Mr. B Natural (1957) Poster

(1957)

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Such innocent times
aa5622 May 2005
Seems to me Betty Luster was trying to be a cross between Mary Martin's Peter Pan and Betty Hutton's Annie Oakley, two popular female stars and characters circa the time Mr. B Natural was made. In Mr. B's case, however, something went awry with the character's nervous system. Not sure if Betty was over-acting or was directed to be that way in an exuberant attempt to mimic Martin and Hutton. It's too bad her career seemed to have stopped after Mr. B. Got to admire her enthusiasm!

The concept of the film is so charmingly innocent. A grown woman can magically appear in a boy's bedroom anytime he chooses to summon her! What pornographers would do to that story today!
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10/10
The most incredible film ever produced...
matt-813 July 1999
I am going to give this sucker a 10, but not because it's any good. It has to be the most horrifying and strange concoction ever seen by mortal man - Lynch, Argento and Cronenberg couldn't come up with anything as weird as this if they put their heads together.

If this thing was one frame longer than it was, it would take a nose dive in my rating. It would also create deep psychological torment attended by suicidal tendencies.

The only way I can imagine anyone actually finding a copy of this is attached at the beginning of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," episode 319 ("War of the Colossal Beast"). The reactions of Joel and the 'bots are priceless.
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10/10
Perfecto! Mr B Natural is just perfect fun!
Wade Archer28 April 2005
I must say upfront that I've only witnessed the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, but I've never laughed that hard and loud outside of my favorite Benny Hill skits. This is EASILY one of my Top 13 favorite items I own on video. The retro-kitch factor is matched superbly by the strangeness of it all. It makes me wonder whatever became of Betty Luster? As Mr B Natural, she is now an internet icon, posted on many websites. Obviously, without the MST3K Joel & the robots commentary, this film would seem unwatchable, but would still be quite fun at a party. The line "You've got to inspect your horn, boy." will go down in Hollywood comedy history. Mr B can haunt my house anytime.
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1/10
Scarier than "Showgirls!"
failedscreenwriter11 August 2004
Like everyone else, I saw this late one Friday night on MST3K. Essentially it's a really lame 1950s infomercial to help high schools recruit more band zombies. It was produced by Conn, a manufacturer of band instruments, and is (entertainingly) bad beyond belief.

The essential plot: Buzz, a shy (and apparently, seriously disturbed) teen, is visited by an extra-perky and sexually confused woman in a Peter Pan suit, calling herself "Mr. B Natural." She than takes him on a magical misery tour of the hip world that is High School Band. He's under her evil spell! Slinging his trumpet like Miles Davis, our Buzz is now one of the popular kids and quite the chick magnet. Gosh, when *I* was in band all it did was get me out of P.E.!

The shrill, artificial dialogue (complete with horrible puns about being natural) and "Mr. B Natural's" gyrations defy description. One IMDb reviewer compared this film to the darkest thing David Lynch ever imagined, and I must agree. All you'd need is a dwarf talking backwards and Kyle McLachlan brandishing a trombone, and I think David has his next dream sequence. Do NOT see this film while on acid; it could do your psyche serious damage. And if Buzz were in school today, he'd quite likely wander into the band room when everyone else is out selling candy, and shoot holes in the tubas with his Uzi. One of Crow's lines in response to the awesomely bad script was "Have you no shame?" No, they didn't.
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10/10
funniest MST3K ever
Brian Leonard10 August 1999
This utterly bizarre short, basically an ad for Conn musical instruments, was perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and as part of that show, was simply one of the most hysterically funny things ever shown on TV. "I feel ill."
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1/10
Scarier than ANY other film! (10 stars as an MST, 1 as a short)
judasrising66666626 March 2006
In this horrifying short film, a genderless pixie-ish entity named Mr. B Natural who is apparently the spokesperson for Conn instruments tries to awake the spirit of music inside a dorky loner 12 year-old named Buzz. After giving chase from his locker and his apparently Pee-Wee's Playhouse-esquire home, she tries convincing him to play an instrument. Apparently, if you become a bandie, you just wrote your own ticket to being cool, at least this rule applied in the 50s...

