For whatever reason, I do love physical media. That said, even I run into some things that make me wonder. For example, I’m mainly a genre guy, generally detest romantic comedies, and am not much of a John Cusak fan, yet here’s a copy of Say Anything staring me right in the face. Why?
Now, none of this will in any way shock or dismay my assorted gaggle of regs (a small group, but plucky). But there are some surprises in here. For example, I’m ironically not big on the whole zombie concept, not a believer in zombies running, nor much of a Brad Pitt fan, Fight Club, Snatch, and Ocean’s 11 notwithstanding. Why, then, is World War Z taking up valuable shelf space?
So, given my limited amount of square footage, I recently undertook the daunting task of thinning my great media herd. My main guiding principle was this: How annoyed will I be when I want to watch this and can’t at that precise moment? If the answer is along the lines of shrugging my shoulders and thinking, “Eh,” out it went.
The first cut was pretty easy–almost all the romcoms. This started with the aforementioned Say Anything, followed by Philadelphia Story (which incidentally I’ve never seen), Bringing Up Baby, Desk Set, What’s Up Doc, You’ve Got Mail, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, and so forth. I kept When Harry Met Sally. That’s just good writing.
Hard on the heels of the romcoms were the musicals. I. Loathe. Musicals. Except for Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd. And Nightmare Before Christmas. And Hair. And Rocky Horror. And My Fair Lady. But yeah, I really do hate musicals. Honest and for true. Seriously. Out went Camelot, Across The Universe, Little Shop Of Horrors, Singin’ In The Rain, Moulin Rouge, Sound Of Music, West Side Story, and Mary Poppins.
Speaking of Mary Poppins, I ditched my Disney flicks. There weren’t many, so that didn’t make much of a dent. I don’t have The Black Cauldron, but that’s one I’ll pick up some time. Disney can be dark when it wants. Relatedly, I dumped my Don Bluth stuff as well. I’m not sure why I even had Thumbelina, All Dogs Go To Heaven, or Anastasia, or the bleak, depressing, childhood-scarring Land Before Time. I almost kept A Troll In Central Park for sentimental reasons.
See, when my daughter was about six, she did this local outdoor summer camp thing for a week. She loved A Troll In Central Park, and was telling some other kid about it and how she believed in trolls. Cuz she was, like, six! The next day, when I went to pick her up, a counselor and this kid’s mom were waiting for me. Apparently my kid believing in trolls scared the little angel she was talking to, and he told his mom. I guess nobody told the lad that snitches get stitches. Anyway, the exchange went as follows:
Entitled Mom: “Hi. Your daughter told my son she thinks trolls are real.”
Me (sort of chuckling): “Oh. Yeah. It’s a movie she really likes.”
Entitled Mom: “We don’t watch such things in our home.” (like I was letting my kid watch torture porn)
Me: “Whatever. She doesn’t live in your home.”
Entitled Mom: “Well she needs to apologize for scaring him.”
Entitled Mom: …
Me: “Not gonna happen.”
Entitled Mom: “Well we’re christians.”
Me: “Uh huh.” [turning to counselor] “Keep this wingnut and her kid away from my daughter. This conversation’s over.”
It’s a shame this happened long before Kingsman: The Secret Service came out. Then I could have done this:
But I digress. My point is, said daughter is now a junior in college. I’m reasonably certain I don’t actually need to have a readily available physical copy of A Troll In Central Park on hand.
So what else? For the most part, I ditched the period pieces. My friend Steve (who writes the Funny AF Frankenberry’s Attic) hates period pieces. When we useta watch The Oscars back in grad school at Westbygod Virginia University, he always bemoaned those period pieces that were released late in the year solely for the purpose of sweeping up a bunch of awards. That’s his theory. It’s cynical and a little paranoid, so of course I totally buy it.
In any case, out went Emma, Far From The Madding Crowd, Pride And Prejudice, and Sense And Sensibility. Don’t get me wrong. I like a lavish Shakespeare adaptation or a good ol’ “hat movie” (a term a couple of dear friends use for a buncha them thar Victorian/Edwardian dramas). I just don’t need to own them. “Exemplary vegetable,” however, will always hold a special place in the cold, dark crypt where my heart is supposed to be.
All in all, I did not manage to thin the herd nearly as much as I may have liked, but I still managed to free up at least a bit of space. Overall I was able to, uh, “trim” the collection down to about 865 DVDs. Time to check the thrift stores then get online and see if any sales are comin’ up at Criterion, Grindhouse, or Kino Lorber.