WHEN: 2:16pm EST, March 30th, 2012

WHERE: My apartment in Portland, ME (Isla Nublar)

FORMAT: DVD on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV


PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: In underwear (ladies…), just had some tuna rolls and a big glass of iced tea (gentlemen?), pissed Ty isn’t joining me because he apparently has no cell phone reception at his apartment

FOCUS OF THIS WEEK’S STUDY: Finding Out Just How Crappy a DVD Looks on an HDTV Compared to a Blu-Ray


  • My mind has wandered for the first ten minutes. I’ve seen all this. I feel like I’m not missing anything.
  • Wow. I cannot pay attention. I just finished Back to the Future: The Game earlier today and I’m thinking about that.
  • The mirrors in Stinger’s office… are those to dredge up feelings of guilt in rebellious pilots? I read somewhere that mirrors do that.
  • I keep thinking Stinger says “pudding-hacked” instead of “put in hack.”

  • I think I spotted some crew members in the reflection of Maverick’s sunglasses.
  • The mind continues to wander. I know about Maverick’s dad. I know he doesn’t sleep with Charlie yet. My brain is just cutting ahead to the payoff of every scene and then tuning out.
  • Most of this movie is training. I think that’s why it’s kind of boring. It’s a three-dimensional driver’s test. Though now I’m thinking of writing a movie about a driver’s test.
  • I let out an unexpected “whoa” when Goose gets his wig split. No idea why. It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming.
  • I started texting and Facebooking towards the end. I simultaneously don’t give a shit and feel I should be tarred and feathered for this. I was still watching. I never left my spot.

I used to be one of those guys who thought Blu-Rays didn’t really look that much better than DVDs. Yeah, I gotta take that back now…


Top Gun definitely looks much darker on DVD, but equally grainy. I think they leave in some grain to make you all nostalgic for ol’ Hollywood and its crazy “film.” What??!? They made pictures without computer cameras? History!

In terms of scrubbing up the picture, they definitely worked harder on the Blu-Ray. I paid particular attention to the inverted dive flip-off on the DVD. There were scratches galore. But that just comes down to how much effort the Blu-Ray Team puts into fixing up each individual film, right? I’ve only had a Blu-Ray player and HDTV for five months, and I’ve already noticed that some HD movies look better than others.

Oh, one thing that’s pissed me off since the beginning of the Cinema 52 project: the HD Paramount logo at the beginning of the Top Gun Blu-Ray.

Look at that thing. They’ve got to be cheating, right? Did DVDs really look that sloppy and digitized? I assumed they had to be deliberately downgrading the look of the DVD half to really sell how crystal clear the picture is.

I watched a few DVDs on the Blu-Ray player, and most of them looked fine. Off the top of my head, Men in Black, Sleep With Me, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Carrier… they all looked pretty good. However, when I popped in a DVD of Funny People a couple of weeks ago… yuck. Every time a title popped up, there was a terrible blotchy digitized blur around each one. The picture throughout just looked… bad. I couldn’t stop noticing it. Maybe it was just one crap DVD. Or I’ve been spoiled by Blu-Ray.

This is the first time I’ve ever compared a DVD and Blu-Ray of the same film on the same HDTV. It was an interesting experience. The Top Gun DVD did not have the same glitchy look as Funny People, but the scratches were pretty abundant. It seemed like there were less of them as the film went on, but that doesn’t make sense. Then I realized: the ground scenes look better because it’s easier to spot scratches in the open blue sky of aerial combat.

Oh, also; DVD doesn’t have bookmarks. Fuck that! I refuse to rewind just to hear Air Boss Johnson cry to the heavens that his appetite for rumps must be satiated.