The last few months, as I’m sure you’ve read by now, have become something of a period of rebirth. I’m rediscovering a lot of things that I hadn’t even noticed had fallen by the wayside – creativity, writing, vision. Even the littler things are starting to come back.
Just before we headed to Coolangatta for our “baby-moon”, we finally decided that the time was right to make one of my dreams a reality, and buy a new TV. We ended up getting a 42″ full HD plasma (theoretically along with a free home theatre system via redemption – though that is an entirely different story), and although it didn’t get much of a workout during that first couple of weeks due to our marked absence, since our return it has been put to good measure.
Now, I don’t want this to come across like we have no lives, spend all our times in front of the TV, or are entirely anti-social. The simple fact of the matter is that we both like watching TV. We’ve both got shows that we enjoy, I’ve then got more shows that I enjoy that Beth won’t go near, but for both of us it’s a relaxant, an escape, and a way to unwind. Being typical Gen-Yers, with no attention span or patience, we end up watching a lot of TV shows that have already screened here, or never made it to our shores. As such, shows are watched season by season, as opposed than the traditional model of an episode a week. Because of that, we crank through shows fairly quickly – and are often on the hunt for a new show to start from the start, and immerse ourselves in. The big beauty of the new TV, is the blu-ray disc recorder that handily has a USB slot. That means anything downloaded can now be watched on the big TV, not on the laptop on the end of the bed. A simple joy, but a joy nonetheless.
Blu-ray has been the big discovery for me. Initially, in my uninformed days, I’d written it off as a gimmick, as something that would be nice but would never lure me in, at least not until it became industry standard, and format governed our ability to find something to watch. However, having watched a movie or three in full high-definition, I am unashamed to admit that I am a total, utter convert. A sell all my posessions and live in a commune type convert. I’m sure being both a past student of TV production, as well as a photographer does make me somewhat more inclined to embrace the extra pixels that come with the definition, but it’s more than a knowing technical acknowledgement that courses through my mind while I’m watching 1080p. There’s a brilliance that returns to the screen, a clarity that I often even find lacking in the cinemas, especially to an eye that makes it money from focussing. And, nerdy admission though it may be, it’s brought back a passion for movies.
For the past several years, I’ve seen most films that are released at the cinemas. By most, I generally preclude any overtly kid-only films, or in days before Beth anything that required a female’s company to enjoy, but I watched a lot. My usual dilemma when going to the cinemas wouldn’t be what time to see the film I wanted, but whether or not there’s anything in a slightly-obscure cinema screening a film that I haven’t seen yet. Even after marriage, this continued. Beth worked in retail, and had an unavoidable Friday night shift, and a Sunday shift – and both made perfect movie-going time. I’m fairly sure that in most circles of friends I pioneered the solo trip to the cinemas, and am quite an advocate for seeing a movie for yourself. Sure, I prefer to go with Beth any day of the week, but for a movie that you want to see, no one to see it with should never be an excuse. With Beth no longer working shifts when I’m not at work, my solo cinema trips have dwindled – yet a very good and cheap local video store has been my hero. Yet even with thousands of titles I’ve still yet to see (there is even a list somewhere, I think, of films I still haven’t gotten around to seeing. Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus may just be one of them, Matt – purely for the lols), I’ve found that my borrowing rate has dwindled, to the fact where I went to hire a Wii Game, thinking that surely I must have hired more than the prerequisite 200 DVDs to be entitled to safety-deposit-free game hire, only to find that I was a good 70-odd titles short. My somewhat-hidden guise as a movie freak has slipped.
Tonight, on independent inspection, would seem to be a return to those ‘glory days’. I watched Public Enemies on BD, the day it was released on that format. Of the two other films I’ve seen on BD, it by far eclipsed the mark set by either in terms of clarity, quality and sheer delight in picture quality. I’m not ashamed to admit that it sparked something, too. There’s a part of me inside that is brimming with excitement to crank my way through the ever-growing selection of Blu-Ray titles at our local store; even screening films I’ve seen before simply to enjoy the full picture clarity goodness. That wasn’t the only spark-inducing moment.
Finishing the film, I flicked through the channels to see what was on, and stumbled across Band of Brothers being screened on Channel 7. Not only that, but catching a couple of minutes of it on 7HD has left me wanting more. Band of Brothers is indoubtedly my favourite series of all time, across all denomination of film, tele-movie, television series, etc. I must have watched it over 10 times through all 10, hour-long episodes, and yet will still sit down utterly entranced and watch them all again. There is an excitement and a dread growing inside me for The Pacific, the other series from the same creators, purely for the fact that it could achieve the brilliance that its predecessor does, or it could fall short. But even with my love for the series, catching a glimpse of it in high definition has only served to whet my appetite for more.
I’m a stories guy. I always have been, and I have no doubt that I always will. This is why I watch TV, why I sit entranced through so many movies. I get lost in stories. I can identify with them so easily. I love the extrapolation of humanity that is conveyed through stories – be they simple or far, far reaching. And in a reference to what I was thinking and writing about last, stories beget stories. A rediscovery of that spark to watch, listen, immerse and consume stories is only going to be a good thing for my creativity. And I think that is why I am so excited.