Curling up with a good movie
Movie maven donates 10,000 movies to Pilot Point Community Library
The way Mike Breslin explains it, his habit of watching movies occurred by circumstance, in the way so many people find something to do to keep themselves occupied when they are sick or injured.
Breslin, of Pilot Point, had a motorcycle accident in 1999 and recuperated for months, so he needed something to watch. He started out with LaserDiscs, which didn’t have a long shelf life. He owned few VHS movies before LaserDiscs.
“You didn’t have Netflix or streaming or things like that, and then DVDs started,” Breslin said. “I can’t really come up with a fully rational explanation for a probably irrational thing. It was just a hobby.”
He used to also travel internationally a lot, and during those times, he lugged a portable DVD player with him for the long flights so he could watch movies. During all this time, Breslin collected thousands of movies, and he has donated 10,000 to the Pilot Point Community Library, which in turn will distribute some of those movies to libraries in Justin and Ponder. The movies are in both DVD and Blu-ray format.
“We thought that the library had very few movies and DVDs, so we thought we’d give these guys a leg up,” he said. “They’ll have a bigger collection than most big city libraries have.”
Library director Wendy Turner said she appreciates receiving the movies but said finding space would be a challenge. Turner said Breslin approached Pilot Point council member Jim Porter about the movies, and then Porter contacted Turner about Breslin. She contacted other libraries about taking some of the movies, and a couple of those libraries were interested in accepting them.
“This has been like winning the lottery,” Turner said, laughing. “Because there’s no way we could afford to buy all these. What’s really wonderful is he has an excellent collection of things.”
Breslin will keep some movies for himself; his house features a home theater with several comfy seats. Some of the movies he donated have never been opened. He also has a collection of CDs he would like to donate some day.
His movie collection spans genres, from comedies to dramas to children’s movies to science fiction to documentaries. He also owned some American and British television series.
“Quite a few of them that we’re sending over today are complete series of British television series,” he said, noting how he was making a run to the Pilot Point library on March 15.
Some movies are hard to part with.
“It’s harder for me to give up the music ones than the movies and TV shows, because there are relatively few movies that I watch a second time; there are some I watch at least once a year,” he said.
He watches television series “Firefly,” a science fiction program, and “Lonesome Dove,” the acclaimed western, at least once a year. He counts the sci-fi movie “The Fifth Element” as a favorite feature film. Sci-fi movies and shows are some of his favorites.
When it comes to favorite directors or stars, he said he does not pay much attention to personalities in films, although John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon are a few favorites who come to mind. He likes the westerns that Wayne starred in, such as “The Searchers” and “The Cowboys.” Eastwood has come a long way since his days playing “The Man with No Name” in the Spaghetti Western movies in the 1960s and his other westerns during his early career, Breslin said.
“‘Unforgiven’ is just one of the best westerns ever made by anybody, one that I can watch on an annual basis,” he said about Eastwood’s 1992 Oscar-winning film. “Or ‘Silverado’ is another movie like that. It’s just a great movie you can watch several times.”
Breslin also likes director Ron Howard, explaining that anything he does draws his attention. His wife Jann, also a movie lover, said when Tom Hanks is involved in a project, she is interested in it because of that. Howard and Hanks have worked on some movies together, such as “Apollo 13” and movies based on Dan Brown’s books, such as “The Da Vinci Code.” Her favorite film of all time is “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness,” starring Ingrid Bergman.
Although he clearly loves movies, Breslin, who retired more than a decade ago from EDS, said he does not see many movies at the theater, preferring to watch films at home. At Christmas-time, he went with granddaughters – teenagers – to see “Pitch Perfect 3,” Jann said. “Yeah, that was funny,” he said, quickly saying he would not have gone to that movie without his granddaughters. He has 15 grandchildren who come through his home at one time or another, along with their parents, and the movies he acquires are for their entertainment.