Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Treasure Troves


Just a heads-up...

The other day, blog pal Jonathan had a nice post about the joys and pitfalls of building a DVD collection. Writing of the early days of the DVD player, he noted the problem created by the gap between technological development and a marketplaces still set on "VHS":

When DVD players first came on the market in the nineties no one was renting the DVDs themselves. As a result, if you wanted a DVD player (I did) and wanted to actually watch DVDs on it (this seemed a logical extension of owning the player) it was necessary to buy DVDs, not rent them. And so I bought anything I wanted to see. Anything. So any new movie, good or bad, I purchased and watched. As new responsibilities came into my life I did not feel the need to buy them anymore as they were now available for rent and money was growing harder and harder to come by anyway. The end result is a DVD collection stuck in the nineties, with a smattering of classic titles for good measure.

And I hate it.

My wife and I have resolved to purchase two classic DVDs a month, one we have seen, to add to the collection, and one we have not, to watch. We don't buy anything for ourselves ever as it is, so this should be something we can afford. It is hoped that gradually, over the course of several years, we will have a DVD collection of which we can be proud. Of course, by that time they probably won't even exist anymore, so the whole process will start over. But when and if that happens, I'm sticking with renting for new movies and purchasing for older ones.


I don't know if Jonathan knows, but as a good cinephile, I feel it my duty to mention that Criterion's website, between now and November 25, is marking every single DVD they have off 40%. Yes, every in-stock item (which also includes T-shirts and posters) is marked down 40%. Here's a chance to get classics by Ozu, Bergman, Renoir, Ophuls, Melville; more contemporary work from Allison Anders, Richard Linklater, and Nicholas Roeg; offbeat cult classics like If... and Carnival of Souls...Good lord, just going through their site, I feel like Darby O'Gill discovering the secret treasure of the Little People. And of course, like Darby, one quickly learns the downside of this sale: greed, avarice, material desires that make Dick Cheney look like a Calcutta nun. The curse of the cinephile who fetishizes the DVD: is it worse to buy or not to buy (and regret it later)? Or are such metaphysical, existential questions irrelevant when the sensual pleasures of browsing beckon? I mean, to paraphrase Mr. Smithers, "Yeah...but...look at all that stuff!"

4 comments:

Jonathan Lapper said...

I am of course broke going into the Christmas season with a family of four.

Why? Why? Why now? Why can't the sale be in March?

Still, I can get a couple, and I wouldn't have known if not for you. Thanks.

Brian Doan said...

Hey Jonathan! Glad I could act as informant! I know what you mean about the timing (although I suspect doing it around the holidays was intentional, so as to spur gift buying)-- I was mostly browsing the other night, but they do have a lot of great stuff.

I'd be curious to know what you ended up getting, if you do buy something.

the babe (holiday version) said...

Hm. I think I may have finally figured out where to start looking for Christmas presents for you.

Good thing you have this here lil blogge, yeah!

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