Pulp blogging.

Well, we got our snow. The world is white — I’d guesstimate we topped out at three inches or so — and the neighborhood resounds with the blast of two-cycle engines. No, wait — the last one just stopped. That would be ours, and don’t give me any crap about it, Lance Mannion, because we have a long driveway and this ain’t Atlanta. So now the world is white and quiet, and our little part of it is safe for pedestrians. Winter is on. Temperatures remain low, and I’m hoping the snow is safe for a while. It’s been a while since I went out in my North Face and mirrored Ray-Ban aviators. Winter’s own bad-ass.

But today’s question concerns indoor activities: Do you buy movies on DVD? Why or why not?

I ask because I don’t. Or hardly ever, now that Kate is past childhood and the time-for-mom technique of parking her in front of a video. In Ann Arbor a few years ago I came across a tent sale for Border’s warehouse stock, a real Blondie-goes-to-Tudbury’s free-for-all, and they had unsold or cutout or made-obsolete-by-the-director’s-cut DVDs for sale for $5, the magic price point for me, and I think I bought three — “The Producers” (and if you wonder whether it was the original or the remake, you don’t know me at all), “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and “Taxi Driver.” I have watched the first two once, and the third maybe three times, mainly for the featurettes. That’s the most DVDs I ever bought at a sitting, but I have maybe a handful more, mostly Criterion Collection classics, that I never or rarely watch.

I wonder because someone must buy DVDs, beyond Blockbuster stores. I see DVDs at garage sales. They’re never, ever, a movie anyone with half a brain would want to watch, even on cable. Being hoodwinked into spending $8 on a ticket before the reviews buried it, sure. And yet someone said, “Ellen DeGeneres in ‘Mr. Wrong’? Yeah, that’s worth $20.” Most movies are crap, and most do their briskest DVD sales in the first month. And the only DVDs I’d buy are things like “Rashomon,” 60 years young.

A few years back I did a story on the great American paperback book, and had a fascinating chat with the author of a coffee-table book devoted to the subject. The paperback, he said, is truly a democratic wonder, and pointed out that the standard price point of mass-market paperback has, over time, tracked amazingly close to that of an hour of work at minimum wage. Before paperbacks, Americans who weren’t wealthy enough to buy hardcover books — and there were millions of them — patronized lending libraries, which were not the same as public libraries, more like video stores for books. You paid a fee to check a book out for a few days, and brought it back. The paperback dime novel, printed on cheap paper and easy to stick in a lunch pail or back pocket for a few minutes’ break time, represented a revolution in bringing books to the masses.

Of course, the masses don’t always want to read the Harvard Classics, so then we got the glorious genre of pulp fiction, about which I will one day write at greater length. It so happens that in the last year I read collections of two of my favorite writers’ early work for the pulps (Elmore Leonard and John D. MacDonald), and boy was that interesting. Your English teacher tells you fiction is art, but there’s a special kind of art created by having to get a lot of exposition up top, before the reader has to turn the page. I’ve always admired fiction writers who could make their living entirely from writing and not teaching, and you get a glimpse of how it’s done — by pleasing the reader. Those who can do it and make it fun to read are well and truly artists, if you ask me.

I guess buying John D. MacDonald’s pulp collection would qualify as buying the DVD. (Although I didn’t. It was a gift.)

I am no longer making sense. I’m distracted. I’ve been thinking about a story I’d like to pitch, which really interests me. Now to find a functioning publication that might pay me for it. That’s the challenge.

So, what do you have cued up for the weekend, besides getting out your shiny aviator shades?

One bit of bloggage: I see John Goodman has been added to the cast of “Treme,” by our fave David Simon, now shooting in New Orleans. Goodman will play a “college professor,” I read. Let’s hope his character is named Ashley Morris.

That is all.

Posted at 11:05 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

76 responses to “Pulp blogging.”

  1. Sue said on January 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

    No time to comment now, back later, but just want to say: John Goodman as a character named Ashley Morris? I want to be there the first time he speaks the immortal line, ‘FYYFF’.

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  2. Peter said on January 8, 2010 at 11:28 am

    And I think John would do that line justice!

    You know, maybe because of my late middle age ennui, the only DVD’s I have are ones that I got as a gift because I’m impossible to buy a present for and architecture books (talk about a dying genre!) are too expensive for casual gifts. But I know what you mean about the yard sales – we tried to dump our son’s old computer games and DVD’s and people looked at them like they were Full House anthologies.

    Speaking of Christmas gifts, I got a copy of R. Crumb’s Illustrated Book of Genesis, and to me it’s the perfect mix of bible studies and porn.

