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2017 - Holiday Gift Guide - Part IV - Books, Music, and Anything I Missed

December 23rd, 2017

The Little Hours

We’ve already talked about first-run Releases, TV-on-DVD releases, and limited Releases / classics / foreign-imports. This week we look at some books, music, and movies that didn’t arrive in time to talk about before, movies I just forgot to mention, or screeners that arrived late and I won’t be able to get to.

For those who want to learn more about the bad habits of Nuns...
The Little Hours - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Description: A film “written” and directed by Jeff Baena. I have “written” in quotes, not as an insult, but because the movie’s dialogue is improv, so everyone shares responsibility. The film is based on a 14th-century collection of short stories called The Decameron. It is set in a convent in the 1300s with a group of nuns, the father that runs the place, and the new groundskeeper, who is on the run from an angry lord.

Pros: There is a lot of comedic talent in this movie and they all have at least a few scenes to shine. If you like R-rated comedies, it is great. There are not a lot of extras, with just three interview featurettes and some outtakes, but this is better than a lot of limited releases.

Cons: This is a hard R and that will turn off quite a few people.

For those who want the biggest thing to come out of Canada...
Colossal - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Description: Anne Hathaway plays a woman who just got fired and dumped by her boyfriend and kicked out of her office. She heads back to her home town and reconnects with some high school friends, but this just results in her getting stuck in a rut and reliving her bad habits. Then a giant monster attacks South Korea and there might be a connection there.

Pros: There are like half-a-dozen genres crammed into this movie. It should be a mess, but it really works. The cast is great and there’s a real important message in the movie.

Cons: I bought the Blu-ray up here, which only has the domestic and international versions of the movie. The American version only has some deleted scenes. That’s not a lot of extras, even for a limited release.

For those who watch movies to get hungry...
Eat What You Watch: A Cookbook for Movie Lovers by Andrew Rea - Buy from Amazon: Hardcover
Description: Binging with Babbish is a YouTube channel that mostly takes recipes from TV shows and movies and makes them in real life, sometimes making them better in the process. This book is a collection of some of the recipes he has featured on the show.

Pros: There are plenty of recipes worth trying, especially if you like both movies and cooking. Looks great.

Cons: I planned to include this book on this list from the beginning, but by the time I go to this installment, it was sold out on Amazon. If you can find it, it would make a great gift.

For those who want to know what foods to avoid...
The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully - Buy from Amazon: Hardcover, Softcover, Audiobook
Description: Aaron Carroll from the The Healthcare Triage YouTube channel wrote a book on nutrition that looks at what the science actually says, versus what the media usually reports what the science says.

Pros: He uses a science-based approach to discuss an important issue that is almost always obscured by media misreporting. To be fair, a lot of this misreporting is just basic mistakes. Science is hard and if you are not trained, it is easy to misreport facts.

Cons: Whenever you gift a nutrition book, you risk implying that you think the other person isn’t eating right…

For those who don’t get why Canada loves The Tragically Hip...
The Tragically Hip: Yer Favourites - Buy from Amazon: Two-Disc CD
Description: A two-disc, best-of CD that containing more than two and a half hours of music.

Pros: If you’ve never heard The Tragically Hip, this is a great place to start. You will quickly get a sense of why they are so popular in Canada, or at the very least, have a deeper understanding about Canada.

Cons: It came out in 2005 and the band has released several albums since then, so it isn’t a true “best of” any more.

For those who are demanding revenge...
M.F.A. - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Description: Written by Leah McKendrick, directed by Natalia Leite, and starring Francesca Eastwood. Francesca Eastwood stars as an art student who is raped by a fellow classmate, but when she goes to the school, she’s dismissed. She then confronts her rapist, only to accidentally kill him.

Pros: It’s a rape revenge film, which is a subgenre usually relegated to grindhouse exploitation. The three women involved did a great job in avoiding those pitfalls. Additionally, Francesca Eastwood’s performance is captivating. This film is the first one Leah McKendrick wrote and only the second one Natalia Leite directed, so there are some rough spots, but they both clearly have talent and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Cons: While the women involved did a good job preventing the film from being exploitative, it is still a rough topic to deal with. Additionally, there are only 4 minutes of extras on the DVD / Blu-ray.

We are going to end the Holiday Gift Guide here. Hopefully the four installments have given you some ideas, and happy holidays to all our readers!


Filed under: Holiday Gift Guide, Colossal, The Little Hours, M.F.A., Anne Hathaway, Jeff Baena, Francesca Eastwood, Natalia Leite, Leah McKendrick