Anyway, after being shown how to make instruments give "happy schmiiiiiles!" and "big laaaaaaaaaughs!", Buzz and his parents go to the music store to pick out a trumpet. After seeing how old ladies make instruments and how the instruments are tested in gas chambers, Buzz gets his trumpet, conforms to be like the other kids, and joins the band. After seeing his hilarious trumpet solo and the "really really white" school dance, we are left with the most terrifying film ever created.

Of course, we all saw this watching MST3K (the best show in the universe), so we all know that this was going to be bad. As a short film, this is probably the worst short movie EVER MADE. Basically, it is band propaganda told by a sexless fairy! Scary? HELL YES! As an MST3K, probably the funniest episode ever!
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5/10
Close The Window, Kid
aesgaard4123 March 2001
This short was made the same year I was born, and when my music teacher in elementary school showed it to me, I didn't rush out and get an instrument. I went home, locked the window and checked under the bed for women who dress like Peter Pan and pass themselves off as guys. Actually, Betty Luster is sort of attractive in her own way, but she should have stuck to singing on variety shows. As Mr(s). B. Natural, she is so sickingly sweet, jovial and spirited that even Marcia Brady would have slapped her. The production staff must have been laughing under their breaths as she is forced to keep a painful, perpetual smile and jump around like Tinkerbell on acid. If this had been a movie, gawdforbid, I think she really would have ended her visit with sucking the lifeforce out of the boy and moving on to the next one.
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1/10
You can be natural...even if you don't know your own gender!
Lee Eisenberg9 July 2006
In one of the many so-called educational films from the '50s, a jolly, spandex-clad woman calling herself Mr. B ("Mr. B"...hmmm, is she a lesbian?) shows a tensed-up schoolboy the wonders of musical instruments and reminds him to BE NATURAL (har har). "Mr. B Natural" is exactly the sort of movie that would make anyone hate music. Maybe that's why people seem to have been getting stupider for years: this sort of junk was used as education! If that sort of woman popped up in my room, I'd ask her whether she's on speed.

Fortunately, all is not lost: "MST3K" showed this movie. As Crow put it: "Oscar Wilde wished he was this gay." Too bad that they didn't make any "I Dream of Jeannie" jokes; not only is there a character named Jeannie, but Mr. B appears and disappears (and makes things appear and disappear) like Barbara Eden's famous character.

So, the movie itself is 0/10, but the "MST3K" version is 9/10 (a Jeannie joke would have pushed it into 10/10).
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3/10
"We're really, really white ..."
Ravenswing5 December 2005
Pity the Conn instrument manufacturers -- which are still, possibly alarmingly, in business today -- aren't still doing media advertisements, because I might run into one of their infomercials on late night cable.

Late night cable not existing yet in the 1950s, this ghastly short made its way into the classrooms of the day ... perhaps as a result of sweetheart deals and kickbacks to local high school music departments. Sporting a Grade C Mary Martin-clone speaking in a helium-driven voice, the audience is shown the dubious message that the route to high school popularity is to join the band, and of course to buy only the most expensive possible instruments.

While this was seemingly the last thing (and one of the only, as to that) Ms. Luster did in show business, one can't help but think that the director, costumer and set designer had good times ahead working for the 1960s' Batman show.

3/10.
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1/10
And they wonder?!?!?!
Blue-3226 November 1999
I have griped up a storm about my elementary/junior high/high school days, talking about mental trauma inflicted upon me. For those who say, "Aw, it could NOT have been THAT bad," I suggest a viewing of this very waste of celluloid. Music is a wonderful thing... why use this kind of nasty, evil, perverted thing on innocent young children? MST3K helped me overcome years of horror by riffing on this thing... Unfortunately, this piece of filth was played in a music class I was forced to endure as a young 'un.

