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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
275

why buy a DVD?
Topic by: kaream
Posted: August 19, 2008 - 8:57 PM PDT
Last Reply: August 28, 2008 - 3:40 PM PDT

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: why buy a DVD?
kaream
post #1  on August 19, 2008 - 8:57 PM PDT  
I've mentioned this question before, but I don't recall anyone responding to it. I'm really curious about the whole concept of buying movies, as opposed to simply renting them or checking them out from a library.

Who over the age of 8 years ever wants to watch a movie over and over again? And why? This makes no sense to me at all. I might go back to a movie to clear up something I found confusing at first, or after reading reviews that point out aspects I missed. Sometimes after watching other movies from the same director I'll want to return to a film watched earlier, to compare how problems were handled, or to help clarify how his/her output ties together. Or after a lapse of 5 or 10 years I might simply want to refresh my memory of a given film.

This is a serious question. I'm truly puzzled by the impulse of some -- apparently many -- people to spend good money on building up a collection of movies. Do you really watch them multiple times? What can you get out of seeing or hearing the same thing again and again? I'd love to hear back from collectors, explaining this.

I have bought a few DVDs, almost exclusively because I couldn't find them available to rent anywhere. For instance a while back I bought a copy of Chimes at Midnight, without realizing that at exactly the same time GreenCine was in the process of buying their own rental copies. Just recently I went ahead and bought a Region 2 copy of Last Year at Marienbad (since my computer player is region-free); the last disc I bought before that was a Region 4 Latcho Drom. Once I even bought an out-of-print used VHS copy of the definitive 1966 Fonteyn/Nureyev Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet and took it over to a shop for transfer to DVD. Usually, though, I've found that when I did buy something, within months it will suddenly become available to rent.

So I can understand having your own copies of favorite musical programs/performances, or when you have little kids around, to have copies of whatever it is that they're busy burning into their brains until they get bored with it -- but what else might anyone ever want to watch again? Or is the impulse to collect not even that, so much as just having the security of knowing that if by chance you might ever decide to watch a movie again, it's going to be right there at your fingertips? Yeah, I guess I could understand that -- I'm pretty much that way myself, but with books, instead.

Anyone?
FGaipa
post #2  on August 20, 2008 - 7:46 AM PDT  
Most the DVDs I've bought recently had been either RED or VERY LONG WAIT for several weeks or months at GC and NF repectively. A couple of these cases were tail ends (or even oddball RED episode 5, GREEN episode 6 kind of thing) of series I'd liked enough not to let six months or a year go by between takes. Either company takes way too long to restock. Others had been, as you say, explicably or not, unavailable from either source. (How explain NF not carrying Eureka Seven, despite their wealth of relatively worthless anime? Can't think this moment of a GC example but there are plenty.)

There's also the Region issue. I have many dozens of other-region and a few PALs gathering dust. With a 930 bedtime due to a new job, I'm getting to theaters including the PFA less frequently, so less likely to see repertory screenings of other-region titles.

fg


> On August 19, 2008 - 8:57 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I've mentioned this question before, but I don't recall anyone responding to it. I'm really curious about the whole concept of buying movies, as opposed to simply renting them or checking them out from a library.
>
> Who over the age of 8 years ever wants to watch a movie over and over again? And why? This makes no sense to me at all. I might go back to a movie to clear up something I found confusing at first, or after reading reviews that point out aspects I missed. Sometimes after watching other movies from the same director I'll want to return to a film watched earlier, to compare how problems were handled, or to help clarify how his/her output ties together. Or after a lapse of 5 or 10 years I might simply want to refresh my memory of a given film.
>
> This is a serious question. I'm truly puzzled by the impulse of some -- apparently many -- people to spend good money on building up a collection of movies. Do you really watch them multiple times? What can you get out of seeing or hearing the same thing again and again? I'd love to hear back from collectors, explaining this.
>
> I have bought a few DVDs, almost exclusively because I couldn't find them available to rent anywhere. For instance a while back I bought a copy of Chimes at Midnight, without realizing that at exactly the same time GreenCine was in the process of buying their own rental copies. Just recently I went ahead and bought a Region 2 copy of Last Year at Marienbad (since my computer player is region-free); the last disc I bought before that was a Region 4 Latcho Drom. Once I even bought an out-of-print used VHS copy of the definitive 1966 Fonteyn/Nureyev Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet and took it over to a shop for transfer to DVD. Usually, though, I've found that when I did buy something, within months it will suddenly become available to rent.
>
> So I can understand having your own copies of favorite musical programs/performances, or when you have little kids around, to have copies of whatever it is that they're busy burning into their brains until they get bored with it -- but what else might anyone ever want to watch again? Or is the impulse to collect not even that, so much as just having the security of knowing that if by chance you might ever decide to watch a movie again, it's going to be right there at your fingertips? Yeah, I guess I could understand that -- I'm pretty much that way myself, but with books, instead.
>
> Anyone?
> ---------------------------------

