We’ve all done it. If you collect movies on DVD or Blu-ray, you’ve undoubtedly purchased a disc at some point that you later regretted. Perhaps it was a blind-buy that you expected to like, only to discover that you hated it. Perhaps you even bought the movie knowing that you didn’t like it, but needed to own it for collectible purposes (or because you wanted to watch the bonus features). In today’s Roundtable, we share our shame.
I bought ‘Ben-Hur‘ on DVD, not having seen it since I was a kid. I mainly remembered the chariot scene, as I’m sure most people do. I had completely forgotten how heavy-handed and over the top the Jesus content was. I started laughing out loud at the ridiculous way Jesus was portrayed. I sold it after one viewing, shaking my head, and went back to watch my Criterion copy of ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.
Back when I was in my ignorant youth, I did a whole lot of needless DVD blind-buying. While some were totally worth it (like ‘Gangs of New York’ or ‘Spy Game’), many were not. One that still sticks out to this day as the worst blind-buy of all time is a title that was recommended to me by just about every friend uneducated in the ways of cinema: the Denzel Washington drama ‘John Q‘. I hated every minute of this horribly sappy and manipulative movie that panders solely to simpleton audiences. I bought ‘John Q’ when Hollywood Video used to run “3 for $12” deals, and the stock was loaded with this title. When I tried to hawk it at a used DVD shop, the store wouldn’t even take it because the market was so oversaturated with this turd. To this day, it’s still sitting in a junk box in my garage. But now that it’s back in my mind, I think I’ve found a perfect “White Elephant” gift for my work Christmas party.
Remember the kid in your high school class who got an A+ on every paper, test and project since First Grade? Ever think that kid sometimes got a reputation for straight A work, and the teachers didn’t seem to notice when he turned in something that really sucked? I think Martin Scorsese is that kid. First, let me just say the guy is good. Really good. A master, yes. But for every ‘Aviator’ he releases, he churns out something like ‘Shine a Light’, a self-indulgent, tone-deaf turkey. For every ‘Departed’, there’s a ‘Shutter Island’. Then there’s the worst case scenario, when he releases something that really, really stinks, but it gets so much praise that I blind-buy it, then find myself suffering through something so unfunny, untouching, undramatic, dull and pandering that I flat-out want to pop the disc in the microwave. I’m talking about ‘Hugo‘. My God, do I regret buying that awful movie.
The last movie I really wanted my money back on was Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia‘. After hearing the acclaim for this film, I decided to give it a blind-buy on Blu-ray. Man, what a mistake that was. The first ten minutes are nothing but scenes in super slow-motion that really don’t serve any purpose other than to appear artistic. All these tedious interludes do is make you scream at your TV. Personally, I found them to be more lazy than creative. The rest of the movie is basically just a bunch of unlikable characters competing to see who’s best at pissing each other off. By the way, there’s some kind of sci-fi backdrop going on during all of this, but really, who cares? A much more appropriate title for this pathetic excuse for filmmaking would have been ‘Pretentiousia’.
M. Enois Duarte
Recently, I caved and bought ‘Prometheus – 3D‘, partly because I was hankering for some 3D and curious to see how this turned out. The other reason was simply to give the movie another chance, a second viewing just in case it could persuade me to like it. Turns out, the movie is even dumber the second time around. The Blu-ray presentation is great, but the story actually grew worse over time. I thought that at the least my feelings would remain the same, but the opposite occurred. The movie is insulting to my intelligence and to science in general, like it really doesn’t give two-shits about even the slightest bit of authenticity or accuracy. And the script’s so-called philosophical debate on creationist faith is not as worthwhile as I previously thought. It’s really a grade-school understanding of the issue, especially since so much of the plot is inspired by the idiotic ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ book. I regret buying it, but regret even more having watched the movie a second time.
I have to admit that I did this just recently when I trekked out to Best Buy to pick up the exclusive SteelBook edition of ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ (or, more accurately, I made Mrs. Z trek out to Best Buy to pick it up for me). I didn’t even like this movie when I saw it in theaters over the summer, but the completist collector in me needed to finish the trilogy, in a SteelBook to match the previous two movies. I don’t know how much I really regret the purchase, though. I knew why I was buying it. I suppose that I’ll give the movie another shot and see if it plays better on a second viewing, but I’m in no hurry to do so.
Over the years, I’ve certainly requested my share of review screeners that I regretted, but those don’t really count if I didn’t have to pay to own the discs.
Although not a movie, I felt very foolish after laying out a good chunk of cash for the complete ‘Thunderbirds‘ 1960s “Supermarionation” TV show when it first came out on DVD. I don’t even know what drew me to this. The show was well before my time, and I had no special attachment to it from childhood. It just seemed like something that might be kitschy and fun, and I must have thought that the box set would be… gah…collectible or something. It was expensive, it takes up a huge chunk of real estate on my shelves, and I think I’ve watched two episodes since I bought it. I didn’t hate the series or anything, but the pacing is sooo slow, the episodes are sooo long (why was this an hour-long show??), and they’re sooo repetitive. I haven’t been able to force myself to watch more than those two episodes. I also have the DVDs for the two movies, sitting unwatched on the shelf as well. That’s money I wish I’d saved.
Don’t pretend that you’ve never done this. Go ahead and tell us in the Comments about the discs you’ve regretted buying.