Between this, and the folk "song" Tingalao, [about a walking, talking, eating with a knife and fork donkey] it is small wonder that any hope my father had for my being a brilliant concert pianist went into the toilet. I could kiss Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy for their riffs on this horror! Thanks guys for helping me get at least mental revenge on something that gave me worse nightmares than The Wolf Man!
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The scariest character ever
sharktrooper2130 June 2010
Okay, this started out innocently enough by trying to create a character that would excite the kids into the wonders of music. What they created instead has to be the most terrifying... whatever you want to call it... that has ever been put on the screen.

I have no idea why they decided to call a female character "Mr." B Natural but my guess is that they went with her as she was the best thing that the casting crew saw all day. My other guess is that they thought that the actress looked unisex enough to pass as something the kids could relate to. But the fact that she is following a guy named Buzz kind of defeats the purpose... Scratch that. It takes the "purpose" and obliterates it.

If you ever want to see my little brother cringe, just say "Mr. B Natural". The only cut of this short that I would suggest seeing is the one that Joel and the bots make fun of. I think they did their country a service by doing what they did to this.

After all, "Mr. B, what do you know about dignity?"
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10/10
Best MST3k Short, Ever
Clay Loomis14 January 2010
This is a horrid 1950's marketing short for an instrument company, and to my knowledge cannot be found on its own on video today. But the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version can be found, so that's what I'm commenting on.

IMHO, this is the funniest short ever covered by MST3k (Circus on Ice would be second). First, it's a Joel episode, and I always found those best. Second, this short is so psychotic that it provides almost limitless riffing possibilities. I wonder how many other jokes they came up with that just had to be thrown out because they couldn't fit them in. Let's hope Joel gives Mr. B another good going over with his new show, Cinematic Titanic. He did it for Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

I was fortunate in that I recorded all the MST3k episodes shown on Comedy Central. I've been converting the tapes over to DVD and came across this episode today while doing so. I'd seen it many times in the 1990's, but found it has lost none of its impact. Drop dead funny!

I've got too many favorite lines to list them all, so I'll just keep it short and leave you with this-

Mr. B Natural: You've got to inspect your horn, boy....

Crow: ....And wash it every day.
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1/10
The King, or is that Queen, of hideous "educational" short subject films
Tobias_R16 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Without a doubt, "Mr. B. Natural" is one of the worst "educational" films foisted upon hapless high-school students during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Purporting to inspire youngsters to study music, the film is, as has been pointed out by other commentators, a half-hour dramatic infomercial for the Conn (appropriate name) Music Company. Instead of inspiring anyone to purchase a musical instrument, this movie could convince people to gouge out their ears with a screwdriver so they'd never hear another thing again. Films of this ilk helped to put the death seal of eternal dorkiness on anything of any cultural value. Just listen to Mr. B. Natural describe the instruments of an orchestra. It would make any sane youngster think you'd have to be a pathetic, hopeless uncool, loser to want to even touch one, much less play one.

All this said, I must confess I found this grotesque film mesmerizing as I watched Mr. B Natural prance around Buzz's room, knocking him over at one point. The poor kid who played Buzz looked obviously intimidated by Ms. Luster (how inappropriate a name here!)as the demonic fairy, Mr. B Natural. One almost suspects if Buzz had rejected Mr. Natural, he/she would have dragged him by his hair into the fiery pits of hell, like the statue of the Commandatore did to Don Juan. In a way Buzz was smart taking up an instrument: he got rid of Mr. B Natural and at least wasn't as lonely as he was at the start of the film.
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1/10
The ideal device when interrogating criminals
Gideon4018 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This 20 minute short tries to show you the beauty of music and how you can express feelings with various instruments. That sounds like a nice premise, but the direction and characters disfigured the plot to the point of being unrecognizable. Mr. B Natural is as inane of a name as the character is. This person is a woman, but she's called a 'mister'. Is she a transvette then? Nobody will know what influenced the creation of this name. The story is about a nerdy college boy who wants to be accepted by his friends, and apparently takes a lot of drugs because when at home one day he hallucinates that he is talking to a woman dressed in a peter-pan esque outfit who is obsessed with all kinds of music. She/he is the most mentally disfunctional freak I've ever seen, prancing around like a moron in the most randomly generated dance routines. Her/his voice is also high pitched, to the point where Joel and the bots cringe when they see her in the screen. I think the director tried to make her seem like a perky, happy person who motivates the kid, but it is horribly overdone and turns her/him into a nightmare which can only exist as a bad hallucination. Imagine a woman whose eyes are wide open all the time, who always has a grin that stretches across her face and talks in a screechy voice about happy things, while dancing around maniacally. There you go.

