I was perusing the DVD sale at Borders on Ponce de Leon Avenue on Tuesday. It’s usually somewhat sacriligeous and pretty much downright idiotic to buy movies at Borders and Barnes & Noble, which specialize in buying DVDs and then marking them up about $10 because retarded white people and coffee drinkers are willing to spend $25 on a copy of “Oldboy” simply because it’s “a cool Korean movie… very, like, Kafkaesque.”
But on this particular day, Borders was pushing a 50 percent markdown on selected movies, so I figured there might be some gems in there. At the time, I’d also forgotten I have no money thanks to a recent roadside rape by the Decatur police department. I found a copy of “The Public Enemy” for $5. Pretty awesome. I found a $10 copy of “An American in Paris.” Also cool.
I was halfway through my second pass of the entire store’s collection when light caught the edge of a DVD. It was encased in metal. I stopped. It was a copy of “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” a movie for which I have great affection. I repped that shit when the trailer came out. I had also predicted since about 2000 that Shia LaBeouf was going to be a star, and he was slugging it out on the Disney Channel show “Even Stevens” then. But I called that shit. Then he did that “Project Greenlight” movie, “The Battle of Shaker Heights.” (The movie was really mediocre if not bad, but he rocked it in it.) “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” was Shia’s first real test as an actor, and he nailed it. He’s absolutely fantastic in the movie. I bought the DVD when it was released in 2006 or so.
ANYWAYS, it’s safe to say I had a special relationship with the movie. So, when I saw the thing sort of gloriously shining in the store’s crappy flourescent light, I got all, “I want to go to there,” and immediately grabbed it. I looked at the case. It had a sticker that read: “STEELBOOK” and then “media wrapped in metal.”
“Wow, this case is really… much cooler than the case I have for this DVD,” I thought.
“You’re kind of… toolish,” I thought.
“Yeah, but this improves on the version of the DVD I own,” I thought.
“Don’t be a retard,” I thought. “It says ‘media wrapped in metal’ for God’s sake. That’s like the biggest sham ever.”
“Yeah, but I want this. It’s… fucking shiny,” I thought.
“You’re fucking shiny, you douchebag. Put it down.”
“No, I want it.”
“Leave. Now. YOU. HAVE. NO. MONEY.”
So, I left. I stared at it a little bit. I put it back on the shelf. And I left.
This is what SteelBook has done to me. It’s made me what I hate. I have a pretty decent DVD collection. About 400 movies. To an average person, that’s a massive fucking collection. Not so in the collector’s world. One of the first posts on Cribbster regarded this kid, who perplexes the crap out of me. Pouya and I watch his videos on YouTube when we need a laugh.
Well, a few months ago he shot a video of his DVD collection. It’s one, long tracking shot. Of his DVD collection. It’s massive. The video is inadvertently hilarious.
He claims his collection is 3,000-strong. So, you can see, my 400 is relatively small-time. It’s also become increasingly stupid to purchase any sort of disc-related media as all of this stuff will soon be digital. As soon as the infrastructure is all set. Netflix, for instance, will stop shipping DVDs and BluRays is roughly five to 10 years, I predict. Everything will be online or on television through your cable provider (or both as they’ll become increasingly blurred together).
Regardless, SteelBooks are becoming more and more prevalent to counteract this pretty basic logic. It’s like pushing a stronger kind of crack on the market once people get sick of the old shit. The first SteelBook DVD I purchased was for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (the original), and SteelBook started out with those sorts of movies — the die-hard collector’s shit. You didn’t see mainstream movies released onto DVD in SteelBook cases.
Until “The Departed.” That’s when all hell broke loose.
I bought a regular old plastic case version of “The Departed.”
My friend and Beaufort, S.C., partner in commiseration, Ben Crites, purchased the SteelBook version available exclusively at Best Buy.
“Dude, I got a cooler version,” he said to me when he saw my copy.
“What version?” I asked.
“The steel version.”
“The… steel… version?”
I might as well have been trembling.
I’ve seriously cut down the number of DVDs I’ve been purchasing. I used to average two a week, one at the typical price of about $15 or $20. Now, I average about one a month, and it’s usually an older movie I know won’t come down in price. I haven’t caved into any of SteelBook’s shenanigans so far, but I’m tempted. It’s kind of amazing what this company has managed to do. It’s like crack. And I know because I read a lot about people who are addicted to crack. This has to be what it’s like. I’m certain of it.
SteelBook isn’t even American. If you wanna know more, check their site here. Absurd.
I also recently discovered I’m not alone. Collectors are obsessed with SteelBook DVDs.
On a DVD Talk forum: “Steelbooks – what’s the big deal?”
The popular JoBlo’s Movie Club has a place for collectors to post photos of all their SteelBook DVDs.
I can’t reach a position on this matter.