Every great once in a while, I get these wild ideas. “Hey,” I think to myself, “wouldn’t it be cool to…” and then fill in the blank with some long-involved process that will eventually include hundreds of man hours and several hundred, if not thousand, dollars spent in furthering the project. There was the time I was going to learn to become a chocolatier. Or that one time a year ago when I decided that I was going to get a bunch of camping gear and become all outdoorsy. I even toyed around with the idea of becoming a hardcore cyclist.
Inevitably, these projects usually fizzle out. (Anyone remember my brief fling with golf? Or the Roller Blades?) But as of last night, I finally FINISHED a project. A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room watching some dreck on Food Network, which is just another way of saying that Food Network was on. (Seriously, when did that network start to suck so hard. Why don’t you teach us how to cook instead of making us watch people battle each other over frakin’ cupcakes.) During a commercial break that I couldn’t fast forward through, my eyes fell upon the massive DVD/Blu-Ray collection that I had sitting in my living room. I thought to myself that, in this digital age, the idea of filling up three or four large shelves with DVDs was ridiculous, and there ought to be a way to consolidate all my movies on a hard drive.
And thus the project began. Before long, I had ripped all 300+ of my DVDs onto a series of large hard drives. Video encoding is particularly tricky, and takes a LONG time, so before long, I had as many as 5 computers running simultaneously encoding videos for about three weeks straight. My December electric bill is going to be painful. The DVDs usually took about 2-3 hours to encode, the Blu-Ray discs took about 4-6. (I had to encode two versions of the HD content…one for my iPad/phone/Zune and the other for my entertainment system.)
To answer your questions: no, I will not let you copy my movies. No, I will not put my movies up on a torrent site. No, I did not download any of these movies. These are all movies that I paid for out of my pocket, and I REFUSE to pay for again to get in a digital form that will be locked down to only one device. I paid for them, and I’m going to use them for my own personal use as I see fit. So, Hollywood, you can just bite me.
Anyway, the last file finished encoding last night. Or, at least I hope it finished encoding last night before my power went off for about 5 minutes in the middle of the night somewhere around 3PM due to an epic storm that is brewing up here. If it didn’t finish, then I have one more file to finish encoding when I get home tonight: the last episode of Pushing Daisies, Season 2. I’ve managed to hook a computer up to my entertainment system which now hosts all my movies and TV shows, perfectly tagged, organized, and categorized. I programmed my Universal remote to control Media Center. The DVD/Blu-Ray discs are boxed up and ready to be shoved into storage. In short, I now have a 6 Terabyte media library. It’s pretty sweet. And my years of working with video at Microsoft have really helped me out with the whole encoding process. The videos look good, and the High-Def videos look fantastic.
Throughout the encoding process, however, I realized something: My bar for which movies I wanted to own has changed significantly with the invention of Netflix. It used to be that I wanted to OWN discs. If I saw a movie I liked—not loved, but just liked—then I would usually buy it. (Often I would get a used copy from Hollywood Video). Now that I can just add the movie to my Netflix queue and have it shipped to me, I don’t really see the need to own as many discs. As a result, I generally only get the discs for the movies I really, really love. And for me, those movies are almost always Animated.
I realized that about 50% of the movies that I own are animated movies, Pixar movies being amongst the highest number. If you add the Muppet movies to the animated movies, that probably accounts for a good 60% of my disc collection. I’m not really sure why I love animation as much as I do…there’s just something so inspiring about the art form. It’s much harder to make an animated movie than a live-action film. There aren’t many live-action films that take 4 years from beginning to end. Yet that’s not uncommon for animation. The amount of care that goes into most animated films is staggering. Plus, I find that animated movies can be a little more emotional without feeling too manipulative or hammy.
Of course, King of that list is Pixar. I love Pixar movies. Unabashedly. In order:
1. Toy Story 3 – Greatest Movie of 2010
2. Finding Nemo
4. Toy Story 2
5. Toy Story
8. The Incredibles
9. A Bug’s Life
10. Monster’s Inc.
Of course, the fact that Monster’s Inc. is at the bottom of the list doesn’t mean that it’s not still a great movie. I just didn’t connect with it as much. Also, in the process of encoding these movies, I realized something: I desperately need Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to come out on Blu-Ray right away. And someone needs to buy me Monsters Inc. & Toy Story 3 on Blu-Ray for Christmas. I’m just sayin’.
So, I’m curious: What are the favorite movies of my readers. If you were going to a deserted island, and could a portable DVD player and five movies, which ones would you take? (I’ve got another 2 TB of hard drive space available, so I’m open for suggestions that I may have forgotten about.)
Also, what order to you rank the Pixar Movies?