and I and all those people out there with a vocal love of film have
ruined it for everyone, pimping movies up, falling in love with
mediocre films and championing them to near-legendary status. We’ve
embraced turkeys, legitimized borderline movies, and elevated modest
films in our favorite franchises above and beyond realistic standards.
We’ve even embraced the films everyone likes, somehow adding a
credibility to them that transcends the mainstream. Sacred cows, little
flicks, and everything in between. It’s time we took a look inward and
came clean with 25 movies we think need to be taken down a peg or two.
These are our four categories for this list:
These guys have had it too easy. Far too easy. Don’t believe the insane hype.
Good flicks that have gotten too damn big for their britches.
Asshole, you love this film for all the wrong reasons.
WHAT THE FUCK
Something went horribly wrong here and it’s carried over the the fans, who are blinded by shizer.
Your guide: Alex Riviello
Its Legacy: The longest running theatrical run in film history. Tim Curry becoming a transvestite icon. Dozens of worn down vhs tapes from kids’ constant rewinding to see Susan Sarandon in a bra. Tons of douchebags playing dressup every weekend. Thousands of fan clubs and websites.
Why It’s Here: I could go on and on about the problems with this film- its nonsensical plot, crappy effects, the songs that are incredibly hit or miss. But of course, it’s stupid to fault the film for these reasons. Rocky Horror is a campy bit of fun, with some truly classic songs and some really enjoyable moments. It deserves to be seen with some drinks in you so you can have a laugh at it (at it, not with it) on a Friday night. What is doesn’t deserve to be is a cultural fucking phenomenon.
If you live in a city of any kind, chances are high that the movie is still playing every weekend at a midnight screening. Chances are equal that people are dressing up and bringing props to the theater. And chances are very, very good that those people are repeat customers, have made their own costumes, and need to get a new hobby.
It never ceased to amaze me how this film keeps going. Sure, the audience participation thing might be fun with a rowdy group, but I wonder if any of those people pop it on at home? Doesn’t exactly work well, does it? Any movie can be fun when you’re dressing up in stupid outfits and throwing shit at the screen. Any single one. Let’s start up a new phenomenon around say, Pink Flamingos. People can dress up in diapers and chomp on turds at the appropriate time. Instant fun!
There really are dozens of movies more deserving of its cult status, but week in and week out the cult of Rocky Horror continues to thrive and frighten the norms. Who knows what the fans could do if they just moved beyond their obsession? Any movie that requires a list of rules like this to enjoy can’t be all that entertaining by itself.
And actually, for a midnight movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is almost obscenely tame. What else would you expect from a studio film with such a big budget, though? While the movie’s rated R, if it were released today there’s no reason that it couldn’t get a PG-13. There’s barely any blood, nudity or swearing- it’s apparently just all those scary homosexuals that made the MPAA afraid of it in 1975.
A Moment of Piss: Almost everything after Meatloaf exits screen via ice-pick. The movie takes a serious turn, gets bogged down in its stupid plot and doesn’t recover.
These Ain’t Chopped Liver Alternatives: Little Shop of Horrors, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Clue, and for the sexiest midnight movie experience around- Necromantik.
Andre Dellamorte Agrees: I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and the Clinton Street Theater has seemingly been playing that film on the weekends at midnight as long as I’ve been alive. When I was in high school, I hung with the drama kids so being wrapped in toilet paper and acting as a living tampon was a fait accompli. And I had a great time – it definitely put me in good with the lady I was with – but I had the experience and that was that. When the special edition DVD came out I sat down with the film, and (as should be no surprise) had to sort through the good and bad. The film is – sans audience – mostly tolerable. The experience of seeing it in a theater is powerful, but its following falls into the category of a lot of similar movies to which its fans aren’t usually movie people. Seeing any movie with an engaged crowd – be it two or a thousand – can make a film into something shared, but the experience of Rocky Horror Picture Show is almost tangential to the thing itself. And instead of Rocky Horror being symbolic of the power of the audience experience (or acting as a gateway drug), instead it’s a relic and rite of passage, something you go to at midnight when you’ve got no use for laser-lights, SNL is re-runs, don’t want to go to a bar or are too young to buy booze, or for the people so commited to it that they play dress-up. There’s little organic about it now since people have been doing it for three decades, and -sady – as the last vestige of the midnight movie, from its fields no seeds have found purchase. I’m happy that people can still have that experience, but like Alex I can’t help but wish that this led to more midnight shows in general, as the films that get labeled as such rarely get a chance to play then. Theaters have to work to court a midnight crowd, and it’s worth cultivating even in our digital age. Personally, I would love to see a film like Visitor Q become the next audience participation film, because I like to dream big. But, I guess, there’s no replacing Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Jeremy Smith Disagrees: If The Rocky Horror Picture Show always seemed like a good time, it’s because I watched Fame far too often in my youth. Pretty much anything the kids did in that movie looked like the coolest thing ever to an impressionable eight-year-old (hence my lifelong fascination with stand-up comedy, synthesizers and screwing rich white chicks), and Maureen Teefy’s backlit liberation to “The Time Warp” was no exception. But that pesky R-rating kept me from having my Teefy moment until I was in high school, by which point the film had become a risible novelty thanks to its home video release (apparently, the fact that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an incomprehensible mess of a movie was a major revelation back in the early 1990s). After a solitary viewing, I concurred with this assessment; then I watched it with an audience (sitting next to a girl I was trying to get with), and I had an absolute fucking blast. Some of this had to do with the veteran Rocky Horror crowd, but the real appeal was feeling like you were at Tim Curry’s freaky happening; Frank N. Furter is less a character than a twisted, transsexual party host. Is the ritual flinging of toast and toilet paper and whatever else mildly annoying? I suppose. But it’s a unique experience (at least it was until the sing-a-long Sound of Music shtick got popular) and a great way to encounter chicks with a certain… morally casual attitude. “Overblown”? Impossible.