"More movies! What am I going to do with more movies? I don't have time to watch the movies that I already have!"

Rik was flabbergasted at the simultaneous arrival of three separate cardboard-bound packages in his mailbox, or rather, first, the appearance of a seemingly normal key in his normal mailbox, which led to the opening of a large-package side mailbox in which the items where waiting ominously for their chance to hitchhike their way into Rik's abode. Or rather, a key of hidden hellish intent which led to a great deal of wrestling with the lock on the side mailbox, until such a point that Jen stepped in with her heretofore undiscovered knowledge regarding the trickiness of side-mailbox locks, and after a frustrating forty-six seconds of key-flipping and studied consternation, she managed to turn the lock over, and with it, unleashed the horror of newly acquired DVD insanity (which led instantly to the statement proffered at the top of this page).

"You're the one who ordered them," Jen said in her usual calm and understated manner. Rik was already off on a different tangent, flibberdigibbet that he happened to be.

"Hey! How come they used such a large box?!" Rik rattled a box nearly five inches high, in which one could have placed eight normal discs, but which was clearly only laced with three or four at the most. Columbia House was prone to doing things stupidly, like the automatic shipping of their inane "Director's Selections", which are almost never worthwhile nor within the realm of Rik's tastes, and which only lead to extra shipping costs on the part of both the company and the consumer who perhaps missed sending in his denial (or forgot to go online to do so) and now has to spend extra cash to return the damnable thing, such as, for example, a Nicolas Cage movie that isn't Raising Arizona (which he owns) or Moonstruck (which he doesn't). Here, risking both postal crushing (a service that our government provides, amazingly enough, for free...) by not packing anything around the movies, and also by choosing to ship in a box designed with an easy opening sidehatch tab, which, appropriately, was already popped open upon Rik's inspection, Columbia yet again proved that they were a company with their eyes clearly set on losing another customer.

Rik remembered he had ordered four movies from Columbia House, not just three, which was the actual total discovered within the box after Rik did a cursory flip through the inventory, sticking his finger down into the already torn-open sidehatch tab, through which one, even a postman, of unsavory attitude could have easily slipped a movie out on the sly. A quick glance at the invoice, however, proved his worst fears to be unwarranted, as the gigantic box was only meant to contain three loosely rattling movies; he did read, though, that he was still being charged for the aforementioned Nicolas Cage movie that isn't Raising Arizona (which he owns) or Moonstruck (which he doesn't), even though he had sent the film back in the mail to them three weeks previous to this shipment.

As Rik and Jen made their way back to their apartment, a path that proved waveringly inconstant
due to the roving pattern of sniffage and stoppage adopted by their two sweet but rambunctious rat terriers, Rik sneakily slipped out each disc to survey his purchase under the late afternoon sun. What a joy to realize (for while he remembered how many movies he had ordered on this occasion, he had, outside of one major title, had quite misplaced the knowledge of the remainder of the purchase) that the first title was one of which he savagely desirous to view: Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, which premiered initially on Showtime, which did Rik not a lick of good since he was a steadfast HBO'er for many a moon (until Adelphia screwed him over). Owing to both a deep affection for the original tent-show sleazefest from 1936 (also included on the disc) to which this film supposedly pays affectionate though back-handed homage, and a steadily growing fascination and internal love affair with Kristen Bell (of the hopefully not-soon-to-be late, lamented Veronica Mars), and seeing the film on the list of musicals on Columbia House website, Rik wasted not even a half second to include it on his list. (The film has the versatile Alan Cumming, too, as the narrator/anti-drug lecturer, so that did weigh into the need for immediate purchase, not just Rik's Bell-lust.) Rik knew that if the film lived up to even a tenth of his own internal hype regarding it's promise, then it would be a grand time indeed, and seeing the leather-clad Bell on the back cover added unnecessary though appreciated impetus to its timely viewing.