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  3. brian stouder said on January 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Over the holiday at some point I watched some of the National Book Awards dinner on C-SPAN (now there’s a great dvd, eh?), and Gore Vidal gave a little talk, revolving around the great publishing process wherein a writer writes a thing, it gets printed, and then gets pulped; he was thinking they could save lots of time just going stright from the production pricess to the pulping operations

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  4. judybusy said on January 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    We don’t buy many DVDs because we rarly watch movies more than once. I’m the same way about books; I get them from the library exclusively. We also get our DVDs from there, although the waiting list can get very long for books and movies. The Minneapolis library system recently merged with the county’s and it’s made the waiting lists increased so much. I’m 460-something for Wolf Hall, a novelization of Cromwell under Henry VIII!

    This weekend, I am taking winter head-on and taking X-country ski lessons at a local park. Hooray for tax dollars at work! $20 for a 90-minute lesson? Sign me up. Later this winter, I’ll be attending the Art Shanty Project: http://www.artshantyprojects.org/ You can’t do this in Florida!

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  5. Dorothy said on January 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

    A little gasp came out in the form of a thought balloon when I read that about Goodman/Ashley Morris. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!?!

    I do buy movies, but not a lot of them. But now I’m starting to wonder why. I have so many movies that I love and I guess I just want to be sure I can see them anytime I want. Which seems selfish and childish now that I think of it. But truly I could not be happy if I didn’t have the chance to put on “To Kill a Mockingbird” if the mood strikes me on some rainy Sunday afternoon.

    Just this very day we pitched out about 75 old video tapes that we’d had going back to 1984 that had hold movies, t.v. episodes, etc. on them. Now the only video tapes I am holding onto are family movies and for those, I’ll be converting them to CD’s soon I’m sure.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

    The Holy Handgrenade of Antioch!

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  7. Connie said on January 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

    We’ve had snow falling daily since just after Christmas, and it looks like it has stopped for a bit, the sun has come out. I made it more than half way to my extended family’s holiday get together in Holland on New Year’s Day. I decided that if I was going to drive the freeway in blinding and blowing snow I needed to be pointed toward home. My brother was just a few miles behind me on the freeway and I met him just long enough to pass along the potato salad and gifts, and headed for home.

    Same thing happened in reverse the next day with our expected weekend guests who chose not to make the drive down from Holland.

    We are on the edge of the lake effect area so what snow we get varies greatly. This time it got us good.

    Brian, a hawk picture for you, this one on our deck watching our birdfeeder. http://elmores.net/round-here/comments.php?id=1838_0_1_0_C

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  8. paddyo' said on January 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Could it be that, unlike CDs and other music, it takes sitting down and actually WATCHING (and for two hours or more at that) to “use” a DVD? I think I own only one — “Magnolia,” a fave movie that I love also for the music, mostly Aimee Mann. And I don’t watch that but every couple of years, if that. Meanwhile, I more often play CDs (or my iPod, which contains said CDs), when I don’t have public radio on.

    I dunno. Izzit a generational thing, the DVD-buying? Don’t quite get it when there’s Netflix, Blockbuster, etc. But then, I buy books all the time, mostly paperbacks, often trade paperbacks (the higher priced ones than the pulpies) for the Book Cult, the monthly book group I’m in . . . Just a word snob who likes to decorate the house with books, I ‘spose …

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  9. Bryan said on January 8, 2010 at 11:40 am


    Have you checked out the Hard Case Crime series? It’s an imprint dedicated to “brining you the best in hardboiled crime fiction, ranging from lost noir masterpieces to new novels by today’s most powerful writers, featuring stunning original cover art in the grand pulp style.” They even have a book club.

    My favorite title would have to be “House Dick” by E. Howard Hunt. Not many folks know that the same man who helped break into the Democratic National Headquarters to set Watergate in motion also was an award-winning author with more than 70 books under his belt.

    Here’s the synopsis of “House Dick” from the Hard Case Crime web site (www.hardcasecrime.com):

    “HOUSE DICK is one of Hunt’s very best, a classic hardboiled story of a detective in a Washington D.C. hotel (no, not that hotel) investigating a twisty tale of burglary and murder, of skullduggery under cover of darkness, of deception and shifting loyalties—and of the price you pay when you trust the wrong people…”


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  10. Connie said on January 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

    judybusy, Wolf Hall is well worth the wait. Most libraries have a copies per number on hold list policy and keep ordering more when lists grow like that. At my library our policy is one copy per three holds, and appropriate manager is automatically notified when additional copies need to be ordered.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on January 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I guess I’m a sucker, but I do purchase DVDs on occasion. Our collection includes films my wife and I have seen and enjoyed on multiple occasions, such as “The Godfather I and II,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “A Fish Called Wanda.” My private stash is mostly shoot `em ups and Hong Kong gangster films by John Woo, Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam, which I can watch for a half hour or whatever and turn off until I’m ready to watch again. Chow Yun Fat is like an old buddy for me.

