Weekend Roundtable: Unwatched Movies or Shows in Your Collection

If you’ve built up any sort of DVD and/or Blu-ray collection over the years, undoubtedly you’ve found yourself purchasing movies or TV shows that you just never get around to watching. For this week’s Roundtable, we’re ‘fessing up to the most ridiculous lengths of time that certain titles have gone unwatched in our collections.

In case you’re not the buying type, we’ll also accept titles that have lingered in your Netflix or other rental queues for an embarrassingly long time.

I’ll start things off:

Josh Zyber

I’m going all the way back to the Laserdisc days for this one. Once, in an obsessive collector’s fit, I spent more money than I care to admit importing a rare set of Japanese LDs for the complete collection of Jim Henson’s ‘The Storyteller’ TV series from the late ’80s. This was a seven-volume set comprising all nine episodes of ‘Storyteller’, two per disc (until the fifth disc, which had just one), plus all four episodes of the ‘Storyteller: Greek Myths’ follow-up. The first five discs are so old that they have only analog audio, with an English mono soundtrack on one channel and a Japanese mono dub on the other. The two ‘Greek Myths’ volumes have digital sound, but in only the original English. Because these last two discs were released in Japan without a Japanese dub, that means that they instead have large, unremovable Japanese subtitles burnt into the picture.

Why did I buy these? Well, the show seemed like the sort of thing I might like. More importantly, the discs were highly collectible and I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase them all in one complete lot. (You may commence eye rolling now. I certainly have.) At the time, this series was already long out-of-print on VHS in North America, and appeared unlikely to ever be officially re-released here. (This was well before the TV on DVD craze hit.) My collector’s instinct kicked in, and I just had to have them.

The best part: I’ve still never watched an entire episode all the way through. I put in the first disc for a few minutes, just long enough to see that the video quality looked like absolute garbage, and the audio wasn’t much better. And that was even by Laserdisc standards on an old standard-def TV. Lord only knows what I’d think of them today.

Of course, the entirety of ‘Storyteller’ was eventually released on DVD. I’m told that the picture quality on the DVDs doesn’t look great either, but they’re bound to be at least marginally better than the Laserdiscs, and won’t suffer from forced Japanese subtitles.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Dateline: 1999. Troma was celebrating… something, I guess, so the studio re-priced every single DVD it had released up to that point for a quarter. Yup, a quarter, as in $0.25. Okay, $1.89 after shipping, but still. Even in an era when sites like 800.com and reel.com were just about literally giving away the store, that was a moderately insane deal. I gobbled up every last one of them. Twelve years later, a lot of ’em still haven’t gotten a spin in my DVD player. I’ve pretty sure I never watched ‘Rabid Grannies’ or ‘Def by Temptation’, period. Others I’d caught on VHS, like ‘Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD’, ‘Redneck Zombies’, and ‘Monster in the Closet’, but I never got around to watching them on DVD. A huge stack of others I’d watched for a few minutes but didn’t bother finishing. I did watch enough of the rest for it all to be worth it, especially ‘Sucker the Vampire’, which really, really ought to be a cult classic right about now. I think these may be the only movies I’ve actually paid for and haven’t watched. Everything else that’s collecting dust were gifts or somehow wound up being given to me for free.

Mike Attebery

I mentioned in a long ago Roundtable that my friends and I have an ‘Unbreakable‘ ticket stub that we wrap up and exchange as a gag gift from time to time in commemoration of the time I dragged all of them out to see M. Night Shyamalan’s first truly shitty movie. I also have a DVD copy of ‘Unbreakable’ that one of those friends gave me in 2001, likely as punishment for making him see that turkey in the theater. It’s still in the shrinkwrap, unopened, neglected in the far back of the movie closet. But I don’t think that counts, since I can never change the fact that I did in fact see that piece of crap once.

So, the longest I’ve had a disc and never watched the movie at all, ever, is probably the eight years ‘Scarface‘ has just sat on my shelf. I have no interest in the movie. None. My friend gave me his extra copy when he upgraded to a new edition, but I’ve just never had any inclination to watch it. I don’t even have enough interest to look it up or get beyond the first sentence of any review I’ve ever seen about it. ZERO! Shameful, but true. I just can’t be bothered learning anything about that movie. I think I know “Say hello to my little friend.” That’s it. De Palma directed it, right? Ugh. Is there an iguana in it or am I thinking of ‘Licence to Kill‘? Blech. Either way. not my cup of tea.

