Monday, 12 October 2009

File under: "to watch"

Some would say that I own a lot of DVDs. Others may say I own too many DVDs. Whilst that is entirely based in opinion, my DVD collection is something of which I am proud. It's taken a while to build up, mainly compiled through the fact that if I enjoy a film or a TV series (or indeed anything else that you can buy on DVD) enough, then I like to own it. At least, most of my DVDs fall into that category. But there is a significant fraction of my collection that I've bought, or have had bought for me, that I haven't seen before and now own with the intention of watching. And here is where the problem lies. A lot of the DVDs in this fraction have been there for quite some time. A few have crossed over as I get round to watching them, becoming films that I have seen and enjoyed and own to watch again at a future date, but not as many as I would like.

So why do these DVDs remain unwatched? It's certainly not because I don't want to watch them. I really, really do want to watch all of them, as they are all things that I would love to see rather than just hear about or have a vague idea of. Looking at it objectively, I suppose it is a combination of things. The first is that I live in a DVD democracy. When Hayley and I have time to sit down and watch a film, we first have to agree on what we're going to watch. Not a problem as such, but this does mean that some of my DVDs are automatically consigned firmly to the "watching on my own" list. This list includes Apocalypse Now, Lions For Lambs and my Alien & Predator "Total Destruction" box set. As I said, a reason but not a problem, as Hayley and I have enough films that we both enjoy that we can watch together and plenty that we both want to see that we haven't already.

The second reason is what we shall call the "ease of watching" factor. Within the "watching on my own" list, there are those DVDs that, despite being films and series that I really want to watch, and despite having been recommended to me by countless friends and reliable sources, I really have to be in the right mood to be able to watch them. I'm sure this mood will turn up at an opportune moment some day. But so far, when I've been at work all day having braved Staffordshire's public transport system there and back, this mood has never come upon me on a weekday evening. And with weekends rightfully given over to the DVD democracy, this leaves very little time when these films have a chance to be watched. On this list we can find such unwatched gems as Apocalypto, Raging Bull, the entire Sergio Leone Dollars trilogy, and numerous Akira Kurosawa films.

If I wanted to, I could force myself to watch these DVDs even when I'm not in the right mood to do so, and see what happens. But part of me feels that these films and series deserve better than that. They deserve to have me watching them when I'm in the right frame of mind to fully appreciate them. If I started watching them and switched off halfway through simply because I wasn't mentally in the right place to take them in and enjoy them, I'd feel very disappointed in myself and possibly ruin the chance and experience of watching them at a later date. Is it laziness? I honestly don't think so. But it is a quandary out of which at the moment I don't have a pleasing route.

Mark Twain said, in reference to literature: "A classic is something everybody wants to have read, but no one wants to read". I think this in a way is the case for me and some of my DVDs. I wish I had already watched those ones that are sitting on my shelf longing to be viewed and enjoyed, because at the moment, the chances they receive for being viewed are few and far between. One day they will have their moment of glory in the DVD player, and no doubt I will wonder why I had waited so long to watch them.

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