When I got to work this morning, the building security guard was ecstatic. “Look!” he said, waving a DVD case at me. “CVS has the Spider-man DVD for $14.99!”

I was impressed, especially considering that the list price for the DVD was $25.99. At lunchtime I hit three CVS stores trying to find the movie -- it was sold out in two of them. When I finally found it, I felt victorious. Everyone else in the store was buying it, and there were only a handful of copies left. I was fortunate to be getting such a great deal, or so I thought.

When I got back to work, I opened up the shrinkwrapping to see if there was a booklet or anything inside. No sooner had I pulled the plastic off then I noticed why the DVD was just $14.99. I suddenly felt very sick.

You see, I bought the “Full Screen Special Edition” by mistake. This is the cropped edition, where about 1/3 of the image is removed so that the film fits a regular television set. As a cinephile, there’s one thing I can’t abide -- and that’s a full screen edition. During the VHS era I would spend extra money just to get the widescreen edition of a film. Not only was I disappointed, but I felt robbed. Full screen editions are so rare with DVD’s, you rarely see them -- only the most popular films, the biggest blockbusters, have them. It hadn’t even occurred to me to check.

To even call it a “Special Edition” seems oxymornic. What’s special about altering the way a movie looks, even a big budget hit like Spider-man? Sure all the extras are there, but the film looks terrible.

I guess what this boils down to is a warning -- if you’re planning on buying the Spider-man DVD, make sure you get the right version of the film. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Now, I have to wait until someone at half.com buys my copy of the film before I go out and buy the widescreen edition (for probably double what CVS was charging for the full screen version). There’s no sense in buying it twice. Pantaliamon would kill me.

I'm feeling incredibly stupid now ...