When the original King Kong was finally released on DVD, two years too late for its 70th Anniversary and three too soon for its 75th, but with an awesome slew of extras that could only be provided due to the influence of one Mr. Peter Jackson, it came packaged with two other Merian C. Cooper productions of ponderous primate power: The Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Rik had hoped that they would go the extra step and include three other Cooper films which have ties to the
Mighty Kong as well, though lacking the inclusion of a giant ape: The Most Dangerous Game (which Rik actually already possessed in a Criterion Collection version) and which was the immediate precursor (and sneaky cost-saving test film for sets and shots) to Kong; Dr. Cyclops, a 1940 Oscar-nominated special-effects laden film with a mad scientist tormenting an island of people he has diminished with his shrinking ray, released through Paramount (and currently owned by Universal, hence its exclusion) and directed by Cooper partner, Ernest B. Schoedsack; and the Cooper-Schoedsack-Willis O'Brien-Ruth Rose followup to the Kong films, The Last Days of Pompeii, detailing the famous story of the doomed Roman city due to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Pompeii did get released apart from the Kong set, and Rik was overjoyed to add another link in the Kong chain to his collection. He had last seen the film on Cinemax almost fifteen years earlier, and was eager for another go-around with human decadence brought to its knees by the fury of nature.
But what caused Rik to order these films in the first place? It was the rare occurence of a Director's Selection worth pursuing: Peter Jackson's new version of King Kong, the appearance of which was also the cause of Rik's searching for Pompeii in the Columbia database. Jen had tried previously to get Rik to purchase the film in K-Mart and Costco, for a far thriftier cost, but it was not the two-disc release (the release of which Rik was fully aware); rather, it was the version distinctly placed by the counters for the "impulse buy" crowd, and amazingly, he was able to stave off such an impulse buy himself for nearly two months before finally surrendering to his natural state of Kong freak. And there it was in the too-large shipping box, ready to unleash its fury in his own home. It was too much to handle, and Rik had to wait until he got inside the apartment to sit down and open the remaining two packages.
The second package was from Amazon, and in a smaller carboard enclosure, and thus, more tightly packed than the Columbia debacle. Rik, because he always has something on order from Amazon, whether movies, music or books, had no idea what could be inside the container, but the second he uncovered even the first letter on its side, he was pleased with the sight of Robert Altman's highly underrated musical version of Popeye, a film which Rik would defend to the ends of the earth. Perfectly cast, with a weirdly sublime mumbled-sung score by the late, great Harry Nilsson, the film (and set design) veer blazingly close to the spirit of E.C. Segar's Thimble Theatre, the comic strip from which Popeye was sprung as a character. Altman's style is well-suited to the characters, with all of them talking over each other, and hardly any of them hearing a word the other characters have to say, and when they do, the words get twisted from mouth to mouth. Sweet Sweethaven, how Rik loves it...

The final box proved, like the initial box, to be from Columbia House, though this time it was clearly
a single disc packed in a tight container much like the Amazon one. Its opening revealed a disc that brought memories back to Rik's mind of the days when he would pack his tiny Alaskan apartment with anywhere from eight to twenty theatre friends and watch repeatedly the latest episode of South Park, then fresh, new and sparkingly savage. As a result, anything produced by the Trey Parker and Matt Stone team at that time was ripe for review, so when Orgazmo hit the cinemas at the old University Center, some of Rik's South Park entourage made the requisite trip to the theatre and lost their collective minds to Parker's wacky, sick but strangely moralistic (or not so strangely, given Parker's penchant for such things) tale of a Mormon missionary who becomes a porn star/superhero. Rik had seen the film a handful of times since, but had never taken the opportunity to add the film to his Parker/Stone shelf, so he leapt on it at last.

However, it was a glance at the invoice that gave Rik pause. Just informed that he would still have to pay for the
Nicolas Cage movie that isn't Raising Arizona (which he owns) or Moonstruck (which he doesn't), here was another invoice saying that he had been given credit for the film's return, though he received both invoices on the same day. "I've almost had it with Columbia House, hon! They are damaging my fragile head with their bullshit!"

"Well, if you don't want to belong to it, cancel your membership," she answered, logically as ever.

"Yeah, I probably will. It's just too much crap to deal with. I'll think about it a bit." Rik stared at the invoice further for no reason whatsoever, while Jen wandered off to the kitchen to make some pasta. Rik called after her, "Oh, hon. Guess what I joined today?"

"Oh, now what?"

The Disney DVD Club..."


ak_hepcat said…
And I still enjoy introducing more folks to the pleasures that are Orgasmo.

It's too bad that people give such disapproving looks when one yells out "Cock Rocket!"
squeak said…
Those South Park friends must have been gay to hang out with you.

Oh, wait....
Rik will surely be dismayed to learn of the Peter Jackson directed King Kong collector's set coming out at a later date, featuring commentary.

Aaron was surely dissappointed that the extras on the 2-disc edition were primarily made up of the webcasts he had already shelled out good money for.

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