    Lately, I’ve been buying boxed sets of DVD’s showcasing TV from a different era. “M Squad,” starring Lee Marvin and shot on location in Chicago, is one while “Peter Gunn” is another fave. Sans commercials, these programs run just 22 minutes, which is just about perfect before bed viewing. I revel in the jazz scores, the slick clothing, the tough guy dialogue and, natch, the cars. Lee Marvin’s character cruises the B-rolls in a black, four-door 1957 Ford Custom, while Peter Gunn’s ride is a 1959 Plymouth Savoy convertible equipped with car phone. Everyone smokes like a chimney, of course.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2010 at 11:44 am

    With streaming capabilities growing daily DVD sales will be only for those without high-speed internet or cable connections. That is, the poor/elderly/digitally challenged. We rarely buy them anymore although I just ordered Glee season 1 on Amazon, so Nancy earns $1.20! Supposedly Netflix will be streaming soon on the Wi, which will earn it a place in our living room instead of basement banishment.

    Way back when we bought a lot of kids’ movies on VHS, thinking we were investing for when we had grandkids. Now we realize that platforms are constantly changing so we’re waiting for things to settle. We haven’t bought a blue ray player or a flat screen TV and despite lobbying from the sports watcher of the house still no cable.

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  13. judybusy said on January 8, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Good to hear Wolf Hall is worth the wait! Thankfully, I have varied taste, so can get many, many things without waiting. Recently, I ordered the complete set of the British series “Good Neighbors” and I just got notified it’s in! I’ve been wanting to get to the library to return things, but we had some nasty snow that turned the streets into a greased skillet. Took me 25″ to drive 16 blocks last night.

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  14. Rana said on January 8, 2010 at 11:57 am

    We do buy DVDs (I guess we’re representing that “younger generation”). Said DVDs tend to fall into one of three categories – things that we enjoyed sufficiently that we expect to watch them again, things that we can’t see otherwise (like Planet Earth or Miyazaki films), and things that we use professionally in our classrooms (where having your own copy spares you having to hunt one down at the last minute). We don’t buy them all that often, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for actually owning the thing.

    (As for Netflix – no interest in it at all. We don’t watch nearly enough movies to justify it, and even rental stores are of scant interest. If we “rent” it’s from the library, usually.)

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  15. nancy said on January 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I was thinking of starting a Netflix rock-bottom subscription for the art films, which are rarely if ever in Blockbuster, and in short or non-existent supply at the library. If we only watch one a month, it’s worth it.

    Although I had to give a not to Turner Classic Movies, which is doing great work lately. DVR’d “On the Waterfront” the other night, which I hadn’t seen in a while.

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  16. 4dbirds said on January 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Netflix instant queue is my new best friend. I pick a film online and poof it’s on my TV. After you guys mentioned “Let The Right One In” I found it and watched it that day.

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  17. moe99 said on January 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Judybusy, Wolf Hall is worth the wait. I went out and bought a copy after the library book was due. I’ve loaned it out to friends and can’t remember who has it right now. Surely the sign of a good book.

    Here’s a fun quiz:

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  18. Sue said on January 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Most of our DVDs have been gift-related. My DVD “collection” includes Shawn of the Dead and Office Space; like Rana I keep what I know I’ll watch again, and that’s not much. I got the first season of Arrested Development for my husband this Christmas. I was thinking of buying Band of Brothers, but maybe I should just get the book instead.
    For some reason, I buy fiction almost exclusively in paperback and non-fiction in hardcover. A hardcover fiction book seems like an extravagant purchase. Well, plus I always seem to be lending out Terry Pratchett books that don’t get returned, so it’s cheaper that way.
    I took a bunch of old videos to our version of Goodwill last summer, thinking I was finally getting rid of all the ones I had for my kids. They wouldn’t take them; apparently some donated videos contain inappropriate surprises. So, only sealed boxes are accepted now, even for DVDs. The guy eventually took them anyway, after he saw some of the titles. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get rid of them.

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  19. Dorothy said on January 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    My copy of “Band of Brothers” has vanished Sue, and I have to say that’s one I’ll definitely buy again. I might just wait and see if i can find it at Half Price Books. The book is good but the series on HBO was SO much better.

    A few years ago there was a new series on NBC called Boomtown. It was cancelled much to my dismay. I’m glad I own a copy of the one and only season. It reminded me very much of Homicide: Life on the Streets.

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  20. Sue said on January 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I watched the BoB series a few months ago when it was being marathoned on the History Channel or somewhere. Great series for sure, Dorothy, but I don’t recommend viewing it that way. Even at the end, when they were safely away from danger, I couldn’t shake the feeling that a bomb was going to come out of nowhere and take a few characters out.

