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Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Mitchell
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Top Customer Reviews
The wonderful movie for Joel's farewell episode is Mitchell, some kind of lame cop-action-thing with a stupid plot revolving around drugs and prostitutes and Joe Don Baker's hideous acting. Perfect ammunition for Joel & co. to unleash one of the finest barrages of jokes in the entire series! You can tell the writers had fun with this movie. So much of it lends itself to insult: Joe Don Baker acting like he suffers from acute retardation; Mitchell's drinking problem; Mitchell's face; Mitchell's disturbing sexual relationship with his prostitute; Mitchell's big belly; Mitchell's driving skills; Mitchell's drinking problem; Mitchell shooting guns; Mitchell fighting; Mitchell's theme song; Mitchell trying to be tough...it goes on. This one will have you laughing yourself into a seizure every few seconds. The jokes come so fast that it's impossible to take it all in. I've seen this episode about a dozen times over the years but I still hear things I missed before.
Buy it and smile.
What hasn't been said about this movie? Well, for one thing, I don't know if any one has commented on how truly embarrassed Martin Balsam looks throughout. Every moment of his performance has the feel of a tacit apology as he tries to make silk purses out of the stockyards of sows' ears that he was handed by the screenwriters. He did it for the money, and lets the audience know it in scene after scene. He was a gifted actor, too often wasted in dreck like this. Yet he comes off infinitely better than the star of the show, one Joe Don Baker. Understand that if you limit Baker's screen time in most movies, as has been done by smarter filmmakers than these, he's not nearly as repulsive as he is here. But director Andrew McLaglen insists on having him in virtually every scene, with lots of close-ups of Baker's beefy face to accentuate...exactly what again? This is pure white-sploitation, a 'Shaft' meets 'Dirty Harry' without either of those films' energies or convictions. Think about it. Who is Mitchell? He's a tough supercop who can't stand the confining rules of 'the system', and by the way, he's also an irresistible stud. One of those guys again? Like the character, the movie is a wasteful thud, too slow to be exciting, too cheap-looking to be flashy.
That's what our boys exploit--the intrinsic weaknesses of the lame story and the truly dreadful protagonist that isn't even likable as an anti-hero.Read more ›
We have, here, probably the greatest example of #2. When we first see the slothful Mitchell waking up in the backseat of a squad car, the boys let it rip (Joel: "Here's our hero, ladies and gentlemen." Tom: "Does anyone have a moist towelette?") and it just does *not* let up until Mitchell "breaks in" to his own apartment and rips Linda Evans out of bed as she sleeps ("Yanni? Is that you?"). God, I love it. I've seen it hundreds of times and it's STILL GOOD!
If you've been put off by MSTs as described in #1 above ("Manos: The Hands of Fate" comes to mind), please give it another chance with Mitchell. You'll never look at Joe Don the same, even if he does a cute cameo in "Reality Bites" as Winona Ryder's father.
My god, but this MSTed movie is hysterical! "Mitchell" was a typical mid-70s detective TV movie (I suspect it was a failed pilot), complete w/ big Kojak-style American cars, painfully cheesy dialog, and gratuitous lapels. It cries out for the MST3K treatment because it takes itself so seriously.
-the world's slowest car chase!
-a menacing Merlin Olsen!
-a classic John Saxon villain nonperformance!
-Joe Don Baker + Linda Evans + a bottle of baby oil = the most disturbing scene ever committed to film!
-finally, sadly, Joel Hodgson's graceful exit from the series via a convenient box of hamdingers.
Rumor has it that Joe Don Baker was furious at the MST3K treatment of this meisterwerk. I can understand it, I guess...he was sort of a 1970s quasiserious character actor. JDB is truly a better actor when he satirizes his own slobby character, for example in "Goldeneye" and "Tomorrow Never Dies".
Loosen up, JD, you're not that bad but for god's sake NEVER play it straight again.
Comedy Central eventually cancelled MST3K, which returned it to its normal nonfunny mode. "Mitchell" is a gem, and I'm delighted to see it preserved on DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best MST3K episodes. My friends and I still quote it years later.Published 1 month ago by Lyncati
Taking on a half-a**ed cross between "Dirty Harry" and "Smokey and the Bandit" -- except instead of competently outside-the-law, the hero's just a layabout, and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Smiley McGrouchpants
Thought I bought a movie,not a TV show.It wasn't mentionned !!!!Published 9 months ago by Gerard Comment
MST3K, what more do I need to say. maybe not one of the best movies they've lambasted, but its still fun.Published 13 months ago by Wayne
Not the worst. Saw it as a kid but now, in hindsight, whacko. Except Linda.Evans.What a knockout.Published 17 months ago by Brian Berry
One of my favorite episodes of mystery science theater.
apparently this was one of the only times when they actually really upset people involved in the original movie. Read more
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