My whole goddamn world changed the day I had enough money to buy my own TV and video player, and install it in my bedroom. It took months of saving for it with the wages from my first full-time job, and I ended up picking them up dirt cheap at a pawnbrokers auction sometime in 1993. It only cost me $400 for both, and it was a fine investment, because I was the kind of absolute cultural sponge that you can only be when you're 18.
We were a solid working class family growing up, with just one TV for the whole family unit. This meant you learned the art of compromise and absolute injustice every night, as you tried to find something that everybody could be happy with. It helped that there were only two TV channels in the whole country, so it wasn't like there was a lot of choice, and we could all agree the A-Team was better than Masterpiece Theatre.
It did mean that if you missed out on seeing something when it first screened, you really missed out and there was absolutely no chance you would ever see it again, (as a disaster obsessed creep of a kid, I can still feel the anguish of missing A Night To remember one Sunday afternoon). This could be hard for a lot of people in 2021 to get their science fiction minds around, but there was a time when eveyting everywhere was available for everyone.
There wasn't any other option, so you just had to live with it. It all got a bit better when we got our first VHS machine in 1984, but that still required a lot of family comprimise - my Dad would never let me hire out a Star Wars, no matter how much I needed it - and it it would be another nine years before I was allowed to have my own TV in my room.
And then I was 18 and right at that time in your life when you've just indulging in everything you can get your hands and I wanted to see the movies. All the movies.
I went through all the Leone I could find, inhaled every Coen Brothers in sight, and went hard on the Scorcese. Every possible Hammer film I could find. All the zombie movies on the shelves. All the arthouse shit I could stomach. The few John Woo bloodfests I could find. All nighters of Peter
Weir films, or just watching every Friday the 13th movie (there were
only eight of them at that stage).
It's that age when you're still working out what kind of adult you're going to be, and the whole human condition was there on the video shelves. And with my own TV, I could watch three movies a night, and really figure that shit out.
It's no surprise that this was the time when I saw four of my five favourite films ever, as tastes solidified and the kind of movie I really liked became clear. The great films I've ever seen weren't on some huge screen with a kickass sound system, they were on a shitty video tape, on my shitty old 20-inch TV.