Aaron Peck

I got the ‘‘Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy‘ a few days after it came out last year because I remembered loving ‘The Wrath of Khan‘. My wife is also a big ‘Star Trek’ fan. We watched ‘Khan’, but since then we haven’t gotten around to watching either of the other movies in the trilogy (‘The Search for Spock‘ and ‘The Voyage Home‘). It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s just that we haven’t found time to watch them. They’ve gotten lost in the shuffle, and now I’m afraid that Spock may stay lost forever.

Dick Ward

I’ve probably said this before, but since ‘There Will Be Blood‘ is still sitting in a bright red Netflix envelope on my TV stand, I think it’s worth mentioning again. According to Netflix, I’ve had the disc since late November. It’s not that I’m not interested in the movie (I really am); it’s just that you need to be in a certain mindset to watch a movie like this. More often than not, I’m watching movies while cooking, cleaning or hanging out with friends. During those times, ‘Birdemic‘ tends to work out better.

Drew Taylor

When you review stuff, a lot of things come in and a lot of things don’t get watched. (Of course, when a classic like ‘Short Circuit 2’ arrives on Blu-ray, it will immediately go in my player.) Off the top of my head, I can say that I have a screener of last summer’s ‘Happiness’ pseudo-sequel ‘Life During Wartime’, which I’m only remembering now because it looks like Criterion is working on the home video release. Maybe I’ll get around to watching it before the big C puts out its disc… but probably not.

We’ve aired our dirty laundry. Now it’s time for you to do the same. Look through your collections or rental queues and tell us in the Comments about those titles you’ve put off watching for far too long.


  1. I’ve got piles of stuff still in shrink wrap that I haven’t watched yet. Not sure what the oldest might be, but I still haven’t opened my Planet of the Apes Blu-ray set, The Twilight Zone (definitive DVD set), or The Shield boxed set. Tons of single movies as well, but the above standout because they’re bigger/taking up more space.

  2. BMH

    Of course, I have DVDS that I obsessed over buying and made a trip that day to buy and never watched them. A few are movies I’ve never seen, like the Agony and the Ecstasy, and few I have watched but remain sealed like Hero.

    Then there are HDDVDs that I bought cheap knowing they had no blu ray counterpart like the the Pianist and the Game years ago and still haven’t watched.

    I bought the Pirates trilogy as one of my first blu ray purchases and did not even open them until this past December. They are stunning (these are films that make me want a projector) Even if I really only like the first one, they are showstoppers.

    The worst example for me though is the Lord of the Rings Return of the King extended edition. I bought the extended editions of Fellowship and Two Towers right when they came out and watched them. When Return of the King came out, I jumped through hoops so I could get it right away but then exchange all three of them for a boxed version. (Can’t possible not have a slip cover for the trilogy) Then I did not watch Return of the King. I think a year later I had a marathon with friends and we got most of the way through Two Towers and then quit. I think that was 2005. Since then, I haven’t really wanted to watch any LOTR. I would see them playing on TNT and just cringe. Of course then I became a big blu ray fan with a enthusiast set up, but still no interest in theatrical editions. Finally, a few months ago, I started playing Dragon Age, and thought maybe I should watch LOTRs again. So when they announced the extended editions on blu ray, I preordered at Amazon. I have no intention of ever watching Return of the King on DVD. I have spots in my Case Logics where I keep DVDs for Return of the King but I have never bothered to take the discs out of their blue box.

  3. Jared Chamberlain

    I think I’ve seen every film in my collection at least once, but I do still have a couple in the original shrink wrap. The Criterion Blu-Ray of The Third Man is one(I know its a crime to never have opened it), and the complete series of Bronx is Burning on DVD.

  4. Ian Whitcombe

    The oldest DVD I own that I haven’t watched is the two-disc edition of Patton. For one: the movie is long, and two: the transfer is TERRIBLE. People might complain about the DNR in regards to the Blu-Ray release, but from what I’ve seen, the DVD looked as if it were completely out of focus, with the most clear parts of the image being the freakin’ edge halos.

    I bought Malcolm X in the bargain bin a year ago…that transfer is also a dud. Though the BD was delayed for music licensing reasons, so its all I have for now.