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  21. nancy said on January 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    “EZ Streets” is the lost TV show I mourn. Shot partly in Detroit, and unmistakably so.

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  22. Peter said on January 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Jeff, regarding Peter Gunn, I wondered how much of that particular show was due to Blake Edwards? I think he gets a bad rep because of the Pink Panther films (which I like – a lot), especially when you consider Peter Gunn. Then again, for all I know, he might have taken someone else’s idea and just ran with it.

    Nancy, you’re right about TCM. Sundance sometimes comes through big time – recently they had Bob le flambeur and Army of Shadows – can’t watch enough of those two, but I’d STILL think twice before buying a copy.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    4dbirds, how do you stream to your TV from Netflix? We’ve been looking at all the different possibilities.
    Netflix is our answer to cable; we just have to wait a little longer for all those great shows from HBO and BBC.

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  24. Dorothy said on January 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Was EZ Streets on CBS? I think I remember that one and loved it, too. (now I’ll go to IMDB to see if it’s the same one.)

    Sue what do you mean “I don’t recommend viewing it that way.”?

    Edit: Yep that’s the same one.

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  25. Sue said on January 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Viewing it as a marathon, start to finish. A day’s worth of carnage, basically.

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  26. beb said on January 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    We buy a fair amount of DVDs, mostly things we’ve seen in the theater and liked enough to want to watch it again. But I know what Nancy is talking about, movies or TV compilations of things so uninteresting you wonder why they were ever put on DVD to begin with. Then I think about the shows I’d like to see released on DVD that never will be.

    The battle between DVD and blu-ray is irritating. Here we are, still with a bunch of VHS tape movies and someone wants to turn our DVDs into garbage?

    I don’t think there were ever paperbacks prices at a dime. Even the magazines were going for 15-20 cents by the start of the 40s. In addition to the lending libraries there were the all-fiction pulp magazines which was a huge industry between 1900 and 1950. Lots of people could make a comfortable living writing for the magazines at a penny a word. A 10,000 word story could bring you $100, which was a nearly a month’s expenses back then. The better writers could get 2 cents a word and the bestsellers, like Max Brand or Edgar Rice Burroughs could command 6-8 cents a word, while writing a million words a year.

    Looking at the prices of things mentioned in 30s fiction I’ve concluded that to compare values between then and now you should multiple a given price by 30. So that 10,000 word was bringing in the equivalent of $3000 today. Sell a dozen of them in a year and you’re doing OK.

    Boingboing has a link to a new photoshop disaster involving Emma Watson, the Harry Porter actress. She’s doing some ads for Burbury coats and in one of them one of her legs disappears. I got a laugh out of one commenter who asked if the crack-whore look was intentional. That was my first thought, too, looking at the picture.

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  27. Dorothy said on January 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Oh okay. You’re right. I never would do that with that show. When it premiered of course I just watched it a week at a time. Did you know it premiered on 9/9/01? Two days before 9/11, in case you didn’t catch my drift.

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  28. brian stouder said on January 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Connie, a great photo! Either hawks are becoming more common, or else I’m more observant lately – but it seems I see them much more often (wheeling in the sky, or perched on light posts)

    Whoever said dvd’s are simply default gift items anymore has the best point, I think. That’s when we buy them, or receive them.

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  29. Sue said on January 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Gentlemen, leave the room.
    Are they gone?
    Not just no, Hell No.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    And somewhere I read that’s Emma Watson’s brother in the pic, which is therefore even more creepy.

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  31. Dave said on January 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    It is a generational thing, I’ve known younger folks who’ve told me they buy movies, why rent them. To which I reply, such an extravagance. Our recently acquired son-in-law (July) had a large collection of DVD’s he’d bought, we suspect he’s not buying so many now.

    What movies we have were all gifts, including HELP! with The Beatles, the movie that made me a Beatles fan. Even so, I’ve only watched the DVD once but I’ve seen it numerous times.

    Our son just returned home after spending a semester as an exchange student in Lima, Peru. He came home with several DVD’s that he’d bought in Lima somewhere, including LOST, Season One.

    All of Arrested Development can be found on-line, if one is so inclined to sit in front of the computer to watch it.

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  32. Lex said on January 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Last one first: Dave, “Arrested Development” is on Hulu.com, although Season 1 disappeared after 12/31, by which time I, a very late arrival to the show, had only gotten to see 6 episodes. Season 2 appeared Jan. 1 and will be available until April 1, when it goes away and Season 3 will appear.

    Other than Panthers games, I haven’t had appointment TV since the penultimate season of “The West Wing” — just no time.

