I’ve been debating with myself for over a year now about whether to include Mr Plinkett, the fictional movie critic from Red Letter Media’s site, in my Movie Host section. I’m amazed to learn there are still people out there who haven’t tasted the Harry S Plinkett experience (and for the record, it tastes like pizza rolls ) so that got me energized to finally add an article about him.
Purists and politically correct fools may object to my classifying Plinkett (pictured at left) as a movie host, but I’m prepared to defend that classification following some quick background info for Plinkett virgins (Don’t go there!) .
Harry S Plinkett is the on-line persona created by Mike Stoklasa, an independent filmmaker who, with Jay Bauman, heads Red Letter Media. RLM produces many projects, but for the purpose of this review I’ll focus only on Mr Plinkett. As Plinkett, Stoklasa has done several on-line reviews both at Youtube and at http://redlettermedia.com/ . He excels at delivering uproariously funny reviews of the Star Wars prequels (more on those in a minute), the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, Avatar, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and other big-budget movies of recent decades.
Stoklasa uses his expert’s eye to demonstrate how these blockbuster film productions really are every bit as laughable as some of the old 1950’s schlockers but are even more deserving of getting trashed precisely because of how large their budgets are! It’s one thing to make a laughably bad flick on a shoestring budget but when you get to spend more money than the GNP of some countries AND you have much of Hollywood’s creative community anxious, if not desperate, to work in the movie there is no excuse for delivering a turkey outside of massive ineptitude or outright contempt for your audience.
And speaking of George Lucas, what really put Plinkett on the map was Red Letter Media’s 2009 review of The Phantom Menace. This 70 minute tour-de-force perfectly details every reason why that movie sucks on every single storytelling and filmmaking level. The other two movies in the Prequel Trilogy got the Plinkett treatment along with many other flicks, but if you only watch one Plinkett review, make it The Phantom Menace. That review is a masterpiece of comedy and also a genuinely thought-provoking look at how badly a seemingly sure-thing went wrong. I came away from it with the opinion that George Lucas is really just Ed Wood with more money and more marketing skills.
Now as to why I consider Plinkett to fall under the Movie Host category instead of film reviewer category, for starters there’s the sheer epic length of most of his reviews. The 70 minute review of TPM wasn’t even his longest effort. You can devote as much time to the Mr Plinkett reviews as you would spend watching an actual bad movie. Plus none of the roughly 9,812,654 other on-line reviewers can touch Stoklasa when it comes to humor or actual film criticism.
For me the crowning touch is the macabre character that Stoklasa puts on to conduct these marathon reviews. When you think of Movie Hosts you often picture vampires, mad scientists, werewolves, ghouls or other types of monsters. I know there are exceptions, like Joe Bob Briggs, John Stanley or Randy and Richard from the 1980’s show The Texas 27 Film Vault, but for the most part Movie Hosts affect some form of ghoulish persona.
Mr Plinkett’s schtick is that he is the type of monster that the modern world knows for a fact is real: the deranged serial killer. This black-humored aspect of Stoklasa’s reviews drives off many easily offended people and humor-challenged people who don’t get the joke. Personally I see little difference between what Plinkett says about his fictional “victims” and a standard Movie Host doing schtick about how they prey on the world at large as a vampire or sketches with a mad scientist top banana graphically abusing the second banana lab assistant in some way. And if you think of Nadine (who ultimately strikes back anyway) as an updated version of Mad Marvin’s or Zacherley’s wives the parallels continue to add up. Plus I’ve lost track of how many old Movie Host shows featured behind-the-scenes people getting some screen time by playing chained-up “victims” in the program’s creepy castle or dungeon set.
I actually admire the well-thought-out “Charles Addams In The 21st Century” approach to the Plinkett character’s macabre antics, which are more clever than salacious. To cite just one example, at one point in a review Plinkett says “Now I analyzed this film with a team of high school cheerleaders and we came to one unanimous conclusion … that if I let them go they promise they won’t tell nobody.” Admittedly Stoklasa doesn’t just push the envelope, he stuffs it with pizza rolls, seals it with blood and mails it to you, but hey, the reviews are for adults.
And there is precedent for this type of homicidal creep as a Movie Host persona. According to Elena Watson’s wonderful book on Movie Hosts 1980’s New York had a host called The Creep, who hosted a triple-feature of b-movies Saturday nights into the wee hours of the morning. His schtick was that he was a kind of twitchy, unhinged dweeb made up of equal parts Norman Bates and Travis Bickel. I’m not for one minute implying Stoklasa ever saw episodes of The Creep, I’m simply pointing out for purists that Mr Plinkett can’t be ruled out just because he’s the type of monster who is closer to reality than vampires or mad scientists. His character definitely has overtones of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, too.
Obviously I’m more than half in the bag for Mr Plinkett (Red Letter Media fans will get it) but I think you’ll find his feature-length reviews as side-splittingly funny as I do. Especially if you’ve come to despise George Lucas!
FOR MY LOOK AT TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2011/12/22/randy-clower-balladeers-blog-interviews-a-movie-host-legend/
AND FOR OTHER MOVIE HOSTS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/movie-hosts/