The Haul of Dubious Quality

Things have been a little quiet around here again the past few weeks. I’ll admit, after coming back from hiatus, it has been difficult to get back into a rhythm. Part of this is that my attention is considerably more split than it was before, and part of it is that on the blogging front, there have been technical issues. As I’ve mentioned before, I watch a lot of my movies via streaming, and I’m reliant on CenturyLink DSL for my internet service; other providers just aren’t here. As I’ve also mentioned before, CenturyLink DSL isn’t very good out here. In fact, it’s downright terrible. The maximum download speed offered is 1.5 Mbps and for the past year or so it hasn’t typically been working at full efficiency, leaving me receiving a speed of 0.7 Mbps during the day… and sometimes as low as 0.3 Mbps. For point of comparison, a typical basic cable internet service will offer a download speed of 30 Mbps. I’m falling short by two orders of magnitude. Needless to say this makes streaming very difficult; 480p, which isn’t HD but is good enough to not be bothered by pixellation, is just barely viable at 1 Mbps. I can sometimes manage it in the dead of night, but not with any reliability. This has limited my movie viewing significantly, and thus my movie writing. Frankly, it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm for blogging about movies when one’s ability to watch movies is repeatedly stymied.

But I think I’ve got a workaround of sorts now. After all, streaming has never been the only option available to me; just the one with the best mix of spontaneity and availability. But as long as I’m willing to accept that I am picking from a limited selection, I have alternatives. Which brings me to a purchase I made a little more than a week ago at a garage sale.

There was a box at one early sale I’d stopped at which was filled with DVDs, and was labeled “25 cents each, or $5 for all.” I verified that was the price, and after checking a few of the DVDs on the top of the box, I purchased the whole thing. My figuring was that I normally pay $1 each for DVDs at yard sales, so if I got five films I actually wanted, I got a bargain. And spending at 25 cents each as the initial asking price, $5 was a bargain for all as long as there were at least 20 DVDs in total; turns out there was a little more than 50. And anything I wind up deciding not to keep can at least feed the blog in the interim before being taken in to a swap shop. So all in all, $5 looks like a pretty good deal. So that’s the good news. The bad news is, I probably should have delved a little deeper into the box to see what was what first.

The main issue is a question of condition. With my own DVDs, I’m used to a DVD being reasonably well taken care of. They stay in the case until they’re played, then they go back in the case. Player and/or computer is kept reasonably clean. So the discs stay in good shape, and when I buy a used DVD, I always check the condition of it first. But since I was buying a loaded box, and my brother and I were trying to hit multiple sales during the day, I didn’t have time to check everything. I only checked a few items on top. They looked fine. As it turns out, things were apparently stacked to put their best face forward. Many of these DVDs were purchased as previously-viewed films from rental places, and apparently Hollywood Video wasn’t in the habit of resurfacing their discs. Looking at a lot of these discs, I have to wonder just what people were doing with these things, because a lot of these are very heavily scuffed, way beyond normal wear and tear even for a rental. DVD player error correction is pretty decent on any player from the last 10 years or so, but even with that in mind, I have to assume that some of the films I got aren’t going to play properly — though of course I won’t know for certain which are which until I try.

Also, a few discs were missing their proper case (which is a bummer for a collector, though it doesn’t affect actual viewing), and a few cases were missing their proper movies, which is a bummer all around. Not many, though, just three or four. I also had to do a lot of cleaning of both discs and cases. Again, what are people doing with these things? It looked as though the contents of this box mostly spent their lives in an outdoor shed, exposed to the elements and dirt. Which might actually explain the “good on top” stacking, if the people selling them acquired them from someone else and then just tossed their own unwanted movies on top. Oh, and just to add to the “seriously, what the hell?” factor, the box they were stored in was an old fruit box, and at the very bottom I discovered that the fruit in question was blackberries. Thankfully although the box was stained, it didn’t seem to have affected any of the discs. Transferred them to my own boxes anyway though.

So that’s what the condition of things were. Now the other aspect of dubious quality: the selection. I saw enough things of at least reasonable interest on top to pick up the box, and to make it worthwhile… but goodness, these people must have terrible overall taste in movies. Or at least, very indiscriminate tastes in what they purchased. I suppose since they were getting rid of these I can’t take it as a given that they enjoyed the films in question. Anyway, here’s the haul:

  • 127 Hours
  • 1408
  • 25th Hour
  • 28 Days Later
  • 30 Days of Night
  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
  • Bloodsport
  • The Brave One
  • Carriers
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — already seen
  • Clerks II — already seen
  • Corpse Bride
  • Date Movie
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) — will probably wait until after original
  • Dead 7
  • Defiance
  • Donnie Darko
  • Fifty Dead Men Walking
  • Flags of Our Fathers
  • Gnomes & Trolls: The Secret Chamber
  • Half Light
  • The Hangover
  • Happily N’Ever After
  • Hoodlum
  • How to Deal
  • The Illusionist (2006)
  • Inside Man
  • The Invisible
  • The Last House on the Left (2009)
  • Milk
  • The Moth Diaries
  • Mr. Brooks
  • Nim’s Island
  • No Strings Attached
  • Ocean’s Twelve
  • Ocean’s Thirteen
  • Open Season
  • Push
  • Quantum of Solace — will wait until after Casino Royale
  • The Reaping
  • Righteous Kill
  • S. Darko
  • Shooter
  • Snatch
  • The Specialist
  • State of Play (2009)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
  • TimeCop — already seen
  • The Uninvited
  • Waiting
  • War (2007)
  • What Happens in Vegas
  • Windtalkers
  • Zombieland

As noted, there are quite a few films in there that I wouldn’t have sought out on my own, to say the least. I mean, who voluntarily buys Date Movie and What Happens in Vegas? And there are a few movies I’ve already seen (surprisingly few, though); although I’ll watch them again to make sure they work, I may or may not give them a Movie Microscope review here, depending on whether I feel I have something new to say. But there’s also plenty in there that I was either looking to see, or at least might be interesting. And even a bad movie is blog fodder, and with all the horror films in this haul, I’m just about set for this year’s Halloween Haunters — and may even have to launch a little early if I don’t want to go back to a daily schedule during October (I’m shooting for M-W-F right now). And I’ve got just about as many movies from other sources I haven’t watched yet (other DVD purchases and some UltraViolet freebies which can be downloaded in full before playback). Even with the allowance that some of the DVDs from the garage sale may not play due to damage, between this haul, and movies I’ve acquired from other sources, plus television (I don’t have a DVR, but I can still have lucky timing sometimes), and the occasional theater ticket or CinemaNow rental, I should have enough material to keep the blog going steady for several months even if my internet connection isn’t always functional. And when it is, well, that’s just one more avenue.

So even if the haul’s contents are of dubious quality, I still think it was probably worth five bucks.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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5 Responses to The Haul of Dubious Quality

  1. le0pard13 says:

    Yes, definitely wait on the recent remake of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” until after you’ve seen the original. Better that way. 😉

    • I figured as much. There have been times when I’ve seen a remake before the original version of a film, but it’s almost always more enjoyable the other way around… probably because the original is almost always the better film (though there are some notable exceptions).

  2. Pingback: Year Four Ending and Pumpkins Impending | Morgan on Media

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