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2016 - Holiday Gift Guide - Part IV - Books, Music, and Anything I Missed

December 22nd, 2016

The Mermaid

We listed the first-run releases, TV on DVD releases and Classics. The final installment includes some books, music, and anything I forgot before. And let’s be honest, there’s a couple of late screeners on this list, because I don’t have time to review them.

For those who want the biggest international release of the year...
The Mermaid - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Description: The latest from Stephen Chow follows a group of mermaids trying to protect their home from a real estate developer. However, the mermaid sent to kill him, Shan, first fails to kill him and then as the pair spend more time together, they fall in love.
Pros: Stephen Chow is a great director with a major talent for creating stylish and energetic films. The film isn’t his best, but it is very, very close.
Cons: There are not a lot of extras, but that’s common for foreign-language imports.


For those who want to watch winter sports and not play them...
Eddie the Eagle - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Description: An inspirational sports story based on the real life events of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, who dreamed of becoming an Olympic athlete and competed for the U.K. in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Pros: The film is really well made and certainly charming. It is also appropriate for Christmas, being about a winter sport.
Cons: It follows the formula most other “inspirational sports story based on real life events” films follow and that hurts it a little. Also, there’s only one extra, but it is a multipart, 45-minute long making of featurette.


For those who skipped the first season, but got hooked on season two...
Scream Queens: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Description: Dean Munch orders Kappa Kappa Tau to accept any pledge that wants to join, much to the horror of Chanel, the sorority's president. However, when pledges start dying, two of the new pledges, Zayday and Grace, investigate and discover it might be connected to a 20-year old crime.
Pros: This is a dark comedy with an all-star cast, only some of whom are killed off before the season finale.
Cons: The second season is better than the first. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD.


For those who like to know the biggest and the best in the world...
Guinness World Records 2017 - Buy from Amazon: Hardcover
Description: The Guinness World Records books have been published for more than 60 years now and are record-breaking in their own right. Some of these records are incredible feats, like the athletic categories. Some of them are silly, like most snails on your face.
Pros: This is one of the best coffee table books. It isn’t the kind of book you read cover to cover all at once, but you can pick it up and read bits and pieces. Also, The Numbers is an official source of records for Guinness World Records.
Cons: One could argue that not enough records change each year to warrant buying the new edition every single year.


For those who still believe...
The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray
Description: A math book that looks at many Christmas traditions, including the optimal strategy for playing Monopoly.
Pros: It’s a great book for math nerds and it is really cheap at just under $7.
Cons: Who plays Monopoly at Christmas? Christmas time is a time for good will, so why play a game that was designed to make you hate each other. Seriously. It was designed to teach people how cruel capitalism is, by making people act cruel to each other in order to win. Our family plays board games at Christmas as well, but we play good games, like Red Dragon Inn, or as my mom calls it, “That game where you get drunk and punch each other.” ... That’s actually a good description of Monopoly.


For those who are waiting for a North American release of the Blu-ray...
Babymetal: Live at Wembley Arena - Buy from Amazon: CD
Description: Babymetal’s biggest concert outside their native Japan.
Pros: I don’t think it is unfair to say most people assumed Babymetal would be a novelty band at best. They might have a viral hit, but no real success outside of YouTube. That turned out to be wrong. Not only was their second album a bigger hit than their first, they are winning awards for their performances. In fact, Kerrang!, the U.K.’s largest music magazine, named them the Best Live Band of 2016.
Cons: The Blu-ray is $75. It is a Japanese import, which explains the price. I would wait for a North American release.


We are going to end the Holiday Gift Guide here. Hopefully the four installments have given you some ideas. Have a stress-free holidays. That's what I'm aiming for.


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Filed under: Holiday Gift Guide, Stephen Chow, Jamie Lee Curtis, Keke Palmer, Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Chao Deng, Lin Yun