Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sheldon's Holiday Gift Guide 2011

In case you hadn't noticed, you've got a week left, people. Just one little week to find that special something for that special someone so they know you care. And just so you know we're in this all together, I admit to not having even started my holiday shopping. And before I do, I give you this list of films and television series, made up of titles I would love to get for all the film fans on your shopping list. These aren't necessarily that something special that will have you crowned king of the gift givers but they are pretty sweet little something extras that will make for great stocking stuffers or secret Santa presents.


My fifth favourite film of all time and my all time favourite musical, WEST SIDE STORY, has just turned 50 years old. To commemorate the occasion, MGM has released the film on blu-ray for the very first time. The release features all new special features, like a song specific commentary by lyricist, Stephen Sondheim and a storyboard to film comparison. What with the kids on GLEE preforming the show this year as their school musical and all the Natalie Wood murder investigation stories in the news, demand could not be higher for this great love story. Fans of musicals or just film in general should be happy to spend the holidays with the Sharks and the Jets.


Oh look at this. Not only was my 5th favourite film of all time released on blu-ray for the first time this year but so was my fourth. Quentin Tarantino's 1994 masterpiece changed the way we see cinema today. Not too many films in recent history can really lay claim to something like this.  Brand new interviews with the cast and critical analysis about the film's impact on film history contextualize its significance even more. And as if that weren't enough reason to pick this beauty up, perhaps that fact that it's just one badass of a movie is reason enough. Alliance also released Tarantino's follow up, JACKIE BROWN on blu-ray around the same time.


I'm sure you all have boys on your list and, as a boy myself, I can tell you that I love me some cartoons. Get me some cartoon televisions series action on DVD and I will be a happy camper on a couch for far longer than I likely should be. You can start with the more traditional, and quite frankly, reliable, Homer and company with THE SIMPSONS Season 14, featuring classic episodes like the one where Barb accidentally gets a boob job and where Lisa brings back the stars to Springfield. Or you can go more crude and pick up the 9th edition of FAMILY GUY, where Peter has amnesia or Meg goes to prison. If you really want to get that someone something unexpected, pick up ARCHER. Season 1 is now available and Season 2 comes out December 27. This spy spoof series from FX is outrageous and often uproarious.  You could score some serious cool points with any of these.


For the foreign film fan in your family, you can pick up this Gael Garcia Bernal double feature. Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, put him and his then acting partner and now processing partner, Diego Luna on the international map. The coming of age story focuses on two best friends who get a lot closer than they ever expected one unforgettable summer. Bernal continues grabbing international attention with his turn as a young Che Guevera in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, as he embarks on a road trip that will forever change him. Both are subtle, powerful films that will make fine additions to any enthusiast's collection.


Martin Scorsese maybe be grabbing all the awards season attention with his first family adventure, HUGO, this year but what is perhaps his finest film, TAXI DRIVER, from 1976, was released on blu-ray this past year. The blu-ray edition is packaged in a fancy triptych book that is in itself reason enough to purchase the film. Film aficionados need this film in their collection as there is so much to commemorate - from Robert De Niro's groundbreaking turn as Travis Bickle to the emergence of a very young, Jodie Foster. I actually got this one myself already as a gift and I personally cannot wait to see how its aged.


When I first caught HBO's BIG LOVE in the first season, I was amazed. It all seemed so real, so complicated and yet somehow so fulfilling and genuine. For five years, the Henrickson's have spearheaded the cause of plural marriage in suburban Utah. The road has not always been consistently smooth in terms of the shows direction but it comes to an end in the fifth season.  I have yet to see how it all comes together but the acting on this program is always so stellar that I almost don't care how they wrap it up. If you're looking to splurge and go all out for someone, you can also pick up the complete series on DVD. Whatever your feelings on polygamy, this show will change your perception.


This was undeniably Adele's year, at least when it comes to sales and impacting the world. Her album, 21, sold 10 million copies around the world, she scored two number one singles and will likely walk away with every Grammy she's nominated for (six for whoever is counting). Unfortunately, she also suffered serious throat issues that required surgery and threatened the very gift that brought her to the world in the first place. Fortunately for her, the surgery was a success and she will be singing again shortly. Fortunately for us, she recorded this live performance before she could no longer sing. I know you know an Adele fan that has played 21 to death. Well, now they can over play this fantastic live recording too!

That's it for now, folks! I hope this helps you find those last minute gifts to bring smiles to all those who make you smile all year. Now, if you will excuse me, I've got some shopping of my own to do.

1 comment:

Sam Fragoso said...

I just bought the Blu-ray release of "Pulp Fiction" ... great stuff.