20 most worthless pieces of junk: #12 -- bargain DVDs

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bad dvdsLet's face it: An outstanding film DVD can't hold a candle to an outstanding album. When you own a favorite piece of music, you may not tire of it after thousands of listens, whereas even the best films on DVD lose their sheen after maybe six plays. That is, unless you're trying to memorize every splinter of dialogue from "The Big Lebowski."

This is why bargain DVDs, even if you pay just a dollar for them, represent nothing more than stealth, dust-gathering clutter slabs. Almost always, the novelty of seeing Sarah Jessica Parker or Brad Pitt in their first motion picture roles wears off after five minutes-and that's if you've landed a title with at least some curiosity factor.
As the Chicago Tribune's DVD critic for two years, I saw all manner of budget dreck cross my desk. That included everything from 1940s "lost classic" movies (usually, these were lost in 1942 because no one bothered to look them up again) to repackaged B movies with "bonus features." These usually amounted to nothing more than the trailer and a still photo gallery with lame-o captions.

To borrow a cliché from the compact disc world, budget DVDs can make sense if repurposed as drink coasters or Frisbees, but that's about it. When cleaning the basement, you must promise yourself, if you spot one, not to give in to the siren cries of the Great Hoarding God. Box them up, take them to a local thrift store ... and don't even hang them from you car rear view, lest the cop that pulls you over begins to wonder about your bad taste as well as your traffic violation.
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