One Man. One DVD. One Chance. No Way Out.

I’ve been building up my DVD collection regularly for about sixteen months now, striving to collect as many of my favourites and “classics” as I possibly can. Now the idea I’m going to present to you might not sound like the most original, but nevertheless I’m going for it: if I had to trade one of my top ten DVDs I own to keep the other nine, which would it be? Well, in order to make that decision I have to figure out my top ten favourites, right? Well, five of them are the five Criterion DVDs I own:

1: The Seventh Seal (1957)

2: The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

3: M (1931)

4: Short Cuts (1993)

5: The Vanishing (1988)

Okay, so those are easy picks, but the other five… not so much.  There’s definitely Magnolia, my favourite movie ever, and Mulholland Drive, David Lynch’s best movie. I don’t own any other Ingmar Bergman movies (well, I’m planning to get my hands on Persona… somehow) but if I did, the choice would be much harder. I don’t really like to pick two films from the same director, but There Will Be Blood is definitely on the list so that’s eight (thank you, P.T. Anderson). Kubrick’s another one of my favourite directors, so 2001 is way up there, and if I had to squeeze in one more, I’d make it The Big Lebowski, my favourite comedy DVD.

So there are the ten most valuable DVDs (to me, anyway) in my probably undersized collection of 160-ish. If I had to get rid of one, I wouldn’t want it to be one of my Criterion DVDs, but perhaps it will have to be. I’m definitely not getting rid of the latter five, so it’s up to those pesky Criterion Collection DVDs to make the trade. You see, in New Zealand the only way you’re gonna get access to a Criterion DVD is by ordering it from Amazon and paying twice the product value for shipping. The invoice is seldom a pretty sight, but its worth it to know you own these mint-condition movies. But… I think The Double Life of Veronique can be replaced pretty easily. It’s my least favourite personally of the Criterion DVDs I own (don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I hate the movie, I just like the others… well, more).

A DVD collection can be a casually disregarded thing or it can be something you invest a hefty amount of spare cash into, depending on how dedicated you are to movies and how much you can afford with the other basic living expenses. I know all these DVDs (and the ones yet to come) will total up to a lot (cash-wise, time-wise and otherwise-wise), but the value I feel in holding a classic movie that so few people I know own, and having it proudly displayed on the shelf is a tiny little part of life I truly love.

So… whaddabout you…?

What are your ten most prized DVDs and which one would you give up? What do you think of the Criterion Collection and what Criterion DVDs do you own? Leave a comment below letting me know.

Thanks for reading.


About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on May 23, 2011, in Movies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Giving up a DVD for a cinephile is like a parent choosing one child over the other. I know exactly how you feel.

  2. At a rough count I have 670 films and 30 complete TV series on DVD/Blu-ray. As far as a ‘Top 10’ go it’s not about the films themselves but the editions that make them special for me. My limited edition gift sets of the Kill Bill movies from Japan MIB are probably the jewels of my DVD Collection.

    I have several criterion DVDs but I haven’t bought many in a long time due to fact that they are NTSC and a lot of the criterion films are not as hard to come by as they once were but I wouldn’t give up any, especially not my Wes Anderson or Terry Gilliam films nor my Videodrome in faux VHS packaging.

    One of my favourite standard imports has to be the Alejandro Jodorowski box set from the US, I recommend it to any collector, although I got it cheap while in the States. I certainly wouldn’t be selling any of my signed stuff either unless I got duplicates first.

    Collecting can be incredibly frustrating overtime, especially if you’re obsessive like me . Worst issues I have are:

    1. Usually whenever you think you’ve got a great edition, a better one will rear it’s ugly (but smugly superior) head down the line.

    2. I refuse to pay good money for a DVD that doesn’t even have a picture disc. When I first started buying DVDs when I was about 15, my friend and I would laugh when some independent distributors would list ‘picture disc’ as a ‘special feature’. Unfortunately now it seems it IS a special feature with even the major distributors cutting costs (Paramount being the worst!) Now it seems the independents have the upper hand, at least if most collectors are like myself and have pride in their collection.

    3. Friends and family want to borrow from your library, unfortunately they don’t often have the same respect for them that you do. Look but don’t touch, please.

    4. There is always that one movie your dying to own but apparently it doesn’t exist anywhere. And if it does it is usually a terrible quality. All I want is Il Mercenario on DVD but apparently no distributer gives a damn. You’d think that having one of the greatest scores of all time would be enough to ensure it’s gloriously restored and remastered return.

    5. It’s expensive. I used to buy on a whim. It pains me to see movies I paid full price for on first release only to find them now in bargain bins. Now I don’t pay more than $10 for a DVD or $15 for Blu-ray, unless is a very handsome special/limited edition or a rarity/import.

    You seem to be more savvy with your collecting than when I started out. You can easily get caught up in ‘phases’ where you become fascinated by a certain actor or director and end up buying a few duds but I’ve still kept them all.

    Happy collecting.

    • Wow. I look forward more and more to your soliloquiously long comments!

      It sounds like you have a pretty nice collection, and within a few years I hope to have one to a similar degree. I only started collecting last year, and it’s only about now I’m starting to really settle down and think about how I’m going to get those more ‘rare’ gems.

      I agree with you about how it’s more important to have certain ‘editions’ than the movies themselves. The rarest thing that me and my friends own between us is a mate’s copy of Boogie Nights, which was misprinted ‘Boogie Night.’

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