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403 - City Limits
0403
Air Date June 20, 1992
Movie Director Aaron Lipstadt
Year 1985
Cast John Stockwell, Darrell Larson, Rae Dawn Chong, James Earl Jones, Kim Cattrall, Robby Benson
Preceded by 402 - The Giant Gila Monster
Followed by 404 - Teenagers from Outer Space

The Movie

MST3k City Limits

Synopsis

Long version: Fifteen years from now the world is lit by widely spaced 40 watt light bulbs and populated by people who wear weird clothes. In this dystopia, your hero cowboy guy (with a cow skull helmet) ends up a pawn in a battle between biker gangs led by the foppier brother of Alex DeLarge from Clockwork Orange and the Hell's Kitchen guy's cousin. Meanwhile Kim Cattrall and Robbie Benson attempt to exploit the gangs for commercial profit.

'What commerce?' you ask, seeing how it's after the apocalypse and all. Well, repeat to yourself 'it's just a show, and I should really just relax.'

Anyway, Robbie Benson's shady business (the Sunya corporation) that is selling who-knows-what to who-knows-who comes under attack once cow-skull guy convinces the assorted biker types to team up with an embarrassed James 'I needed to pay the rent' Earl Jones in a finale that will shock and surprise amnesiacs and people who have just arrived on planet earth.

Short version: According to this movie, only the stupid will survive the apocalypse.
RDC with mask in City Limits

John Stockwell's unusual costume.

Information

Dean Devlin, who went on to co-write and produce blockbuster films such as Independence Day, plays the character Ernie in this movie.[1] Acclaimed and later respected character actors Tony Plana ("Ugly Betty", "Miami Vice") and John Diehl ("Miami Vice", "The Shield") also have small supporting roles.

Mitchell Froom who has produced albums by artist like Tom Waits, Los Lobos, Elvis Costello and Suzanne Vega to name a few, co-wrote the soundtrack to this movie.

"Sunya" is Sanskrit for "emptiness".

At one point Joel stands up with an umbrella which he uses to block a female actress' nudity.

The Episode

MST3k City Limits- MN as Morrissey

Mike Nelson as Morrissey.

Host Segments

Prologue: Joel says "ping-pong balls" just like Captain Kangaroo, with similar results. Poor Joel!

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Tom Servo's head is full of ping-pong balls, and he has somehow acquired Crow's eyes. Joel shows off his Mr. Meat & Potato Head toys. The Mads demo Pop Star Tupperware - currently featuring Morrissey.

Segment Two: Deeply smitten, Crow sings a tuneless ode to Kim Cattrall, appropriately titled "Oh, Kim Cattrall!". With the help of Joel, Tom Servo, and Gypsy, Crow them attempts to re-enact a sequence from Cattrall's 1987 film Mannequin, with predictably shambolic results.

Segment Three: Tom, Crow, and Joel invent comic book superheroes.

Segment Four: Tom, Crow, and Joel invent even more superheroes.

Segment Five: Joel and the bots try to play the City Limits trivia game, but they can’t remember anything about the movie. They read some letters instead. In Deep 13, the Mads have had it with Morrissey.

Stinger: Remote-controlled airplane attack!

Obscure References

  • "Help me..."

After his eyeballs have been knocked out in the first host segment, Crow delivers this line in the same style as the blind man in Rocket Attack USA.

  • "I sing whenever I sing whenever I sing..."

Frank is reprising Chase's upbeat (if somewhat repetitive) work song from The Giant Gila Monster.

  • "...Get on with the invention exchange, Crocodile Kangaroo."

Dr. Forrester may be referring to The Monkees episode "Captain Crocodile", in which the band met a corrupt childrens TV show host who was a parody of the wholesome Captain Kangaroo.

  • "Meat is murder, Frank."

This line is a subtle nod to fans of Morrissey and The Smiths; Meat Is Murder is the name of one of their albums.

MST3k John Stockwell, Darrel Larson, Kim Cattrall in City Limits
  • "I'm Max Keller."

A callback to the SOL crew's earlier experiment Master Ninja.

  • "So like, do you think you could get your dad to sign my 'Big Bambu' album?"

"Big Bambu" was a "comedy" album by Cheech and Chong.

  • "Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat!"

A reference to the short-lived TV series T.H.E. Cat.

  • "...I'm Charlton Heston for Contel..."

A reference to an ad campaign in which Heston endorsed Continental Telephone.

  • "Burger Chef! He's incrediburgible!"

Burger Chef was a fast food chain that went defunct in 1982; their eponymous mascot, voiced by Paul Winchell, was described by his sidekick Jeff as "incrediburgible".

  • "It's the BART system!"

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is the official name of the San Francisco subway system.

  • "I'm dead now!"

A reference to an anti-smoking PSA that actor Yul Brynner filmed shortly before his death from lung cancer and had aired posthumously, in which he said "I'm dead now. Don't smoke."

  • "I don't care what you do/Just take me with you!"

Tom is quoting the Prince song "Take Me With U".

  • "It's the New Power Generation!"

The New Power Generation was the name of Prince's backup band in the early 1990s.

  • "Gary Busey sold it to me."

Actor Gary Busey suffered severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident in the late 1980s.

  • "Then Came Boredom!"

A reference to the short-lived TV series Then Came Bronson.

  • "Now it's 'American Hot Wax'!"

American Hot Wax was a 1978 movie about Alan Freed, the Cleveland DJ who first coined the term "rock 'n' roll".

  • "Look Smithers, I'm Davey Crockett!"

Tom is quoting Mr. Burns in the Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror II".

  • "Jim Henson's Flying Leatherneck Babies!"

Flying Leathernecks was a 1951 movie about Marine aviators in World War II. It also references Jim Henson's Muppet Babies.

  • "Hey! Sonny Corleone's final destination!"

Referring to the toll booth scene from The Godfather where Sonny Corleone is brutally gunned down.

  • "He's humming the Roger Ramjet song!"

Roger Ramjet was a 1960s Saturday-morning satirical cartoon about a comedic superhero. The song in question is set to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

  • "Sing it! It worked for Mel Tillis."

Mel Tillis is a famous country singer who spoke with a stutter due to a case of malaria he caught when he was sixteen.

  • "Stalag 90210"

Stalag 17 is a 1953 war film about a group of allied P.O.W.s trapped in a German prison camp. Beverly Hills, 90210 was a television drama which aired on the FOX Network from 1990 to 2000.

  • "When I grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who would shoot the children..."

A reference to the Pink Floyd song "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," from their 1979 album The Wall. The music playing in the background during the scene is similar to the music in the song.

MST3k KC in City Limits hi-res

Notes

Guest Stars

When Kim Cattrall appeared at ConventioCon ExpoFest-A-Rama 2: Electric Boogaloo in 1996, she shared this story: “I was in my hotel room and was channel surfing. And what do I hear but my own name being sung by a small golden man. And it just went on like that. I yelled for my boyfriend to come in and see this. We were just in shock. A few minutes later, one of my lesser accomplishments came on: ‘City Limits.’ I called my publicity agent and asked him if Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a real show. He said yes. I called my florist and had an odd request: to send a bouquet of flowers to a Crow T. Robot.” [2]


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