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Holiday Gift Guide - Part II

December 10th, 2006

This week the Holiday Gift Guide was going to focus on documentaries and limited releases, but I'm just not that organized. In fact, organization of that level seems almost contrary to the hectic bustle of the season. So, with that in mind, here's the second part in our Holiday Gift Guide.

The second batch, and in no particular order...

For those who like it when the good guys wear black
Name: Johnny Cash in San Quentin - Legacy Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: 2 CD, 1 DVD box set of the legendary Man in Black's 1969 concert at San Quentin prison
Pros: With last year's Oscar winning movie, the interest in Johnny Cash's music has never been higher and this is one of the best collections of his work.
Cons: It might be a hard sell for the younger generation. You know, those kids that keep walking on my lawn. (I suddenly feel very old.)

For those who have something secret in their trunk
Name: Repo Man - Buy from Amazon
Description: Two Repo Men spend the day on the job dealing with rivals, criminals, UFO conspiracists, and an 1964 Chevy Malibu with something really special in its trunk.
Pros: The term cult classic gets thrown around way too often in this business, but in this case it fits. Also, the DVD is excellent, with more special features than you would expect for a small film from 20 years ago.
Cons: Movies become Cult Classics because they don't have a wide appeal. So while plenty people think this movie is too cool, a lot more won't be drawn into it.

For those who like to get to know an artist beyond what they read in the tabloids
Name: Dirty Blonde - The Diaries of Courtney Love - Buy from Amazon
Description: While the book is called a diary, it is more like a scrapbook filled with letters, drawings, pictures and more by Courtney Love.
Pros: It's a great way to learn more about the fantastically talented singer / song writer / actress, who is unfortunately known more for being a tabloid train wreck than for any of her accomplishments.
Cons: It is scrambled and incoherent at times, much like the woman who wrote it. While many will like this style, others will be turned off.

For those who want to see how an Oscar-winning director got his start
Name: Grand Theft Auto - Tricked Out Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: Ron Howard's directorial debut is a story of teenage rebellion with a lot of car chases.
Pros: It's a fun movie and those who like car chase films while certainly have a blast.
Cons: It is clear that Ron Howard has learned a lot about his craft since then.

For Browncoats hoping for a second season, a sequel, anything
Name: Done The Impossible: The Fans' Tale of Firefly & Serenity - Buy Direct
Description: A documentary about the Browncoats (Firefly fanatics), and how they helped get a short-lived TV series into theaters.
Pros: It's a movie by fans, with fans, and for fans.
Cons: If you're not a fan, this movie isn't for you.

For those who want to see Han Solo shoot first
Name: Star Wars - A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi
Description: The original versions, before George Lucas 'fixed' them.
Pros: There were a lot of changes from the theatrical version to the Special Edition and many were well done (fixing the FX, for example). However, making Greedo shoot first was not one of them.
Cons: At this point, the average Star Wars fan has spent so much money on Star Wars merchandise that its hard to justify spending any more.

Here's looking at you, kid.
Name: Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection - Volume 1, Volume 2, and Bogie & Bacall
Description: A baker's dozen films starring Humphrey Bogart, who was recently named the number 1 actor by the AFI.
Pros: It's Humphrey Bogart!
Cons: There are no cons.

Guess which of the three I am
Name: Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics - Buy Direct
Description: Amber Benson's follow-up to Chance, which she also wrote, directed and starred in. It's a story of a highly dysfunctional family led by Paddy Rayne, who is cheating on his wife with his secretary, who is trying to steal from his appliance business, to which end she enlists the help of her brother and his not-so-bright girlfriend.
Pros: Amber Benson has learned a lot about her craft since Chance, although the film still retains the same personality.
Cons: Some people might not be as obsessed with Amber Benson as I am. In fact, I don't think that's medically possible.

For fans of classic, and we mean classic Science Fiction
Name: Forbidden Planet - Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Description: Leslie Nielsen stars in this Science Fiction adaptation of the Shakespeare play, The Tempest.
Pros: The Science Fiction of the 1950s was usually Creature Features taking really small and make them really, really big. Spiders, preying mantises, ants, etc. This film was one of the first such films that was intellectual in nature and it showed the genre could be mature. Plus it has one of the most recognizable movie robot of all time.
Cons: If you are thinking, "Danger, Will Robinson." You are thinking of the wrong robot.