Confessions of a Movie Hunter
Confessions of a Movie Hunter By Mike White. "So, how’s the movie hunting going?" That was the question posed in many an email and missive since the last issue of Cashiers du Cinemart wherein I confessed my obsessive compulsive search for rare films...
"So, how’s the movie hunting going?" That was the question posed in many an email and missive since the last issue of Cashiers du Cinemart wherein I confessed my obsessive compulsive search for rare films. Without hesitation I can now say that movie hunting/trading is a sickness. My ailment remains writ large across the walls and floor of my basement, lined with videocassettes and DVDs.
How did I escape the tyranny of trading? I haven’t. Like any addiction, every day brings new temptation to overcome. One day at a time, baby. For a while, I couldn’t go online without Googling titles, directors, studios, and stars all with the hope of uncovering a new lead. Each new kernel of information fanned the fires of my desire.
I can’t point to one particular instance that finally helped me reign in my fixation. It was most likely a combination of things. I finally exhausted my resources. Each new Google would bring up the countless pleading posts I had left on obscure newsgroups. Being confronted with my own mania helped to sober me. Another factor had to be one of my trade partners. While I may have done a good job unearthing obscurities, it was nothing compared to his unsurpassed skills. His ability to put his hands on the rarest films put me to shame.
The final piece to the puzzle came in the form of another trader I encountered. He wasn’t so much a "trader" as a "hoarder." He promised me the moon, the sun, and the stars, only to give me nothing but grief. Time and again he would claim to possess some of my most sought-after titles only to renege on his promises. I’m ashamed of how many times this occurred. It was only after I began to find these promised titles on my own that I broke free of his tyranny.
This newfound liberation had every potential of turning sour. I began to do the things of which he was guilty. I started squirreling away tapes that he wanted, only to carrot them before his eyes. "Sorry, I promised to not trade that with anyone," I would lie. In truth, I would send these prized titles to everyone and their brother with the understanding that they would not make their way to my rival. It wasn’t until I had gathered enough of these "fuck you" titles that I began to feel sated. The additional satisfaction I gleaned from the venom-fueled, ranting emails I started to receive from him made it all the sweeter. When he finally sunk to the point where he was threatening to call on INTERPOL to "shut me down," I knew the taste of victory. Yes, I’m a vindictive prick. But, finally, I felt free of the bonds which had held me down for years.
I pulled my "trade list" from its usual haven and began to really insist that the only movies I would accept as trade were those titles I actually wanted. This may have incurred the ire of many a fellow trader but it’s helped me unearth a few more gems and keep the piles of tapes from overpowering my basement any further. There are times where I’m tempted by the occasional random rarity, certainly. But, again, I work hard each day to cope with the demons that once wholly possessed me.
You won’t find this issue stuffed to the gills with reviews of these rare films. Any hardcore trader will tell you that they spend all of their time collecting and not watching. I’m trying to get to the point where I can make a dent in the piles of unwatched movies. For the most part, I’ve sent off the most treasured obscurities to folks who will put them in the hands of reviewers more capable than me, such as Steve Puchalski of my favorite magazine, Shock Cinema. Be sure to check out this wonderful publication to encounter the fruits of my labor.
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