Brendan Mitchell, known on YouTube as WetMovie1, is a self-proclaimed movie hoarder—and quite proud of it. He has over 5,000 VHS, DVD’s and Blu-rays in his ever-growing personal collection, and posts weekly updates on his channel discussing his latest purchases. He also posts reviews of new movies, as well as ‘Hoarding Up’ videos, in which he films himself and his friends as they travel to big box stores to stock up on new releases and sale items. One could definitely say he’s certifiably obsessed with movies, and his attitude is infectious—he’s a very friendly and personable guy, and when you watch his videos, his completely unpretentious disposition towards cinema, and awe for all that it has to offer, rubs off on you.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Brendan, and get to know the man, the myth, and the collection a little better:
Q: How did you get into collecting movies?
It’s kind of simple, actually. I had a babysitter who had two movies recorded on a VHS tape, which were Look Who’s Talking and The Goonies, and watching those two a lot, they were the ones that got me to go ‘you know what, I wanna own these, and I wanna own all the other movies that I like and love.’ And then I guess that all kind of spiraled into just buying everything, even stuff that’s just kind of mediocre, you know? [Laughs] And what got me into the more cult, obscure stuff was that my dad showed me a couple movies that he was in, low-budget horror ones, and ones he was just an extra in, and I was like ‘wow, this is kinda cool!’
Q: How many movies do you watch in a given week?
I try to watch at least one a day, if not two. Maybe eight to ten in a week, probably. Unless like a lot of stuff came out—like today I bought like eleven blu-rays like a crazy hoarder bastard. [Laughs] But yeah, usually around like eight to ten a week.
Q: What percentage of the movies in your collection are ones you haven’t gotten around to watching yet?
I don’t know, maybe 20 or 30% of them. And that’s all different kinds of movies, they’re not just like a certain genre or anything. Sometimes it might vary though, a little more or a little less. Like when the Dollar Tree had their crazy dollar special, I was a crazy hoarder and bought like thirty of them—and I still haven’t opened like any of those ones yet, like the crazy bastard that I am. [Laughs]
Q: Do you have any very rare movies in your collection, collector’s items that have shot up in price for whatever reason?
Not a whole bunch. There are probably a couple that have skyrocketed up and I don’t even know yet, because I don’t like, you know, sit and search through every one of my movies and go ‘oh, is this one worth anything yet?’
But there’s a collection of movies that I have on DVD, and most of them on on VHS, that are called Young Dragons: The Kung-Fu Kids, and each VHS tape, on eBay, goes for like $75 to $200 dollars. And I have like three or four of the original tapes of Parts III, IV, and V that I’ve never seen on eBay or any of those sites, so I could probably get like $1,000 for the complete set of these tapes. So I would have to say that those are probably the most valuable, and the most valuable to me, because they’re not like great movies or anything, but they just mean a lot to me nostalgically.
Q: Are there any movies in your collection that you don’t even like? Do you ever resell or trade them?
There are movies in my collection that I don’t like, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head right now. But I do resell them, I have my own Amazon page and sometimes I sell stuff on eBay, or go to places like CD Trader or Amoeba Records and get rid of them after I watch them and stuff. Like I have a movie sitting in front of me right now that I have to watch and talk about in a video, a horror movie called Eaters, and it just—it just does not look like it’s gonna be any good. [Laughs] But I guess I have no idea until I watch it!
Q: I’ve noticed that you have a very uncynical approach when it comes to movies. Most people, when they see that a movie has a very low percentage on Rotten Tomatoes, would avoid it, but you seem to give literally anything and everything a fair shot. What is your personal criteria for choosing to pay to see a movie (whether by going to theaters, or buying it)?
If it sounds interesting to me, I’ll give anything a shot. And if it’s bad, I’ll say so, but when it comes to me reviewing things, I always try to point out the good things about a movie, unless the movie is really really bad and I just have to say it. But I usually give things a fair shot because I know how hard it is to be a filmmaker out there doing your thing, and I know how hard it is to make a movie, and get everyone there to shoot it and stuff, and put it together, and edit it, so I don’t like just trashing something. I always try to find what I think is interesting about whatever I’m watching.
Q: The word ‘hoarder’ tends to have a negative connotation, as a result of what we see on TV. However, you tend to tongue-in-cheekily self-describe as one. What does the word mean to you?
I don’t know, I think I just wanted to say something different in my videos instead of just ‘hey guys, I’m going out to uh… collect some movies!’ And I’m kind of a fan of the TV show Hoarders, so I just thought it’d be kind of like a funny, quirky little thing to say here and there, and call the videos I do ‘Hoarding Ups’. Because, if you think about it, that’s what I’m doing and that’s what a lot of the people in the YouTube community who go out every Tuesday and buy new movies are doing. And we’re not dirty or have like DVDs all over the floor and like cat piss and shit all over ‘em, but we are hoarders in a way, since we always want to buy all the new movies that come out on any given Tuesday. I know some people don’t like the word, but I don’t use it in a negative way.
Q: Has having such a large collection affected your living space negatively in anyway?
