grounded... (or my year of julie & julia-ing my dvd collection)
My dad has always been an early adopter, technologically speaking. What was once a hobby would later became a professional responsibility. But, in 1995, when my sister and I were kids, it became “necessary” for our family to invest in one of the very first iterations of the DVD player. This innovative device, which touted a lack of trailers preceding the movie and the ability to skip ahead to any specific scene at the push of a button, was revolutionary for us. Before then, we had to sit in front of the VHS player to manually fast forward through fifteen minutes of previews followed by the terrifying first twenty of Scream each and every time we wanted to watch our favorite horror flick. Just think of the wasted time and unnecessary nightmares this mythical technological advancement could save us from! Naturally, for a family comprised of ten and eight-year-old girls, our first DVD purchased in accompaniment with the player was the 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction. It’s one of my favorite anecdotes to recount now that the statute of limitations has run on anyone contacting social services. And before too long, we were allowed to watch it under strict instructions to skip “the part with the leather” as my mom euphemistically called it. All this to say, the eclectic (and age inappropriate) Miller family DVD collection only grew from there. As an adult, I’m riddled with anxiety and neuroses, but hardly think watching Mia Wallace take a giant needle of epi straight to the heart is to blame.
While home from college one summer, after my savvy dad had ripped all his favorites onto the computer, I raided the collection and have been shuffling this box of about 70 from city to city and apartment to apartment ever since. Many I haven’t revisited since childhood or adolescence, but I just can’t bring myself to part with these markers of growing up. To further explore what unifies this collection other than initially encountering them at a particular point in my life, and a certain sense of nostalgia, I thought it an interesting exercise to re-view and review each of these invaluable collectibles. While not all classics of modern cinema (and nary an animated Disney film in the bunch), these are the movies that either myself or a loved one thought rewatchable enough to warrant owning, though such distinction is more true for some than others. I hope you’ll join me - however often or intermittently - as I reevaluate a once seminal work in new context all while trying to escape, however briefly, the garbage can fire that is 2018. I shall comb through the annals of my adolescence (in alphabetical, not chronological order) with the goal of updating the site weekly with these reflective and reflexive posts.