    I keep a list of movies I haven’t seen that I’d like to buy or rent one day, but right now, for the same reason I don’t watch TV, I don’t buy DVDs except for my kids to watch in the car on long trips. (I do not know how in pluperfect hell my parents drove the four of us from Charlotte, NC, to Monticello, Fla., in one day without a DVD player and without beating the hell out of all four of us.) I got Season 1 of “30 Rock” for Christmas from my wife, who’s probably more eager to watch it than I am.

    When the kids have grown up and left home, I fully intend to obtain, by whatever means/in whatever media then available, every episode of “The Wire,” based on all the discussion here. Because I know Nance would kill me if I didn’t.

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  33. Dave said on January 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    All of Arrested Development was there at one time, I watched many of them on there, the ones I didn’t borrow or rent from the first season. But, I know there was a time you could watch a lot of other shows on there that have since disappeared so I’m not surprised. The recent purchase of NBC by Comcast is going to make Hulu a pay-per-view site or for Comcast subscribers only, it’s coming.

    I, too, was a latecomer to Arrested Development.

    Oh, I meant to add in the above comments that the price our son paid for the DVD’s in Peru averaged about .50 to 1.00 per DVD, and they all seem to play fine and appear legitimate.

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  34. Michael said on January 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I buy a lot of DVDs. The local rental store will sell them for anywhere from $2.99-$4.99 after about six months, and I can often find brand-new deals that make purchase worthwhile. I live in an area without high-speed internet; trying to watch anything on Hulu simply results in blotchy skin and short temper. I like having a varied collection that I can access at a moment’s notice whether it’s late at night or on a snow/sick day.

    On top of that, I like owning the artifact. Remember what Amazon did to Kindle readers? That’s why I’ll always read books and why I want my own physical copy of the movie.

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  35. 4dbirds said on January 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Julie I’ll have to ask my hubby about streaming over to the TV. I know we have Verizon FIOS, TIVO, plus one of the dish networks. We have a dozen or so remotes and I never know what works with what. Hubby is a computer guy who has to have every electronic toy RIGHT NOW!! With all that I mainly watch The History Channel,BBC America, the Food Network and whatever series is running on HBO.

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  36. Michael said on January 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I do have Dish Network, but the movies on demand are all full-screen, and I’m a wide-screen snob.

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  37. coozledad said on January 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I think about the only films I’d want copies of are the Ealing comedies: Especially Kind hearts and Coronets. Gore Vidal says despite the fact Alec Guinness didn’t receive director’s credits, he had to take over the film after the contract director drank himself into a stupor because he was the only man Joan Greenwood ever refused. She told him she “couldn’t have sex because her opening was too small.”
    Tell that to the Marines.
    Joan was brilliant in that film, as was Alec.

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  38. brian stouder said on January 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Tell that to the Marines.

    Well, and indeed – there’s always more than one way to skin a cat (not to just pay lip-service to the idea of remaining broad-minded)

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  39. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Our setup also has too many remotes, and you can’t just plop a DVD in, you also have to turn the sound sytem on and to its correct setting or the DVD doesn’t show up on the TV. And if you want to record from the air, you can’t have the converter box’s remote on mute or you get no sound. Makes one long for the days of just a TV with crappy sound.

    Omigosh, Sue, I just clicked your link. There’s a need I didn’t know I had.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    On the other hand, my wife no longer asks me to “just hold the antenna over that way, OK, um, can you stand there just a little longer until this scene is over?”

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  41. coozledad said on January 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I suppose the labial dye might be useful for someone who’s a professional gynecological model, or someone who has nightmares about showing up for work in an undershirt, but it’s about as significant as the extra hour a day Little Richard spends on his mustache. What the hell, it’s just $30.00.

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  42. Sue said on January 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Julie Robinson: Yeah, for some reason I kept thinking of the Madeline Kahn character in “Young Frankenstein” and the scene from the railway station transferred to the bedroom.

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  43. Deborah said on January 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    We buy DVDs a lot. We watch them over and over again. But we’re pretty snobby about what we buy, classics mostly. I gave my husband a case for holding over 300 DVDs as a christmas gift this year. He has it almost filled. He teaches architecture at IIT and film is a big part of the course he teaches, how film deals with spatial issues. His students watch 5 films during the semester, The Passenger (Antonioni), Rear Window (Hitchcock of course), The Shining (Kubrick), Nostalgia (Tarkovski [spelling?]), and Blood Wedding (Carlos Saura). So those are the kind of movies we buy. My daughter, Little Bird, who comments here will probably tell you about her boyfriend who collects DVDs too, he’s a former film student. He probably has thousands.

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  44. Deborah said on January 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Oh, and I forgot, his class also watches Rope, another Hitchock film. So that makes 6 films during the semester.