Not yet, because I have all my stuff organized everywhere, and I don’t think they’re obstructing anything. They’re all nicely put away on bookcases and stuff so I don’t think it’s anything negative yet. I can see it getting kind of super crazy if I keep going like I’m going for another 10 years or so, if I don’t get a bigger place or something, but I don’t really see anything negative happening. I’ll always purge some movies to make room for new ones.
Q: I know you’ve worked at Blockbuster for many years. I myself worked at a mom-and-pop video store here in NYC for about five. I’m sure we could go back and forth all day swapping funny retail stories. Do you have one you could share with our readers today?
I have a lot of funny stories about customers, and I’m not sure exactly what I should say or not say on here but… you know what, I don’t give a shit. [Laughs] There’s this old guy that comes into my store, he’s probably like in his sixties, maybe seventies, and he’s always talking about his mom, and this and that, and how he saw someone run a red light or some shit, and it’s like, dude, we don’t care, we work in a store, do you want the new Star Trek movie or not? But every time he comes in he like tells us his life story. And it’s like, whatever, but we don’t need to hear all that every time you come in.
But one time, he comes and there’s these young girls up in the front, probably like in their twenties or something, and they’re talking to me, and I’m doing something, renting out their movies or whatever, you know how I roll. I actually got their number, but of course it was fake and shit. [Laughs] Anyway, they start talking to the old guy, and they’re joking around and goofing off and being happy-go-lucky girls or whatever, and they pinch his butt, and he gives me this weird look and I’m like ‘Oh shit, you’re gonna get some tonight!’ And then after the girls leave, he’s like ‘Aren’t you gonna do something about that?’ And I’m like ‘Do something about what? The girls pinching your ass?’ And he’s like ‘Uh, yeah?’ And I’m like ‘Uh, no? I’m just here checking out movies to ya.’ And then he leaves or whatever, and then then I come into work like two days later and my boss is like ‘Brendan, I need to speak to you’, and he takes me into the back room and is like ‘a customer says he got his butt pinched by a customer and you didn’t help him out.’ And I’m like ‘What the hell was I supposed to do, call the cops or whatever because a girl pinched his butt?’ [Laughs] There’s just some weird stupid shit that happens at Blockbuster. And there’s some other stuff I can’t really say until I actually leave Blockbuster, or it closes down or whatever, but there are a lot of weird, crazy things that have happened over the last couple years. Mostly customer crap.
Q: How do you feel about rental stores in general? Do you lament that they’ve been disappearing?
I love them. I grew up with them. I have all the fondest memories in the world of going to mom and pop stories, or even the Blockbuster I work at, and buying VHS tapes like Vegas Vacation, or like the Scream movies when they came out for like the 4 for 20 thing. So I have all these different memories, and awesome nostalgia for all of that. And I dunno, man. I really don’t know where they’re going. I know a lot of them are disappearing, a lot of them already have disappeared, but I have a feeling that Blockbuster, or at least the one I work at, has a good 3 to 5 years left in it. Why, I don’t know, but I just think it’s the location that we’re in that will keep us there. It’s in more of a low income community, and like, a lot of people that come in I don’t think even have internet in their house. I’m not trying to stereotype anyone or anything, but it’s just, a lot of people that you would see walk in to my store, you’d be like, ‘hey guys, why don’t you check out Netflix!’ and they’d be like ‘Netflix? What’s that?’ You would actually like hear that kind of stuff at my store. I’m not saying everybody that comes in doesn’t know much about the internet, but I dunno, I have a feeling my store will be around for a while.
But there’s just a lot of weird stuff that happens at Blockbuster, like price changes back and forth all the time, like ‘it’s gonna be a one day rental, now it’s gonna be a five day rental, now it’s gonna be $5.99, now it’s $2.99, is it gonna be $4.99?’ Like they keep changing things and I don’t think the chain stores really know what they’re doing, they’re really trying to grasp and claw their way into staying around as long as they can, but I just don’t think physical media is really going to be around much longer. Like even Best Buy is having a hard time selling their stuff, like if you go to a Best Buy, you see that their DVD and Blu-ray section is like empty now, like they don’t really restock as much as they used to. I don’t know man, I really don’t know where all this physical media is gonna be in the next few years. I just don’t want all the stuff to go to downloads, because I kinda like having the physical thing in my hand, you know? I’m an old school brother, and there’s a lot of other old school brothers out there that feel the same.
Q: Amen. What are some of your ‘desert island’ movies—favorites from your collection that you treasure way more than others, ones that you could watch again and again and never get sick of?
I would have to say The Goonies, because that is one of my favorite ones of all time and will always be. And uh—I dunno man, maybe Good Burger. Like, I could watch Goonies and Good Burger all day every day if I wanted to, you know what I mean? They’re just fun ones to watch.
Q: I don’t know about Good Burger being on my list, but I think The Goonies would have to be one for me as well. Thanks a lot for doing this interview, it was great talking to you!
Definitely. Thank you very much for wanting to interview me for your site. I’m sorry if I’m not a great ‘interviewee’ or whatever, I haven’t really done one of these ever, so hopefully you can piece some of this together into something good. [Laughs]
Q: No worries! You did fine. Catch ya later, brother!
Thanks! Talk to you later, buddy.