One thing I love to do when visiting other people's places for the first time is to look through their book and DVD collection. To me, that gives you a look into someone's personality better than rifling through their closet or medicine cabinet.
I was on a double date the other night, and after dinner we went back to the other couple's place. The boyfriend had a large collection of DVDs, a good mixture of serious stuff and good-time flicks. The collection wasn't overwhelming, but big enough so he had entertainment options aplenty without needing an online catalogue to keep track of everything.
This was a guy, I thought, who gets it. I'm continually perplexed by people who think the key to a DVD collection is volume. Raging Bull is a great movie, but is it a re-watchable movie? What about 21 Grams, Mulholland Drive, or the other movies in the Naomi Watts Uncomfort Collection? For me, the answer is no. The DVDs may look good on the shelf, but the point is to watch them at some point, not to score cool points in case J. Hoberman comes over to your apartment.
I think part of the problem is that most DVDs get pretty affordable as time passes, so it seems like a good investment. "Hey, The Limey is $5.99, that's a fantastic deal." Well, it is and it isn't. You're getting a good buy, but you have to store it somewhere, and how many times are you going to watch it? Is it essential that you own it, especially if a new technology might make the existing medium extinct in five to 10 years? For the movie buff, the price can affect priorities very quickly.
I used to have the same logic, but it quickly changed when I moved from a duplex (described by a friend as "the place that hope dies") to a smaller condo where hope survives. When I packed up my VHS tapes and DVDs, I was amazed at how much I had accumulated. I could have opened up the video section of Shawshank's library. (Don't get me started on the books.)
So, after that experience, I vowed to follow the advice of Gary Phillips, the owner of the late, great American Video in Aberdeen. I'd collect movies that would be essential viewing if the cable were out or I had nothing better else to do. And every few months or so, I take a good, hard look at my collection and make some cuts. An unopened Super Troopers had to go, so did some videos I got from my days at Home Media Magazine.
But if I ever get consistent work, I'm so buying The Naomi Watts Uncomfort Collection. It's now $29.99 on Amazon.