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  45. Mindy said on January 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I buy too many DVDs, even though I like to think I’m careful about adding to the collection. This year I finally allowed myself to buy Paper Moon. Got the book and the soundtrack while I was at it and have been singing About a Quarter to Nine and Object of My Affection in the car every week since the spring. And I’ve got every episode of Columbo, which I love. “Oh, just one more thing” never gets old. A Columbo marathon is great for weathering a bad cold.

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  46. brian stouder said on January 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    My fave Hitchcock: North by Northwest – Cary Grant is superb in that one.

    Another excellent Cary Grant movie I would buy if I saw it (and I’ve looked): Father Goose

    Some of the best things with dvd movies, as someone (possibly the proprietress) mentioned, are the extra features. Pam and I saw a forgettable Sandra Bullock horror movie, wherein she keeps reliving the day her husband dies (or some such).

    We made it to the end of the movie, and thought the dollar rental was just about right – but the gag reel was HYSTERICAL!!

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  47. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Brian, you can buy Father Goose at Amazon, and enrich Nancy by .58 at the same time. I have fond memories of that movie although I last watched it so long ago that I don’t really remember why. I guess it’ll go in the Netflix queue.

    Has anyone seen Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog with Neil Patrick Harris? Our daughter is a big fan and has, as we used to say in the old days of vinyl, worn a groove in the DVD. We watched it with her last weekend when we were in Chicago and she knows every single line. And by that, I mean she sings, speaks, and gestures right along. Well, I guess that is the title.

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  48. Rana said on January 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    beb, you may appreciate this site, which translates today’s dollars into their earlier equivalents, and vice versa:


    It asserts, for example, that

    “$1289.24 in the year 2008 has the same ‘purchase power’ as $100 in the year 1930.”

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  49. Dexter said on January 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I may have bought 20 dvd s and been gifted another 30, that’s all. I watch a lot of films on Sundance, and their choice-makers regarding programming is so much more interesting than what I would schlepp home from the video store. I like to be surprised and I don’t like buying old films I have seen many times before. I still have tapes of old faves like “A Clockwork Orange”, “Taxi Driver” and “‘Round Midnight”, which may be my fave film. TCM is fantastic and I watch at least one film there per day. Last month’s Bogart festival was great…I recorded some Bogie films I had never seen.
    With all the HBOs and Encore stations, plus STARZ, I don’t have time to rent stuff from Netflix.
    I saw the seg on Wednesday’s news about the new 3-D televisions that will make hi-def obsolete. I can’t keep up .
    Right now I have a basketball game on TV from Calihan Hall in Detroit. I have not seen a game from there on TV for fifty years, way before the Titans were called the Detroit Mercy Titans. Back then they were just Detroit. I only saw them play one time in person, 33 years ago, down in Lexington in the big tourney.

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  50. David in Chicago said on January 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Nancy, what was the John D. MacDonald pulps collection? The Good Old Stuff and More Good Old Stuff? Some very churce tales in those collections. I think I’ve read every title in the Travis McGee series at least 15 or 20 times.

    I’m careful about what DVDs I buy, but I still own more than I’d like. For some reason, if a favorite movie shows up on TCM or Starz or something, I’ll watch it even if I own it on DVD – I know that’s crazy, but I think it’s because I grew up in the 60s and 70s, my family never sprung for cable, and it was such a lucky thing to find a great movie on TV. A lot of the magic is missing for me if I can just pluck a movie off the shelf.

    That being said, I would never get rid of my complete set of “I, Claudius” on DVD… That takes me through a snowbound weekend or a bout with the flu better than anything. Derek Jacoby, Sian Philips, John Hurt, Brian Blessed…. nothing compares.

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  51. Deborah said on January 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Oh my God. I’m just back from a horrible experience with Verizon. It seems some total stranger changed my billing address without my consent and oh yeah they also ordered a $319 Blackberry and had it shipped to that new address!!! And Verizon let it happen! It still isn’t cleared up, I had to go to a Verizon store and show my ID (out in the cold and the snow) because on the phone they didn’t believe I was who I said I was. But of course they let the scammer do what they did on the phone with no problem. I am boiling mad. I was in that store for 2 hours, and like I said, it is still not cleared up. They say there has to be a fraud investigation first before they can take the charge off of my bill, which I hadn’t even received because of the address change. Ggggrrrrrr. My advice to you right now is to steer clear of Verizon. I am getting an Iphone as soon as my contract is up, ATT here I come.

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  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Cary Grant — “NbyNW” has been mentioned, but right behind that in my imagination come “Bringing Up Baby” which i own and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” which i should, and might yet.

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  53. Rana said on January 8, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    What an awful story, Deborah! I agree that Verizon is evil, and our experiences dealing with it have nowhere been as bad.

