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In 1989, William Shatner directed his first film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The movie was, in most respects, absolutely terrible. After a brief prologue, it opens not in space, but on Earth, where Shatner’s Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock, and DeForest Kelley’s Dr. McCoy are enjoying some shore leave. For some reason, Captain Kirk is free-climbing El Capitan. He falls but Mr. Spock (who is conveniently wearing rocket boots) catches him. Then they all sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Can you believe the movie was a massive flop?

Creative choices that peculiar demand an explanation. Fortunately, Shatner provided this one, while sitting on a rock at Yosemite National Park with El Capitan looming over his shoulder in the background. After a few minutes of warmup he gets to the real psychological underpinnings of this scene: Captain Kirk, like all mountain climbers, wants to, uh, f--- that mountain.

Did you catch all that? Here it is transcribed:

The mountain is climbed because I think the climber wants to hug the mountain. He wants to envelop that mountain within his body. He wants to make love to the mountain. And on its highest and finest level, whether these tough young guys with their sinewy bodies and their one-meal-a-day routine will admit it, there is a passionate affair going on between the climber and the mountain.

William Shatner’s words are like beautiful poetry; poetry about a man wanting to insert his genitals into a giant granite formation. Indeed, his words are so moving and powerful, they’ve been repurposed in song.

I must now give full credit to Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema for alerting me to this masterpiece of insanity by including it in the pre-show for the new rock-climbing documentary Meru, in which three brave men attempt to scale one of the most dangerous peaks in the world (presumably to have sex with it). The movie was good. Shatner’s interview was better. In fact, whether you readers with your sinewy bodies and one-meal-a-day routine would admit it, it’s probably the greatest interview ever conducted on the topic of movies. Or, really, any subject at all.