Spielberg by the Pound

So here’s a thought that has nothing to do with board games…

I was at Office Max last week buying some newly-copied depression, when I saw one of those little racks with stacks of DVDs for sale, most of them $10 or less. As is my tendency I rifled through the stacks to see if there was anything worthwhile. With one exception (a lone copy of Bridge on the River Kwai), it was all the most disposable stuff from the last couple years. I got a little depressed when I noticed the shelf-life of all of these movies, some of which had been plunked down to release less than a year ago. They just sat there, totally forgotten, waiting for someone to scoop them up along with the copier paper and rubber bands.

With the recent passing of Roger Ebert, I reflected on my own relationship with movies. While it can be either emotional or artistic, we all know that for studios movies are a product. It’s exemplified in that Office Max DVD bind. Add a movie to the grocery list. Come back next year for the next version. Buy it again when the new format comes out. See it again when it gets rereleased. I know this is nothing new, but it’s become a big deal over the last 20-30 years.

Maybe piracy is the result of what happens when you monetize everything and flood the market with so much product. It’s like the logical extreme of the “movies-as-product” mindset. It just doesn’t have the value that it used to, because studios have insisted on crapping out as much of it as humanly possible.

I’m not sure what my point is, besides just bumming me out a little. Maybe I’m just getting older and realizing that the world is a more jaded place than my 14-year-old self thought it was. Or maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel like a high-functioning human before I go watch something on Netflix…


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