Where I live, it is difficult to obtain certain DVD titles from high street shops, particularly after the departure of Fopp and a couple of second-hand DVD stores. The supermarkets are small and tend to concentrate on the top titles of the moment – there isn’t much choice.
If you turn to online sellers, you trust them to give information on whether or not DVDs are subitltled. Unfortunately this information is quite often not given, and so we can’t buy the DVDs if we don’t know… or if we decide to risk it, it might turn out that we have wasted our money. I don’t entirely blame such sites; Amazon (for instance) seem aware of the issue, and have often said to enquirers that they can only give whatever information is provided by the studios and distributors. In one case I saw several DVDs by a particular distributor, so I emailed them direct to ask if they were subtitled. I got no reply.
I hoped I could obtain information from sellers on eBay, but, if anything, the situation there is worse. I might have been unlucky at the time I looked, but few were saying whether or not a DVD is subtitled. One said that the subtitles were ‘optional on/off’… seeming to fear that if he describes DVDs and videos as subtitled, hearing customers might assume that they are only for the deaf, and avoid purchasing them.
The other day when browsing online, I read a product review saying that a relative of the reviewer couldn’t watch an expensive box set because four out of six of the DVDs weren’t subtitled. Someone answered that the DVDs were surely worth more than one star, and the reviewer must have been in a bad mood when rating them. My jaw dropped when I read that!
These experiences frustrated me, and I joined DVD Subtitles. In my opinion, it’s one of the best things since sliced bread! It strives to keep deaf people informed of whether or not DVDs are subtitled – in full or in part (as sometimes the films are subtitled but not the bonus features). The site depends on information provided by individuals. People continue to contribute regularly, but it’s an uphill task… there are plenty of gaps in the information.
I wish I had joined much earlier. I always had faith that when people saw what was at stake, they would do their best to provide access, meaning that in time all DVDs would be fully subtitled… but, amongst other things, the (lack of) response I got from the studio caused me to doubt. I also assumed that most of my DVDs would already have been rated on the DVD Subtitles site – in fact, they were not.
I have now contributed information for exactly 50 DVDs… and I still have a way to go!
At a local charity shop I was delighted to find they had DVDs for £2 each, and I snapped up several… they remarked on it after a few days, saying “you must have a lot of DVDs!” Part of me feels guilty that I spend so much on this, but it’s more than just spending or collecting; it’s something I feel strongly about – a small thing I can try to do for people.
There are other charity shops that regularly ask £4 a DVD, but I only pay that price if there’s one I particularly want. I’m much more likely to buy DVDs when they are priced at £2 or less, and the charity shop ends up with a lot more of my money! I even bought one I knew perfectly well wasn’t subtitled, just so I could rate it on DVD Subtitles. After all, the information that’s most valuable is the negative information… “don’t buy this; it’s a waste of your time.” (I’ll re-donate it to the same shop later!!) If we don’t obtain these dud DVDs, we won’t be rating them them, hence some of those gaps – however, funds and storage space are limited.
The DVDs in hearing people’s collections are of special value, as there’s more likely to be a selection of unsubtitled ones. Somebody will be looking out for those – and you might be surprised to find they haven’t yet been rated.
Watched Changing Lanes on DVD; this time with Mum. It was frightening how nervous I felt… I even considered ‘pulling the plug’ by saying “gah, let’s not watch this tonight!”
It’s not as if it’s a film that particularly means anything to me. I admired it and was relieved it ended well despite the rapid pace of disasters, but I remember how difficult it was to watch the first time.
It can be difficult to please Mum where films are concerned. She likes very light and funny things (The Ice Age and The Wind in the Willows); whodunnits (Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot); non-Hardy period drama if tastefully done (Larkrise to Candleford and Cranford); things we have read (Hornblower and Sharpe).
She’s less keen on anything ‘horrible’, ‘dreary’ or ‘boring’, though one day she put Die Hard II on and laughed at much of it! I’m inclined to think she is wary of anything she doesn’t normally watch, and would like some films better than she thinks she will. I had that kind of fear about Robocop, Terminator and Alien but finally watched and grew to respect them. There are still things I refuse to watch (Omen and Final Destination), but as I started watching both of them, I know for sure they’re not my cup of tea!
Tonight I suggested we watch a DVD, just for a change, and showed her our DVD collection (in about 5 boxes). Things like Johnny English, Robin Hood (Prince of Thieves), Legend, iRobot, Artificial Intellligence (AI), Emma, When Harry Met Sally, The Postman, Waterworld, The Hogfather… and she picked out something we have watched about three times very recently (National Treasure 2), saying “all the rest are boring.”
Since the whole point of watching a DVD tonight was because I was tired of sitting through repeats of repeats, I baulked. “You watch repeats of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? every night then call these boring? And we watched that one quite recently.”
She looked puzzled. “Did we?”
“Oh. Well, you pick one, then.”
Instead I found another box of DVDs. “That one in there, Changing Lanes, is quite good. I bought it recently.”
“Play that one.”
