Rocky Horror DVD!

Lest people accuse me of my usual intellectual snobbery, let me point out or admit or whatever verb you wish to use here that back when I was a wee lass I probably saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show at least a half a dozen times in the movie theatres. Not enough to be considered a raving dress-up fan, but I knew most of the songs and I knew what to do or shout or throw at all the appropriate times. And yes, it was great fun.

My first Rocky Horror experience was when I was in high school and I was invited by my collegiate brother to a midnight showing at the UConn campus in Storrs. This was UConn's pre-basketball fame days, when you could actually walk around the campus without being pelted with basketballs. I remember my first Rocky Horror jaunt as a complexity of mixed messages and nonsequiturs that (being the puerile fool that I am) make me giggle to this day.

For starters, the movie was being shown in a ROTC hangar on campus. It struck my teenaged brain as being positively hilarious that the ROTC had, as a fundraiser, a movie about subject matter about as diametrically opposed to what I imagine ROTC is all about. In this I am perhaps being unfair, for it could very well be that the ROTC merely rented out its hangar to whatever group paid the rental fee. Or that ROTC is not as intolerant of alternative lifestyles as I always kinda suspected it is. Anyway, my first viewing of Rocky Horror was in a ROTC hangar, which I found a funny juxtaposition.

Second, while I often made the forty-five-minute car trip to Storrs by myself, on that night my friend Dave accompanied me. I only knew certain landmarks on the UConn campus--the ROTC hangar was not one of them--so my brother agreed to meet me in a parking lot he knew I knew. My friend Dave was oddly quiet during most of the car ride, but in true self-involved fashion I did not really notice this until in retrospect.

I saw my brother a long way off standing forlornly in the empty parking lot (it was a midnight showing), but you know how it is trying to navigate a college campus. Dave, who seemed to be asleep for the last ten or fifteen minutes of the ride, perked up and exclaimed, "Oh, look! There's your brother! Say, do you mind pulling over a minute? I have to throw up." Which is not an editorial about Dave's feelings toward my brother, but apparently a growing sense of car sickness he was quietly entertaining during the long drive and did not share with me until that very moment. Anyway, I stopped the car and Dave was soon engaged in his own private affairs on the side of the road. My confused brother ended up hiking the quarter mile or so over to the car and wondering why I chose to stop there instead of drive up to him. He thought I was pulling some sort of prank, and my three-word explanation--"Dave's throwing up"--made the situation a tad weirder, at least as far as the more socially-acceptable greetings our Mom tried (in vain) to teach us.

Anyway, weirdness aside, I thought Rocky Horror was a great deal of fun and went several more times in high school and college. But you know something, it doesn't take a brain trust to see that, outside of the theatrics of the audience participation, viewed objectively it's really not that great of a movie. It's not terrible, but it's hardly a classic in my book. I'm sure there are many people who will debate me on this, including several academic types who wasted their careers writing scholarly papers on the phenomenon and will argue their points using phrases I don't understand like "NeoClassical Deconstruction" and "American Post-Disco Social Mores". (Um, okay. You win. It's a great movie. Can I go, now? Please?)

Look, I said it about the movie GREASE and I'll say it here: JUST BECAUSE A MOVIE IS TWENTY YEARS OLD DOES NOT NECESSARILY MAKE IT MAGICALLY "GOOD". And while I feel the need to reiterate that yes, it was fun at the time, it was also something of a novelty for an otherwise well-behaved teenager to be allowed to shout and throw things in the movie theater. And "novelty" does not automatically place this movie up with, say "To Kill a Mockingbird"; nor does Susan Sarandon's "toucha-toucha-toucha-touch me" really stack up there (juvenile puns aside) against "Stand up, Scout. Your Daddy's passin'."

Which is not FAIR, of course, since despite all the academic hot air someone might wish to spew at me (I am polite and I will feign interest but believe me, all my nodding and smiling is just my way of passing the time until I can get away from you) Rocky Horror was not and never will be For The Ages. It's a cultural blip, along with pet rocks and platform shoes. That's all I think it ever ASPIRED to be. There's nothing wrong with that. I really like Mary Poppins, for much the same reason--it's mindless fun you can sing along with (only I personally believe the Mary Poppins songs are better, and I harbor the secret conviction that Mary Poppins is indeed a "classic", even if it is mindless fun).

