Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, June 24, 2021, or: My Blu-ray Collection Runneth Over

I am not the world’s greatest amateur photographer, but I took a snapshot of my new Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection box set. (Photo by the author)

Greetings, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Thursday, June 24, 2021. The current temperature is 77˚F (25˚C) under cloudy skies. With humidity at 59% and the wind blowing from the east-northeast at 3 MPH (5 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 76˚F (24˚C). Today’s forecast: thunderstorms will roll through our area throughout the day, and the high will be 89˚F (31˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers and a low of 72˚F (22˚C). Today’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reading is 31 or Good.

Photo by the author.

Well, yesterday afternoon I received my Amazon order with the Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection Blu-ray box set. Originally released in 2014 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $99.98, Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection rounds up eight films made by the prolific Spielberg for Universal between 1971 and 1997.[1]

Promotional image of the Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection box set. (C) 2014 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

As the box set’s removable insert card states:

Steven Spielberg is one of the most prolific directors in motion picture history. Spanning over 40 years, Steven’s career began as a teenager when he made his way onto the Universal backlot and befriended studio executives. His passion and talent quickly developed, allowing him to direct an unprecedented number of blockbuster films. The Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection showcases a selection of the Academy Award winner’s unforgettable movies filmed for Universal, including his very first TV feature, Duel, and his first theatrical release, The Sugarland Express, and blockbusters such as Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. Steven’s work has captivated audiences worldwide and continue to set the standard for filmmaking.

I wanted to get this set when it first came out seven years ago, but it was too expensive then – even taking into account that Amazon probably offered the Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection for less than $99.98. I was taking care of my ailing mom in 2014 and struggling to make ends meet, so I usually did not get big-ticket items unless it was necessary.

Promotional image of the Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection box set. (C) 2014 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Indeed, I only bought this box set on Monday because Amazon had a “flash sale” for its two-day-long Amazon Prime Day promotion; for one hour only, Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection was available for the amazingly low price of $19.99.[2] It was, as Don Vito Corleone says in The Godfather, an offer I could not refuse.

Along with a sturdy slipbox and an inner print Digipack container which holds eight Blu-rays, the box set comes with an exclusive 58-page book, Steven Spielberg: A Journey in Film, which recaps the legendary filmmaker’s career, which began when he started making films as a teenager in Arizona and other places and continues to the present day.

The Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection consists of one TV movie that was released in theaters in the overseas market and seven bona fide theatrical feature films. They are:

  1. Duel (1971)
  2. The Sugarland Express (1974)
  3. Jaws (1975)
  4. 1941 (1979)
  5. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  6. Always (1989)
  7. Jurassic Park (1993)
  8. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

To be honest, I own multiple editions of Jaws, 1941, E.T., and the two Spielberg-directed Jurassic Park films in at least two disc-based formats. I also have The Sugarland Express in its 2015 individually-released Blu-ray edition from 2015. However, Duel, the TV movie that showed Sid Sheinberg, then head of Universal, that Spielberg could direct a feature length film, is hard to find “in the wild,” as is Always. This box set has them, and at $19.99, an eight-film box set is a steal.

As of June 24, 2021, my Blu-ray collection – which probably includes the pre-ordered Season Three set of Star Trek: Discovery that will be released next month –  is divided into two types of Blu-ray discs: high definition or HD, and 4K Ultra-high definition (UHD).

Naturally, since HD Blu-ray discs have been out longer than 4K UHD discs, I have far more of those. Presently, I have 409 1080p HD Blu-rays: 353 movies and 56 TV seasons, divided into 256 SKUs.[3]

1-A (and one Pre-Ordered

I started getting 4K UHD Blu-rays in 2017 in anticipation that my 4K UHD TV set would eventually get set up by the Caregiver, a task that was only completed late last year because, you know, reasons. As of June 24, 2021, I own 48 movies in 22 SKUs. Most, but not all, are multi-format editions that include a 1080p HD Blu-ray (in the same way that most, but not all, early Blu-ray releases came with a DVD copy) and inserts for the digital copy.

My 4K UHD Blu-ray collection. Because some of these titles include “ordinary” Blu-ray discs (some with the feature films, some only with bonus features), they also appear in the Blu-ray category pages above.

Last night I planned to watch Duel – which aired on ABC in 1971, when I still lived with my mom and older half-sister in Bogota, Colombia – for the first time ever. Alas, yesterday was a typical Florida summer day, with lots of scattered showers in the afternoon and some strong thunderstorms that rolled through the area between 8 and 10 PM. I was only able to watch part of the “making of” documentary before I had to turn off my TV due to the nearness of the lightning strikes.

And if today’s forecast is at all accurate, it looks like today will not be a good day to try watching it either.

Oh well. Maybe tonight we’ll only have rain showers and no thunderstorms.

I really don’t have any other news to share, Dear Reader, so I’ll close for now so I can post this on WordPress and get on with the rest of my day, such as it is. As always, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

[1] All eight films were released by Universal Pictures, either as the sole distributor or, in the case of 1941 and Always, with partners such as Columbia Pictures or United Artists.

[2] Its current Amazon price, which is still 50% off the MSRP, is $49.74 plus state sales tax.

[3] According to Investopedia’s Andrew Bloomenthal, SKU stands for Stock-Keeping Unit. “A stock-keeping unit (SKU) is a scannable bar code, most often seen printed on product labels in a retail store. The label allows vendors to automatically track the movement of inventory. The SKU is composed of an alphanumeric combination of eight-or-so characters.”  Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), Investopedia

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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