hamano
post #3  on August 20, 2008 - 12:36 PM PDT  
I guess the biggest reason to BUY a movie instead of renting it might be for extra/bonus stuff? And the iTunes Movie Rentals catalog is still pretty sparse.

As for which movies to buy vs which to rent, yes I DO rewatch a lot of the movies I bought. I rent ones that I'll be happy to just see once. Sometimes I rent a film and end up buying it because I loved it so much.

Many people NEVER sees enough in a film to bother considering that movies might be worth seeing again. But like a good book or a nice painting, I find good films can be fun and even revealing over multiple viewings. Some are just nice to look at over and over again.
Catullus
post #4  on August 20, 2008 - 1:25 PM PDT  
This is the Answer

Well it is sort of an answer, it doesn't answer the new question it brings up as to why people collect. I do believe most people have large dvd collections and dont sit there rewatching them. For some I believe the reason is that if they have company over without a trip to the video store they will have a movie to offer that whomever they have visiting has not seen. Its also hard to time the Online video rentals with the timing of company as availability with online is a major issue and requires quite a bit of maintenance if you were to try to do so.

Sure there is video on demand through the internet and what not, but most people do not have their computers hooked up to TV's and you wont find too many people sitting around a laptop to watch a movie (thats more of a solo thing)

So it comes down to collecting and convenience. As to why I collect? I honestly dont know but it does makeup a large part of who I am. But hey it does help to pull out that super rare movie/videogame/anime/musiccd to loan or show a friend so you can maintain how super awesome you are. Just dont maintain friends who dont have a habit of respecting other peoples property (IE ones that lose or forget that you ever loaned them the item before returning it)

That said I dont know what leads people to buy crappy movies (insert any Stallone movie here and yes I include rocky/rambo as well as stop or my mom will shoot) in any case yes people do spend large amounts of money on DVD's but they do so on music as well. Yes I realize that music has a large amount of replayability that doesn't change the fact that most songs on a given CD/Album suck and wont be listened to, so barring a digital download you are paying XX$ for probably 2-3 good songs on a cd. Collecting isn't about cost, most collectors do the opposite when it comes to thrift. Look at art/automobile/stamp collectors and how they spend ridiculous amounts of money on questionable purchases to those outside of those interests and I think you understand why if you dont have the urge/desire/drive to collect dvds, it wouldn't make sense to you either.

hamano
post #5  on August 20, 2008 - 2:51 PM PDT  
You know, for anime a good reason for buying might be because the viewer wants to watch a whole series in a fairly short period of time. I remember some people here who were always complaining about the wait between volumes when they queued up anime series. They forget plot arcs and character details during the 2 or 3 weeks between seeing Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. I guess this logic would apply to regular TV shows as well....
Catullus
post #6  on August 20, 2008 - 3:38 PM PDT  
> On August 20, 2008 - 2:51 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> You know, for anime a good reason for buying might be because the viewer wants to watch a whole series in a fairly short period of time. I remember some people here who were always complaining about the wait between volumes when they queued up anime series. They forget plot arcs and character details during the 2 or 3 weeks between seeing Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. I guess this logic would apply to regular TV shows as well....
> ---------------------------------

