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RiffTrax targets Starship Troopers in its next special screening

by Mark Burger

The rowdy riffers of RiffTrax are back in action, bringing some much-needed laughter to the long, wet summer.

On Thursday, Aug. 15, NCM Fathom Events joins forces once again with RiffTrax and IGN to present RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers, which will screened locally in Greensboro at 8 pm at the Brassfield Cinema 10 and Greensboro Grande Stadium 16. Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett have re-teamed to provide an outra geous, ongoing commentary on director Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 science-fiction epic, in which a contingent of young and good-looking soldiers (including Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Neil Patrick Harris and Jake Busey) wage an interplanetary war against enormous alien insects on the distant planet of Klendathu. Before too long, all Hell’s breaking loose and people are buggin’ out all over.

Adapted from Robert Heinlein’s classic novel, Starship Troopers earned an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects and spawned three sequels of diminishing impact. Unlike such earlier RiffTrax targets as Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) and Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), Starship Troopers actually has a solid fan base and its fair share of admirers… but that certainly won’t prevent the RiffTrax team from giving it their best shot!

For 11 years, Nelson, Murphy and Corbett were part of the core team of the cult series “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” in which the crew of the Satellite of Love — stranded in outer space — was forced to watch transmissions of the worst movies ever made on Earth, which they commented upon with ribald wit and addlebrained insight. Not only did “MST3K” amass a sizable worldwide following, but it also drew attention to scores of movies best forgotten. During its lengthy run, the series earned two Emmy nominations (both times for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Variety or Music Program), and in 1993 received the prestigious Peabody Award.

With the cancellation of “MST3K” in 1999, after 197 episodes and even a feature film released in 1995, the series lives on in syndication — as well as in the hearts and minds of its fervent fans.

But in 2006, Nelson reunited with Murphy and Corbett to continue the tradition with “RiffTrax,” a series of downloads presented in the same style as the earlier series, with running commentary. These were followed by a series of live events that proved so popular that the “RiffTrax” screenings were born.

A “Kickstarter” campaign was launched earlier this year so that the RiffTrax team could secure the rights to screen the first Twilight film. When that attempt failed, they turned their sights on Starship Troopers. The legacy and the lunacy live on!

“It is all thanks to our fans generously backing our Kickstarter [campaign] that we get to face down what is truly a dream title for us,” said RiffTrax creator Nelson in an official statement. “This will be a real RiffTrax-palooza.”

Starship Troopers is rated R for violence, nudity, sexual situations and profanity — and that’s even before RiffTrax did their number on it!

Tickets at Greensboro Grande are $12.50. Tickets at Brassfield are $11.50 (general admission), $10.50 (senior citizens) and $9.50 (children under 12). For advance tickets or more information, check out FathomEvents.com.

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