    Unfortunately for us, it’s the only land-line service available in our area; if it were possible to go completely wireless, I would switch us over to my long-distance and wireless company (Credo).

    The local internet people hate them too; whenever there’s an outage, nine times out of ten it’s a problem with Verizon’s lines (the tenth time it’s squirrels).

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  54. nancy said on January 8, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Deborah, I’d be willing to bet this is tied to your purse theft a few months back. That was you, right? I’m sure your identity went into the ether. Probably time for the credit-freeze do-si-do, too. My sympathies.

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  55. Denice B. said on January 9, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Boing Boing had a link yesterday to a website where the writers re-wrote ‘The Big Lebowski’ Shakespeare style. What a hoot!

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  56. Little Bird said on January 9, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Yes, Rooster has well over a thousand DVD’s. Many of them he hasn’t even watched yet. He also has nearly a hundred bluray discs, a large collection of laserdiscs AND videodiscs (which look like oversized versions of those bitty hard disks that were used in the 90’s). He likes movies. A lot. He has an entire closet devoted to just movies, and the collection has seeped into one other closet and his living room.
    We just saw Sherlock Holmes tonight, and after the credits rolled he turned to me and said “I’ll be buying that when it comes out on bluray”.
    As to the Verizon problem, part of the problem is they’re calling ME, not her. Why they would call me and not her is beyond me. But I’m not entirely sure this has to do with her purse theft. They keep calling me for info (which I don’t have since I’m not the policy holder) and threatening to turn off my phone. The first time they called they said that the phones would be deactivated unless I gave them the last four digits of her S.S. number. Which I don’t know and wouldn’t give out even if I did. It’s all very confusing. And I’m more than happy to go to the store and show the personnel there the text I got and the call log of the times “they’ve” called me.

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  57. coozledad said on January 9, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Mindy: Have you ever seen Wim Wenders “Wings of Desire”? Peter Falk has a cameo as an angel. Best part of the movie.
    He’s also excellent in Cassavetes’ Big Trouble.

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  58. whitebeard said on January 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    There is an academy awards judge who brings his (or her) DVD entries to a Goodwill store near me and I grab them up as fast as my wallet will allow because watching DVDs on the portable player my wife gave me for Christmas helps blur the thoughts of the upcoming colon cancer surgery (date still not settled, heart stress tests next to see if I can survive the operation). My wife gave me Season Five of “24” and I watched all 24 episodes last weekend. This weekend I am polishing off the six “Star Wars” DVDs from the local library, which is building up a good collection of DVDs for its size. I have not bought any BluRay DVDs yet because I am waiting for the shakeout (I still have a Betamax videotape player and an RCA videodisc player in my collection of failed technologies)

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  59. Deborah said on January 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Whitebeard good to see your comment. Hang in there.

    Nancy, regarding the purse theft, I thought of that too but at the Verizon store they gave me the address that my billing and shipping address had been changed to. Last night my husband and I Google Mapped it to see where it is. It’s on a dead-end street in an industrial area in way south Chicago, in the middle of nowhere. We have speculated that it might be an inside job, that someone within is shipping phones and whatever to a warehouse or something. The other thing they told me was that the phone had never been activated and that it never can be because they have now blocked it by the serial number. Now isn’t that strange that it was shipped on Nov 11 and never activated? If it was taken by an individual wouldn’t they have activated it immediately, otherwise what would be the point. It all sounds like an organized deal. To change my address they would have had to know my Verizon password and the last 4 digits of my social, which were not in my purse. So it all adds up to an inside job to me.

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  60. crinoidgirl said on January 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Little Bird @56: But, does Rooster still have the laser- and videodisc players to go with the disks? Otherwise, they’re just expensive Frisbees.

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  61. basset said on January 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I have “A Hard Day’s Night” as a commercially released Quicktime movie. Those didn’t catch on, for some reason. That’s a drag, a well-known drag.

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  62. Deborah said on January 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Let me clarify, since Little Bird commented about how Verizon was contacting her. This all came to light because Verizon started contacting her around the 27th of Dec asking if she was me and telling her (me) to contact Verizon. She is on a family plan with me and my husband, so we have 3 phones in our family plan. I thought it was a scam, someone trying to get her to reveal information, I told her to ignore it because I had not gotten any calls from Verizon and figured if they needed to contact me they certainly had my number, and they didn’t try to contact me. So finally on Friday after she had gotten the umpteenth call from “Verizon”, I decided I would call and report what I thought was a scam to Verizon. That’s when I found out my address had been changed and because of that they didn’t believe I was who I said I was, and that I had to go to a Verizon store and show proof that I am me. Which irritated the hell out of me since that meant I had to get out in the cold and snow, slog to a store and deal with it in person. Counting the phone call and the in-person store experience I spent 2+ hours dealing with it. Today while we were out grocery shopping my daughter got another call from Verizon (a robo call) asking if she was me and telling her there was an outstanding balance. This of course sent me through the stratosphere again, as everything I went through yesterday was to no avail and I am right back where I started from. I am going to kill someone before this is over.

