His video eviscerations of the "Star Wars" prequels were among last year's most anticipated, widely viewed online videos, garnering millions of views, inspiring new discussions of copyright in the digital age, and making celebrity fans ranging from Simon Pegg to Roger Ebert. But now that Mike Stoklasa, aka Mr. Plinkett, has finished carving up George Lucas — his "Revenge of Nadine: Episode III Review Epilogue" dropped Thursday (March 10) — the Milwaukee based writer/director turned millennial critic is breaking out the entire cutlery set for his next target.
And this time, nobody will be safe, Stoklasa laughed in an interview with MTV News.
Titled "Half in the Bag," Stoklasa and friend Jay Bauman have launched a new online review program which will skewer current Hollywood movies in a more traditional review format, a "mix between 'Pee-Wee's Playhouse' and 'At the Movies,'" Stoklasa revealed in an email conversation. Their first effort, which imagines the pair as VCR repairmen sent to Mr. Plinkett's house, premiered late Friday evening (March 11).
The show is an attempt to cross something like "Siskel and Ebert" with a 80s era sitcom, Stoklasa explained, with the two hosts sitting across from each other while discussing new releases. For Stoklasa, it means that for the first time he'll be lobbing critical bombs in front of the camera, rather than from behind, a switch he said he made, not without some trepidation, to avoid "the same old thing."
"I was a bit concerned with revealing the 'man behind the curtain,', but it's just not in my nature to go on doing the same thing. If I did that people would say 'The Plinkett reviews are getting old and worn out,'" he wrote. "We don't want things to stay the same."
An expansion of and not a replacement for the trademark video stylings of Mr. Plinkett, the program is also an attempt to "make new material for people on a regular basis" while avoiding the labor intensive process inherent in the earlier reviews, Stoklasa wrote.
"I like talking about movies and analyzing them, but sometimes it's fun to deviate into other things and the traditional Mr. Plinkett reviews just take a really long time to make," he wrote. "I will still continue to make the Mr. Plinkett reviews where I do the voice and everything, but we're going to do this too."
But not all will be different, Stoklasa cautioned. Fans of his earlier reviews will see a familiar through-line, he said, as the program will contain cutaways, random sound effects, and even skits, such as a portion of the first review where George Lucas comes to destroy their set.
Of those familiar tropes, perhaps the most familiar will be Plinkett himself, who will appear to audiences in front of the camera played by Rich Evans.
"We toyed with the idea of never showing his face and me dubbing over all of his lines, but it would have been very time consuming to light that for each shot and to have to do all the ADR," Stoklasa wrote. "Plus, I think Rich is funny in the part, he adds a lot to the role and makes it his own. Rich is really great with awkward physical comedy and comes up with a lot of good ideas on set. Hopefully people will appreciate that there is 'Plinkett A' and 'Plinkett B' and to understand that Plinkett A is not going away."
Since the show takes place in the fictional construct of Mr. Plinkett's living room, where the pair are on a never ending quest to fix an old VCR, Stoklasa believes there's room to criticize not just new movies, but any film that Plinkett might have in his expansive video catalogue, meaning that while the first episode centered on new films like "Drive Angry" and "The Adjustment Bureau," older films are not off-limits.
"The format is open to us doing anything," he said. "We'll probably wind up with more current stuff for the primary reviews, but we'll do old B-movies and stuff like that too. We love terrible old B-Movies quite a bit and I have a sick fascination with movies that are so bad they're funny."
For now, "the hope is to do it weekly," Stoklasa wrote. The next episode of "Half in the Bag" premiers early next week.