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2007 - Holiday Gift Guide - Part IV

December 23rd, 2007

For many people reading this, it is December 24th. Christmas Eve. If you haven't got all of your Christmas shopping done, may I offer a word of advice... AAAAHHHHHHHHHH! But don't worry, you are not along. December 24th is the busiest shopping day of the year. Granted, a lot of it is people buying food for the next day, but at least a few people are looking for last minute gifts. This week we are looking at the... well... anything. Anything that pops into my head that I think would make a good gift. And there are some that might not, but we are getting into desperation time.

For those who want to tweak out Stephen Colbert...
Conscious of a Liberal by Paul Krugman - Buy from Amazon
Description: Back when I Am America (And So Can You) came out Stephen Colbert made a bet that if Conscious of a Liberal beat his book opening week, he would quit his show. Of course that didn't happen. However, maybe we can work together and help that book beat Colbert's at least one week. Who am I kidding? We'll never get this book to beat Colbert's for one week. ... In fact, buy I Am America (And So Can You) as well.
Pros: One of my favorite lines from The West Wing came early in the series and I am reminded of it when I think of this book.

Mandy Hampton: Mr. President, if you could also see your way clear to not answering that question like an economics professor with a big old stick up his butt, that would be good too.
President Josiah Bartlet: I am an economics professor with a big old stick up my butt, but I'll do my best for you, there, Mandy.
While Paul Krugman is a economist, and a very good one, he doesn't write like he has a big old stick up his butt, or any sized stick.
Cons: It is a political book and buying it could start fights. ... Depending on who you are, this might not be a con.

For those who always thought Alice in Wonderland had a darker side...
Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor - Buy from Amazon
Description: A darker take on the Louis Carroll that started with The Looking Glass Wars. Also as part of a graphic novel called M Hatter.
Pros: Excellent story for young adults. Has been known to draw in people that are not normally readers.
Cons: The graphic novel is hard to get.

For those mourning yet another favorite show that got cut down too soon...
Veronica Mars - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
Description: The high school detective graduated and heads off to college, but Neptune remains the same and the mysteries follow her.
Pros: One of the best shows on TV, it never found the audience it deserved (mainly because it was on one of the baby networks). With a season long arc, it does work better on DVD than it does on TV.
Cons: Season three was the weakest of the show's run, but still worth picking up, along with Season One and Season Two.

For those, like me, who haven't seen it...
Titanic - 10th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: I still haven't seen this movie. I work as a movie critic, I see over 200 movies a year, and I still haven't watched the number one film of all time on the box office charts.
Pros: Highest box office of all time, both domestically and internationally, as well as the winner of 10 Oscars. So there must be a lot of people who love this movie.
Cons: This is not the first time the movie has been released on DVD, nor is it the first special edition. In fact, it's not even the best special edition, but the Collector's Edition is out of print.

For those who really, really need a laugh during the holidays...
Various Stand-Up DVD - Buy from Amazon: Jim Gaffigan - Beyond the Pale, Bill Maher - The Decider, Chris Rock - Never Scared, Kyle Cease - Weirder. Blacker. Dimpler., Lewis Black - Black on Broadway, Rowan Atkinson Live!, Russel Peters - Outsourced, Thou Shall Laugh 2 - The Deuce, Zach Galifianakis - Live at the Purple Onion
Description: An hour, or two of stand up comedy from various comedians, or collection of comedians.
Pros: Arguably the best way to inject a concentrated dose humor into the holidays.
Cons: Comedy is subjective. What one person might find hilarious, another might not.
Notes: On a side note, John Wing needs to make a DVD, or two, or a dozen. I would buy everyone of them. In the meantime, pick up his books: None of This is Probably True, ... And the Fear Makes us Special, A Cup of Nevermind.

For those who like to hear actors say things someone else hasn't written...
Inside the Actors Studio - Johnny Depp - Buy from Amazon
Description: James Lipton is one of the best interviewers out there and Johnny Depp is one of the most thoughtful and fascinating actors around. So combining the two should be magic.
Pros: They don't disappoint.
Cons: It's only 50 minutes long so that's not a lot of bang for your buck, especially compared to other TV on DVD releases.

For those who hate trees. Icky, Icky trees...
Kids in the Hall - The Pilot Episode - Special Headcrusher Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: Kids in the Hall are a comedy troupe from Canada that ruled the airwaves during their run on TV. This DVD shows how it all started.
Pros: The Icky, Icky tree sketch is arguably my favorite.
Cons: It should have been included in the Megaset.

For those who think cartoons are for adults...
Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - Volume Five - Buy from Amazon
Description: 60 more shorts from the studio that brought us Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and a host of others, as well as more than enough extras to satisfy adult collectors.
Pros: Five volumes in and they are still including many classic cartoons. At this pace I can't imagine they won't release several more volumes focusing more on artists like Tex Avery, for instance.
Cons: If there's a logical method for picking the shorts they include in each volume, I haven't figured it out yet. I would prefer a chronological order, or at least some order, but that's a minor complaint.
Notes: This makes such a great gift. I didn't buy it when it came out. That's a hint for any friends or family looking for the perfect last minute gift.

For those who like to listen to their movies...
Various Soundtracks - Buy from Amaozn: August Rush - Soundtrack, Balls of Fury - Soundtrack, The Heartbreak Kid - Soundtrack, Lust, Caution - Soundtrack, Remember the Titans - Soundtrack
Description: Many soundtracks pass through my doors on a regular basis, and this is just a sampling.
Pros: There's a great selection of songs here and each CD is like a mixed tape of hits.
Cons: However, the results are mixed in some cases.

For those who like to listen to other things as well as movies...
Various CDs - Buy from Amazon: Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way, Emmy Rossum - Inside Out, Five For Fighting - Live - Back Country - Special Edition, Grayson Hugh - Blind to Reason, Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full - CD/DVD Deluxe Edition, They Might be Giants - Flood
Description: While DVDs have long surpassed CDs in sales, as many consumers consider the latter a better deal for their limited entertainment budget, there are still more than a few recent, and not so recent CDs that deserve a mention.
Cons: I could never hit that high note on Talk it Over by Grayson Hugh.

There you have it, four weeks, four gift guides, a couple of books, a dozen CDs, and dozens and dozens of DVDs. Hopefully there's something for everyone on your shopping list.


Filed under: The Heartbreak Kid, Balls of Fury, August Rush, Se jie