Monday, November 23, 2009

Private Conversations With a DVD Junkie

So, it's been a while. Yup. I am great at avoiding things. If there was money to be had at avoiding things, I could have retired nearly 10 years ago onto my own private island. Ah, hell, who am I kidding? I could have retired while still in college and paid to have the bimbo of my choice bound and delivered to me with a bow wrapped around her. Money would NOT have been an issue.

Just for a change of pace, and for a bit of self-humiliation, let's talk about issues. Oh, we won't delve into things like throwing myself into something too soon because it feels right and then letting that turn into sourness and loathing like I did with a relationship that ran for 15 years. We won't talk about what is an obvious inability to commit to something as simple as a blog that allows me to revel in the two things that mean more to me than, well, just about anything that can come to mind, and those two things are movies and writing. I'm a guy; we have commitment issues...and, yes, that is a cop out, and a big one at that, but we aren't on the Doctor Phil show, and if that dog wants to hunt, then it should be prepared to be on the wrong end of a shotgun wielded by a drunken sod with less common sense than a kid with 20 bucks in a 5 cent candy store.

But in the same vein as the kid with that 20 bucks, we will talk today about what has brought me (and, oddly enough, you) to this particular place at this time.

I am a DVD junkie. Formerly a VHS junkie. A junkie is a junkie. Well, not if you read William S. Burroughs, but we aren't here to talk about his drug-fueled literary upchucks. Nope. We are here to talk about an unbridled desire to own more DVDs (read: movies) than a reasonable budget will allow. The sin of avarice. Ah, sweet desire. Bullshit. Let's call it what it is. It is an addiction.

Here's the scene: Walking through Wal-Mart. It's a Saturday so the trailer parks and the clapboard shitholes have puked up their contents, and they are wandering the aisles, all looking for something that will make their misery go in the other room, at least for a while as the people pretend to be happy for a while. As I find my nose and upper lip curling in disgust, I realize I am part of them, and we are Legion. If it were not for us, Wal-Mart would find no foothold in American society. They prey on feelings of emptiness and inadequacy. Come and buy of our fruitfulness and forget your wretchedness, until the credit cards come due and the checking account holds so little that you can't make your gas bill payment in the heat of summer.

Wal-Mart doesn't make it easy. As you walk in, you are confronted with over-sized dumps of the newest and hottest DVD releases, and the "incredible" prices are displayed in sizes large enough the most myopic folks can make them out without corrective lenses. You can buy the single DVD or you can buy the two- or three-DVD Special Editions or you can buy the new and definitely elite Blu-Ray version. And you DO have a Blu-Ray player, right? No? What kind of person are you? It can play your new Blu-Rays as well as your old DVDs and it will make your old DVDs look better than reality with the unearthly magic of up-conversion, but only if you have that new LCD TV and that 60 buck HDMI cable, but you don't care about price when it comes to having Sandra Bullock look so natural that you can smell the sweat of her motorhead husband from the randy bout of morning sex they had prior to that scene of her falling off her high heels and right into your living room.

Somehow, you resist. Actually, it's the stomach-emptying reflex you get from anything by Michael Bay or starring Will Ferrell that helps propel you further into the store, but you don't argue. You have only 48 meager minutes to do your week's worth of shopping before the next bus rolls through the parking lot at a speed that barely allows you to fall into the open door without being dragged underneath the beast's grinding wheels. You know you need to hit your marks and hit them fast. That falls into the background. You know that there is a display of 5 dollar movies just up here, in the middle of the register area.

As you walk there, you remember with a fondness the annoyingly tightly packed cardboard displays of the super-thin DVD cases released by Digiview at 99 cents. All those schlock titles that pepper the public-domain landscape. How you bought them by the fistful, rationalizing the fact that they were only 99 cents, and a lot of them were double-, triple- or quadruple-features compressed to the point of meaningless pixels on one side a dual-layer DVD. Cheap bastards. But you are as much of a cheap bastard, so you bought them like a panty-sniffing freak in a Chinatown laundry grabs undies.

But those days are gone. Now corporate greed has won out over the public domain. How can you walk past a copy of Mean Girls with the still lovely Lindsey Lohan in all of her Ann-Margaret-"Kitten With A Whip"-sexiness for only five dollars? An hour and 30 plus minutes that will keep you on the couch and away from the porn sites that dump malware on your computer. Or maybe you want to delve into Tom Hanks career prior to his aura of respectability by buying "Volunteers". And how about scoring 20 movies in one shot with The Garr Group's collection of Westerns or World War 2 movies, all for the paltry price of $5? You'd be a fool not to want to own William Shatner's Western shame-fest known as White Comanche alongside a ton of no-name Spaghetti westerns and John Wayne's contract Westerns. And let's not forget scoring 300 cartoons in one set. Relive your childhood while scratching your head over what passed as entertainment in the primal years of animation.

You stand paralyzed while looking at these. You really DO need a copy of the complete Ringu series in one four disc set for only $5. And how is life not complete without the Special Edition of Animal House?

You look into your handcart and find that you now have enough DVDs to equal $40. A quick check of your shopping list tells you that this is more than your groceries for the week. So you go over the pile of DVDs and DVD sets, figuring you can pare it down. No, you deserve that 15 movie compilation of horror movies because, even though you have multiple copies of 14 of them, you DON'T have a copy of Last Woman On Earth so that makes it worth five dollars. And maybe that version of The Severed Arm will actually contain those edited 45 seconds that you so desperately need.

As you head off to buy things that will keep you from offending the noses of those you meet on a daily basis and those things that will nourish your body and keep you from passing out from hunger, you fondly recall the days you found VHS movies for a dollar or two dollars. Ah, those copies of Crazy Fat Ethel 2 and Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things and even Oasis Of The Zombies!

Ooh, wait, that 20 horror movie set has Oasis Of The Zombies. But does it have the nude scenes....

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