I think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.
What I’m Thankful For:
Yup, what with all the Netflix Instants, iTunes, VODs and Groovesharks (all of which I adore, by the way), the limitless amounts of media, untold access to decades worth of art and entertainment just a click and a progress bar away, I still have a soft spot for the tangible.
Not ALL physical media, mind you – 8-tracks and laserdiscs don’t hold any sort of value for me, but there’s a certain nostalgia associated with VHS and cassette tapes, even though I’d never actively pick them over a more modern option, unless it was something inherently personal like a home video or a mixtape.
Vinyl records are a different animal, though I’ve just started to realize my interest in the whole…vinyl culture, I suppose, so I haven’t immersed myself in it enough to really be able to articulate exactly what it is that draws me to it – other than that old, appropriately vague descriptor – “It’s the SOUND, man.”
No, what I’m talking about are your obvious choices – disc-based media. Your Blu-rays and DVDs and CDs, etc. They have their shortcomings, of course – the media damages easily and degrades over time and, if you’re a rather prolific collector, storage and space can become serious issues. They’re not the ideal format for consumption, but there’s a romantic quality to them, much like how, in a lot of ways, an actual-factual book is infinitely more desirable than an eReader, no matter how badass they may be.
I mentioned earlier how storage can be an issue, but the counter to that is that a well-organized, sizeable collection of movies and/or albums can be a helluvan impressive sight. It’s a tangible reflection of the time and money and effort you’ve put into your hobby, the yielded, well-earned results stacked right there for you and everybody to admire. I can speak from experience (and I’m sure many – if not all – of you can corroborate) that there’s a certain, albeit superficial, amount of pride that comes from having a guest peruse your stacks and stacks and say “Fuck Blockbuster, I’m just gonna come over here.” Tangentially, another reason that collections like these are important, for many of us, they’re the last remaining connection that we have to the brick-and-mortar video stores of our youth.
That, of course, brings us to my favorite part of physical media – the swapping. The borrowing and lending. Introducing your friends and family to stuff they might never have seen otherwise. Not everybody has access to Netflix or VOD services, but practically everybody and their daughter has a DVD Player. I had a conversation at work with someone who’d never seen Pulp Fiction. Solved that the very next day. Had another friend who didn’t know who or what a Coen Brother was. Brought em a stack of DVDs and made them a fan for life. And it works both ways – I decided I needed to get caught up on Westerns one day and my buddy Stew brought me a shopping bag full of DVDs and Blus of his favorites from the genre. That, coupled with what’s available on Instant, is practically everything with a tumbleweed that I’ll ever need. Above and beyond convenience and collection sizes, the most important part of what we do is the exposure; that we watch (or listen to) as much as we possibly can. And, in a lot of instances, VOD only just ain’t gonna cut it.
I love online media. I’ll pay for Netflix Instant until the day I (or they) die and Grooveshark will be a browser bookmark on every computer I ever use, but the other day I walked into my daughter’s room and found her lying on her stomach, feet in the air, headphones on, flipping through the liner notes of one of her CDs as she listened to it. That’s the sort of thing that you just can’t really duplicate with your downloadable media. It’s what makes the physical special and it’s for that that I’m thankful.