John Carpenter's The Thing could be an "easy" movie for aspiring riffers!

So, I wanted to re-watch The Thing (1982), a very old favorite since several years after that night I couldn’t sleep after seeing it for the first time. I don’t usually even try to riff except the occasional little quip, But I just started, and it rolled, and rolled. I was keeping the riffs going fast enough that one or two more people riffing would have filled all the available audio space nicely. The movie is almost perfectly paced, with long pauses, and the dialogue is very clear. There is a smorgasbord of riff fodder, including weird bits of leftover 70s culture, a gonzo monster that is a masterpiece of practical special effects, a few corny 80s film conventions… It is also a great movie by the (otherwise inconsistent) maestro director of fun Kurt Russell movies. and it has a solid sci fi pedigree.

[Trigger warning for the film (not for here): there is some animal harm in the movie. And a good bit of violence and gore.]

My riffs were… well… riffing is really hard (as I think most of us understand), and doing it off the cuff is not likely to be funny. And it often wasn’t. I relied too much on Wilford Brimley, my outrageously stupid doggo voice, the guy who bore a passing resemblance to Al Franken, and Macready doing the Bella “duuuuuuuh” (he may have been a little sick, because it looked like he was breathing through his mouth a lot). I missed a couple doozies, my timing wasn’t great… whatever. My vocal performance was ok, and I kept it pretty much PG-13. And I felt like some of my jokes landed.

Now, this was a total fluke. Riffing is hard work that takes time, talent, and hard work. Those who do riff (including the amateurs) are truly talented (and brave) people who put a tremendous amount of effort into their work. If I could riff this movie, I bet you aspiring riffers out there could go to town! My doggo voice is available for a cameo…

I doubt I’ll even pull that off again. I was not similarly inspired by the 2011 prequel (which I do like). It might be fun if you like to poke fun at Norwegians (so, in my limited experience, especially fun for other Norwegians… and Swedes, probably). I’m going to watch Anacondas: Quest for the Blood Orchid (or whatever it is called) and try to riff along. I’m watching alone, so it won’t bother anybody.

Does anyone know any other famous (non-B) “easy riffing” films that haven’t been riffed?

Dance like no one is watching, riff like no one is listening…


Could be. I never thought of it as a riffable movie. But, yes, the Wilford Brimley is a good fencepost to hang one’s hat on, now that you mention it. Do you have a link for your riff, or is this something you did as a solo, live-only enterprise?

The Hawks/Nyby version could be fun.

And the prequel with Mary Elizabeth Winstead is so somewhat silly that I can see that happening as well. /* edit: I see you did mention this toward the end of your post…perhaps I do find something amusing about taking the piss out of the Norwegians, in only a not-very-serious way, you know.

But for some reason, what about To Have and Have Not? Just popped into my head as an unusual choice for riffing. A top-notch sort of adventure-ish film. I don’t know! Lot of music performances, so that’s always a bit ripe for parody IMHO. */

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If black and white riffing is more your style, there’s always the original 1951 film that it was based off of, The Thing From Another World.


That is definitely a good thought! I need to see that one for sure, even if only as a fan!

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Thanks for the interest, but I wasn’t recording or anything. Sorry!

I think that most movies are riffable, although many wouldn’t be particularly compelling. One of the things I enjoyed about The Thing was how much meat there is, but I had a real advantage in that I’ve seen the film not too very long ago. I could even set up a few callbacks. But I know Aliens much better, but it would be much more difficult to riff. I’m not entirely sure why.

I’ve never seen To Have and Have Not, but a quick check suggests you may be on to something!