In an effort to fill up all the extra time I seem to constantly have on my hands these days (raise eyebrows in disbelief here, please), I’ve spent the last few days poking around in a pretty addictive new Web space called DVD Ideas. DVD Ideas is a site devoted to creating easier access to a wealth of DVD titles for purchase by organizing said titles under a plethora of obvious and not-so-obvious categorical designations.
The home page has tabs you can click that send you to main categories like “Social/Cultural,” where in the top 10 you’ll find titles such as Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday cross-referenced under subcategories like “Civil Uprising,” “Politics,” “Police/Cops,” “1970s” and “Ireland,” or Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard cross-referenced under “Royalty,” “Civil Uprising,” “19th Century” and “Italy.” Click the home page tab marked “Relationship/Family,” and the number-one title is Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, a movie also featured in such subcategories as “Affairs, “Family Affairs,” “1970s” and “Connecticut.”
I did have to wonder about the rankings, however, when I realized that, among a top 10 “Relationship/Family” category that featured titles like Neil Jordan’s The End of the Affair (#4), Paul Cox’s Innocence (#6) and Alan Rudolph’s The Secret Life of Dentists (#10), Joel and Ethan Coen’s Blood Simple ended up listed at #2.
It’s unclear whether it is customer preference or some other more nebulous criteria that accounts for how each movie is ranked with its various categories and subcategories. But such fogginess does little to diminish the fun of popping in to see what makes the list on the ”All Topics” page under headings like “Sadomasochism,” “Insomnia,” “Solitude,” “Radicalism,” “Morals,” “Buses” and “Time Lapse.” These are subcategories all found under main categories like “Personal Affairs,” “Age,” Character,” “The Way We Live,” Government,” “Crime,” Decades,” “The World Around Us,” “Eras,” “History” and several more. And if you’re feeling in the mood for a certain locale, DVD Ideas even has listings built around “Continents,” “Countries,” “States” and “Cities.” (A quick search under “Memphis” reveals Forty Shades of Blue ranked #1 above Hustle and Flow and The Firm (no mention of Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train), and when I punched “Oregon,” the number-one choice was Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, followed by Mean Creek, Thumbsucker and Film Geek. If you feel, like I felt after viewing that last category, you could offer some further, maybe more obvious suggestions, you can always e-mail the site directly.)
An obvious plus to the DVD Ideas experience is in discovering, in these various categories and cross-references, titles with which you may be unfamiliar, and their “New Releases” category keeps you well-enough apprised of high profile titles like Thank You for Smoking as well as titles less likely to be found at your local Blockbuster, like The Death of Mr. Lazarescu or the documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul. But of course, the main event, once you get to a title you’re interested in, at least as far as the site itself is concerned, is purchasing said title. Most movies retailing at $24.99 are marked down to $19.99, so you get the idea. There’s always the possibility of a sale, but this level of markdown is about the norm—good prices, not overwhelming deals.
But DVD Ideas also features a pretty keen blog which they use to highlight various categories (today’s focus is on ”Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms””) as well as deals on specific movies, like Roger Dodger or Carrie. (Each title is accompanied by a nice screen grab too.) Again, you may find the blog more useful as a tool to dislodge titles from your subconscious and lead you to still other interesting avenues than as a point of purchase, and honestly, the whole site is a ton of fun for that very reason. It may not turn your world upside-down, but as a utility for coming up with even longer lists of movies that you may have never heard of for buying or renting, or to remind you of movies about which you may have completely forgotten, DVD Ideas is a treasure chest of Web surfing fun.