October 26, 2000

Viewer Discretion Advised

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Just the other day, while sitting in the hot tub (the shower), I found myself sipping a non-alcoholic Chardonnay (Snapple), and enjoying a savory Mexican delicacy (a bag of Baja Picante Doritos), when it occurred to me that this week is not an ordinary week in the world of digital video.

I felt as if I had been in a coma for years and I was just then waking up. This week welcomes American Beauty to DVD. Delivered to my door on Tuesday, I quickly unwrapped all 11 copies of the film that I had pre-purchased back during the Reagan years (September). Thrilled that I could watch and re-watch the movie in the comfort of my own home (university housing with an irregular sized mattress), I started repeatedly throwing the ten extra copies of the movie at a poster size “Ithaca is Gorges” bumper sticker that I had printed up after my possessed roommate vomited pea soup on my “I love New Jersey” blacklight poster.

American Beauty’s release on DVD is truly an experience to savor, as the DVD itself comes with never-before-seen director and actor commentary. But before shutting off the new Radiohead CD to watch my new movie, I figured I’d give my friend Ryan a call. After four rings, my out of breath friend answered the phone.

“Brad!” he yelled. “It came out on DVD and I bought 11 copies, most of which I’ve already broken by throwing them against the wall.”

“I know! I got it too!” I replied.

“I didn’t know you liked The Patriot with Mel Gibson that much.”

Puzzled that someone could be so enthralled with a movie, I quickly slammed down the phone (which did nothing because it was a cordless), and then pressed the “talk” button to hang up on my friend. Still determined to tell someone about my DVD purchase, I called my friend Jeremy (Ryan’s roommate).

“Jeremy! You’ll never guess what came out on DVD!”

“Why did you hang up on Ryan? He’s really upset about that.”

“Guess again!” I said.

“Dude, I was just as excited as you when I found out, and I did the whole ‘throw 10 of my 11 copies against the wall’ ritual. I’m about to sit down and watch it now. You wanna watch U-571 on DVD with me?”

Obviously this was a big week for DVD releases, but it upset me that these two could be so happy about those movies. After slamming the phone down again, the battery popped out and I went down the hall to tell my friend Josh about American Beauty.

When I walked into his room, I found him sitting on the floor gluing together pieces of DVD.

“What happened?,” I asked as if I didn’t know.

“Stupid stuff. I accidentally smashed all 11 copies I bought of this week’s release of Airplane! against the wall.”

Archived article by Bradley Werner