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  63. Little Bird said on January 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Don’t kill anyone Deborah, it’s not worth the paperwork.
    And yes, Rooster has any and all applicable players for his many mediums of media. I don’t think the videodisk player actually works right now, but he does know a person that can fix it. His most recent laserdisc purchase was The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which is only available in Japan and cost him $200 plus shipping and handling. I think it’s an addiction.

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  64. moe99 said on January 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Have you contacted your Attorney General’s office, Division of Consumer Protection? They can sometimes be a lever when you don’t seem to be making headway. What state are you in? In Washington communications complaints have been no. 1 for the last few years.

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  65. Deborah said on January 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion Moe, if this doesn’t get cleared up soon, I will certainly do that. I just got off the phone with Verizon, another hour I have had to deal with this. At least the guy I talked to seemed to be a bit more helpful. We’ll see.

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  66. Sue said on January 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Oh, Whitebeard, I didn’t know about your upcoming surgery. I’m sending good thoughts your way, keep us informed.

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  67. moe99 said on January 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Whitebeard, best wishes on your upcoming surgery. Please keep us all updated on your situation.

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  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Whitebeard, prayers for you and your family from this quarter, and a question — had you seen the DVD “improved” Star Wars episodes yet, and what was your thought? Me, i’d pay to get the original movies on DVD without all the tarting up and busyness in every scene, especially in Mos Eisley.

    And IMO, Han shot first.

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  69. Dexter said on January 10, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Sometimes I think I’ll trash my Sprint account and just go with what were called “burners” in “The Wire”, but Virgin Mobile, the best of the no-contract cell providers, still can’t beat Sprint. I have “free after 7:00 P.M” and I talk three hours a night on average for free and also we average 700 daytime minutes used per month. Two phones, all those minutes used, and it’s $87 per month.

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  70. beb said on January 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Rana @48. Thanks for the link to the “measuringworth” site but I have to question whatever formula they’re using to determine that $100 in 1930 is only with $1200+ today. I determined that the ratio was around 30 to 1 by making various comparisons. A magazine then cost 10 cents, today it costs around $3. A 5 cent cup of coffee then costs about a buck and a half now. The $800 Model T compares to a $24,000 basic car today. Not everything has gone up 30-fold over those 80 years but I think more things has than hasn’t.

    Jeff, of course Han shoot first. Re-editing the scene to make it seem otherwise is why Lucas make such a botch of the second trilogy. He has no native sense of story, everything seems market driven.

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  71. Deborah said on January 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    The plot thickens regarding Verizon. The address that my address was changed to appears to be a vacant lot. Hmmm, it could either be mail fraud (which is a federal offense) or as I’ve said before an inside job since the phone was never activated. Interesting. I’m sure I’ll never know the outcome, but at least in a weird way, this speculation is kind of fun, it helps lessen the aggravation and frustration.

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  72. brian stouder said on January 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    He has no native sense of story, every­thing seems mar­ket driven.

    No native sense of story. That phrase struck me, just now, becaue the young folks and I just got back from the movie theater, where we caught The Princess and the Frog.

    Let me tell you – the folks who made that movie have a TERRIFIC sense of story. It is a marvelous movie, all around. Somewhere in the middle, I was wondering how they’d pull it all together again, and then they did it in a most delightful way.

    The movie has enough subtlety for repeated viewings, and as the young folks grow older, it will have more to say to them, much as Wizard of Oz does (I cannot give any higher praise).

    And, lest I forget, the movie is set in New Orleans, and one of the characters is voiced by John Goodman; not a college professor, but instead a wealthy sugar daddy!

    And in a completely unrelated matter, check this out – from the folks who hate Obama quite as much as any racist tea-douche bagger, only from the left:


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  73. Dexter said on January 11, 2010 at 1:03 am

    So Roman Grant is dead, eh? I keep thinking that was a fake “Face-Off” type mask and old Roman is still hiding out like U/Osama b.L.
    I have watched every episode of “Big Love” on HBO but it strains the brain to remember exactly what has transpired in the years of this show.
    I like it, but I also wish they’d wrap it up for good this season.

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  74. MarkH said on January 11, 2010 at 1:09 am

    So, it’s that simple, Brian? None of those claims are legit? It’s all ’cause they hate your guy?

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  75. moe99 said on January 11, 2010 at 1:16 am

    “I belong to no organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”
    Will Rogers

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  76. brian stouder said on January 11, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Mark – yes!

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