The Case for Physical Media


The recent controversy over Gone with the Wind got me to thinking. And it’s always dangerous when I get to thinking. The source code for my operating system is littered with wrongthink. Fortunately, my current train of thought probably won’t get me cancelled. And it might prove useful to fellow film buffs.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the news this week, you may have missed that HBO Max pulled GWTW from its lineup. It seems that its antiquated racial attitudes offend modern sensibilities. Fair enough, I guess. It will apparently be returning sometime in the future with a disclaimer. [Full disclosure: I’ve never seen GWTW. Yes, I know, I need to remedy that. *hangs head in shame*]

It occurred to me — and not for the first time — that maybe we’re becoming too dependent on streaming services. The day will come when more movies come under fire. And fans of these movies will have to depend on gutless media companies to hold up under pressure to bowdlerize said movies, or maybe remove them from circulation altogether.

Prior to the current controversy, my fear was that streaming movies and TV shows would be hidden behind ever higher pay walls. That’s still a consideration, but now I have a new reason to buy movies and TV shows on physical media. I don’t want my entertainment choices to be left to the Weak, the Bad and the Greedy.

So I guess I’ll be stopping by the DVD bargain bin every time I’m in Walmart. Like I always have.

Speaking of cancelled movies, here’s a great video by Youtuber The Critical Drinker about the importance of preserving our art.

Escape from New York

Escape from NY

Don’t let the title of this post fool you, it’s not about defying the lock-down in the Empire State. Nope, it’s about the 1981 dystopian thriller starring Kurt Russell and directed by John Carpenter.

So anyway, I was surfing Youtube the other day when I ran across this video. It’s a deleted scene from the beginning of Escape that showed the heist that got Snake Plissken arrested and sent to the maximum security prison on Manhattan Island. I’m sure this clip  has been floating around for years, but I wasn’t aware of it until recently.

This scene is pretty cool, but I really think the movie was better without it. Introducing Snake to the audience as he’s being lead into the prison in handcuffs really worked. Everything we need to know about his back story we learn from his conversation with Hauk (Lee Van Cleef).

I guess sometimes less is more. Still, it was fun seeing the heist.

friday movie quote

Peter Finch Howard Beale Network

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad… worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a human being, God damn it! My life has value!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’”

-Howard Beale (Peter Finch), Network (1976)