First, finding the movie. I first had to find out if I already owned the movie. That required looking through all of our movies. I started with one or two hundred of DVDs, moved onto looking through 100 titles on Flixster, reviewed Netflix, perused Amazon Prime, scoured my personal and corporate Google Play accounts, searched my digital movies I have on my hard drive, checked my iTunes accounts, took a gander at my Vudu account - and then I just got sick of looking.
Observation #1: It is too hard to keep track of what movies you own.
So, I decided to buy or rent the movie. It is, after all, Fox's biggest movie of 1993. The only movie that did better than it that year was Jurassic Park. So surely it will be easy to locate and pay for, right? Wrong. It isn't available digitally anywhere. The best I could do was find from Vudu that it would be available at the end of June.
So, I went a mom and pop video rental place, signed up for a member and paid $3 to get a DVD of the movie.
So, why is Ms Doubtfire not available digitally? Is it because of some sort of talent issues? I don't think so. Essentially all of Robin Williams' other movies - as well as the director Chris Columbus' movies - are available digitally.
Is it an issue with Fox? No. Their biggest movie from the year before - 1992 - is available digitally.
The answer, it turns out, is TV licensing. Ms Doubtfire filled over 150 hours of basic cable airtime here in the US last year - holding the top spot for cable. The second and third spots are held by the Shawshank Redemption and Scarface, both of which are available digitally.
By the way, before renting the DVD, I did search on my Google TV to see when the movie would be on again. It was showing later that week on TNT.
PS They are making a sequel - 22 years after the original.