The Dinglehopper

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Earthling Cinema, The MST3K Thug Notes for Films

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Earthling-CinemaWisecrack, the conglomeration of folks behind my beloved Thug Notes, have branched out with a new series of short film critique videos called Earthling Cinema. Being ever busy, I had not jumped into this new series until recently, though it’s been around for about a month.

The set-up shares much with Thug Notes–an ironic persona for a host, a summary of the text, followed by analysis of its meaning. Rather than literature, it’s film. Rather than a gangster, it’s a space alien named Garryx Wormuloid examining the artifacts of now extinct Earthlings. Like with Thug Notes, the delivery is comedic, but the analysis is insightful.

Thus far Earthling Cinema has taken on a film a week: Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Mean Girls. Of course, the outsider’s take on the characters and events of these films is amusing, full of malapropisms, mispronunciations, and alien absurdities while also pointing out the absurdities of Earthling (mostly American) culture. In the Pulp Fiction episode, the host explains that “Jules consumes processed animal carcass, reads from the Bible, then does some team-building exercises with Vincent.” 2001‘s story gets boiled down as the classic story of “ape meets ape, ape meets monolith, ape meets tool, tool meets ape, tool meets spaceship, spaceship meets spaceship, spaceship meets boy, boy meets supercomputer, boy meets star-gate, baby meets planet.” According to Wormuloid, Mean Girls is set in “the American high school, one of the most terrifying and dangerous places on Earth.” Word, dude.

Come for the comedy, stay for the analysis. On Pulp Fiction: “Much of the humor comes from a cavalier attitude about human on human violence.” The Fight Club episode explains how the quick-spliced pornography undermines the catharsis at the film’s end. The 2001 episode actually makes sense of 2001 while also explaining the significance of that famous match cut.

Earthling Cinema is worth checking out for both entertainment and edification.


Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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