SPOILERS up ahead, tho you can predict the whole movie by just reading the summary

B natural 'motivates' Buzz, the kid, to take up a musical hobby and after a few days of mistake-free practice, he turns into an expert in the trumpet but the tunes he plays sound stupid anyway (as joel and the bots would agree). As you would expect there is terrible acting and so on. Mr. B Natural is very painful to watch and would be more effective as a device to use in threats and torture. However, watch this with MST3K and I guarantee it will turn this short from musical-gone-wrong into excellent comedy. To quote tom servo during one of the dancing scenes, "See Buzz? its really fun to be psychotic!"
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3/10
A shill for Conn instruments disguised as an education film goes horribly wrong!
lemon_magic25 February 2007
You know, I can sort of see where Betty Luster and the director were going with this short, but I really think that this thing just sort of got away from them and the film makers weren't able to salvage it in post production. So they just tossed it out there and hoped for the best. B-I-G M-I-S-T-A-K-E !!

A description of the plot makes it sound appealing enough: a boy in middle school needs something to help him come out of his shell.The spirit of music appears to him and inspires him to take up an instrument (the trumpet). Success, popularity and hot jazz licks follow in short order. That sounds pretty good, even to me (although I played double reeds in middle school, which scarred me emotionally for life).

However, the execution of this simple premise, as played out by Betty Luster as the leotarded, androgynous Girl-Man, will cause you to doubt your senses. The kindest descriptive term I can come up with for her performance is: "over-caffeinated". Or maybe: "Mary Martin as Peter Pan does methamphetamine". Someone needed to educate her (and the director) about the dramatic differences between portraying "joy and enthusiasm" as opposed to "manic part of her mood swing".

Still, even though it's awful, it's so mind boggling that any fan or collector of B&W educational shorts ought to see it. Once. However, the only place I can imagine you finding it these days would be as the introductory short feature to "War Of The Colossal Beast" on one of the Mystery Science Theatre collections by Rhino. If you don't enjoy or approve of MST3K's antics, you'll have to give this one a pass.
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MST3K version is a scream!
xaomeow16 March 2003
I first saw this cinematic frightfest with the usual trio of Joel and the robots and I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. As usual they pick fun at the film, one of the lines I like the most is "Let's get acquainted" to which Crow responds "Let's not". They also joke that Liberache only wishes he was as gay as Mr. B :)

If you can find a copy of this as it is parodied by that fearless trio in orbit, I highly recommend it!
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1/10
tween angst sells instruments
johnny_burnaway27 April 2015
Gloryosky, this is a weird film. We've got creepy kid Buzz desiring to fit in with the hep cats in his junior high school. His moping about conjures up the androgynous Mr. B Natural, channeling Peter Pan both in outfit design and by having a woman portray a man a la Mary Martin. Mr. B turns Buzz on to playing a musical instrument as a way out of his social rut, chirping and squealing her dialogue like a tour guide on a massive dose of uppers. And all this is meant to sell Conn musical instruments. Yep, this is another one of those films where the commercial premise comes slathered with a sticky layer of "story", and we take a quick detour through the process of creating a musical instrument the Conn way. So Buzz gets his trumpet, blows through the 10,000 hours it's supposed to take to get good at something (no pun intended), and starts laying down honey- sweet tones while still in jr. high.

The real issue I have with "Mr. B Natural" is that it completely undercuts its own premise. Buzz doesn't have a problem that can be solved by a musical instrument. The hip kids are perfectly willing to have Buzz along with them the way he is. The tipping point of the film is when Jeanie, the one Mr. B identifies as the cutest girl in school, personally invites Buzz to come dancing with her and her friends. She even presses the issue a little when he demurs. The fact that Buzz not only turns down her invitation but also waves off his mother to go be alone in his room tells me his real problem is cataclysmic social withdrawal. We're lucky he's only visited by a musical pixie and not by a shadowy figure that tells him to murder his parents and then move on to his classmates.

