' ' Cinema Romantico: The Holiness Of A DVD Collection

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Holiness Of A DVD Collection

"Don't you buy a movie because you're somehow passionate about it and want to watch it again and again? Does this guy feel that way about 'Hard Rain?'" - The Onion, April 2003

Often when I inform someone I have purchased a new film on DVD this someone will immediately ask "Is it good?" This question does not make even the slightest bit of sense to me.

If I told you I bought a plane ticket to Melbourne soley to see Kylie Minogue perform live would you ask me if I liked Kylie Minogue? If I told you that the 1990 Nebraska Football Team was led in rushing by a dude named Leodis Flowers (note: they were) would you ask if I liked Nebraska Football?

The answers, of course, are no and no. You wouldn't. So why when I excitedly tell you about my most recent DVD purchase do you wonder if I think that DVD is good?

Perhaps I treat my DVD collection with a bit too much, shall we say, reverence. My friend Daryl used to leave me messages posing as Jed of the S.T.A.A. ("Starship Troopers" Association of America), pleading for me to move my copy of "Starship Troopers" - his favorite movie and one I do think is a fine film - to my "main video case." Which is to say that, yes, I have a Main Video Case and a Junior Varsity Video Case.

Like Rob Gordon tackling The Great Reorganization (of his record collection) in the face of another breakup, I find something beautiful in the moment a new DVD enters my possession and I sit down to pour over my current collection in order to determine which film is getting bumped off varsity to make room for the latest entrant. Oh, these proceedings can be as anguished as poor Sonia Sotomayor at her confirmation hearing but, nevertheless, it's riveting! One addition to an anthology can make all the difference while the subtraction is moved to the case below the TV, in my heart and in my mind but out of sight. No longer is it part of that which will define me when a guest decides to scan the racks of my movie purchases.

(Guest: "You have "Serendipity" in here? Right next to "Meet Me In St. Louis?" - Me: "You got a problem with that?")

I have friends who scoff at this notion. They would proudly display a copy of "Casablanca" alongside a copy of "Next Of Kin". Well, I'm sorry but I just can't live that way. The DVD case is too sacred a place for irony. It is not a parlor game meant for your amusement.

As Nick Hornby once noted: "It's no good pretending that any relationship has a future if...your favorite films wouldn't even speak to each other if they met at a party." I can still vividly recall the moment in a high school classroom where somehow (I don't recall the precise reasons) the film "Last of the Mohicans" was mentioned and the girl (I won't say her name) sitting directly to my left said (no embellishments): "I fell asleep during that movie." I was this close to unloading a torrent of f-bombs on her and then heaving my textbook through the neartest window.

I'm sorry, but if you fell asleep during "Last of the Mohicans" we could never be a couple. We just couldn't. It's how these things work and we all know it. Don't lie.

She wants to rent "Made of Honor" and refuses to watch "A Fish Called Wanda" because the costumes are "dated"? Adios, chica. She teared up at Bruce Willis's farewell to Ben Affleck in "Armageddon" and doesn't care for "Juno" because she feels as if "no one talks like that in real life"? Hit the bricks, lady, and beat it. You think Adam Sandler movies are all "fast paced comedic romps" but think "Lost In Translation" is "slow"? I urge you to leave the room at once before you're coated in brains from when my head explodes.

Your DVD collection should stand for something, damn it. Don't you love movies? Don't you most especially love the movies you love? Like George Costanza and Festivus all those cases lined up side by side are part of who I am. "Elizabethown" is on the top row? Only a couple places over from "Annie Hall"? Your damn right, it is. I wouldn't have it any other way. And that's exactly the way everyone's DVD collection should be. Your DVD collection is you, thus you should tend to it accordingly.


Wretched Genius said...

I still arrange alphabetically. But once you pass the 500 DVD mark (which I did back in the early 2000's), alphabetical kinda becomes necessary if you ever want to find anything. But I do now keep a separate set of shelves next to the TV for my blu-rays and a select group of DVDs, so I know how much thought goes into selecting the titles that will get preferred treatment (I also imagine you would be appalled at most of my choices, though Michael Mann does feature heavily).

Castor said...

Ahaha great post Nicholas. You should join us in making a list of eight DVDs you would want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island!

For more information: http://fandangogroovers.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/desert-island-dvds-update/

My Other Brother Daryl said...

I just got a call from my friend Jed at the STAA, and he said that he totally understands why "Startship Troopers: Hero of the Federation" and "Starship Troopers: Marauder" aren't in the case. He doesn't have them in the case either. But as for the first one, you're still on the list, sir.

Nick Prigge said...

Desert Island discs? Oh yeah, I'm in.

And tell Jed: I don't actually own the real "Starship Troopers" on DVD. If I did, it would receive strong consideration for the case. But I can't make any promises.