Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Because our blog will be closed on Thursday and Friday for a long weekend, we’ll use today’s Roundtable to express our gratitude for the things that have made our lives better this year. What are you thankful for in 2014?
This year I’m thankful for the fact that my daughter seems to be enjoying all the old movies and TV shows I’ve been collecting over the year. Disney classics, ‘Fraggle Rock’, ‘Mister Rogers’, and old shows and movies I loved as a kid are suddenly holding her attention. Now I just need to start showing her some slapstick black-and-white comedies so she’ll hopefully be unfazed by watching shows that aren’t in color. It’s been a lot of fun revisiting some old favorites with her this year.
Those who know me know that ‘Twin Peaks‘ is my all-time favorite TV show, so I was pretty excited this year when the complete series, plus the theatrical film, saw a Blu-Ray release. I was even more thrilled that the long-unseen deleted scenes from ‘Fire Walk With Me’ were included in the set.
But even all that wasn’t the end. Imagine both the shock and unbridled joy that passed through me when we learned that David Lynch and Mark Frost had cut a deal with Showtime to bring ‘Twin Peaks’ back to TV in 2016. It was like a gift from the gods… or, more aptly, living inside a dream.
So, David Lynch, you’re the person in the entertainment world I’m most thankful for in 2014, and the reason I’ll be having cherry pie, instead of pumpkin, after the turkey this Thanksgiving.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Having just gotten married a month and a half ago, it ought to go without saying what I’m the most grateful for in 2014. I could ramble on about eight billion wonderful, extraordinary things about my wife, but relevant to this blog, she’s shockingly supportive of my home theater and movie addictions.
Maggie doodles dream house plans for fun, and a dedicated home theater for me is always a fixture. One of the first things she encouraged me to do when we moved into our not-dream-house together as newlyweds was to setup all my A/V and gaming gear. (She knew how badly I was jonesing following two months of renovations that left me home-theater-less.) She loves that I have a sprawling, indefensibly large Blu-ray collection. Maggie has a blast sitting next to me on the couch and watching me play something as incomprehensible and insane as ‘Bayonetta’, and she’ll show off her own gaming prowess by destroying me at whatever racing title happens to be within arm’s reach. Hearing her crack up as we watch ‘UHF’ and ‘Rick and Morty’ on Blu-ray is basically the greatest thing ever. Again, I think she’s the greatest for a whole bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with home theater tech, but I’m trying to stay on-topic here.
I’m glad Maggie’s given me so much to write about since it’s otherwise been kind of a low-key year for me on the home theater front. I haven’t picked up any new hardware for myself in 2014 at all. (I do need to replace my on-the-fritz Region-B Blu-ray player, though, if anyone has any suggestions!) I already had all the shiny, new videogame systems as the calendar flipped forward to 2014, so there haven’t been any amazing acquisitions there as far as gear goes.
I’m glad that longtime favorites like ‘Sleepaway Camp‘ and ‘UHF‘ have found their way to Blu-ray, but even that seems like kind of an inevitability. There’s really only been one jaw-dropping surprise for me this year, and that’d be the complete series release of the ‘Batman‘ TV series from the 1960s. I’d be more thankful if I actually owned that massive collection (the sticker shock’s a little too much for me at the moment), but a proper ‘Batman’ home video release is something I never, ever, ever thought I’d see.
Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)
In the home theater realm, I’m grateful that some real advances have been made to bring truly immersive surround sound to the home. I was a fan of Dolby Pro Logic Z and its height channels for creating a more immersive surround soundstage, but no encoded content ever came to market, so that fizzled out and died. With the advent of Dolby Atmos in theaters, and now in the home, surround sound is getting exciting again.
Although the movies released to date in the format on Blu-ray are pretty uniformly bad (see my article on the topic here), around 200 movies have been released in Atmos theatrically, so these should start making their way to the home on Blu-ray disc as well as in streaming media. Also, competing height-enhanced surround formats like AURO-3D and DTS-UHD are making advances toward home availability. Though there is a bit of a risk of yet another format war, we should be getting some awesome-sounding movies (that don’t suck) in the home in 2015 and beyond.
I made a decision in the spring that meant I would need to move, and in turn, that decisions about my home theater would no longer solely be my own. By the time all the packing and moving happened in August, I was pretty worried. Whenever I tear down my home theater and pack it into boxes, I always wonder when I’ll have a home theater to enjoy again and how different will it be. Thankfully, along with a new A/V receiver, I now have two full home theaters, plus a set-up for my PC. (It’s the best use of my various home theater pieces in years.) My better half has not only adapted to adding 20+ speakers to the home, but has even set up her own little TV watching area.
M. Enois Duarte
Other than loving that ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse‘ finally made it to Blu-ray, I am grateful that Dolby Atmos is finally available for home theaters. Although only using the 7.2.2 configuration (7-channels, two subs and two front ceilings), I’ve been having fun revisiting a variety of movies and have consistently been amazed by the difference. Panning is far more fluid and realistic, and the directionality of discrete effects in the surrounds are more lifelike. It’s fantastic and I can’t wait to add two more channels by the end of this year for the 7.2.4 configuration. So now, I’m begging studios to please release more Blu-rays in the new codec, because I’m sick and tired of watching clips from ‘Transformers: Age of the Stinkiness’.
Any time that I’ve been asked the question, “If you could have any movie transferred to Blu-ray, what would that be?”, I’m certain that if you looked in the Roundtable archives, you’d see my answers repeated a couple times: ‘Garden State‘ and ‘Vanilla Sky‘. What I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving is that my wish finally coming true… kinda. ‘Garden State’ went Blu back in the spring, which make me very happy. ‘Vanilla Sky’, on the other hand, isn’t here yet, but I have faith that it’ll be here next month. Originally slated with an early summer Blu-ray release, just a week before street date Cameron Crowe announced that he’d been given the green light for new exclusive content, including deleted scenes and an alternate ending. I was fine with the bump to early October, but then it was bumped again! The new street date is December 9th, and although the disc is not here yet, I’m hoping that it will really happen this time.
[Ed.: Sadly for Luke, although Amazon still lists a December 9th release for ‘Vanilla Sky’, I’ve heard from a couple different sources that the Blu-ray has been delayed again, this time to February 3rd, 2015. -JZ]
My main choice here is obvious. I am very thankful to have two happy, healthy sons, with whom I will eventually be able to share my love of movies. (They’re a little too young at the moment.)
Beyond that, 2014 was also a pretty amazing year in terms of bringing some of my all-time “holy grails” to Blu-ray – especially Fellini’s ‘La dolce vita‘ in a splendid Criterion edition and the astounding ‘Twin Peaks‘ box set, both in quality that far surpasses any of my expectations. This has been a great year to be a Blu-ray fan!
What are you thankful for in 2014? Tell us in the Comments.