also anime and videogames for that matter seem to go out of print easier than popular movies. some anime titles just aren't available for purchase years after release.
underdog
post #7  on August 20, 2008 - 4:21 PM PDT  
It really depends on the person, the purchase/title, etc, but for me I look for films that I already know I love and will watched repeatedly, like Monty Python films and Woody Allen, Breaking Away, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Singin' in the Rain, North by Northwest, Seven Samurai -- rainy day films that are good to watch when there's nothing else on or that cheer the spirit in some way. I also like sets/series for TV shows that I know I both already love and will want to savor when I watch it (plus all the extras). Recent purchases include Flight of the Conchords, which cheer the spirit, make me laugh, and is full of catchy songs, and The Wire season 4. I've probably watched my Freaks and Geeks DVDs more than anything else I own. I'll watch those a couple of times a year. Then there's the Simpsons, which is also a great thing to have around if there's nothing else on.

Truth be told, I also have a larger DVD collection than I would normally because I get DVDs for review, which are either worth keeping or (shhhhh!) worth trading in to a used DVD place for something I want more.

Some of my DVDs are there eclectically, like Paprika, which I loved but it was good to own because it literally took me about four watches before I figured out what the hell was going on.

I get some DVDs as Xmas/Bday gifts, too, like the Val Lewton set and Preston Sturges set from my folks (who wanted to borrow them as soon as I opened them, heh), and a few Criterion titles that are definitely keepers given both the films themselves and all the extras.
janeskid
post #8  on August 21, 2008 - 11:20 AM PDT  
We have bought a few for gifts reasoning that if we give a gift card the recipient would never discover the title we are giving.

We have bought a couple that we think might someday be unavailable and just want to have it around in case we might ever want to watch it again. These may be listed as out of print at the rental sites and we think because they are foreign and not particularly popular they may not be coming back. Lev Kulidzhanov' 1969 filming of Dostoyevsky's Chrime and Punishment is an example.

One more reason for NOT buying them is that some theories hold that the shelf life may be limited. We are already seeing some that will only play on the computer and not on the DVD player from the electronics store.
Battie
post #9  on August 21, 2008 - 1:09 PM PDT  
I don't have a giant collection (mostly because I have too many 'hobbies' that use up all my money!). But what I do have are movies, tv shows and anime I will watch again. Maybe I only watch them 1-2 times a year, maybe even every other year. But they're all movies I don't get bored with. I've watched the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies about a half-dozen times. I've seen The Mist three times (and it's not even been out a year). Return of the Living Dead and The Propecy have gotten even more play.

A handful of movies or tv shows represent childhood...and are good for nostalgic views. Tales from the Crypt comes to mind. :)
doozer
post #10  on August 21, 2008 - 2:33 PM PDT  
I guess I don't understand why you wouldn't watch a movie again that you like? You listen to a song that you like again, you read a book that you like again, you eat a meal that you like again, you play a game you like again, etc. Why are movies different?
kaream
post #11  on August 22, 2008 - 2:50 AM PDT  
Hmm... Thanks, everyone -- interesting responses. And interesting questions from doozer, that give me some pause.

I think we can dispose of the music question, because you can listen to music while you're doing other things, and there's just something basically different about music.

I know I'm going to sound snobby as hell here, but may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

Somehow books are different -- I think. Well, I don't know; I was brought up in a reading family, in a house filled with books of all sorts. It just seems more natural to me, but I can see the illogic to it. I picked up a lot of secondhand books back when I was in college, primarily literature that I was sure I would get around to 'someday', but I confess that many of these still sit on shelves never opened. And now I find that my reading is almost exclusively nonfiction. However I do frequent the library much more, and bookstores much less, than I used to.

I know I approach movies differently from most people. I rarely watch blockbusters, and rarely watch comedies, and almost never watch blockbuster comedies. (Well, I did enjoy the original Shrek, for instance, but have no inclination to watch it again.) For most serious or 'important' movies, I have little interest in being surprised by plot twists, but try to read reviews -- including spoilers -- before watching, or immediately after. For a movie that sufficiently holds my interest, if there are extras I'll usually rummage through these unless they're the sort of mindless self-congratulatory junk you find on so many DVDs of Hollywood movies. Criterion extras are nearly always helpful, and I usually do go through these. If there's a particularly cogent commentary track I'll frequently play the movie again right away, with subtitles on for the dialog. It's my general impression that actors very rarely have anything intelligent to say about a movie, and I really don't know why that should be.

