Friday, February 22, 2008

Yarr! Off to Ali Babba's DVD Emporium!

“Intellectual property” has no real meaning in the Middle East. While the West prizes copyrights, Iraqis pirate everything. Yarr!

This means cheap and current movies available for the low low price of three bucks a pop. If a movie is out more than a week, I can probably get it at the local pirate mart. Wow, how convenient! But there are risks.

Sometimes a DVD is of…dubious quality. How do you think they get most of these movies? For the most part, some guy records the movie on his trusty hand held camera and then loads the digits onto a few thousand DVDs. Every heard awesome sound from a home movie? Didn’t think so. I love it when the pirate eats popcorn, and we see his arm moving in front of the screen over and over again. Or a pair of jabbering nitwits sit behind the pirate and do their best Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot impression. What’s the pirate going to do? “Hey, keep it down! I’m violating international copyright laws!”

Every so often I can pick up a jewel of a copy, actual DVD quality…and then “For Your Consideration” pops up halfway through the movie. For events like the Academy Awards, film makers send the voters a copy of a nominated movie for their…yeah. Then those DVDs end up in the wrong hands, much to my enjoyment.

So, first run movies for three bucks, and I can keep the DVD. Score!

The best bit is for TV seasons. Pirates can squeeze every single episode of Seinfeld (ever!) onto a half dozen disks with decent quality. If you buy the entire Seinfeld collection at Wal-mart, it might run you 500 dollars. Iraq? 30! Want every Ben Affleck movie (ever!)? 25 bucks! Makes you wonder what kind of profit actual companies pull down for each DVD they sell.

When a movie is terrible by anyone’s standards, I tell myself that it was a three dollar gamble, no big loss. Plus, this is the only way I can stomach Uwe Boll films. Uwe Boll is the world’s worst director. I don’t know how he does it, but each film he makes is worse than his last. His abysmal “Bloodrayne” movie cost 40 million to make, and pulled in 2 million dollars at the theaters. I was one of the few who paid to see it in the theater. When Boll’s “In the Name of the King” and “Bloodrayne 2 (Why God? Why?)” blipped in the theaters, I spent all of six dollars on that rubbish. Uwe Boll will never see a penny of that money! Take that Herr Director!

Why watch movies I know are terrible? I write screenplays, and it helps to see people with no talent whatsoever making movies. If I have a shred of talent, then there’s hope for me.

Perhaps I should feel a manner of guilt over all this, but I’m in Iraq. We can’t bring these movies home, and I can’t watch the movies on the big screen as there are no theaters. So, does Hollywood lose any money when I buy Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for 40 dollars? Nah. I will buy many of these movies on Blu-Ray soon as I’m home.

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