A look at collecting film
By Chad De Hart
In 1999 I started a new chapter in my life. I just moved to the big city, Anchorage Alaska population 250,000. Okay, it was not that big. But for me it was the biggest thing around. Now out from under my partents roof and living by my own rules. No responsibilities meant a lot of doing nothing, except watching films.
When I lost my parents, I also lost my movies. Some would say this was a bad thing. I saw this as an opportunity. Out with the old in with the new, I say. More important, out with VHS and in with DVD.
The first DVD I watched was Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” 1986. While the image quality was superior, what impressed me were the special features. Specifically the director’s commentary. A special feature was not entirely new concept. LaserDisk had the same material, and better image quality than DVD, but it had several draw backs, overall size and the need to turn over the disk midway through the film.
With my DVD player in hand I began my art collection. With expendable cash I found it easy to stock up. DVD quickly dropped in price. I would buy on a whim, “Oh, that looks cool”. This would cause me to get a turd or two. But it introduced me to some of my favorite filmmakers. “Clerks” 1994 and “El Mariachi” 1992 were a random grabs.
Over time realized that I would only watch a film once or twice. Some would still be in the wrapper, and some are STILL in the wrapper. How could I not have “Saving Private Ryan” 1998 in my library? What was I to do? I scaled back my purchases. By 2006 I was buying one maybe two movies a year. Netflix may have played a part in this as well.
Blu-ray and HD-DVD was also in the back of my mind. I was holding out watching to see who would win the format war. It turned out to be less than a war and more of a hockey fight. During that time I did not want to buy something that would turn into VHS shortly. All of that changes my viewing habits. Even though I have Blu-ray player to go with my HDTV, I do not pick up every film that I come across.
Rows of cases that lined up my shelves now sit in a moldy storage closet. Shiny disks fill an old CD binder. Yes, there are options for buy-backs and online sales. I can’t part with my with my art collection. It sits as reminder of who I was, and what I evolved to be over those seven years. My tastes in films have changed but my view of them art will stay the same.