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Our movie reviewer created this gift guide by picking his favorite home video movies releases of the yearA&C subhead A&C subhead A&C subhead A&C subhead

It’s the holidays, a time for giving people movies because you love the movie, and you want them to love the movie, too. You are bullish and pushy by nature, and this needs to stop.

This guide here assembles some of the best releases from the past year. Let it assist you in the art of not striking out when handing over a film for them to cherish and enjoy rather than using it as a coaster or squirrel decapitator.

And, if you have a friend who would indeed ferociously fling a Blu-ray at a squirrel with the intention of taking the poor thing’s head off—perhaps you should reconsider this friendship.

The prices listed are for Blu-rays unless otherwise noted. Also, these were listed prices at press time, and they change frequently. There are bargains all over right now, so shop carefully.


Oh, the Spielberg fans had a good Blu-ray year. Oh, yes, they did. If I have a movie lover on my list, and if that movie lover isn’t one of those lousy snobs who think Spielberg is a hack, I just buy them two or three of these selections and call it a day.




The greatest movie of all time is on Blu-ray, and it’s a winner. The transfer will bring tears to the eyes of those who were fortunate enough to see the film on the big screen in its heyday. It has some great documentaries on it, including “The Shark is Still Working.”

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventure



This has all of the Indiana Jones movies on Blu-ray for the first time in one affordable package. A perfect gift for that friend you sort of like but not to the extent that you’re going to go over a hundred bucks. Not recommended for Secret Santa office parties. Way too extravagant.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition



This is the old school version of the movie, without the damned walkie-talkies replacing the shotguns.

Amazing directors, amazing packages!

Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection



All of the films directed by Tarantino these past 20 years, plus True Romance, which he wrote. For less than $100 dollars, you can give that Tarantino fan every movie he has made, or piss off the Tarantino hater for that same amount. You can’t lose!

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition)



Fifteen discs loaded with 15 Hitchcock movies and special features. You get Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest and many more. This was my holiday present to myself.

Television: retro and new!

Steve Martin: The Television Stuff (DVD)

Shout Factory


This gathers together all of Steve’s TV specials from the early days, along with music videos and more recent awards show appearances. This is bliss for any Steve Martin fan, and includes new interviews with the man addressing each special and appearance. This is one of my favorite DVDs of the year.

Get a Life: the Complete Series (DVD)

Shout Factory


The great Chris Elliot TV show featuring him as a grown up paperboy living in his dad’s house and putting huge toy submarines in his bathtub. This is really weird and always funny.

Louie: Season 2

20th Century Fox


Louis C.K.’s comedic creation is the best thing on television, and the second season was as good as the first. The third season has aired, but doesn’t have a DVD or Blu-ray yet (although you can watch it on iTunes). Give the gift of laughing so hard their socks go through their nose.

Metalocalypse: Season 4

Cartoon Network


You don’t have to be a fan of death metal to like this hilarious animated series. One of the year’s greatest special features has the Dethklok lead singer reading Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors” for 90 minutes or so.

Complete their Alien collection!


20th Century Fox


Ridley Scott’s return to his Alien universe was a stunner, and the Blu-ray is packed. Make sure to get 3-D Blu-ray, even if you don’t have 3-D capacity yet. That’s because there are many more bonus features on this disc, and they don’t require the glasses.


The Avengers

Walt Disney Video


The Dark Knight Rises

Warner Home Video


The Amazing Spider-Man



For my money, The Avengers offered the best superhero ride of the year, with The Dark Knight Rises coming in a distant but solid second. I thought The Amazing Spider-Man was stupid, but I’m in the minority on that one, so I’m sure lots of folks would appreciate seeing it under the tree.

The Beatles!

Yellow Submarine



Magical Mystery Tour



George Harrison: Living in the Material World



Chances are, you have a Beatles lover on your list, and they would find great value in the above listed titles. Chances are, you also have a Beatles hater on your list. If, deep down, you actually hate the person as well, give them these discs and enjoy their “WTF?” face. Beatles haters suck, so make them real angry.

Ships don’t sink!




A Night to Remember



Here are two awesome films about the same thing, both on Blu-ray for the first time. One has Leonardo DiCaprio getting a couple of cold ones in glorious color, while the other has a bunch of English actors going down with the ship. Both are incredible moviemaking, and worthy of your average stocking.

The single coolest Blu-ray of the year!

Little Shop of Horrors: Director’s Cut

Warner Home Video


For the real collector, this Blu-ray has the single best special feature of any disc this year. You get the original ending for this twisted musical in color, a huge change. Instead of Rick Moranis triumphing over his evil plant, he gets devoured by Audrey II who then proceeds to eat New York City and hump the Brooklyn Bridge.

Great new movies they probably haven’t seen!

Safety Not Guaranteed

Sony Pictures


Ruby Sparks

20th Century Fox


These two gems didn’t light up the box office this year, but they have the capacity of lighting up the various holiday things people put gifts under or around. Lovers of independent, intelligent cinema will see two of the year’s best performances by actresses (Zoe Kazan in Ruby and Aubrey Plaza in Safety).

Liam Neeson

actually made a good movie this year!

The Grey

Open Road Films


This one came out early in the year, and I’m afraid the great Liam Neeson performance will get ignored come awards time. Oh well. It does have lots of snow, which is sort of holiday-like. It also has lots of wolves eating people, which might put a damper on somebody’s holiday joy. Give this one to the person who doesn’t mind drinking eggnog while seeing people getting eaten by wolves.

Wes Anderson rules!

Moonrise Kingdom

Universal Studios


While the Blu-ray itself doesn’t have nearly enough supplements, the movie is one of the year’s best, and is currently at the top of my list. It’s gift worthy.

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