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I Really Should Be ... Something

By admin Published: December 14, 2007

There's a book title that nags me, by pianist Gary Graffman: "I Really Should Be Practicing." I'll explain why after the jump ...

I write a weekly DVD column, which runs on Sundays, and accompany it with a list of titles hitting DVD shelves the following Tuesday. The list is an important thing because, given my time constraints, I don't usually manage to look at more than half a dozen DVDs before writing the column, and sometimes considerably less than that. So the list at least tells people what else is out there.

But when I compile the list, I get the same feeling I often get from those titles sitting in stacks around my house: I really should be watching more. I suspect you all often feel the same way. I lose track of how many things I keep telling myself I'll get to: art films, old films (right now I have "New York, New York" in the player), blockbusters I never got to in the theater, martial arts movies.

Then there's the urge to reconsider an entire movie series (the six "Rocky" movies keep calling) or a TV epic (I love the look and the extras of the "Man From UNCLE" box, but I'll need a couple of weeks to get through all the episodes, even if I skip the ones I saw when I was a kid.). Maybe on vacation, I think.

But I also want to use vacation to catch up on movies in theaters. Looking at my friend Dan Fienberg's Golden Globes reactions I kept thinking of all the movies I should see, especially when people want to start arguing about the best of 2007 or the eventual Oscar noms. I've already begged off some best-movie queries just because I haven't seen enough to argue. And it gave me no comfort when a reader over at noted that I forgot to mention "The Omega Man" when writing about "I Am Legend."

And I have a few things backed up in the DVR. And new episodes of "The Wire" and "The Sarah Conner Chronicles." I really should be doing something more.

But there is supposed to be time for other things, like family events and church and sleep. And the dilemma for me, as well as for other entertainment fans, is far greater than it was a generation ago.

Yes, I am about to mention again that I grew up in the three-network/no-cable/no-home-video/no-YouTube era. Because it makes a difference. Then, you discovered a movie on the late-late show or in some little cinema or in a college festival. If you missed a TV show, you waited for a rerun, and if it was canceled, you might never see it again.

Today, it's still not all out there (I know, since I spend a lot of time trying to find video titles for people), but an awful lot of it is. So while I'm wondering how to decide what to watch next, fans of a given individual production are learning every frame by heart. Remember the guy in "Diner" who knew every line in "Sweet Smell of Success"? He's hardly an anomaly. And he is filling a Web site for other fans, who will turn to it because they can't find that kind of detail in many print publications, especially not when newspapers around the country are scaling back their entertainment coverage.

So where is this going? Beats me. But while I've been blogging, I've been missing a lot of "New York, New York." So I'm going to go enjoy the scene with "You Brought a New kind of Love to Me." And try not to think about what I should be doing instead.

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