So we settled down to watch it, and my stomach was full of butterflies. What if she didn’t like it? It might be more violent or upsetting than I remember, and then I’d feel terrible for making us both watch it, especially as I had refused to accept her own choice. And though I find stuff hard to watch at times, I find them even harder to watch in company. Perhaps we should have gone with National Treasure 2 after all.
When I watch a film nobody else likes, I worry that it give away flaws in my character… “how could Diddums enjoy that?! It’s all explosions, aliens, bad jokes and drug dealers!”
I remember I wanted to watch a history thing when we were on holiday; I hoped it would be interesting and dramatic, but instead it was rather mean and horrible, and it got worse and worse… finally the others snapped at me and glared, as though to say “how could you want to watch this??” I felt betrayed by whoever made the thing! I didn’t like it either, but felt as though the producers had shown up my lack of judgement.
Wouldn’t it be safer to watch the films everybody else likes, and not suggest anything myself? But tonight it was too late; I’d tipped my hand.
Changing Lanes began, and the various characters were droning away about their own downbeat affairs, and all I could think was “this is boring. Do you think Mum is bored? Will they go on like that for the rest of the film? I don’t think they do, but what if I’ve forgotten how dull and gloomy it really is?”
I got so twitchy that I nearly said “this is depressing, don’t you think? Maybe we should just watch the other DVD.” But the film had only been running for two minutes! I asked myself how I would feel about the film if I was watching it on my own again… that was easy. I’d just settle down and watch it… quite happy. Give it time.
Mum seemed interested; even smiled when the two main characters ran into each other. I knew for sure she was enjoying it when she went out of the room and asked me to pause the DVD so that she wouldn’t miss any of it. (We were at the bit where the lawyer was having a heart to heart with his wife). We had a quick break and got something hot to drink, then finished watching it… it was good.
Great… but I’m going to have to stop hanging my own self-belief on whether or not other people like what I like… that’s daft! I know we couldn’t possibly like all the same things — and whether or not we do, it’s only because we see different things in the films. One person might see violence; another would see interesting characters or a vein of humour.
When we had finished Changing Lanes, we went back to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, looked at each other scornfully, and said “that’s ridiculous, how can people not know that?” Secure (once again) in each other’s regard.
I bought a few sale-price DVDs from Amazon.
Oh, I know, we are supposed to be decluttering, not recluttering. Part of the rationale, though, is that when the new ones turn up, I will be able to get rid of… ahem… at least a few videos.
There’s one film I’ve been craving for ages, and if it ever shows up on a non-subscription channel on TV, I’ve never been around to see it. The DVD was just under £6, but as it’s hard to get and I really liked it, I decided I’d go for it anyway. Popped it in my Amazon basket and went to look at a few other DVDs… added another, and the basket said:
“Important information: the price of an item has changed since you added it to your basket three minutes ago… your favourite DVD has come down from £5.97 to £3.08”.
Oh… thank you, Amazon. 🙂
Rushed to the checkout before they changed their minds.
I smell of Mango Delirium… couldn’t resist a blast of it from a tester perfume bottle in Boots. It’s light and yet hangs around; it doesn’t just disappear. And, while hanging around, it doesn’t seem to be going stale. Thinking of putting it on my Santa Claus list.
This is from today’s conversational notepad:
“I was hoping it’d be quiet in the bank.”
“It was. The trouble was: only two tellers.”
“There’s nothing a queue-hater can do, then – they’re determined we shall stand in them, otherwise they start to fret that they’re overstaffed. If we weren’t held back so much, we’d have more time in which to zoom around and spend, spend, spend!”
Bought a DVD of Castaway (starring Tom Hanks) for £3. I’m always looking for reduced-price DVDs in Woolworth and Amazon – I look there before I go to the charity shops. Some DVDs I recognize as having been sold new for £2, and there they are on a charity shop shelf for £4.
A dilemma we have with DVDs is that Mum is quite fussy about which ones she will watch. So while there are a lot of DVDs sitting there I’ve not seen yet and am dying to see, we are running out of DVDs we are both prepared to watch. The following are some of the DVDs she refuses to touch with a bargepole:
- The Sixth Sense
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence
- The Iron Giant
- Blade Runner
- anything starring Jim Carrey
- The Polar Express
- One Hour Photo
I’m drinking less instant mocha than I was… for a while I couldn’t abide any of the tea Mum was buying, which tended to be Chai, Earl Grey and other light, fragrant teas. I’ve always preferred dark, strong teas (with milk and a little sugar), such as Assam and Darjeeling.
The other day I overheard Mum muttering that she and a friend of hers had tried a certain kind of tea and were going to throw it away because it was the worst tea they had ever tasted. I shrugged and thought, “it must be bad.” Then I thought again… I don’t like the tea she likes. It follows that tea she doesn’t like will be tea I like!
I said so, and soon found abandoned boxes of this ‘worst tea in the world’ sitting on my doorstep.
It was a good guess…. I love it! I’m now drinking more tea and less coffee, which is probably better for me and for our pockets.