415. The Beatniks (1960)

It’s nothing that we didn’t already believe before, but…

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… Steve Vance’s cover art forever.

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And of course, we have one of the most unfortunately phrased threats in cinema history:

Moon: “One word to anyone, and I’m gonna moon you.”

Hotel manager: “You’re gonna what?”

Moon: “MOOOOOOON YOU!”

Servo: “You know, hang my butt out!”

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The Beatniks is part of that wonderful genre that MST3K covered so well: Dangers of Delinquency/Teens in Crisis (not that this film claims our characters are meant to be teens, but considering such films fail to capture the proper mindset of teens, it’s easy to lump this in since they have no clue what a beatnik is). It’s crazy to think Eddie is the leader of this crew since his authority is constantly pushed by Moon and he waffles worse than Charlie Brown on trying to go straight but thinking he cannot escape his criminal past; it’s crazy that Moon’s threats work so well on him. Honestly, as far as crimes go, he’s only ever guilty of armed robbery, which would go well in earning him proper street cred for becoming a musician. Shame he relies too much on others to dictate his course, good or bad.

I feel there’s a bit of “High School Big Shot” in this for how cheap the film looks, looking like it’s filmed on a 60s era sitcom set, a layout that betrays the nonexistence of a fourth wall.

“Shut Up, Iris!” has to be my biggest take-away from this episode. Cracks me up. Pull this on my wife from time to time (to her chagrin, and she’s not even named Iris).

This has some wonderful musical riffs that always shine with lyrics thrown in between lyrics (“And we’re sorry we popped that fat barkeep!”). I love when the conductor tells Eddie to take a break while they check levels and Crow goes “It’s uh ‘SNOWING’ backstage Eddie! heh heh” Cracks me up how they make such dark riffs so funny.

Easily top-tier episode, I can watch it any time.

UPDATE: If there’s one little bit of missed opportunity, it’s not having Moon step out of the film to visit either the SOL Crew via Hexfield or the Mads in Deep 13 with threats of Mooning everyone. Likely none of the guys could reach that high pitch (although perhaps Bridget could have done it?).

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Crow did a sort of almost kinda Mooney impression, but yeah it would have been a gas if Corbett or someone had taken Mooney from the movie and put him in Deep 13 or something. Just imagining some lanky drink of water in a leather jacket smarming his way up to Dr. Forrester and Frank with a knife saying, “I’m gonna MOON ya, man!” while they look on with confused disbelief before pushing the button would have been a great bit. Missed opportunity, indeed.

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I totally think Yvonne could do a killer Mooney impression.

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You know you’re right. That Billy Idol part of her would go WILD!

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Santo in the Treasure of Dracula has Perico, the South of the Border Shaggy Rogers.

I would argue that, as far as concepts go, Girl in Gold Boots has more in common with The Beatniks. Both involve a “talented” amateur being discovered as a diner and getting a proposition to go on the bigger things. The main difference is that Icky Elf is less on the up and up.

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I went through my head and I was like “wait, isn’t this Daddy-O”? Apparently The Beatniks and Daddy-O are, technically, not the same movie.

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Technically they’re not but there’s definitely OVERLAP.

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Honestly are any gangs in movies that land on this program ever “destined to last long”? The requirements of these films’ plots and when they were made demand certain conventions which impede on success long-term and result in the moral message to made over and over by the end. Failure and arrest are required to fulfill that purpose.

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“YOU’VE GOT UNDERARM ODOR, BUT YOU’RE BEING HELD UP. WHADDYA DO?”

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“NOT THE ASHES. THAT’S MY UNCLE.”

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“THEY ROBBED PAUL WELLSTONE.”

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To me, that’s a textbook riffed sequence. You were able to spy their proficiency by then. The whimsy divebombs on the intense scene and THIS is what MST3K accomplishes like no other. “Oh no, they’re going to do Kabuki theater”, “We were expecting you”, “That’s the government for you.” A drive-by opener is washed over by irreverence and we’re better for it.

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Gypsy beating Joel up in this episode is just TOO funny!

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Gypsy: [shrieks furiously and rams Joel, knocking him unconscious] GYPSY CRUSHES JOEL!!! MY BABIES!!!

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I actually never thought “Sideburns don’t need your sympathy” was all that unintelligible… I read it as a nickname or synecdoche (a part standing for the whole) – i.e. the singer is referring to himself as “Sideburns”.

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The “gangs” in these movies certainly need better gimmicks. In Teenage Strangler there are these lame jackets with stupid dog patches (or whatever they are) on the back. In this movie there are those dumb skull masks that really don’t conceal anyone. Then there’s the ‘gang’ in The Violent Years where they all dress like they’re school-marms or matrons of some kind. Then there’s the Juvenile Delinquency short with their lame jackets and patches. All the gangs in MST are pretty lame.

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To me, a good gem in this episode was when Gypsy rammed the crap out of Joel.

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I’m willing to bet that Paul Frees was very naïve about slang, like to use “moon” as to kill instead of “hanging our butts out” another reason why movie directing isn’t his strong suit.

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