  5. vihdeeohfieuhl

    I’ve had Gangs of New York since the re-issued version was released on blu-ray. I still haven’t watched it, and I got it the day it came out. It’s a situation similar to what Dick was referring to. It’s a film that you absolutely must be in a certain mood/mindset to watch. I guess if I’ve been in that mood/mindset since I got it, I probably watched a similar film (such as There Will Be Blood). 🙂 I know there are others that I own, and yet have never got around to watching them. Off the top of my head, I can think of Powder Blue. You might remember it as being noteworthy because it’s Patrick Swayze’s last film, or — more likely — for the Jessica Biel nudity. I’d love to watch it, I’ve had it for what seems like two years. I just don’t ever get around to watching it. I’ll update if I think of other films that I’ve owned for a long time without ever viewing once.

  6. I owned Videodrome on Vhs for I don’t even know how many years, knowing full well I was going to love it, but never got around to it. Recently I bought the Criterion Blu ray and watched it immediately (loved it.) Likewise I have owned Altered States on Vhs at least as long and have never watched it. My fiance did and keeps getting on my ass about it, but at this point I’d just assume wait for a blu release.

    Ok… With those out of the way, here is the truly shameful admission. Despite owning all three films for many years, I have only ever watched the first Godfather, and that was only a couple years ago. When my fiance found out I hadn’t seen them she insisted it be put on immediately. Unfortunately we didn’t follow it up with the second and it got away from me again.

  7. vihdeeohfieuhl

    Just thought of another one. I’ve owned Frost/Nixon since it’s blu-ray release day, and still haven’t watched it! I truly want to see it! As a matter of fact, I’m practically desperate to see it. I have no idea how I never got around to seeing it.

    I believe it can mostly be attributed to the fact that my wife has zero interest whatsoever in it. The majority of my film viewing is done with her, and I guess the times that I have watched films without her, I usually go with the big loud spectacle types that I can crank up as loud as I want and enjoy in a way that I just can’t do when watching with her. 🙂 haha!

    I do really need to watch Frost/Nixon though! I’m glad that this was the roundtable discussion. It will motivate me to make it a priority.

  8. EM

    Several people I know in “real life” think I have a very large DVD/Blu-ray collection. I don’t think it’s large by the standards of this enthusiast community, but I suppose it may be largish by mainstream standards.

    As such, mainstreamers are often a little surprised when I claim to be highly selective in my DVD and Blu-ray acquisitions. I use the word selective not to imply good taste per se; rather, I endeavor to be quite certain that I really want every item that I add to my video library.

    Along those lines, I have made it a point to not long delay viewing new acquisitions. If possible, the very day of acquisition I will pop in a disc—if not to view an entire program, then at least to sample it. This can be frustrating when I get four or more new items simultaneously and am having a very busy week besides. Still, it’s rare that more than a week passes before at least a sampling of each new acquisition. And generally I have been good at thoroughly experiencing discs before very long.

    That said, I do have a large stack of Blu-rays that I have not been very thorough with. Usually I’ve managed to watch the main program—or a main program—but haven’t gotten around to checking out all the bonus features. I am a little bothered by the backlog. I do work on it now and then.

    Sometimes I think I should dial down my Netflix service. I primarily look at Netflix as a means of previewing discs I might want to add to my collection, but sometimes it seems that Netflix gets in the way of enjoying the collection I already have. Currently I have two-at-a-time service, but I have been thinking of cutting it down or even suspending it for a while.

    Even so, some things will go on unviewed. With TV seasons on disc, usually I don’t consider every single episode a winner. For example, I’d already seen the Star Trek season-one episode “The Alternative Factor” long before I obtained the complete first season on both DVD and Blu-ray, and I really have no desire for a repeat viewing. Great Bird of the Galaxy, that episode is awful. I bet Klingons show it to their prisoners as a form of torture.

    • Yeah, I have no intrest in seeing Spock’s Brain or the hippie episode again, yet I will probably end up watching them as I will probably be too lazy to grab the remote. Good way to pass time on a Saturday afternoon.

      You actually brought up a good point – I use Netflix sometimes to preview movies. I will then buy them, and they may sit on the shelf a couple of years. I just did the math for total number of movies I watch, versus how often I watch movies. I think I have a couple of years of movies waiting for me at the house already!

  9. Anthony

    Picked up a Gods and Generals dvd in a walmart bin a year ago. Still haven’t watched it even though I remember watching Gettysburg in high school. If and when I have the time to watch an incredibly long epic, I think I’ll pick my Ten Commandments blu ray instead of Gods and Generals.

  10. besch64

    I’ve got about ten Criterion discs that I blind-bought last Summer during the 50% off sale at Barnes and Noble that I haven’t watched yet.

  11. I bought “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” on DVD probably ten years ago and have yet watch it. I’ve seen it so many times on cable prior to buying it though.

