A sad day for cinephiles is on the horizon, and will be here before we know it.
Netflix has announced they’re ending their DVD service as of the end of September. I still subscribe to it, and deeply regret that it will no longer be an option.
More than a few friends would be surprised about my still getting discs in the mail. “How come, especially when there’s so much stuff streaming?” they would ask.
Simple – there are so many titles on DVD that aren’t available anywhere on streaming.
It’s easy to catch the latest box office smash, but what if you want an obscure C-grade horror film from 1973, or the Oscar winner for Best Documentary from 2002 (Murder on a Sunday Morning), or something from early in the career of a legendary Japanese director?
Without access to an extensive library of DVDs, you’re pretty much out of luck.
As screenwriters, movies are just part of our genetic makeup. We live for them and love to watch them – as many and as often as possible. It’s a no-frills film school.
Those of us of a certain age remember the thrill of going to the local video store with its wide variety of selections across multiple genres. (Blockbuster doesn’t count.). First it was VHS tapes, then DVDs, but the concept remained the same.
And if you were lucky, it had staff members who actually knew something about the films and could make suggestions and recommendations.
Another soon-to-be-lamented loss was that a lot of the films I’d get through Netflix had trailers for other films I’d never heard of but piqued my interest enough to add it to the queue. The cycle of “watch, add to the queue, watch, add to the queue” seemed neverending.
So as we enjoy these last few months of DVD options, attention shall be redirected to the streamers. There are options, although not as many choices. Some of the streamers are part of some major studios with vast and expansive libraries of material, but only make available a fraction of what they have.
(Lookin’ at you, HBO Max with access to Warner Brothers.)
I know money and licensing rights play a big factor in this, but the opportunity to just sit down and watch a film I’ve never seen before will soon become a lot less possible.
And that’s a real shame.