Full Screen Version Please

There are some things in life I will most likely never understand. One of these things has really come to light as of late. At a recent trip to the video store to pick up some used DVD's, I stood next to a woman purchasing the film Drumline. Now, all jokes about the film aside, the clerk informed the woman the only version they had in stock was widescreen. The woman went nuts. "Why would I want to watch a movie where all their heads are cut off?" Thankfully, I managed to contain myself and slowly removed my body from the counter, leaving with my widescreen copy of "Road to Perdition." Had I stayed, my immediate question would be: "Why in the blue hell did you buy a freakin' DVD player in the first place?" This is probably the same person who bought one of those RF modulators to hook her new $25 DVD player up to her 13' TV with a 35 foot coaxial cable. I'm not criticizing anyone's entertainment set-up, but it bewilders me why these people even own a DVD player in the first place. I'll openly admit that for YEARS I watched full screen movies. That VHS copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II was a goldmine for me in my younger days. I'll even go back now and watch it to give myself a laugh. When you begin to think about it, isn't it all obvious? Theater screens are rectangular and your TV's square, how else can the entire picture fit? Why do full screen movies have black bars on widescreen TV's? Hell, why do you think they make widescreen TV's in the first place? It's made even worse by movie companies. I remember walking into a local mass-electronics chain (Bust Buy or something like that) and there is a massive standee for the Indiana Jones box set. 600 copies, at least 500 of them are full screen. Maybe it all starts with the directors. Don't these people care that their movies are being butchered for the masses? My hopes increased with my recent purchase of the "Lion King." I couldn't find a full screen butcher job anywhere on the shelves. Happy, I left the store thinking Disney has finally done something right (and if they'd stop releasing unnecessary sequels to their classic films, I may change my outlook on them). I open up the case after tearing it in 7 different places thanks to those god-awful "security stickers" (that's a whole new topic) and begin to read some of the enclosed documentation. Their recommendation? Use the zoom player on your DVD player to get rid of those "black bars." AAHHH!!! It seems blatantly obvious to me that not even the companies stand to educate the consumer. Numerous websites exist to educate people, but will these people even bother to look (widescreen.org is an excellent starting point)? Is there anyone else to blame? Studio's have been releasing VHS copies in full screen since the format began. Have you ever tried tracking down a widescreen copy of a film on VHS. It's like trying to find your car keys in the morning during a bad hangover. Something needs to be done and it needs to be done immediately. I can't stand watching people live their lives missing the finer points of Drumline. If anyone has suggestions, please, drop a line to your favorite movie company. Will they listen? Probably not, but you'll walk away from your keyboard knowing you've wasted 10 minutes of your life trying to make a difference. Oh, and if you still insist on watching your movies crammed, squished, panned, cut, packed, smashed, and butchered, my E-mail address is readily available.

Comments (1)


I spent a year working in a video retail store, and you can't imagine the number of people who were constantly asking why movie companies would release widescreen. I would have to explain the difference at least 5 times a day, and people still didn't get it. The funny part is people believe they are actually losing parts of the movie with widescreen. Little do they know!

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