I suppose you could say I don't even watch movies for 'entertainment' in the sense that it's normally understood. Instead, I'm usually too busy trying to figure out what the screenwriter and set designer and cinematographer and director, etc, are trying to accomplish, and how well they seem to do that. With some directors, particularly, I like to try going through as many of their movies as I can, one right after another, and preferably in chronological order. Sometimes I feel I need to return to a movie I watched earlier, looking for something I may have missed the first time around. And then perhaps, several years later, I'll feel an urge to revisit a movie I enjoyed but have largely forgotten.

So what is the difference between movies and books in this regard? Probably not very much, when you really get down to it.

Otherwise, much like janeskid, I'll get a DVD as a gift for someone who I think will appreciate the specific movie I have in mind for them, or if I badly enough want to see a particular out-of-print or unavailable movie sometimes I'll look for an inexpensive used copy or an import. (I guess we'd all better hope our DVDs don't start peeling apart and disintegrating with age. Even so, janeskid, unless your discs have been exposed to excessive heat they shouldn't be failing already -- it seems much more likely that your player is starting to get wobbly.)
kaream
post #12  on August 22, 2008 - 3:06 AM PDT  
> On August 22, 2008 - 2:50 AM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
It's my general impression that actors very rarely have anything intelligent to say about a movie, and I really don't know why that should be.
> ---------------------------------

I'm reminded of the Hitchcock misquote, that "actors are cattle". He claims that what he really said was "actors should be treated like cattle".
kaream
post #13  on August 22, 2008 - 3:25 AM PDT  
Comedy -- I love Bruce Willis. He's one of the few people who can consistently make me laugh out loud, in his Die Hard movies.
janeskid
post #14  on August 22, 2008 - 8:05 AM PDT  
Another reason for watching a movie again (This could be a re-rent or indicate a purchase.) is that one has gained some understanding in the meantime. I watched Alain Resnais' Muriel 1963 and thought "What was that about?" then I watched a commentary and thought "Oh, that might be a good movie" so I rented it again. In some cases I can see one might want to buy this and set it aside and watch it a year or two from now.
doozer
post #15  on August 22, 2008 - 9:13 AM PDT  
> On August 22, 2008 - 3:25 AM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Comedy -- I love Bruce Willis. He's one of the few people who can consistently make me laugh out loud, in his Die Hard movies.
> ---------------------------------


Die Hard is the best Christmas movie ever. My stepdad, stepbrother, and I watch Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, and L.A. Confidential every Christmas Eve/Christmas. It's tradition.

I have way more books than I have DVD's and that's not even counting comics and graphic novels. I tend to buy them at thrift stores and library sales and let them sit until I come across them a year later and decide to give it a shot. I can reread a book I love 12 times over and not get bored with it. Especially if it's a long one.
hamano
post #16  on August 22, 2008 - 10:16 AM PDT  
> On August 22, 2008 - 2:50 AM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I think we can dispose of the music question, because you can listen to music while you're doing other things, and there's just something basically different about music.
>
> I know I'm going to sound snobby as hell here, but may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
>
> Somehow books are different --

Books are different for you but not necessarily for other people. Same with music I like.... If I'm listening to Stravinsky or Prokofiev I don't usually use it as background music for something else I'm doing. I fix myself a nice cup of coffee and I sit and really LISTEN to it.

I think it just depends on how you use art in your life. You can use art like a lifestyle accessory. You hang posters on your wall, put on music, read books to "decorate" your lifestyle. That's one perfectly valid way to use art in your life. If you watch movies or TV shows or read books so you can talk about it around the water cooler, I'd classify that as "lifestyle" use of art.

