Monday, May 31, 2010

In defense of my small DVD collection

On Saturday, a certain someone mocked me for my inferior DVD collection. Yes, compared to most film buffs and industry hopefuls my collection is tiny, and it includes the Beefcake's DVDs so my actual collection is even smaller than it appears to the outside observer. I have 111 movies and 31 seasons of TV, a substantial amount of material for most Americans, but a pathetic grouping for a screenwriter.

The thing is, how often do you watch those movies in your collection? I don't watch many of them very often. About a fourth of my collection is films I bought specifically to show in class - Hamlet, The Outsiders, Life is Beautiful. I have a collection of noir I bought for when I taught the Maltese Falcon and turned it into a noir class - Chinatown, Brick, Memento. I have a few that I know I'll be watching regularly - Pitch Black, Once Upon a Time in China, In Bruges. There are some I keep so I can show them to people who never saw those films - Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human, Osama, The Matrix Reloaded because one of the special features is Justin Timberlake and Sean Williams Scott doing an awesome parody of what was not a very good movie. Some of the films I own because I don't feel right without them - Rocky, Galaxy Quest, Fight Club. Even if I don't often put them in the DVD player, I'm comforted knowing they're around. That's sort of how I feel about my collection of all seasons of Buffy. I don't sit around watching them like I used to, but I'd be distraught if they weren't there.

But I realized some time ago that many of the films I own were impulse purchases that take up space and don't get watched. When's the last time I watched Friday or Snatch or The Last Kiss? I like these films, but I don't throw them in the DVD player ever. I've watched each DVD one time and then set it on the shelf for the duration. When I moved to the new house I took a whole stack of DVDs to Amoeba because I realized I was probably never going to watch them again and I didn't want to have to box them, move them and find room for them on the shelf.

On the other hand, there was some excitement when I opened the Beefcake's DVD box and discovered Terminators 1 and 2, Predator, The Usual Suspects. Movies I love but never got around to buying. The other night one of my friends was baffled as to why I don't have The Professional. Don't get me wrong - I like The Professional. It's a great film. But how many times am I going to watch it?

There are films I like to watch over and over, but there are so many films I've never seen and we only have a limited amount of time on this planet and sometimes I feel like I'd rather watch something new than go back to something I've seen. Still, there's something to be said for rewatching and old favorite. I guess that's why I'm so picky with what I keep around.


  1. The real question is how many times can you NOT watch The Professional?? with scenes like these!

    "This is from Matilda..."

  2. I'm sorry!

    - Bill (the DVD addict)

  3. Lol. I now have one more movie to add thanks to you. :) Plus a topic for this post. It made me think about my choices, which was cool.

  4. 1. Fun party. I really did think about going out and beating up guys.
    What a sweet dog!

    2. Owning DVDs is no indicator of how good a writer you are. I rarely buy DVDs now. I'd rather see it in the theater or on-demand (which is awesome).

    3. No matter what you have, how can your collection be complete without a copy know what...?

  5. Anonymous12:38 PM

    I hope you watch Pitch Black as an object lesson on how not to write a script.

  6. Anonymous Person, you and I will never be friends. Your must be a cold, lonely place.

  7. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Well maybe you could watch Pitch Black as a comedy. It would be perfect for MST3K:

    The animals stay underground for 23(?) years.

    They come out to feed. The planet is a desert and has no life.

    You can tell an animal's blind spot by looking at its skull.

    I can't remember anything more at the moment, but I remember sitting in the theater thinking just how dumb this movie was.

  8. I'm sad for you. The film wasn't about the creatures. It was about the nature of humanity. If you got hung up on the creatures then you missed the point.

  9. Have you ever read the original script for The Professional? Leon and Mathilda become lovers in a scene that makes your skin crawl. I'm glad Besson toned it down.

    I have to say my collection is probably on the small side for an aspiring screenwriter, but like you, I only watch a particular handful on a regular basis. The others just remind me that damnit, I should watch THAT film again.

  10. You should destroy that DVD after watching it. Oh, and next time I'm in Big Lots I'm gonna see if they still have the Seagal remake for $3 and get one for you. The budget was 6 times more, so you *know* it is six times better.

  11. Oh I think we'd all agree that Seagall makes EVERYTHING better.

  12. Film snobbishness bugs me. Say you only own 4 DVDs, who cares! It means nothing.


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