Anyway, I'm like Homer Simpson in that when I don't like a movie, I make up my own. My cut of "Mr. B Natural" goes like this:

Jeanie, the cutest girl in school, invites Buzz to come to her house and dance with her friends. He accepts, turns on the ol' John Travolta, she invites him back next weekend, and so on, until he's part of the gang. Buzz and Jeanie cut a rug at all the school dances over the years and even go to the senior prom together. They get married after graduation and Buzz starts a prosperous construction company. 25 years later, he gets the contract to demolish their old middle school and build a new one. The night before the project is set to start, he and Jeanie take a last walk through the old halls, stopping at the bank of lockers where it all began. Jeanie says, "Do you ever wish you'd taken up a musical instrument when you were a kid?" Replies Buzz, "I never really thought about it. I had plenty going on back then." They kiss. The end.

This short was extremely low-hanging fruit for MST3k. It's one of their classic outings.
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1/10
Creepiest Advertisement I Ever Saw
bigverybadtom7 May 2013
Like probably most people here, I saw it during an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000". What is it? An old advertising short for a band instrument manufacturer. Why is it creepy? Largely because it's obviously a woman unconvincingly playing a man.

Yes, like many children I saw Mary Martin play Peter Pan on television. But Mary Martin was convincing as an overgrown boy. Here, "Mr. B Natural" is clearly a woman, with a woman's lipstick and makeup, and clothing that fits tight enough so that even a three-year old could see is an adult woman. And she talks in a high, unmistakably grown woman's voice. In her behavior in the advertisement, she dances around too much as well.

The advertisement's intended message is that being a member of a school band is what children would enjoy becoming. One little problem-in my high school days, people who played in the band were known as "band fags"-obviously not meant to be complimentary. Whether fair or not, you could get more respect in school by joining the swim team. But that typically does not require anyone to buy expensive musical instruments.
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3/10
Terrible
rbverhoef4 December 2003
I simply had to see some of the short movies that had something to do with Mystery Science Theater 3000 to know how bad it really was and I was told this was one of them. And it is true 'Mr. B Natural' is one of the worst short movies I have ever seen. In fact, it was so stupid I almost enjoyed watching it.

A woman named Mr. B Natural is the spirit of music and when a boy is unhappy or something like that, she shows up. She gives the boy a taste of music and in the end the boy is playing an instrument which makes him confident. Or something like that. Basically it is a lesson for parents: give your kids an instrument to play and they will be confident and therefor happy.

Now that I have written the above I am a little enjoyed. Can a subject of a movie be more stupid? I don't know, but I guess it would be very hard. If you like really stupid, you will enjoy this one. I almost did.
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1/10
I'm confused and scared...
Rob-27627 May 2002
I also just watched the MST3K version. This had to be one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. Was Mr. B a man? Was Buzz a kid who was afraid to make friends and fit in? What was CONN Instruments thinking when they made this. The strange homosexual/identity confusion alone should make no one in their right mind even consider playing an instrument.
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2/10
Nothing Natural about Mr. B here...
icehole422 January 2002
Conn instruments probably wanted to distance itself from this trash so bad after it was released. Why they didn't title this Miss B Natural is beyond me. Betty Luster, playing a man(?) takes the school loser Buzz and turns him into a hepcat by having him play the trumpet. What really shoots this down are three things: 1. A severe lack of reality, especially from Mr. B, 2. Mr. B's obscene cheerfulness, and 3. bad acting from Buzz and several other people.

