RiffTrax: Order In The Shorts and Shortstoberfest DVD Reviews
“Order In The Shorts” is guaranteed to make you laugh.
Only half of the shorts prove to be good RiffTrax material in “Shortstoberfest”.
Rather than ramble on about each disc in long paragraphs, I’m just going to break down each short on both “Order In The Shorts” and “Shortoberfest”. So, without further adieu:
“Order In The Shorts
1. “American Thrift”- Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Mike Nelson kick off this short by having funny lady Veronica Belmont co-riff the short with them. She (and the RiffTrax gang) do a fine job of mocking this unfocused short about budgets, business, money, and the woman American (see short for clarification). For some odd reason, however, Belmont bails for the second half of ‘Thrift’ which is a shame as the second half wasn’t nearly as amusing. It didn’t help that the second half didn’t have the Ron Howard children either (see short for the joke).
2. Hosted by a man who resembles Peter Weller, “Your Chance To Live” is a funny short about technological failures (i.e. power outtages, fires, etc.). Unfortunately, this short was already on a previous disc (Shorts-Tacular Shorts-Stravaganza!). Why this short appears on another DVD release is a mystery to me, but at least it’s a solid one.
3. “Reading Growth: Basic Skills” follows a young child named Tim who is expanding his reading skills as he grows older. It may sound like a dull subject, but the RiffTrax gang crack hilarious jokes about everything from the San Antonio Spurs and “Dr. Dolittle,” to “The Room” and a frog on a string.
4. “Mr. Moto Takes A Walk” sees a woman walking a monkey through a zoo. While there, she manages to yammer on about an animal for each letter of the alphabet (she even skips a few letters!). This is easily the weakest short on the disc as it’s relatively pointless.
5. Of all the shorts on these two discs, “Kittens: Birth And Growth” made me laugh the hardest. The short follows a family of four as they help care for baby kittens. In addition to some hilarious added dialogue, there’s a plethora of great jokes about Jimmy Stewart, “The Road,” toothpaste, and yes, even cat poop.
6. Have you ever wanted to hear a poem about a speed boat? If the answer is yes, you will no doubt love “Summer Is An Adventure”. This short follows a family taking a very brief summer trip where they witness the wonderful activities and natural occurences of the summer season. This cheesy short film is ripe for riffing and the mighty trio of Bill, Kevin, and Mike waste no time in providing plenty of laughs (and plenty of film references to boot).
7. “The Story Of A Teenage Drug Addict” doesn’t sound like riffing material, but surprisingly it is. In this tale of dope ruining a young teen’s life, viewers witness such strange imagery as a woman who looks like Pee-Wee Herman, a guy who resembles Kramer, an old woman who looks like a man in drag, and the main character’s giant head. Add in robotic narration and a cast of non-professionals and I think you know what kind of strange ride you are in for.
8. Last, but not least, is “The Parts Of Speech”. This is an undeniably goofy educational short about words, sentences, and the 8 parts of speech. The RiffTrax gang is in top form here as they mock the narrator (Dwight L. Burton) and a teen wearing what looks like a diaper while also cracking jokes about scenes in the short like the gay towel and a young man groping another young man’s nipple. If you don’t laugh during this short then I don’t know what is wrong with you.
1. “An Aquarium In Action” might have been an exciting short had it not focused on a small classroom aquarium. Alas, that’s all we get. Well, that and kids rambling on about the creatures and events taking place in the aquarium. Still, there a few good chuckles here such as the obligatory fish jokes and a well placed Arby’s joke.
2. “Little Lost Scent” is about the adventures of a baby skunk named Gregory as he encounters humans and animals such as bears, cats, dogs, etc. This is a crazy little short that is made even crazier thanks to some added internal monologue by the RiffTrax crew.
3. “Back To School With Joan Miller” is a seemingly endless short about women showing off hideous Joan Miller clothing. As painful as the short may be, however, the RiffTrax gang makes it all bearable somehow as they make hilarious observations about the circus like music and the horrific plaid clothing. Seriously folks, the plaid colors will blind you.
4. “Geography Of Your Community” is a disjointed short about the connections between things such as a river, farm, ice cream shop, etc. Despite a great Clay Aiken joke, this is one of the weak links of the disc.
5. “Families: Food And Eating” is actually the most interesting of all the shorts as it observes the types of foods 3 families prepare and eat in the U.S., Japan, and Mexico. As far as laughs go, I have to say I got a kick out of the jokes about the bizarre eating schedule the Mexican family had. It was just so strange that I couldn’t help but laugh.
6. “Drawing For Beginners: The Rectangle” is as pointless as it sounds. The entire short consists of someone drawing rectangle objects like a radio, flag, window, etc. This is easily the worst short on the disc.
7. On the flip side, “Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care Of Your Own Things” is hands down the best short on this disc. I’m not often baffled by the shorts I see, but this one is truly out there. The short involves a careless, messy, cross-eyed kid who gets a lecture from his belongings (namely a talking pillow with giant lips). To make it even stranger, nearly every item has a foreign accent. The short is hilarious on its own, but the RiffTrax guys manage to make it even more amusing.
8. Finally, we have the hilarious sexist short titled “Call It Free”. In this one, a ditzy woman (and later her husband) learn about car engines and maintenance from a gas station attendant. The characters in this one (namely the woman nicknamed Hank) are so goofy that you can’t help but get caught up in this short. Add in some great jokes about Wesley Snipes, Donkey Kong, and Captain Jinx and you’re in for a good time.
Summary: “Order In The Shorts” is well worth buying, but I’d only recommend renting “Shortstoberfest”.
As one might expect, the video quality is all over the place as the shorts vary in age. Generally, the picture quality is watchable (albeit filled with lines and scratches), but some of the shorts have some film skips (like “Geography Of Your Community”).
As for the audio quality, the RiffTrax gang is as clear as can be which is obviously the most important thing. The audio of the shorts, however, is hit-and-miss. “The Story Of A Teenage Drug Addict” probably had the worst audio track of the bunch.
No extras have been included on either disc.