But you can also use art as a tool for figuring things out. Figuring out who you are, figuring out why things happen, figuring out why you think the way you do. Even if all you're doing is figuring out why you respond to aesthetic elements in a certain way (what looks pretty to you, what seems funny to you) it can be a great tool for figuring yourself out (and figuring out other people). It's probably easiest to relate this to reading, but it works just as well for movies (for me) and maybe music or paintings as well. If you go to an art gallery more as a student or a seeker of knowledge than a tourist, or if you go to a concert to really LISTEN to the music rather than to see and be seen or hang out, that's closer to the way I feel about most of the movies I choose to own.

I'd say the tendency would be to own movies (or books, or music) that recognize and reinforce your own philosophy of life. The film you own has SOMETHING that defines to you who you are or how things are (or who you want to be or how you think the world ought to be). I own Amelie because that film exactly defines how I see love and romance. I own Tampopo and Babette's Feast because they define exactly the role I think food should play in our lives.

Owning and repeatedly seeing those films A) makes me feel good about myself and B) if the film is complex enough it can help me figure things out, if I see something in it that I hadn't noticed before, or if my feelings about something in the film has changed.

Some people rely on the Bible to show them something new every day. (which I totally respect if the person treats the Bible like a living text that responds to the state of the reader) I rely on certain films to play the same role in MY life.
hamano
post #17  on August 22, 2008 - 10:29 AM PDT  
Art is also used as a mood enhancer or mood setter, in a similar way you can use drugs, alcohol, sex, hobbies, sports, whatever. So if you're like me and you don't keep a lot of tequila or heroin or sex slaves around your house, it sure is handy to have that DVD on the bookshelf!

YOU might rely on music to set or enhance your mood. I can use films. That's why I own Cronenberg's Dead Ringers... what an AWESOME film! Sometimes it fits my mood perfectly. Sometimes it helps me achieve a certain mood.... I've often thought that there should be beauty contests for the *insides* of bodies. Oh, yeah, that's it, exactly!
hamano
post #18  on August 22, 2008 - 10:50 AM PDT  
> On August 19, 2008 - 8:57 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I might go back to a movie to clear up something I found confusing at first, or after reading reviews that point out aspects I missed. Sometimes after watching other movies from the same director I'll want to return to a film watched earlier, to compare how problems were handled, or to help clarify how his/her output ties together. Or after a lapse of 5 or 10 years I might simply want to refresh my memory of a given film.

I guess this boils down to a matter of budget vs. convenience. Most of the films I own satisfies more than one or two of my needs (as outlined in the above posts) whether it's lifestyle accessory, mood enhancer, thought provoker, philosophy affirmer, or just entertainment. I derive some pleasure/stimulation from the technical aspects of film-making, too, so that's another layer of art usefulness. So if I judge that I can afford to own a film that satisfies multiple needs of art interaction, why not buy it? It beats having to wait for the library to open or having to go to a video store. I'm not a "collector" in the sense that Catullus mentioned... I don't feel the need to own the Complete David Lynch oeuvre or everything by David Cronenberg or Peter Weir, although I own Blue Velvet, Dead Ringers, Videodrome, and Picnic at Hanging Rock...
Battie
post #19  on August 23, 2008 - 2:41 PM PDT  
You know, most of the books (which outnumber everything else) and dvds I own are solely for entertainment. I generally don't talk about them to other people (largely because other people don't care). This forum is an exception, as is my aunt. I tend to have very different tastes than my friends.

But at the same time, I wouldn't classify the 'Keepers' as solely entertainment. When I read a book I love, even if it's the 10th time, I sort of shut down. I just read for hours, only moving when absolutely necessary. With everything else, I tend to stop after a while and go do something else (short attention span). So, while it is entertaining, it's also a bit more.
weezy
post #20  on August 23, 2008 - 2:55 PM PDT  
I buy movies that I know I'll always want to watch when I'm in a certain state.

If I want to sleep but can't, I'll pop in Rivers and Tides to whisk me away to dreamland.

When getting over a hangover, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is the perfect remedy and will finally get me out of bed.

While I'm cleaning I like to put on Grizzly Man, because I love the soundtrack and Herzog's grandfatherly voice.

I love letting my friends borrow a flick that I'm very enthused about. On the flip side if my friends didn't have their own DVD libraries there are some movies I wouldn't have seen - when a person loves a movie enough to buy it you know it's gotta be worth a watch.

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