It’s the holiday season again, which means it’s time to fret over finding the right gifts for the friends and loved ones in your life. But if they’re into movies or television, don’t fret: we’ve got some first-class ideas for you right here, from books to novelties to… hairspray? For some cool suggestions, keep reading.
SOMETHING THAT WILL TAKE ALL OF THE NEXT YEAR TO WATCH
100 Years Of Olympic Films: 1912 – 2012 (Criterion)
There are ordinary box sets and then there are box sets that double as mammoth archival projects. Criterion’s 100 Years Of Olympic Films meets the second definition, including movies that capture Olympic games from the 1912 Stockholm Olympics to the London games of 2012. There’s a long history of films tied to the Olympics, and the 32-Blu-ray (or 43-DVD set) includes everything from movies that became famous apart from the games — Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad, Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia — to more obscure offerings like O, Sport, You Are Peace!, which overs the U.S.-boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics. It’s a lot! But a century of history ought to be a lot. — Keith Phipps
WEIRD SIGNED STUFF
One of my favorite things to do to is scan through eBay and other auction-type sites for weird memorabilia. I’ve never actually purchased any of it, I just like imagining people’s faces when I show them, like, a handkerchief used by Ross on Friends, signed by David Schwimmer. “But why?” people will wonder, concern washing over their faces. Well, for exactly that reason. Here are some options in that category, should you so desire:
ERIK ESTRADA “PONCH” + LARRY WILCOX “JON” CHiPs Signed Aviator Sunglasses: I love that they wrote over the lenses so you can’t even put the glasses on.
Photo of Pete Campbell from Mad Men, signed by Vincent Kartheiser: The key here is to have no other Mad Men memorabilia in your house. Just a signed photo of Pete Campbell. Framed. People will be so confused.
Photo of Wynn Duffy from Justified, signed by Jere Burns: Whoops, this one is from my own personal list, too.
A GREAT MOVIE THAT MAYBE DIDN’T NEED TRADING CARDS BUT, SURE, WHATEVER
The Godfather Collection: Omerta Edition (Paramount)
The Godfather films have been repackaged and re-released many times over the years, from the VHS era to present. This new version doesn’t offer much beyond the “Coppola Restoration” edition that appeared a few years ago (beyond some trading cards). But if you don’t own these movies, there are some compelling reasons to pick up this set:
• They’re the Godfather movies. They’re great. (Well, the first two are great and the third one is kind of fascinating, but you can just consider that an added bonus disc.)
• The restored versions overseen by Francis Ford Coppola were kind of a big deal, making these movies look better than they’d looked since they first ran in theaters.
• It’s the holidays and there are only so many specials and sporting events that will make everyone happy once the kids are in bed. The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II never disappoint. And the films’ running time assures hours of uninterrupted, mutually agreed upon movie greatness.
• Trading cards! — KP
OLD FAVORITES ON BLU-RAY AND DVD
While many TV fanatics have embraced the shift from physical media to streaming, sometimes a real, actual DVD or Blu-ray still works best. There’s something more permanent about it, and it signifies a deeper level of fandom.(Also, some shows aren’t on any streaming platform right now, which is a little infuriating, in a “yes, I know I have thousands of shows at the tip of my finger in a way that would have been considered sorcery not even 20 years ago, but still” kind of way.) If the person you’re shopping for is that kind of fan, consider these:
The Sopranos: The Complete Series (HBO): Still great. Not getting any worse, either.
Columbo: The Complete Series (Universal): Okay, maybe this one is just a suggestion for me.
Looney Tunes: The Golden And Platinum Collections (Warner Bros): If you ever find yourself feeling “too old” to enjoy Bugs Bunny cartoons, please re-evaluate all the decisions you’ve made. All of them. There are several home video incarnations, but the best are the Golden (for DVD) and Platinum (for Blu-ray) sets that compile a bunch of shorts and bonus features together (albeit sometimes confusingly). A more recent collection, Porky Pig 101, takes a different approach, throwing 101 (!) Porky shorts together in a five-disc set. — BG