vs.

In which I prove that a 17-year-old movie you've never heard of is better in many ways than the huge enourmous blockbuster that some people think actually deserves an Oscar.

Note: This page represents my ideas, and only my ideas. I have nothing to do with anyone involved in the making of either Shock Treatment or Titanic, or their fan clubs, or anything else remotely official.

I'm sure that most of you reading this are here because you love Titanic, and maybe a very few of you are here because you like Shock Treatment. No one has ever heard of Shock Treatment, it was never nominated for any awards, and most critics hate it. So why, you may ask, am I comparing it to one of the most popular movies ever and actually taking the side of the low-budget musical over the blockbuster love story? The answer is relatively simple. I started out comparing Titanic to Good Will Hunting, my Oscar pick, but it was too easy! Then, angry about the record being broken, I set out to compare it to Star Wars--again, too easy. This page is a challenge for me: to compare a movie which I like but which has litle merit to one that I consider even worse, but which everyone else seems to like. Here are the results.

Category #1: Plot

Titanic: Okay, the love story's all right, but we've seen it before. Rich girl falls in love with poor boy; not much new there. As for the ship sinking--that inconvenient subplot that gets in the way of the perfect love--it's dramatic, sure, but we can watch The Unsinkable Molly Brown, or any one of numerous other films, for that.

Shock Treatment: A young couple wind up on a TV game show to try to fix their failing mariage, and instead, the man is dragged off to the loony bin. His wife, meanwhile, becomes a superstar as the sponsor of the TV studio that doubles as the entire town plots to have her for himself. Can you find me one, just one other movie with a remotely similar plot? Didn't think so.

Category #2: Characters

Titanic: Let's face it, the characters are all stereotypes. We've all seen the rich girl who's tougher than all the men put together (remember Star Wars?), and the street rat with a heart of gold (Jean Valjean, or even Han Solo if you want to stay in this century).

Shock Treatment: Who can tell where Richard O'Brien came up with the strange characters inhabiting Denton? Thre's Bert Schnick, the game show host who pretends to be blind for some reason until halfway through the movie, Cosmo and Nation McKinley, an incestuous brother and sister team of false doctors from somewhere in Europe, and dozens of other completely original personas.

Category #3: Motivation

Titanic: We all know why this movie was made: to make money. It is the embodiment of the evil that has seized Hollywood, the attempt of a couple of businessmen to make a profit off of a teen heartthrob and a melodramatic storyline. And people actually watch this?

Shock Treatment: For some reason, Richard O'Brien and the rest of the creative team behind this movie actually believed in it. There was never any hope of making money off of it; it was made because someone thought it was a story worth telling.

Category #4: Fan Devotion

Titanic: Yes, people like this movie. They like it a lot, and go to see it over and over again. But have you ever seen anyone dress in costume for it? Do people know all the lines by heart and think of clever things to say betwen them? Are there conventions for it???

Shock Treatment: There are people who have seen this movie over and over and over again, too. There are also people who spend hours upon hours sewing the perfect costume by hand, so they can go to a convention and yell out the latest clever audience participation lines. People will do that for Titanic when pigs fly.

Category #5: Music

Titanic: No matter how much you like that love theme, it's only one song. Sung by Celine Dion, who sings it the same way that any other current artist would. Sure it might be a nice song to dance to at the prom, but once you get thouroughly sick of it, that's it. And you will get thouroughly sick of it.

Shock Treatment: No one has a right to critisize this movie until you've heard "Bitchin' in the Kitchen" or "Little Black Dress" or the title song, "Shock Treatment," among others. The music is fabulous, and it keeps the movie going at a lively pace. All fot he songs are sung by artists with unique voices and interpretations, from Nell Campbell's annoying sqeak to Jessica Harper's deep, rich voice to Cliff DeYoung's duet with himself--complete with two diferent personalities.

Category #6: Repeat Viewings

Titanic: I have seen Star Wars at least 30 times, Forrest Gump over 20, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show a good 15. And yet I still managed to fall asleep during my second viewing of Titanic. Why is this? Once you've seen it, you've seen it all. As if the plot isn't obvious enough the first time around, three hours of completely predictable crap is enough to send anyone to dreamland.

Shock Treatment: This is one of those rare movies that actually gets better each time you see it. Every time, the plot becomes clearer, and you can tke time to look around at the set and costumes, and maybe even catch a hidden joke or deeper insight.

Category #7: Quotes

Titanic: "You jump, I jump." Not a lot to interpret, is there? It means what it says. All very fine in context, but when it's the most famous quote from an entire three-hour movie?

Shock Treatment: "The sun never sets on those who ride into it." Think about it for a while. I bet you Titanic fans still won't get it.

Conclusion

Okay, that's it. I bet a lot of you want to bitch at me now.. well, go ahead. For those of you more open minded, why don't you take a look around the Official Shock Treatment Fan Club Homepage, and then tell me what you think. I am expecting to be bitched at, don't worry you won't hurt my feelings. Oh yeah, and any Shock Treatment fans feel free to offer sugestions for more categories, or how to clean up my HTML. Thanks for stopping by!

--Jedi Evita

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Kimberly Lugar.

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