  12. Well, here is where I can really shine on how shameful I am. I love to collect, but tend to buy stuff than I can watch them.

    The Lion King (still Shrink-Wrapped)
    Fantasia CAV Collector’s Edition(watched the Sorceror’s Apprentance to see how it looked. Now its just a pretty collector’s box)
    Young Einstein
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s (never seen this movie)
    Hercules (still in shrink wrap)

    Dumbo (still in Shrink wrap)
    Fox and the Hound 2
    XXX (never seen it)
    Mask of Zorro
    Full House Seasons 6-8 still in shrink wrap(I did watch 1-5)
    Star Wars 1-6 (got them on the DVR in HD)

    Black Rain (still in shrink wrap)
    Babel (hmmm, just realized these were all ones that came free with my player)
    How The Grinch Stole Christmas (still in Shrink Wrap)
    What Dreams May Come
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone UK Import (cause I am a collector)
    Dune (stuck in to see how it looks – Josh can kill me now)

    Beowolf (I got this for Christmas two years ago, but already had it on HD-DVD)
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (still in shrink wrap, but I had rented from Netflix before I bought it)
    A Christmas Carol 3D (still in shrink wrap)
    Alice In Wonderland 2D (still in shrink wrap)
    Alice In Wonderland 3D (stuck in long enough to see how it looked)
    Ten Commandments (still in Shrink Wrap)
    Full Metal Alchamist (still in Shrink Wrap)
    Chuck seasons 1 and 2 (still in Shrink Wrap)
    Terminator Seasons 1 and 2 (still in Shrink Wrap)
    An American In Paris (Still in Shrink Wrap)
    The Mask (still in Shrink Wrap)
    Dumb and Dumber (Still In Shrink Wrap)
    Full Metal Panic (Still in Shrink Wrap)
    Samurai 7 (still in Shrink Wrap)
    King of Kings
    Greatest Story Ever Told
    Doctor Who The Complete Specials (Still in Shrink Wrap, but in my defense, I watched them all on Netflix before I bought the package)
    I am Sam Canadian Import (still in Shrink Wrap)
    Anastasia (watched first 15 minutes to see how it looked)
    Because of Winn Dixie (watched first 5 minutes to see how it looked)
    Dungeons and Dragons (watched about half of the first movie, then remembered how bad it was)
    Shrek The Whole Story (Still in Shrink Wrap)
    South Pacific (Still in Shrink Wrap, but I had rented it from Netflix before I bought)
    Charlotte’s Web (watched first 5 minutes to see how HORRIBLE the video transfer was. Blah!)
    In The Shadow of the Moon (started three times, haven’t been able to get more than 3 minutes into it, something keeps coming up)
    Life is Beautiful Canadian Import (watched first 3 minutes of it)
    Harry Potter 1 and 2 Ultimate Editions
    The Karate Kid 1 and 2 (still in Shrink Wrap)
    Monsters Inc (Still in Shrink Wrap)
    Slumdog Millionaire (Still in Shrink Wrap)
    The Runaways
    Spikerwick Chronicles
    Terminator 4
    Twilight 1 and 2
    Miracle on 34th Street (both of them, still in Shrink Wrap)
    WW2 in HD (I’m halfway through this)
    Moulin Rouge (stuck in to see how it looked)
    Romeo + Juliet (stuck in to see how it looked)
    Logan’s Run (still in Shrink Wrap, but I did rent it from Netflix before I bought it)
    Wayne’s World 1 and 2 (2 still in Shrink Wrap)
    Charlie’s Angels (still in Shrink Wrap)
    War of The Worlds (stuck in to see how it looks)
    Star Trek Season 3 (I am halfway through 2 now)
    GI Joe Rise of Cobra
    Star Trek 1-10 (they were still in their shrink wrap until Saturday night, when we stuck in First Contact. Granted, I had rented all 10 from Netflix before I got the set for Christmas 2 years ago)
    Fireproof (Honestly have no clue why I bought this. I had seen it, thought the movie sucked, then bought it. Its still in its Shrink Wrap)
    Snow White
    I Robot
    Man on Fire (still in Shrink Wrap, and I LOVE this movie)

  13. Jose Argumedo

    Nothing on Blu-ray I think, but on DVD I still haven’t even opened Outlaw Star, and Elfin Lied. Road To Perdition remains unwatched, as well as Good Will Hunting.

  14. Snowsurfer

    I’ve had Inland Empire since release and haven’t even opened it. Bit strange since I’m somewhat of a Lynch fan….