I first managed to see the movie after asking my grandparents to tape it off the movie channel that they got. They apparently didn't quite understand what they were seeing, but did it all the same. At the time, I had become familiar with the premise and characters of the show from reading MSTings. I'd even worked out what the characters looked like. I did enjoy the movie quite a bit, which piqued my interest further but might have affected my next experience with the series itself. Some Usenet reviews of the movie declared that while the movie might be funny, the TV show was funnier, and not only that, but the "Joel" episodes were funnier than the "Mike" episodes. When I got around to renting the Joel episode "The Amazing Colossal Man" from a well-stocked university-town video store, I was expecting to be blown away... but wasn't quite. Fortunately, the next few episodes that I rented and watched improved my feelings on the matter.
Fan opinions on the movie itself may have improved over the years. While there's still a trace of wistfulness for the wringer that production put the show's creators through (including having to cut the movie down), it's easy enough now to find positive opinions of it. The movie inside the movie itself, "This Island Earth," is by most measures a good sight better than a lot of stuff the series tackled, but it's turned into something humourous without seeming to become the constant target of unjustified, dismissive attacks.
I did, in fact, recently manage to see the original "This Island Earth" without the now-familiar comments from the peanut gallery. A fair bit of footage was cut from the movie, in which Earth scientists are recruited without their first quite knowing it to try and aid a war-torn, dying planet. The cut scenes include some exposition that develops the character of the alien recruiter Exeter into something of a tragic and central figure, battling both fate and the uncaring demands of his own superiors. Even so, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie also works for me as well as a part of its series. With that, my experiment in returning to the show was a success.