I used to be the vocal part of the #TrashyTuesdayMovie experiment over on twitter, but a lot of the logistical and planning behind the series of films we watched was done by my former flatmate, Adam. He took a kind of evil joy in finding terrible-but-interesting films and grouping them into themes, then sat there and took pleasure in the nervous breakdowns I suffered via twitter as we sat through shit like Zombie Lake and House of the Dead. He’s also the guy who started putting together the wiki recording each week’s set of tweets, which is half the reason I can remember some of the stuff we watched and how I felt about it at the time.
Sometimes, after a while, the trauma just makes you numb.
The thing to keep in mind about Adam is this: he already owned a large number of these films. Not because they were bad – despite what people thought, we weren’t interested in films without redeeming qualities – but because he’s interested in film as a medium and willing to engage with flawed-but-interesting works.
Which is why, now that we’ve stopped doing Trashy movies on Tuesday nights, he started the Too Many DVDs blog where he makes his way through all the unwatched DVDs in his house and reviews them
The definition of “Unwatched DVD” is pretty flexible: if he bought the DVD and he’s only ever watched the movie in the cinema, he’ll rematch it and review as part of the backlog of films. Given Adam’s exclectic – but often trashy – taste, this means he rewatches Oscar winners like American Beauty, then the next day he’ll follow up with a review of Cherry 2000, then launches into something he’s never seen before that no-one else has ever heard of; films he backed on Kickstarter ’cause they sounded kinda interesting, or the kind of stuff you find in boxed sets with titles like “50 Drive-In Classics” that you can buy for eight bucks a box’cause the owners of the original films in the set are busy trying to forget those films were ever made.
There results are often off-kilter, occasionally surprising, and comes with the added bonus, for me, of having Adam watching something extraordinarily awful while I’m not there be sucked in by the gravity of the couch and TV.
Now when I recommended following Grant Watson’s film review blog as part of Follow Friday a few weeks back, it was based on the depth of his engagement. It’s as much a learning experience as it is an evaluation of the film in question. Adam’s Too Many DVDs blog comes at thing from the opposite end. There’s a brevity to his reviews, ’cause he focuses on a few key issues: is this a film he’d recommend to people, and if so, why? What were the aspects of the film he found interesting.
This can be dangerous – and, in truth, I have watched some truly bad films based on Adam’s recommendations (“you should watch Ice Planet, it’s horrible”), but most of the time he’s sane enough to know that while he may have geeked out like no-ones business when watching Prisoners of a Lost Universe (aka Hawk the Slayer 2), it’s not sufficient to recommend the experience to someone who didn’t grow up with the first Hawk film.
Usually, though, his hit rate is pretty good. When he says a film has interesting qualities, it almost always has something going for it that makes me capable of understanding the appeal. And, truthfully, Adam is far, far snarkier with bad films than I am, so it’s worth sticking around just for the reviews where he really, really disliked something.
He’s currently heading towards 300 reivews, and at his current pace Adam probably has enough unwatched DVDs to keep hi blogging for another couple of years.This, of course, assumes he can avoid walking past a $5 and less DVD sale without making new purchases…and somehow I kinda doubt it.
I’m wearing my bias on my sleeve, but I’d urge you to go follow his work at blogger or keep an eye out for the twitter notifications that he’s posted @CrowroadAW. Make the pain of all those bad movies he’s suffered through worthwhile.