by Leo Mayberry
Why collect movies? When you work surrounded by them, and have access to more than you could possibly watch in a lifetime, why have a home collection? In some ways this stay-at-home scenario is validating. Time to organize and dig through what I’ve been accumulating. There’s no need to be staring at the walls when I’ve got a wall full of movies to watch. In other ways, it is pointing out some flaws in my system.
My personal leaning has always been to buy titles that I think are going to be hard to come by. Experimental films, lesser-known film noir, and films that defy easy categorization were the sort of thing I’d snap up. So when The Final Programme appeared on blu-ray, I was more likely to buy it than the special edition of Robocop, even though watching the former is more of head-scratcher, and the latter is a guaranteed great time. This can lead to confused looks when someone visiting wants to just watch something fun and familiar. Most folks don’t want to grill some burgers and watch The Complete Jean Vigo.
As my collection has grown, I’ve been eschewing my former philosophy and working toward a broader form of completism. There are some truly strange gaps in my catalog, because instead of buying the most obvious title I would specifically avoid it, figuring it would always be available. For example, I’ve got almost every David Lynch film, but I don’t own a copy of Blue Velvet. Similarly, I’ve got Welles’ Shakespeare adaptations and The Trial, but no Touch of Evil. With all this time on my hands to fuss and organize, the gaps are becoming obvious, even if the wall-space available is unrelenting. With more used Blu-rays appearing, it is becoming easier to fill those gaps at a reasonable price. An $8 copy of “Escape from New York” would fill out my Carpenter row, and there’s no reason not to own The Maltese Falcon. There’s always that more pricey edition of Robocop with the amusingly-censored TV cut beckoning from the sale shelf.
With no one coming over for burgers, I suppose the time is right to pull out that Jacques Rivette set and dig in.
Leo Mayberry is a Scarecrow Employee, Projection Designer for theater and film, and VJ. He lives in a constantly renovating home with his lovely wife Sahni, and a lazy cat named Opal.