Of all the things I’ve given up in my adult life, I miss my movie collection the most.
Movies have always been a huge part of my life. Growing up, we always had stacks upon stacks of VHS, and every Christmas and birthday, they were the presents I looked forward to the most. When I was 14, I finally got my own TV/VCR combo, and it wasn’t long before I had a bookcase of my own piled up with tapes. We only ever had basic cable, and I wasn’t a big TV fan when I was younger, so I relied on movies (and books and comics) for entertainment. And I was perfectly happy.
When I was 16, I started working at Blockbuster, and I got my first DVD player. My collection of tapes turned into a collection of DVDs, which filled three 75 CD books when I left for college. While in New York, I worked at Sam Goody, and I kept buying more movies. Then I worked at Borders*, and bought even more**. The first time I moved out of my parents house, it took about 8 boxes to contain my movie collection.
But then I graduated college and started to move around a bit, and it was hard to lug movies around that I didn’t watch all the time. Then I ran out of money a few times. So I started selling chunks of my collection for cash. And then I started working “real” jobs without a discount on DVDs. And then On-Demand happened. And downloading. And Netflix. And then Netflix on Wii. And Amazon Prime Instant. And Netflix on my phone. And then HBOgo. And Hulu. And by then, I forgot about buying movies.
By the time I left for Sydney, I had just 1 box of movies. 8 boxes to 1? I could feel the eyes of 17 year old Audrey searing judgement into me.
As much as I love having thousands of movies at my digital helm, I miss having a giant bookcase filled with DVDs, blu rays, and VHS (yes VHS – how else would I watch un-retouched original trilogy Star Wars?). I miss unwrapping movies at Christmas. I miss tracking release dates. I miss going to Blockbuster to pick out a weekend’s worth of movies. I miss picking up boxes and looking, judging, considering. I even miss getting my hopes up about a new release and waiting by the drop box for someone to return it. And I miss 5 for $20 sales.
So when Joel and I were walking through JB-HiFi and saw this
our ears pricked up and we started pawing through the tables and bins. And then we saw this
Joel made the point that for every $6.99 – $9.99 movie rental on iTunes, we could have gone to the store and bought a movie. Same financial risk as with renting a digital movie, but we’d be able to keep if it was really good. And we get the added fun of getting out of the house and picking through the titles – back in the day style. So we picked out a few titles and headed home, where I instantly opened them all and read every part of the packaging from cover to cover – another movie ritual I missed.
What’s ridiculous is that it’s barely been 8 years since I started selling off my movie collection and streaming movies, but when I talk about how I watch movies now versus how I watched movies then,I feel like it’s been 30 years. I’ve become so accustomed to instant gratification and “cloud” living that I’ve lost that appreciation for collecting and really enjoying that tangible aspect of movies. Rapid fire advancements in technology have enabled my laziness to a level I didn’t even think was possible – I mean, I was incredibly lazy before smart phones and instant downloads and online shopping. So it’s nice to have these sparks of nostalgia that bring me back to my roots.
Now if only I could find a cheap movie theater so I can go tothe movies and still be able to afford my rent.
*yes, every retail store I’ve worked for is now nearly or officially out of business.
**see, also: Why Audrey Had No Savings During School