Avoid this one unless you're watching the MST3K version. Joel and the bots skewer this one in one of their best performances on a short.
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Most horrifying short film ever!!
Rattrap00721 August 1999
This is by far the most disturbing short film I have ever seen. Mr. B Natural is supposed to be man, yet is played by a spritely, spirited, yet very annoying woman. She visits young Buzz and introduces him to the 'joy of playing music'. You will This is however, the greatest short ever shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I'm not saying that the short it self is higher quality than the others, but it is the funniest one with the heckling from Joel and the bots. The are just as frightened by Mr. B, whom Joel says is 'hot' when she/he/it is draped across a chair in a semi-sexual pose. They make the greatest want to take a long shower after viewing because it makes you feel so ill and dirty. jokes towards Mr. B. When Buzz asks where Mr. B comes from Tom Servo quickly inserts "Bellvue", which is a famous mental hospital. To sum up, do not watch for any reason unless you are watching the MST3K version. Ewww!
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8/10
What a twisted and disturbing little film.
Xithor9 August 1999
I am forced to give this ungodly waste of film high marks for it's pure and disturbing camp value. (shudder)

If there was ever a film made to warp minds, and provide filler for MST3K, this was it.
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1/10
"Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!" aka "Mr. B Natural: The 'Manos' of short films" - a review
Torgo_Approves1 May 2006
(r#21)

When Betty Luster was born, her parents had no idea that she, along with the writing "talents" of Marvin David, would one day give birth to the indisputably worst fictional character created in the history of mankind. How awful is the character of "Mr. B Natural"? Let me count the ways.

1) There is absolutely nothing natural about a freakish, psychotic man-woman-child jumping around and laughing at nothing.

2) Mr. B Natural achieves the impossible: being a more annoying man-woman than Chris Tucker's utterly hate-able Ruby Rod from Luc Besson's Fifth Element.

3) Mr. B Natural hurts children. She happily throws little Buzz (played by Forrest Gump look-a-like Bruce Podewell) onto his bed, almost breaking his arm. Buzz, too scared to move, can't protest and smiles desperately, hoping for his mother to come and rescue him, the poor guy.

4) Mr. B Natural is a commercial a-hole. The entire short is just a marketing campaign for Conn, an instrument distributor.

5) Mr. B Natural is clearly one of the incarnations of the devil, the eighth sin, the last sign of the Apocalpyse. I swear, this man-girl has "666" tattooed in the back of her neck. She's the bastard son of Freddy Krueger and Anton LaVey (yes, they're gay). Chuck Norris avoids her like the plague - he's too scared.

In conclusion, Mr. B Natural is a disturbing and absolutely worthless short. If you're going to make a commercial, why make it this disturbing? If I was a kid and saw this, I'd be scarred for life. Jaded as I am, I'll probably just have emotional problems for the rest of my life. Thank you, movie.

1.0 out of 10 - the absolutely lowest rating a movie can get. And Mr. B Natural deserves it. No one should have to be subjected to this. "Natural" is the 'Manos': The Hands of Fate of short films, only more painful. Avoid!
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2/10
Once at band camp, I was assaulted by Mr. B Natural holding a French horn
CelluloidRehab1 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. B Natural is really a talking, musical note that transforms into a woman dressed in a powder blue Peter-Pan like outfit, pretending to be a man calling himself B Natural. Still following?

Mr. B would have fit in perfectly in a 70's party with George Carlin, Rick James and Robin Williams (sniff, sniff). Now imaging instead of all these cool people (or any other people), it's just you and Mr. B in a room together. Also, Mr. B is really working for an instrument manufacturer, COMM. On top of that, Mr. B is on a roll after dropping some acid, ecstasy and meth. Hold on to your hats and hope your psychiatrist can fix it later.

The opening scene is band practice on a grass field, followed by notes & Mr. B on a sound stage. The scene moves to band co-ed lockers (very progressive for 1957). Mr. B comes out of the closet(literally) and convinces our protagonist, Buzz (??), into getting his parent to buy him a musical instrument. Life is great. Buzz goes to all the great parties. We then get assembly porn of the COMM factory. I wish I were kidding:

Mr. B returns. I feel soulless now and the drugs are wearing off. The only thing I learn is that "it really is quite fun to be psychotic." Thank you Joel, Crow & Tom for helping me through the dark times.

-Celluloid Rehab
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