Fun With Shorts Volume One
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(Jan 26, 2009)
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Cartoonist and writer Josh Way provides humorous commentary on educational short films from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This volume collects the first batch of shorts Josh riffed on YouTube:
-Are You Popular?
-Communications and Our Town
-This is Coffee!
-Duck and Cover
-How to Be Well Groomed
-Word to the Wives
BONUS: Prom: It's a Pleasure
Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000 says "Josh Way is the real thing!" Josh is the creator of the comic strip Chronicle (www.chroniclecomic.com), a contributor to Mike Nelson's Rifftrax.com and a writer for the Incognito Cinema Warriors XP.
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It was amusing but not near the quality from Rifftraks/Filmcrew/MST3K.
First there was the volume poting. Josh's comments were very much louder than the background film. It needs to be poted a bit closer. Instead of being a riff, in many cases, it was more like that annoying guy that won't shut up in the theater. The volume was really my biggest issue with this production
Second, Josh works solo. There is a reason why other riffing productions use teams, they can work off each other, that was lacking in Josh's solo performance. It is, just Josh making comments about the film.
That being written, the quality of the riffing was rather well done. The riffs were appropriate to the video and the timing was great.
A really funny production. But if you were weaned on MST3K/Rifftraks/Filmcrew, you might be disappointed.
Standing on its own, despite the volume problems, it is a solid 4 and a fun DvD to watch.
I enjoyed the DVD and recommend it mostly for established fans of the riffing art form. My two principal problems with the productions are that as a solo work, there is nobody else for Way's excellent humorous anecdotes to play off of, which is in part why enterprises like MST3K are so successful; secondly, the choice of shorts leaves a bit to be desired. The black and white adolescent education shorts (e.g. "Are You Popular" and "How to be Well Groomed") are extremely formulaic and are quickly tiresome. There are a few gems on the DVD, though, and they are great. My favorite by far is "Destination Earth" which is a hilarious Technicolor cartoon about the wonders of the oil industry. It is truly bizarre and a real treasure, and justifies the price of the DVD by itself. Another great is the cold war classic "Duck and Cover" which is simultaneously entertaining and horrifying (well, as horrifying as an animated turtle can be.) The glories of the modern kitchen are told in "color" (if you understand that the only color in existence is sepia) in "A Word to the Wives," starring the great Darren McGavin as the disgruntled husband, a role he would later perfect in "A Christmas Story." Finally there's a bonus short "The Prom: It's a Pleasure" (Way's comment "Oh, it's the 'Little Miss Garish Pageant'" made me laugh out loud) which is peculiar hybrid Jam Handy short combining the over-the-top grandeur of the prom and Coca-Cola product placement.
Overall this is a good DVD, and some of the shorts are truly outstanding choices. I expect to see more from Josh Way in the future, and I look forward to his exploits in the cinematic arts.
Now you have the chance to revisit classics like "Duck And Cover", only this time with an added twist. If you've ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 when it ran on Sci-Fi Channel or Comedy Central, you'll get lots of enjoyment with the hilarious spin Josh Way puts on these school projector films of old. And reasonably priced, too! Click the "Add To Cart" button now!