612. The Starfighters (1964)

Advertised as “The blazing adventure of the men and planes who rocket to the very edge of outer space”, The Starfighters (1964) never leaves the ground. “Off we go into the boring movie…” “Flying right into the pain…” “There we watch endless refueling footage…” “Laying pipe into the tank!” “Then they blab for the entire picture…” “The Congressman frequently calls…” “A storm comes through then we are too…” “What was this really all for?” Crow Attempts Dial-Up, Cranial Ports, Cowboy Mike’s Red Hot Ricochet Barbecue Sauce, Crow and Tom Simulate Refueling, The Bots Debrief Mike, The United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus, The Wonder Of The Information Superhighway. “Leaving on a jet plane, uh don’t know when I’ll be back again over”, “Oh there’s already too much flying in this movie”, “The Sean Penn Story!” “IT’S WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL!!!” or “Do we get frequent flyer miles for watching this?”

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The Hot Refueling Host Segment is why I struggle through this dog of a movie.

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Crow Attempts Dial-Up, Cranial Ports, and Cowboy Mike’s Red Hot Ricochet Barbecue Sauce.

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The United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus.

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Some Sort Of Plane Thing.

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Sidewinder.

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I Love To Fuel You, Baby.

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That Was A Great Scene.

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Best of 612.

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More Best of 612.

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612 Promo.

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Refueling Sequence and Theme from The Starfighters (1964).

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The movie that boldly asks “What if Top Gun was more boring?”

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INDEED!

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IMDB Bottom 100 Review of The Starfighters (1964).

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The poster for this movie proclaims, “The blazing adventure of the men and planes who rocket to the edge of outer space!” This is obviously a complete lie. What you really get is a ton of stock footage of jets taking off, landing, and refueling in mid-air. The original footage isn’t much better, as it consists primarily of pilots yammering on about flying with much technical jargon and the lamest phone prank since the Prince Albert in a Can gag. There are also a couple of mild propaganda moments which have not aged well.

About the only joy that can be found occurs near the end when we’re introduced to the poopie suit. It’s not called that because you’re supposed to poop in it (if you do, you’ll probably regret it). As I understand it, it’s an insulated suit designed to stave off hypothermia should the wearer have to bail out over the ocean. Of course, the wearer will be sweating bullets at room temperature and it’ll get foul-smelling in quick order.

Thank goodness the host segments are in top form. Crow’s travails on attempting to connect to the internet is something that has aged reasonably well, even if the technical specifications are obsolete. The reenactment of the mid-air refueling is mildly creepy with all sorts of unfortunate implications, while the debriefing is good for a quick guffaw. But the star production by far is the United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus, which featured some amazing puppeteering and audio work. Mike also does an excellent job of mimicking the pompous intonations frequently heard from NPR announcers.

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Not an Ac-tor.

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I remember when I was a teenager and my mom caught me looking at a refueling magazine… I was in so much trouble.

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While I do not expect total honesty in a movie’s title and promotional materials, I also do not expect that they will contain nothing but lies. If The Starfighters was in any way honest, it would be titled The Refuelers, or The Talkers, and the tag line would read “The boring conversations of the men who refuel their planes and land on the ground!” I would rather watch Monster A-Go-Go than this snooze fest. At least in that movie stuff happened before they tell you that nothing happened.

To make up for it, Mike and the Bots go straight for the throat with the riffs, giving the movie everything it deserves. They also take some time to wallow in the mud a bit with all of the refueling innuendo. What else could you possibly do at that point? I get a nice laugh at the “Sister Mary Elephant” riff every time. I played that Cheech & Chong album over and over again when I was a teen.

The host segments are top notch, but I did both computer repair and tech support in the 90s, so I may be partial. The segment with Cowboy Mike’s Red Hot Ricochet Barbecue Sauce is fun for just about everyone (It’s Boooooold!). The United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus ratchets things up a notch, and is pure perfection, easily one of my favorites to date.

So, we have one of the worst movies MST3K has ever riffed, and one of the best host segments that MST3K has ever produced. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come together as well as it should, and the episode as a whole is just average for me. Mike and the Bots put up a good fight, but I think The Starfighters was just too boring for them in the end.

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Also, the titular plane featured in the movie was apparently a terrible plane.

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