Reading that title, you may think that this is a physical problem, where the rush to turn everything into digital media has left me with a pile of unwanted films and television shows in the corner, with nobody willing to pay more than 50p for each one. Well, yes and no. I foresee that being a problem at some point in the future, wherein I'll no doubt have to drink away my guilt for contributing to landfill in such a spectacular fashion that I'll be a recovering alcoholic for years to come. Or maybe that's hyperbole. Either way, I'll deal with that when I come to it.
No, this is more of an article about how difficult it is to own so many unwatched DVDs (specifically films) and - in the age of digital media - finding the time to watch them when your mood may be taking you elsewhere to glorious Netflix, Lovefilm or one of the many streaming sites that I know about, you know about but that nobody speaks about because they're on the wrong side of the legal divide. These films are often modern, the TV shows are ground breaking and everything is in HD. Instead, I look to my pile of unwatched DVDs and think, "Since I bought you, I should watch each of you at least once in order to get my money's worth."
Now, I love film. To such an extent that when in my late teens, I was often going in for those multi-buy deals, watching one and then leaving the rest on the shelf. In the wrapping. Over and over again. Back in early 2011, I decided that this had to stop and I would get through each and every one no matter how difficult. I compiled a list of all the unwatched DVDs (200+) and have since been working my way through. Sometimes I have slacked and sought out something else but for the most part, I've been pretty good. I actually invested in Netflix so I wouldn't buy DVDs, not so I could buy new stuff: "Ooh, it's on Netflix, so I can watch that and not have to buy it when I get through these." Thus, I am now down to just 23 remaining and all of them clock in at under 120 minutes, except those three Star Wars films I've thus far managed to avoid and the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much.
You see, when you have an inordinate stack of DVDs to get through, you almost feel like you deserve a reward for getting through some of them. The ones from the 1920s that you bought for your dissertation can really test your patience (Alfred Hitchcock was not always the genius people make him out to be, I can tell you that for free) and when the silent films clock in at close to two hours, you sometimes begin to despair. I even made an Excel spreadsheet to help me in my quest, noting down the running time and year of each one. Sure, some have a running time of under 90 minutes (you need to savour those) but they may have subtitles, which can be a mark against because you need to pay more attention. Naturally, I colour code those in red.
For anyone reading this thinking, "Man, I hope he'll tell me the trick to getting through them" (and there are probably none of you) then I can't help. Suffice it to say that archaic silent (or foreign) films that rock on up with a 130 minute running time are no friends of mine. It's even worse if they're critically acclaimed because you know that you should like them and a) if you don't, you feel guilty or b) if you do, you feel bad for not watching it sooner. When you're trying to get through the IMDb Top 250 as well (196 down on last count), there just seems to be no end to the madness.
I'm not entirely sure why I decided I had to watch everything I ever bought but one of my equally DVD-obsessed brothers has now followed my lead and Christmas and birthdays give us a chance to spite one another. This is how I was recently lucky enough to relax with my brand new Dexter Fletcher mousemat, Nigel Harman coaster (don't ask) and a glorious copy of Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, currently sporting 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. But hey, at least it was modern. And another one ticked of my list, even if it was only added earlier that day.