A tie? Is that really what your Dad wants? Think of all the interminably long soccer games or swim meets the man sat through to support you before you chucked it all for playing “Modern Warfare”
online? And your Mom, all those times she DIDN’T call you stupid when you clearly deserved it, when she nursed your injured health/pride with the minimum of exasperated sighs...doesn’t she deserve more than a new cookbook? Of course she does. In fact, I know it’s getting close to the date but don’t you think you should consider tossing all the crap you got on sale and buying some gifts for your parents they’d actually appreciate? Not to mention the rest of the folks on your list. What is this, some sort of vase or something? Did you actually make that? No one wants that crap. Here, let me help you get your loved ones some things they’d actually WANT before it’s too late. Tis the season to get it right, you cheap bastard.
HOGAN’S HEROES: KOMMANDANT’S COLLECTION
No, I’m not kidding. This is a complete set of the classic WWII sitcom...yes there was one...that aired on CBS between 65-71. Ever hear anyone yell, “hoooooGAAAANNN!!!”
? This is what that’s from. Watch poor Bob Crane
at his best before he got murdered well before his time and then maybe go watch one of Leon
's favorite movies, "Auto-Focus"
with Greg Kinnear
for an added bit of perspective ("Auto-Focus"
sold separately). All six seasons of the show along with an extra disc of supplementary material are here. Extras include commentaries, bloopers, galleries, alternate versions of some episodes, and a ton more. Maybe it’s just nostalgia speaking for me but watching the American’s make bumbling idiots out of Nazi’s has never been as entertaining as this. Not to mention it would make a perfect accompanying gift to...
was probably closer to the actual events of the war than this historical fantasy is but who cares? Quentin Tarantino
’s new WWII film is bloody good fun and, you can quote me on this, will get an Oscar this year, my bet being for Christopher Waltz
who plays one of the most affable yet terrifying Nazis ever portrayed. Which isn’t to say that Mélanie Laurent
won’t get her nod as well. She plays the owner of a movie theater in Paris who plans to kill the entire Third Reich in one fell cinematic swoop. Sure, Brad Pitt
and his crew of Nazi-killing basterds won’t get any statues for their wildly exaggerated characters, but they will get a lot of laughs. “Inglourious Basterds”
gets better with repeat viewings and sweeter with all the kick-ass extras on the two-disc set including a round table with Pitt, Tarantino
and former NY Times Film Critic Elvis Mitchell
, the inspiration from the original Italian B-movie “Inglorious Bastards”
, an examination of the film posters scattered throughout the movie, and much more. Hey, it’s a fantasy, sure, but a fun one. And since we're dealing with awesome fantasy...
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
/SUPERMAN: COMPLETE ANIMATED SERIES
These two sets each collect the entirety of both shows and ANY self-respecting superhero fan absolutely has
to have them in their collection, right next to the (hopefully soon to be re-released) “Batman: The Animated Series”
. These WB cartoons from DC’s Animated Universe series were the peak of quality as such things go, yet to be rivaled. The stories grab characters from all across the DC universe, most notably with the second half of the Justice League
set, when they added the "Unlimited"
moniker to their title and started having stories featuring a wide range of characters. Oh, and also became AWE-some. Despite the generally good quality of DC’s new line of direct-to-DVD superhero movies, I really wish they’d go back to this series of story lines and continue from where Justice League
left off. Both sets come with a bonus disc with all new extra features along with the ones scattered through the original discs included. The only downside is that these aren’t in Blu-Ray, but I’d imagine that’s a lot of work and still a bit down the line. We are talking about 146 episodes total plus a healthy dollop of extra features! Listen to me: as a geek, maybe the geekiest guy you know, there’s NOTHING I would have rather had on my Xmas list this year than these. Keep that in mind when buying for that ‘sensitive’
fella on your list. Which isn’t to say girls wouldn’t like it either, however I suspect your Mom might be a bit more into...
GONE WITH THE WIND: 70TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTOR’S EDITION
Whoo-ee, I’m not even really that big a fan of this 1939 period romance starring Clark Gable
and Vivien Leigh
, but I guarantee practically every chick you know over 30 or so probably is. You are not going to find a 'Best Films of All Time'
list that doesn't pay service to this sprawling southern epic. And hell...this Blu-Ray transfer is GORGEOUS. It’s an attractive package, coming in a big red velvety box and packed with ten art prints, a 52 page hardback book, a soundtrack cd and various other nifty odds and ends. That stuff is the delicious topping on a Blu-ray set that includes a 6-hour documentary about the history of MGM studios hosted by Patrick Stewart
, and 8 hours of assorted other extras, MORE than enough to keep Mom smiling at least until her next birthday. And then, you’re on your own, kid. What, I can’t guide your entire shopping career! Okay, one more only because you haven’t bought anything for your nephew yet. Yes, you have to buy something for him. What kind of Uncle do you want to be remembered as anyway?
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE
/HARRY POTTER: YEAR ONE AND TWO
What kid wouldn’t go bonkers for finding these beneath a tree? Even though, for reasons that escape me, some folks didn’t particularly like the sixth Potter film, I found it to be one of the most epic in scope yet. Sure, it’s not a stand-alone, but COME ON...who really starts watching a series in the sixth film? If that’s your problem then you’re probably looking for something to be upset about. What you’ve got is a beautiful looking fantasy film that really pops out on a proper HD set up and deserves a Blu-Ray purchase. The extras are the best of any in the history of the franchise as well. A series of ‘let’s put the cast on the spot’
q&a sessions are amusing and somewhat enlightening to the personalities of the actors but the GEM is a 50 minute doc/interview with writer J.K Rowling
that is as moving and informative as anything Barbara Walters
would have done in her heyday. The woman breaks down on camera when brought back to the tiny apartment where she was barely managing to afford to live when she started writing the first book. I’d be...um...I mean your nephew would be excited enough to have all that but add in the new repackaged first two films in new 3-disc editions along with a 48 page hard back book...you’re dealing with a kid whose going to be happily occupied for the rest of the week. The real attraction with these sets is the “Creating the World of Harry Potter”
new feature that comes with each one. Part One in Year One is “The Magic Begins”
focusing on the casting and the early days that set the tone and characters who would be there for the rest of the series which is illustrated nicely by balancing interviews with the actors then and now. I didn’t get to see Part Two from Year Two but it’s called “Characters”
which presumably gets even more in-depth into their development over the length of the series. I WILL own it soon though. Urm, to, of course, give to my nephew...what, he’s 27 now? Crap. Okay, yes, it’s all for me. I’m not ashamed. I love Harry Potter
. I AM the geek, Put that in your bubble pipe and smoke it.
So that’s that. Get out there and pick up some of these collections before you end up looking like a schmuck on Xmas morning. And believe me, you will, if you try to hand off that lopsided hand-made ashtray to your Mom for a present. You DO know she doesn’t smoke, right? *sigh*