A Weird Truth

By: Maor Goihberg

Two years ago, when everything was in lockdown, I was left with a graphic novel and a couple of DVDs from my local library which, thanks to the circumstances, I would not have to return for a while. That summer, the libraries resumed offering materials, but it would be another year until we could enter again. During that time, I believe I only put one item on hold: a DVD of Murder, My Sweet, a great Raymond Chandler adaptation by Edward Dmytryk. Meanwhile, I spent much of my free time perusing the streaming services in the hopes that a movie I had my eye on would pop up.

Why didn’t I put more DVDs on hold? The libraries usually have dozens of copies, including Criterion editions. Back in September, I stopped by the A/V section and found Out of the Past, which’s absence on Prime Video I spent many months bemoaning. If it’s not there, I just go to the website and within a short while, it’s available at a location I designate.

I suppose it’s a matter of getting my money’s worth. If my family is paying eight dollars or ten dollars or even more for a service, then I expect that they will provide films one cannot usually see in theaters or syndicated on most television channels. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Roger Corman grind or a John Ford Western, they should at least offer a few old films every once in a while, not just Jurassic Park.

I feel my breaking point was during the winter. I watched Night and the City when 20th Century Fox (eager to promote Nightmare Alley) made some classic noir’s available on Hulu, under “Guillermo Del Toro’s Noir Picks.” Not long after, I was back at the A/V section, looking for another feature by the same director, when I saw that there was indeed the Criterion edition of it just waiting there.

That really got me thinking. Is there a reason one should wait months until one of the streamers decides to upload a decent film they did not put their stamp on? Do I need the satisfaction of seeing an interesting title once in a while when I can watch it for free if I just take a 30-minute walk? I don’t even need to stream Strangers Things; they release DVDs of them too!

I suppose one issue here is the technology. New laptops do not have built-in players. Back in 2016, when our desktop did not work, we bought a portable, which has thankfully allowed me to continue playing disks. But I fear that as companies continue to push new products they will also make even these devices obsolete until perhaps studios no longer produce DVDs of their content.

So if you’re like me, and you also feel disappointed daily looking at your screen, then I suggest you go to the library website and see if they have something you think would be interesting. Take advantage of that resource, if you can access it, and know that there’s a lot out there.

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