Over the years, that's been the title I've always used for my various DVD columns. "Moriarty's DVD Shelf." I also ran a DVD blog for about fifteen months that really hummed along with content for a while, a sort of side project where I vented about my near OCD-level-love for DVD. I have written about DVD since '98 for AICN, since the early days of New Line getting their feet wet with DVD, and in that time, I've amassed a fairly amazing tonnage of films and TV shows and ephemera on standard definition DVD. Like in the 10,000 movies range. And I've paid for far more of it than you'd think. I love the format dearly.
I'm also a big rabid fanboy right now for BluRay. Unabashedly. But that shouldn't come as any surprise. Like I said... I was a ranting raving DVD maniac in '98, which was still early days for the format in general. VHS was very much alive and kicking at that point. People were not interested in changing. You could get a new VCR for $28. It was a dirt-cheap investment to get a player and a rental membership.
Right now, BluRay is not the people's choice. That's just obvious. But it is a collector's choice and a home theater nut's choice. It's a lot like laserdisc at the moment, and I was a huuuuuuuge fan of laserdisc. I devoted a lot of time and energy to laserdisc in general. I was a believer.
That column title has long since become literal and then spilled over into My DVD Shelves, and My DVD Shelves and the floor around the shelves and then My DVD Boxes and My DVD Closets and it just kept growing.
And now, I've got my main DVD Shelf back in my office. And it's the contents of that shelf that you'll be reading about in the months to come. That's the place where I'll be plowing through a few stacks of material, bringing you reviews and impressions of a wide range of content.
In a way, it's the purest film criticism that you can write, because it's not tied to a theatrical release date, where studios are often tense about critical reaction. And you end up writing about a wide range of material, from all different eras and in all different styles. That's good for a film writer. You shouldn't be worried about how you're shaping trends or how you're jockeying for position in the "Who's Seen It First?" Sweepstakes. You should be worried about laying down a body of work, on a wide range of film topics, and demonstrating a genuine affection for and understanding of what you're watching. People plow through movies these days, and I'm a big fan of using the act of writing about a film as a way of digesting it, giving it the respect that even a bad film deserves.
Pauline Kael wrote in an essay reprinted in FOR KEEPS that she was alarmed by the notion of people watching old films on television because of the way they were seeing them out of context, jumbled together, one era up against another radically different one, in a way that wasn't fair to the movies. I disagree. I think that sort of random waterfall of films is the best way to enjoy them. I think it keeps each experience fresh. It's so easy to fall into a rut if you're seeing all horror or all comedy or all foreign language or all classic... one of the things that makes cinema so incredibly vital is the notion that you can experience so many different and varied things with such specificity. So why not mix it up as much as you can?
As we get underway, I'll be showing you what sort of snowdrifts we're working on, and you'll see just how much progress we actually make. You guys are gonna keep me honest.