Wednesday, December 19, 2007

LaserDisc Duesday...

Hey all,

Thought you'd get a kick out of this...






I miss my LaserDisc collection.

I remember wanting one for years and then I got a cheap-o Sony player in '95 and never looked back...well, till DVD (fuck you Divx!). But upon opening that first, beautiful disc of pure Laser Cinema (NATURAL BORN KILLERS) and seeing a movie in full digital glory (and letterboxed, no less), I was hooked...300+ LaserDiscs later before i stopped buying them (or they stopped making them, or both), it was clear I had a Jones for the format. That fucking LD player became my best friend and my greatest teacher, since at the time the only way you could watch special features on a movie or listen to a commentary was on LaserDisc. So during my time at SU studying film, I basically attend classes to obtain the free equipment, and came back to my room to devour the latest laserdisc I got. Luckily there was a place that rented LD's in town, which was a rarity due to the price of the format...ok picture this: that Criterion DVD you have of SE7EN that cost, oh, I dunno...30 bucks? Set me back a cool 250 bucks when it first came out! THAT's how expensive most Laserdiscs were...but oh were they worth it.

Without laserdiscs I would have never fully appreciated the 2:35:1 aspect ratio (my aspect of choice and one I fought hard for on WT2 and lost...next time Gadget, next time...) and also never would have absorbed the amount of technical & creative ideas and tricks used that I discovered thanks to the behind the scenes docs and of course the commentary tracks, which were my lifeblood. Screw my asshole theory teachers (this means YOU Les Friedman...), my professors were guys like Professor Carpenter, Mr. Romero, Dr. Cronenberg, & Sir Raimi amongst others, who all had great commentaries on their Laserdiscs and taught me so much about all the different aspects of film.

With the advent of the "affordable digital disc" with the DVD, you have access to all that without the steep price tag or having to get up every hour to flip the disc, but with it you have an almost over-saturation of content on these titles that the importance of what's in them is diminished. What was once a "must watch" special feature on the LaserDisc is that thing you MIGHT get to if you ever watch CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD ever again. Things aren't so special anymore because EVERYTHING is a "special edition" now. Even on commentaries...people sound bored, where back in the LD days, the recorded voices crackled with excitement, as if "wow, we get to FINALLY reach out to the fans!" Now its an obligation, and who is going to learn anything from someone bored with the process? Not saying all of them are bad (I do reccomend a certain commentary on WRONG TURN 2 that you can download HERE) and many are great (the KNOCKED UP commentary is the last one I listened to and its great), but there was just something extra special about the LD special features. Oh well, at least I can count on knowing that even THE HITCHER will have a commentary so someone can explain those fucking raining cars and the horrible use of NIN in the car chase scene. Anyone? Hello?

So...now my laserdiscs sit in a box in Long Island, their superior digital quality moldering with time and dust. My player broke a few years back, and I gotta admit I miss it. But doing this TV segment last week (which was part of the ATTACK OF THE SHOW-1987 edition, which was pretty rad) just reminded me of how important the LaserDisc was in my life. How the format really helped me develop as an artis-

-Shit, hold on i gotta go flip the disc.

Staying Scary,
Joe

PS: Yeah yeah I know my "80's" look wasn't up to par...but they needed me last minute and all I had was a bunch of 80's video company shirts that would work and a stupid bandanna that to me just screamed "80's teel comedy jock douchebag" so i went with it. Sue me, dude.

1 Comments:

Blogger NathanWrann said...

You weren't a fan unless you shelled out 60 bucks for a laserdisc and then a year later a couple hundred for the Criterion. There was no crybaby bullshit about the studios "double dipping." You forked over the dough and you were happy!

I still have my LDs on a shelf in our living room. The LD player isn't hooked up because there isn't room in the entertainment cabinet but... someday I'll be able to watch Crippled Masters in its beautiful digital transfer.

Love the last bit about the black bars "cutting off some of the picture" classic. I've had that argument so many times it's disgusting.

2:25 PM  

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