joel episode with spies going to the USSR and failing to stop a missile attack against New York City, a lady spy seducing a Russian general for secrets, and a blind man walking during an immanent nuclear attack telling the camera, "Help me!" This is a Mike episode where a two-bit hypnotist zaps a bar full of people into experiencing a vivid hallucination of a Soviet military attack on their city. (Hypnosis was another overblown fear at the time, but didn't have as much of a concerted push to make people afraid of it.) With the short A Date With Your Family, starring Hugh Beaumont, it's a very fifties worldview on display. Previously.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: ROCKET ATTACK USA Rewatch Season 2, Ep 5
Rewatch! On Sunday: There are two parts to this. The first part follows spies deep in the Soviet Union trying to gain information on and prevent a nuclear attack on New York. That fails, leading to the second part, which is about New York getting hit by a nuclear missile. A transparently fearmongering piece of propaganda, this is one of those films that's not just terrible but made the world a worse place just by existing. Fortunately, it makes for a pretty good riff target, if you can get past how upsetting the story is. There's no happy ending here, folks. Previously. [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE STARFIGHTERS Rewatch Season 6, Ep 12
Former Republican Congressman Bob Dornan stars in this reprehensible promotional piece for both a terrible aircraft and the US Air Force. This is the episode that gave us the "poopy suit," the "song about stock footage," and the United Servo Academy Men's Chorus. This is the beginning of MST Club's encore run of the top 50+, determined by poll, of MST3K episodes. For more information, please click through. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Immigration Courts Season 5, Ep 6
- President Trump appoints to the head of the VA his White House doctor.
- Egypt has a Presidential election, the winner of which will almost certainly be strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, since one of his opponents was arrested and three more intimidated into withdrawing. His only opponent, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, was a supporter of his!
- Sinclair Media Group's continued efforts to turn local news into Fox News 2, including must runs trying to push the idea of a "deep state" working against Trump, and trying to push an idea that national media outlets push fake stories. (Links below fold.)
- And Now: Baseball's Back, And Local News Knows Exactly What That Means. (It means weird concession food.)
- Main Story: Immigration Courts, which are a complete mess. One judge said of them, "In essence we're doing death penalty cases in a traffic court setting." Furthermore, they're not criminal courts but civil courts, meaning many guarantees, such as for legal council, are not available, and they're not part of the Judicial Branch, but instead, of the Executive Branch, and Jeff Sessions can in fact review cases himself. In some, children as young as three are actually asked to represent themselves before a judge. Just to drive home how stupid that is, LWT produced a bit of a court show in which everyone but the defendant (H. Jon Benjamin!) is three or four: Tot Bench.
Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: Safe and Sound Season 1, Ep 9
A small-town girl (Annalise Basso), already gripped with social anxiety, moves to a big city with her mother (Maura Tierney). For the first time she is exposed to urban society's emphasis on security and terrorist prevention. Her school days are soon consumed by fear and paranoia, but she finds guidance and companionship in the most unexpected of places. [Channel 4 summary] [more inside]
Comrade Detective: The Whole World Is Watching First Watch Season 1, Ep 5
Comrade Detective purports to be a rediscovered buddy cop show from mid-eighties Romania, made as Eastern Bloc propaganda/entertainment. It isn't; it was filmed in Romania in the modern day, with Romanian actors, and then dubbed into English by actors like Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nick Offerman, and occasionally guest stars like Debra Winger and Daniel Craig. In this episode: Baciu's family notices something unsettling; we hear Dragos's suspicions and learn something new about Stan; the American embassy is hospitable. [more inside]
A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them. [more inside]
(1960, Color, Cold War, Propaganda) "From another continent... DESTRUCTION!!! PANIC!! ...before the Rocket Strikes! You'll live, MAYBE!!!" Heroic spies fail to stop the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear missile at Manhattan. A movie that reminds us that fearmongering in the media has been with us for a long time. Of particular note, Daddy-O informs us that director Barry Mahon went on to make adult films, then kids movies. He made, believe it or not, the infamous, legendary Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. YouTube (1h38m) First shown October 27, 1990. [more inside]