Dis-Rik of Columbia? (Pt. 2)

[Continued from Pt. 1, which you can read here.]

I am now faced with this dilemma: Having just decided to finally take a stab at the Super Cheap DVD Offer, what could I possibly find to order from a company that seems to only specialize in doling out mainstream entertainment choices?

I'm not saying that my tastes are in any way special. I am no different than anyone else in this aspect: I like what I like, and that is all. I enjoy films of all varieties, no matter where my brow happens to be set, high or low. (Yes, even if my tastes can get a little arty at times, I am always leveled out by the fact that I am a fan of monster movies. You can make a case that they are a metaphor for this-or-that, blah-blah-blah, etcetera, etcetera, and some of the better ones might be exactly that, but deep down at the core of things, they are merely monster movies. Even if ninety percent of them are complete garbage, I still love them. I watch them like frustrated housewives used to read Barbara Cartland and Harlequin novels. They would be my prime guilty pleasure if I ever held or displayed any guilt over them. Which I don't.)

For the record, I have favorite movies in just about any genre. I am partial to silent films (especially Keaton, Chaplin, Lloyd, and Murnau), team and romantic comedy of the 1930s, real and fake film noir, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, Michael Powell, Howard Hawks, Richard Lester, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Mann, John Sturges, Sergio Leone westerns, pre-1970 animation from just about any studio, horror and sci-fi (no matter how schlocky), Flynn, Power, Fairbanks and Lancaster swashbucklers, and Astaire, Kaye and Kelly musicals. I will watch anything by Hitchcock and Bergman. Currently, I love Lynch, Cronenberg, Coppola, Burton, Linklater, Lee, and del Toro. I think Tarantino is simultaneously sad, annoying, hilarious and brilliant, and I think Robert Rodriguez is fun, erratic, and insane in both mind and talent.

I will own up to a small measure of pride in the fact that I have a little bit more of a sense of film history than most people that I have met, and you can call this film-nerdy if you wish (because it is) and egotistical (which it would be if this obsession had ever gotten me anywhere), but that always comes any time that you properly immerse yourself in a subject so thoroughly. I get angry when people say how original a film is when they don't realize it's a remake or an homage to a style of the past, or say a film is a rip-off from something else when in reality the source material for the current film was written years before the film they are defending, or say something off-handedly dismissive about an actor or film without having any real knowledge to back them up.

And the worst thing that a film can be? B-O-R-I-N-G. Bo... ring. This is the true Hollywood crime (outside of bad CGI). Not the low-budget, Ed Wood-type B-movies that everyone loves to gang up on. (I will always defend them because they are sad and misbegotten little treasures that are fascinating to watch.) Great-to-very good films (as well as truly wretched ones) live on in the mind, but boring films serve no real purpose except as time filler. The worst films in the world are the ones that you forget two days later, the ones that leave your head as swiftly as you can stumble out of the darkness of the theatre, the ones that make you go "It was oh-kayyy..." 


You know... the ones that make up the bulk of DVD choices in the Columbia House Offer.

So, go ahead and call me a film geek and/or snob. You've got me pegged, and I have been called far worse. But, now maybe you might understand a little more why simply choosing six films from a list of 200 is so troubling for me. Now, let's move back to the dilemma at hand: What films could I have possibly chosen from this list?

As it turned out, I actually chose around 20 films from the list. Since I left behind about 75% of my prerecorded VHS collection before I moved (I traded them off for credit), I have many noticeable gaps in my film library now, and I thought this would be a perfect way to amend that situation. I had gotten rid of my copies of The Usual Suspects, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Batman, and Dazed and Confused, and here they were in glorious widescreen, all of them begging me to make them my first choice. But because I have not been regularly purchasing films for about a year, there were other more recent wonders to fish out from the depths of this list. Spider-Man 2, School of Rock, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Big Fish, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, Blade II, and Hellboy all were definitely going to find their way into my collection at some point. So, why not now? Likewise, despite a handful of flaws that drove me to distraction, The Last Samurai, The Aviator and the remake of Dawn of the Dead seemed interesting additions to the library. And for shits and giggles, Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke and The Spongebob Squarepants Movie made the short list.

And that was it. The rest could languish in DVD hell for all that I cared. I could easily tell that while I would have no problem fulfilling my commitment to the project, I would also not be so readily tempted as one might think by my being such a video freak. (Of course, the resolution to all of this will have to wait until I actually try to finishing off my obligation.)

So, choosing six films from the under twenty that remained would be easy, but there was something else looming in the works that would tempt me: an offer to reduce my commitment from 3 DVDs to only 2 if I were to purchase a 7th DVD for only $9.99. Done. And, hey! You can also buy an 8th DVD for only $9.99 (though it would not affect your commitment). Done and done. So, 8 films to choose (they turned out to be the Godfathers, Spongebob, Sky Captain, Blade II, School of Rock, Suspects and Spidey 2), and I will be getting them, after tacking on the shipping and handling charges, for around 25 dollars total. Three dollars a film.

Three bucks a film! Slowly, I turned... suddenly, my head filled with thoughts of secret identities and all manner of fakery where I could continue this deal forever. But I only think those thoughts: I never have the cojones or duplicity within me to actually carry something like that off. No, I will pay my $25 and get my movies, buy two more films over the next two years (which I'm sure I will finish off in about a month), and be done with it.

Or will I...?

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