Bargain-hunting for an all-region DVD player…

Last I checked, I couldn’t afford an all-region DVD player.

That’s probably a good thing, considering I really don’t have time to be watching more movies.

But the more I learn about world cinema, the more I wish I had time to enjoy more of it. Since some of the best movies being made aren’t available to American movie-renters on regular DVDs–you need special equipment in order to enjoy these titles on special DVDs. Is there no end to the technology we must add to our already electronics-heavy existence? (Sigh.)

I’m very happy with my Sony DreamSystem, which plays my movies, CDs, SACDs, and MP3s in surround sound, so I won’t be buying a new system anytime soon. But if anybody hears about a bargain on a small, simple all-region unit that I could use as an accessory when necessary, I’d sure love to hear about it.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • Joel Buursma

    I also have mixed feelings about boxing & have gotten a black belt in martial arts. I agree that boxing appeals to our basest instincts (i.e., if I were alone in the middle of the Savana, or a dark alley, could I hold my own against an attacker), but that doesn’t mean it rise to art at times. But then what about all these people who devote their lives to a violent pursuit?

    For that matter, what about linebackers in football, who long to be able to plant a painful hit on a pass receiver or a quarterback? Is swimming in all that raw aggression healthy?

    I remember watching Hero, which I adored, and being enraptured with the beauty of the falling flower petal scene, but then jarred when it ended with one fighter landing her sword into the other. Oh yeah–they were trying to kill each other. Hmmm.

  • Danny

    Hmph. The boxing story was the only thing I liked about Million Dollar Baby. The scenes where Eastwood is teaching Swank how to box are great, and taught me how much skill there is in the sport, not just being able to hit the hardest.

    I usually hate watching most sports on TV, but if forced to choose, I would much rather watch boxing that basketball.

    I believe the boxing that is televised today is much different than the way it used to be. I remember my Father used to love watching Ali, and Sugar Ray Lenord fight. My Father is not a violent man. He appreciated the skill involved. As far as I know my father doesn’t watch much boxing anymore.

    I agree that the boxing seen today is all about who can hit and hurt the hardest, but wasn’t always that way.

  • Anders

    I don’t really have a problem with boxing, per se – I’ve been involved in martial arts myself, specifically wushu, and I can see the beauty in it. Though, as a fan of Crouching Tiger and other wuxia films, Jeff, surely you agree with me that wushu is a far more beautiful art form.

    However, if you want to see something really sick and truly base, without much art left in it, check out the latest “Life Of Reilly” in Sports Illustrated this week. He talks about “Underground LA ChickFights” or something like that and the disgusting, degrading event it is.

  • Christian

    Nice post, Jeffrey. I’m a fan of boxing; always have been. In recent years it’s begun to trouble me somewhat, although I haven’t switched sides on the issue. I’m troubled much more by *boxers* and their attitudes/behaviors than I am by the sport itself, although I suppose you could argue that there’s an inevitable connection between the two.
    Anyway, what I wanted to say is, you really MUST watch “The Contender.” It’s frequently been called the best reality TV show on the air — faint praise if you don’t like reality TV (I do, although not the relationship-oriented shows, or the grossout stuff … wait a minute, what’s left? :) ) — but it’s an amazingly well put together piece of programming that pulls every emotional lever … and works brilliantly. You’ll cry watching these guys, who you’ve never met, give their all to their sport and profession. I’m not kidding. It’s very moving, even as you realize how the editing and music are over-the-top and completely manipulative. Still, end result: spectacularly enterataining.
    The show is getting very poor ratings, but NBC hasn’t yanked it off the air (yet). Mark my words: If this show is released on DVD, it will find a huge audience. And deservedly so.

  • John

    C’mon, man! After having read your blog for a few weeks, I would expect you to be able to answer this one.

    To be sure, I sympathize – but boxing is a martial ART. You may not see the beauty in it for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Boxing, like just about every other sport, has been debased by the notion that there is no such thing as beauty (nor truth nor goodness, at least in an absolute sense). Therefore, might equals right, so beat the other guy to a bloody pulp!

    But we live in a world that is adverse, that attacks, that throws a few jabs and then goes for the uppercut (and not a few kidney punches at that). Not even Christ was above sparring. After all, the scribes threw their fair share of sucker punches, but he always countered in just the right way.

    That’s why I think there is beauty in boxing. It’s not so much in the blows dealt, as it is in besting a foe through physical and mental grace, skill, and endurance.

    That being said, I don’t really like boxing either. Except for Don King’s troll-doo…it’s pretty cool.

  • jasdye

    Isn’t boxing sport at its most base, most competitive, most mano-a-mano? I’m all in favor of competition in moderation, a la Cookie Monster and his cookies. Boxing has its rules to play by, not to abdicate for the simple pleasure of beating another man out of his brain. It’s possible that the “sweet science” of it all is playing w/in those parameters your very heart and soul and body and – yes – mind.

    It’s for similarly brutal play that I didn’t start watching football until a few years ago. Basketball is just so much more fun. Football looks like war. It’s mapped out like war. It’s played like war. The head coach is the General, the quarterback the lieutenant. Their words are to your salvation and doom when you’re out there. It’s strategy and execution and the tightest of parameters in which to get what you need done.

    I don’t think that these sports are necessarily bad. I think it’s some of these reality shows (Elimidate, Apprentice, American Idol) that bring out the worst in the competitive nature w/o glimpses of redemption, character, grace, all the good things that go into the “base” sports of boxing and football.

    Of course, somebody who actually loves these sports should speak ‘em. I have a mild fascination / hate relationship with them.

  • Jess

    I definitely sympathize. Boxing isn’t sport, it’s glorified street fighting. Granted, you have to have quick reflexes, but why not use those for other more entertaining (and less damaging sports) like basketball?

    Anyhow. I also don’t think driving a car around a track 300 times is a sport (i.e., Nascar).

  • Drew

    I felt as you do about boxing until I read Bryce Courtenay’s novel “The Power of One.” Somehow he made boxing seem much more than two people beating the snot outta each other. It was suddenly lyrical and full of subtlety.

    But still . . .

  • James

    I’ve been looking for one for a while too, though not very seriously. Having moved from the UK to the US last year, I have a lot of region 2 DVDs and can only play them on my laptop atm. I occasionally see decent looking players go by on:

    http://www.techbargains.com/

  • Anonymous

    If you’re looking for a bargain all-region dvd player, the Yamakawa 238 isn’t bad at all. It actually has most of the features that a higher-end machine would, and you can get it for $50 or less. I didn’t know what to expect as far as quality when I bought mine (since Yamakawa isn’t exactly a household name), but so far, it’s worked great.

    Here’s the webpage for the Yamakawa 238 with a full list of features, etc:

    http://yamakawadirect.com/238_detail.shtml?s=o

    Duncan

  • Julie

    Do you have a laptop computer? The DVD players in many of these are all-region. Maybe next time you upgrade to a new machine, you could pursue that route.


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