It is more blessed to give than to receive.
[In accordance with ScreenAnarchy Law this post will remain here at the top for the one day. Please scroll down for today's news. I'm a day late but I have an excuse. In a couple hours I heading out to the airport to head to Austin for Fantastic Fest and I had to pack last night after getting home from work.]
One of the great joys of being a movie geek is that you get to share your joy with friends and family. Hopefully, your feelings are contagious and they to will watch and enjoy a film based on your recommendations or praises. One of the down sides is of course owning a collection that comes mostly from half way around the world and is region coded for anywhere except your country. I cannot count how many times I had to subdue my enthusiasm because I couldn't show a movie I was really excited about. My place is just not suitable for entertaining guests. On the rare occasion I have been able to lend out movies to friends and family so they too may experience the joy of cinema. Last weekend I lent out Inside, Dog Soldiers, Shutter and a screener for [REC] to a friend who is trying to bulk up on his horror. A more substantial down side of owning such a collection is that your enthusiasm could be replaced by feelings of great loss as you never see those movies again. I'm sure we've all been there. I ran this week's ToM theme by the rest of the guys here and a few of them have had the same experiences. This is one of the greatest risks of being a movie geek; lending out a movie and never getting it back! Read through my five great losses and share yours with the rest of us. It'll help ease the pain if you get it off you chest and share with the rest of the group. "Hello. My name is Mack and I've lent out movies and have never seen them again".
The milk crate of VHS tapes - In my last year at college I started collecting movies. Not a lot, just some of my favorites. By the end of the school year I had a milk crate full of VHS tapes. Everyone had a milk crate full of something; I don't think the dairy company ever got them back. That summer I was going into northern Ontario to serve at a summer camp and couldn't really take a box of Hong Kong action films with me. Ironically during Spring Crew one of the other staff went into town and rented Supercop and the Boys Camp Director showed up that summer with a much larger box full of movies he recorded from the early pay-per-view channels. I left my treasured milk crate with one of my dorm brothers who was staying at the college for the summer. In the back of my mind I knew it is a bad idea but things could go missing when they're put in storage for the summer. It was the lesser of two evils. Now, I got everything back it was just the condition of the collection that was the issue. It had only been four months but my dorm brother managed to curl, bend, rip and soil every VHS cover. I couldn't even begin to tell what he had soiled them with and they weren't even those kind of movies. That was my first lesson in lending.
The Limey - This was my first attempt at trying to impress upon someone who didn't love movies to love a movie. I'm out of college and into my first job. I'm making money, making ends meet and I am introduced to something called disposable income [Todd's nickname for me those early years after college was 'friend with disposable income']. Suddenly I could buy what I wanted, when I wanted. I could drop $100.00 at HMV and Sam the Record Man before walking through the door [I would quickly turn around, pick it up, and go inside and spend it on movies]. I was also renting movies like a mad fiend. Taking a recommendation from my dad I rented The Limey by Steven Soderbergh. By the time The Limey came out the viewing audience was at least familiar with the non-linear narrative style popularized five years earlier by Pulp Fiction. While it made for challenging viewing there certainly wasn't any ignoring of the strength and ferocity of Terence Stamp's character. I was so smitten with the film that I had to buy it and then I had to pass it on. I gave it to my manager and told him he had to watch it, that it would change his life. It became apparent that my manager wasn't so hot for a life changing experience. At least once a week for many weeks after that I would ask him if he watched it. Eventually it migrated to his sister's boyfriend's place. I lost track of it after a while. Eventually I stopped asking for it. I lament its loss. I've never replaced it.
Fist of Legend - Holy hell! Another ToM of mine with FOL in it!?! Bet you didn't see that coming. Moving on from that shocking opening line an old friend of mind graduated from university with a dance major. This same friend also has a black belt of however many levels in the Japanese martial art Aikido. He has a black level belt so high he can kill you five towns away or something like that so I dare you to call him a childish nickname. His wife also teaches dance in one of the local school districts. A few years ago she wanted to give her students an example of choreographed action that wasn't dance. She wanted something that was fast, tight but would also hold the interest of your average teenager with a commercial break attention span, especially the dudes. She called me up asking if I had any martial arts films that met these criteria. I handed over my VHS copy of Fist of Legend willingly. I never saw it again and they have since moved out of the city. I've picked up FoL on DVD since. As long as that VHS is in rotation or being watched regularly I've never worried about getting it back. But look, seasoned dance professionals who see a link between fighting and dancing. Hmmmmmm.
Futurama - This one is going to sound like a bitch session more than anything else. There are up sides and down sides to sharing your flat with someone. On the plus side the burden of rent is lightened, they buy a Wii and they leave beer in the fridge. On the down side they take your stuff into their room and you won't see it again for a very, very long time. Case in point: four seasons of Futurama. This one person I live[d] with is a pop cultural sponge - just soaking up whatever he can. The stuff he comes home with sometimes is just mind boggling. Soon after he moved in things started finding feet and migrating to the TV and DVD player in his room. No sooner did turn around and my four seasons of Futurama made the expedition into his room. There aren't a lot of rules in my flat but there are things that should be understood. You take something off the shelves and when you're done with it you put it back. You don't leave it lying on the couch or on floor. And upon seeing how he treats his own DVDs- he has 10 of the 11 seasons of South Park and no single disc is in its case- I knew I had to take action. Roommates are some of the worst offenders because they are so damned close. Right there, across the hallway. You just want to reach out and strangle them. After repeatedly asking this roommate to put the sets back on the shelves I broke the code, went into his room, and found most of them. Cases were crumpled, none of the discs were in their slip cases and I couldn't find all of them. I even found seasons of Family Guy I didn't realize he also sequestered into his room. Ultimately I had to threaten him that I was going to buy a replacement season and make them pay for it. Fa-ching! Suddenly the last disc found its way back home.
Todd Brown - When you're BFF with the guy who runs the whole show a lot of things get passed on to you. They could be check discs, screeners or discs for review. Other times Todd would take something from his own collection and hand it over. I am usually pretty good at getting stuff back to him promptly. Usually. There are a few exceptions and looking at my own shelves from time to time I hiss through my teeth, 'Shit. I better watch that and give it back to Todd. It's been how long since he lent that to me? October? 2006?' Soo-youn Lee's The Univited. Anders Thomas Jensen's Adam's Apples. Kim Ki-duk's The Bow. The French Canadian film Looking for Alexander starring Roy Dupuis. Mika Ninagawa'd Sakuran. Shinya Aoyama's Wild Life. I've had some of these DVDs for a couple years now. He's even been over to my house and I've pointed them out. I've asked if he wanted some of them back but since I hadn't watched them he could wait it out. Since writing the first draft of this entry to the ToM I've consciously sat down and watched them all. Whenever one of us does something that impresses the other, or Todd's ordered me something or he's got a trailer he has to show to me our response to that is, 'You see? That's why I keep you around'. I realize now that while I think I am being funny I don't think Todd feels the same. Todd just wants his stuff back and he's waiting me out. I thought I'd leave him all my DVDs in my will. That way it would have been a surprise as he sifted through the pile and found his own. But I finally gave them back to him. There were the little oohs and aahs. I think I even caught the glint of a tear of joy in the corner of his eye.