The Barnes & Noble Review
Stepping out of the shadows once again, former writer and host of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mike Nelson is casting his sharp eye on the world beyond the darkened movie theater. Following on the heels of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, the actor, director, musician, and writer returns with a collection of more than 50 essays on the absurd amenities of modern living.
From the perspective of his home base in Minneapolis, Minnesota, modern life has not been kind to Mike Nelson. Whether faced with offending views of the towel-less older gentlemen embracing "man's natural state" in the health club locker room, or trying to get service at Home Depot ("Some of the best advice I ever got was, 'Start climbing on the shelves' "), nearly every aspect of daily life is fuel for exasperation. In Mind over Matters, Nelson has his whip poised over everything from leaf blowers to men's fashions to Radio Shack -- and he's not afraid to use it. Whether providing a provocative view of the history of television ("Naming a psychedelic show H. R. Pufnstuf is a barely coded way of saying, 'The producers of this program would like you all to know how very, very much we enjoy smoking rope' "), a heartfelt plea for sanity ("Please stop scolding and shaming me, syndicated human interest stories"), or a venture into the purely bizarre in an interview with his One-hundred Dollar Linen Shorts (bought on sale for $28), Nelson illuminates a world that -- with each bright, clean step toward convenience and normalcy -- just keeps on getting weirder.
In an essay titled "Rethinking the Backside," Nelson writes, "It seems the gluteus maximus's major function is to get tired at plays and make airplane flights seem longer than they actually are. I suggest that we could do without them." Whatever the backside's failings, Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters will give you good reason to put yours to the test -- so, sit back and enjoy it. (Elise Vogel)
In the tradition of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, which featured endless takedowns of Hollywood glitterati, comes Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters, some 50 short essays covering up everything from "Portal to Hell: The Radio Shack Experience" to "Grumpy Floppy and the Flo-Flo," or the pet names of friends for their loved ones. Michael J. Nelson, head writer of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 for 10 seasons (and its host for five), has an endless supply of good-natured bile, and here turns it on the annoyances and idiocies of everyday life. ( Mar. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Nelson (Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese) is perhaps best known as the brains behind the cult classic television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. In this collection of more than 50 offbeat essays, he shares his observations about everyday matters such as the media, education, food, and family life. His humor is a cross between that of Dave Barry and of Jerry Seinfeld, and his highly personal style he includes remarks about his wife and his children will delight some readers but annoy others. Nelson also tends to dwell on the obvious. For example, in one essay about modern life he opines about the sounds of autumn, pointing out that fall used to sound like the gentle swish-swish of leaf raking but is now dominated by the cacophony of leaf blowers. In short, this collection of humor is uneven at best. Though some will find it funny, it will likely disappoint many MST3K fans, as it lacks the sardonic repartee for which Nelson is most celebrated on his television series. Recommended primarily for public libraries where demand dictates. Joe Accardi, William Rainey Harper Coll., Palatine, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The author of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese (not reviewed) and quondam host of Comedy Central's Mystery Science Theater 3000 offers some small, comic essays. The result is, happily, laughable.