Once upon a time, I used to be a guy who compiled lists — obsessively, even — of the movies and music I wanted to acquire in some physical format. It made birthdays and Christmases so easy for everyone in my life. Distribute the list and — voila — instant gifts!
Now it’s not so easy. I still really enjoy music and film, but there’s just no pressing need for me to “own” any of it. Does this mean I’m facing a future of ties for every gift going forward?
Remember when you used to evaluate prospective friends by the books they read, the movies they watched and the music they listened to? Feels like a long time ago, right?
Less than 10 years ago I would still scurry to bookstores and record shops, or spend beyond my means on DVD sales online. Then that suddenly stopped.
Now, as I try to make sense of my home without being overrun by my toddler’s toys, I find myself wishing I’d made better use of the library. Where’d all this stuff come from? When did I ever think I’d read all the books I bought on whims, or watch all the DVDs I hoarded. Let’s not even talk about the music that accreted in my apartments over the years.
Since things started going digital in one form or other I’ve been reluctant to go all in. For those of us who’ve had physical media all our lives, a hard copy is a reassuring thing. Now I wish I’d taken the plunge sooner.
This is all to say I’m purging vast swaths of my cultural collections. If you’re someone who still likes these things, be in touch. You get dibs.
Great little post over at Pullquote about how to rationalize adding even more Criterion Collection titles to your personal DVD library. Trust me, I feel this guy’s pain. When I was really a movie hound, especially when I started taking advantage of Deep Discount’s massive biannual sales, I would agonize over which titles to buy. To wit, I still haven’t purchased a copy of Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour because I felt it was too expensive for one disc AND that it would surely go out of print when a new print was invariably discovered. This is the exquisite pain that only truly insane observers of the DVD remaster market can feel.
Conversely, how stupid do I feel for having ever bought Equinox, which I watched exactly one time? I think I’d hasten to add a follow-up to Pullquote’s post: how many DVDs do you own that sit on a shelf or in a drawer that are untouched? I confess to more than my fair share of these.
I feel sheepish even taking part in conversations like this now. I used to eagerly await regular emails from Criterion about their latest titles and then make notes in priority order about which I’d buy when they went on sale. Now that I’m less bullish on buying any sort of physical media, they’re hardly a blip on my radar. I will admit that I nearly jumped for joy when I read that they were releasing Red Desert, which is possibly my favorite Antonioni movie, even though I always say it’s L’Avventura.