I suspect any Deeper Meaning (or people like me scoffing at the Notion of a Deeper Meaning) people will ascribe to either one's acceptance or rejection of the Subject Matter. And I, unfortunately for me, am not one who immediately equates Controversy with Greatness--in fact I am of the opinion that Certain People often use Controversy to puff up an otherwise dull or lackluster story by accusing critics who might call it dull or lackluster as being Intolerant of the Controversial Subject Matter. And that sometimes gets me into trouble with people who feel the need to argue with total strangers about the relative merits of movies--oh, excuse me, I mean films.

I am not intolerant of Controversial Subject Matter. I am intolerant of morons pumping out drivel and trying to peer pressure you into saying good things about it by otherwise accusing you of intolerance. (Not that I necessarily think Rocky Horror is drivel. It's just..."eh.") My intolerance is the intolerance of sheer dollar-driven ham-fisted manipulation, not the oh-so-controversial stand some people pretend to take to make money.

Mojo, intolerant of another's lifestyle? Oh, please. To be perfectly blunt, since other people's lifestyles rarely involve ME to any great degree I don't have much interest in them one way or another. I know it may hurt you to hear me say this, but I Really Don't Care. The Daily Lives Of Total Strangers Don't Mean All That Much To Me. Especially You. And if you think for some reason I really SHOULD care about your particular life, than I would suggest you maybe need to reexamine your priorities about what's important to YOU, since I am operating under the assumption that for most rational people MY OPINION of THEM really doesn't hold much weight.

But oh, dear, I am off on a rant when I should be trying to sell you this unopened DVD of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My point that I was trying to make several grafs ago is that, while RHPS was a great deal of fun to see in the theatres (okay, except the last showing I went to, which was particularly rowdy and during the rain sequence instead of just squirt guns people were filling their popcorn buckets with water and throwing them, which meant we spent the rest of the movie with a squelchy-wet chill made worse when we left the theatre at two in the morning in sub-zero weather to a cold car--arrgh, there I go digressing again; I really should stop doing that) I IMAGINE (again having never OPENED the movie so I could very well be TOTALLY off base, which just goes to show how INTOLERANT I really am despite my elaborate attempts to OBFUSCATE the issue (whatever THAT means; honest, I just can't win with you people)) that just watching it on one's television would be Not As Much Fun as seeing it in the theatre. So while yes, I have seen it multiple times several years ago, I have no great burning desire to open it now and throw it up on the telly. And no, this is not due to any sort of raving intolerance, but rather due to a more pedestrian affliction I shall henceforth call "eh." Not quite so polysyllabic as the academic sorts may like, but I think it gets a very specific point across with admirable economy. Strunk and White would be proud, assuming they completely disregard the convoluted lack of structure that pollutes the rest of this description.

So who would actually want a DVD of Rocky Horror? Obviously, not someone afflicted with raving intolerance. Nor, I suspect, someone who, like me, is afflicted with "eh" about the movie. Plus I suspect that the person who really, really wants it--who dressed up every showing as their favorite character and sang and danced and recited the script like it was Shakespeare and who still has their private stash of fishnets and rhinestoned tube tops in the back of the closet--probably already has it on DVD, not to mention several other formats like laserdisc and Beta. So THEY wouldn't want it, unless they collected different editions of it and this one magically filled that one hole in their collection.

No, if you are sane (and sanity is one of the few prerequisites of a Craptacular fan, mostly because Mojo tends to find insane people rather tedious to talk to after the initial novelty has worn off) you will go for this pristine beauty because you covet not only a brand-new copy of RHPS on DVD but ALSO the Certificate of Craptacularity you get with it. Which as we all well know ups its regifting potential into the stratosphere.

Just don't give it to one of those really rabid Rocky Horror fans, okay? Because they will undoubtedly take the Certificate of Craptacularity the wrong way and be all like, "What? She doesn't like Rocky Horror? Is she, like, TOTALLY INTOLERANT or something?" and then you will hopefully be obligated to explain all this to them. Or you can just be a lazy jerk and say "Yeah, man, she's like totally trashing it on eBay" and they will have to take a number and stand in line with all the other Enemies I Have Accumulated Through the Years in the hopes that someday I will allow them into my office for a private consultation and they can then set me straight and tell me where I have gone wrong with my life and why some off-the-cuff thing I said twenty years ago STILL is NOT FUNNY EVEN TODAY after they have OBSESSED about it all these years trying to find the SLIGHTEST SPECK OF HUMOR in it. Yeah. Go wait over there. I'll be right with you, I promise. The rest of you, start bidding, and good luck. Because Mojo actually LIKES you, and wishes you all the best, and hopes you totally enjoy your Rocky Horror DVD should you be lucky enough to win this auction.