How to create the ultimate DVD collection

Living Editor

Over the past month, as students returned from Spring Break, and Songfest drew to a close, the full impact of Blockbuster’s Malibu abandonment began to sink in across campus. Suddenly students who live on or near campus have had to rethink their at-home entertainment blueprints. What was once a quick jaunt down to the Colony for Subway and a movie rental has become, at best, a six-mile trek to view the limited video selection at Zuma Beach and Video or, worse, a visit to the DVD section of Payson Library, where time ceases to exist as students lethargically mull over the difficult choice between the “King Gimp” documentary and “The Birth of Nation”, the 1915 three-hour silent Civil War saga based on an even longer play. 

Though the library continues to make a valiant attempt to update its movie collection, even calling for student suggestions in a “Pep Picks” project with a special budget for DVD purchases, the choices are sparse on a Saturday afternoon, especially since Blockbuster’s demise in January has forced a far higher volume of DVD checkouts than the previous norm. There are also those late-night impulse movie cravings that students cannot satisfy when the library closes at 6 p.m. each Saturday and NetFlix needs at least three days to fulfill your whims.

A bleak picture, I know, but don’t give up hope just yet. Students too have the opportunity to create a DVD collection that will rival the legendary Blockbuster and provide endless hours of entertainment without the endless hours of searching through the library’s or any other rental selection. Just follow these four simple steps to update your own DVD library.

Every DVD collection should include a few staples that are universally recognized as quality films. These are the movies that are worth the extra effort to seek out, maybe even special order. In many cases, splurging on the special edition would even be justified. They’re films like “The Princess Bride,” “Forrest Gump,” “Gone with the Wind” and “Schindler’s List.”  Most have won awards for their creative and profound genius; others are simply known by movie lovers everywhere for their moving or unique stories. Though these films may be too heavy to watch every weekend or put on as background noise while you chat and hang out with friends, they are important conversation pieces. Since everyone has seen these movies, they can draw together even the most polar opposites in deep discussion. They are movies that have somehow impacted our society, and someday you may just be in the mood to watch a movie that actually has a story to tell. In the long run, no DVD collection is complete without them.

While it is important to build a strong foundation of classics, it is equally important that your DVD collection reflect your unique and original personality. Use cult classics, quirky favorites and nostalgia-inducing standards to fashion the second portion of your collection. In this category and in the regular classics category, be sure to choose movies that you will want to watch over and over throughout the years. If it’s not a keeper, don’t waste your money on permanent ownership.

All the comedic nobility should be represented, from the original king, Charlie Chaplin, to contemporary monarchs like Eddie Murphy and Bill Murray to naughty princes like Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller. This is also the time to spring for the weird ones that only you and a few close friends would understand. Anything goes, but remember to strive for balance so that no single genre has a chance to pull off a hostile takeover of your collection. Listen to all the voices in your head, and try to appease each of your moods and personalities. You never know which one of them will be selecting the movie this weekend.

Now take a step back and objectively consider your collection as a whole. Is it well-rounded? Does it appeal to a variety of audiences? If you answered “no” or even “hmmm” to either of these questions, it’s time to do a little selective shopping. Focus on filling in the holes in your collection. Is there a particular genre or recent decade that is left out entirely? Find a strong movie or two to represent these underdogs in your collection. You may be thinking, “Why would I want to own even one musical if I hate them all?” But rest assured, there is someone you know who loves musicals (this is just one instance, insert any genre here), even if they haven’t admitted to it yet. By taking a proactive stance and choosing one that you can stand (I promise there is at least one out there), you save yourself the horror of being subjected to your musical-loving friend’s inferior DVD collection when it’s his turn to pick the movie.

Keep an eye-out for those Target and Wal-Mart $10 DVDs and the “4 DVDs for $20” deals that stores run sporadically. More often than not, there are at least one or two jewels buried among the cheesy after-school specials and long-dead titles of the 1980s. This is a quick and easy way to freshen your collection without wearing out your wallet.