I Still Buy Blu-Rays

I Still Buy Blu-Rays…But I’m Starting to Waiver

I love movies…so much. As a writer, perhaps it may be expected that I like reading better? No! I love movies way more.
Blockbusters are my favorite genre by far. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, every superhero flick; any big franchise film, and I’m there in the theatre as often as I can.
Now don’t get me wrong, I also love plenty of genres that don’t get huge releases at Comic-Con. I’m happy to watch an interesting drama, ones based on historical figures, goofball comedies, political thrillers, or stand-alone action movies. As a father, I enjoy a lot of animated films. As a husband, I’ll even enjoy the occasional romantic comedy on a date night with my wife.
My love of movies is apparent to anyone who has ever seen my collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays. Hundreds of movies that I have purchased over the last 20 years. I love to collect, but I won’t buy a movie just because I don’t have it. I’ve always been apprehensive about buying a movie I haven’t seen yet, for fear that I won’t want to watch it again. Even if it’s widely accepted as a good movie, like “Arrival” with Amy Adams. It was a great suspenseful movie, but you just don’t want to watch it a bunch of times afterwards once you know how it ends.
Nonetheless, I still love to go shopping for movies. Admittedly, something that is becoming more and more difficult to do. Sure, you can still find new releases relatively easily, but gone are the days when you could browse racks and racks of movies from both past and present.
My fondest movie-collecting experiences involve my frequent trips to the HMV store at the nearby Square One Mall. For Christmas, or my birthday, all I would really want is gift cards to places like HMV and Best Buy where I could go on shopping sprees. I’d even go to Blockbuster Video to buy used ones. I could spend hours in those stores, browsing up and down the racks looking for the best deals. I loved all the 2/$30, 2/$20 offers as I looked for new releases I didn’t own, and old ones that I could replace my VHS tapes with. Leaving those places with a bag full of half a dozen movies, or more. It felt like a victory as I headed home, sure in the knowledge of what I would be doing that weekend.
Sadly now, moments like that are becoming far less frequent; and it’s due to a variety of factors. The most obvious one being that the popularity of streaming services like Netflix have cut into the business of selling Blu-Rays. There just aren’t that many stores that even carry them anymore. HMV is now just another shut-down business that’s faded into memory. And when I go to Best Buy now, the depressingly small size of the movie section is enough to move me to tears. Wal-Mart is a little more respectable, but nothing can even come close to the golden days.
Another factor is that I just don’t have the money to spend on movies anymore. When I was in my 20s, living in my parents basement (yes, I was that loser), spending $50 every couple of weeks was nothing. Basically, every dollar I made was disposable income. Of course now, with a wife and a child to take care of, most of my money has to go towards less frivolous things like food and rent.
And so my acquisition of Blu-rays began to slow. Then one day, about 5 years ago, I got a Netflix membership (*gasp!*). I found it to be far inferior to physical media, especially when my movie-viewing experience would get rudely interrupted by a couple of minutes of “buffering”. I still continue to purchase movies occasionally. If I like a movie that I saw in the theatre (Marvel & DC movies definitely), I am buying that Blu-Ray the week it gets released. Recently though, I’ve found that I may not purchase the movie if it’s currently showing on Netflix. I recently realized that I have not yet bought Ant-Man or Captain America: Civil War because Netflix had been showing them.
I’m reluctant to start buying digital downloads. First of all, the prices can be outrageous. How do these things ever cost more than $2.00? I mean really, with nothing physical to produce, what are you even paying for? You’re not even getting a file you can save on a computer drive, or data disc. All you are getting is access to one single piece of an outside data base. And if that data base is having technical difficulties, sorry, you can’t use what you paid for.
If I buy a Blu-Ray nowadays, it’s nice that it includes the code for a digital download. I’m starting to amass a significant library of movies on Flixster & Google Play, but I still prefer the physical media. The apps can be temperamental. 4 movies I have on Flixster are no longer accessible, with no explanation as to why. Streaming on the go is pointless without a strong Wi-Fi signal or they’ll eat up your data plan pretty quick. The downloading feature is nice, but it has to be done well in advance, and can take hours.
While I don’t like paying for just a digital copy, the one thing I will never do, is download movies illegally. That’s a big pet peeve of mine. Especially bootlegs of movies that are still in theatres. How can someone be happy watching a lousy quality video of a movie screen recorded on someone’s iPhone? I love movies way too much for that.
I don’t know how much longer I will continue purchasing Blu-Rays. The trend seems to be moving away from stores stocking them on shelves. It’s already getting harder to find stores that sell older movies, and they may eventually do the same for new releases. One day, the decision may just be made for me, and the entire medium will just disappear like so many others. One day my son’s only inheritance may be a library of useless media.
Until that day comes, I will continue fighting the good fight and keep adding to my collection for as long as I can because I love their superior reliability, and my nostalgia. And should the day come that some techno-terrorist manages to wipe out the internet for the entire world, or something…Movie night at my place everybody!

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