Can It Be True? I’m Getting Rid of My DVDs.

Last night I went out into our garage and brought in three large boxes.  In those boxes were hundreds–maybe close to six hundred–DVDs and Blu-ray discs.  I sat down with the contents of these boxes and divided them into two piles–“sell” and “keep”.  About two-thirds ended up in the “sell” pile.  Now, I didn’t do this because we are destitute and hard-up for cash.  I had just finally come to the realization that carting around that much physical baggage, representing movies that would be practically impossible for me to watch, was no longer a viable act.  (of note, these were simply the “garage” DVDs, the ones we couldn’t fit in the house.  I currently have no plans to get rid of the “house DVDs”).

I bring this up mainly because some of you may know I have continued to be a staunch advocate of physical media well into the digital age (I am a heavy user of digital media but have not abandoned the physical product like many have) and it feels significant to purge myself of all these DVDs.  The fact is, even without options like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and cable television, I would still be hard pressed to find the time to watch even a fraction of these movies.  Many of them are movies I truly love dearly, but when one has hundreds and hundreds of movies they love dearly, well…reality must be faced at some point.  Also, from a practical standpoint, these movies are tucked away in huge boxes in a garage.  The few times I’ve had a desire to watch one of them, the desire left after considering it for about ten seconds.  They’re just too difficult to get to.

Like many people, as the DVD age dawned, I delighted at the prospect of building a “film library”, and spent the next decade feverishly spending all my extra cash to own every movie I liked more than just a little bit.  Collecting DVDs became almost its own, separate pastime, mildly divorced from the pure love of film.  As I was single and childless most of this time, the extra room in my apartments made a perfect storage space for expanding Wal-Mart bookshelves full of DVDs, which I organized in many different ways over the years–sometimes alphabetically, sometimes by genre, with special sections for my favorite filmmakers and TV shows on DVD.  I kept going and going well beyond what was practical–I long ago lost the ability to even watch a tiny fraction of what I owned, often not even knowing for sure if I did own a certain film.

I became a completist of the highest order.  I loved the first three Todd Solondz films (I don’t love them anymore) and when I disliked his fourth and fifth films, I bought the DVDs anyway, to round out the Solondz section on my shelf (I can’t wait to not own “Palindromes” anymore!).  I bought every Stanley Kubrick film (these went in the “keep” pile) then had to buy “Eyes Wide Shut” again after they put out an unrated version.  At some point I began buying every movie made about a comic book superhero, because when I was REALLY into comic books as a young kid, I would have killed to see these movies–nevermind that I only liked about a quarter of them.  My superhero DVD collection grew to over 50, despite my actual ambivalence to the genre, out of some misguided favor to my younger self.  I mean, I own “Barb Wire” and BOTH “Judge Dredd” films.  But not for much longer.

It is, in plenty of ways, sad to see them go.  It was an impressive collection (people often say the DVDs in our living room are a lot of DVDs, which always makes me smile, as they’re about ten percent of the collection) and represented not just tons of money, but plenty of time and effort.  I’m also sad to, in some small way, be throwing in the towel on DVDs.  But I am definitely not abandoning them completely–with the “keep” pile from last night and the discs that were already inside the house, I’m sure we still have close to 300 movies in a physical format–and it’s hard to imagine saying goodbye to those.  And although purchasing new discs will be rare, I have no plans to stop for good.  My addiction to the Criterion Collection continues, and after seeing their slate for 2016, I anticipate buying three or four new ones this year.  I bought “Room” on Bu-Ray last month and have “The Revenant” pre-ordered.  As I get passionate about new movies, some will be added to the collection, but much slower than before, of course.

As far as other media: I stream a lot of music (but I use Tidal, which pays artists more than other streaming services.  I also use Pandora, but mostly to stream classical and jazz by people who are dead) but I still buy CDs, albeit at about 10% of the rate I did even three years ago.  I’ll probably buy nine or ten CDs in 2016.  I buy lots of vinyl–a combination of old music that’s freshly pressed (think brand-new factory sealed Beatles records), brand new music (the new Emily Wells album) and used vinyl out of dusty bins (just got The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Jazz Impressions of New York” at the local used record joint).

I read all my books, magazines, and newspapers on paper, although the Kindle ads in the New York Times Book Review make me a little itchy for one.

We currently have active subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, as well as Comcast cable…it’s an embarrassment of riches, to be sure, especially since our available TV-watching time is pretty low.  And most nights I just watch re-runs of “Shark Tank” on CNBC, anyway.  Can’t get enough Mark Cuban, I guess.

 

2 Responses to “Can It Be True? I’m Getting Rid of My DVDs.”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    You know I’m going to be interested in what made it to the sell pile. Fingers crossed Perfect Strangers Season 8 is there. That’s the best season.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      lol it’s too much to even tell you…I mean there are ALOT here. Like I said, even the sell pile has lots of stuff I love, but if you can never watch it…

      I am keeping all my Perfect Strangers. I like to put them on when Karla’s parents come to visit.

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