Given that we’re currently arse-deep in the holiday shopping season, I’ll just go ahead and assume that you’re reading this on your phone while waiting in a ten-hour line in a barely climate-controlled department store, in that special kind of headspace that comes after an extended Christmas shopping outing. That frayed, panicked desperation, that fatigue, not just of the body, but of the soul itself. I’ve been there. And listen, don’t pay any attention to the visions. It’s just your brain shutting down, and they just get worse if you feed into them.
And if you’re shopping for a movie buff, God friggin help you. Movie nerds are especially hard to shop for, thanks mostly to that nagging suspicion that any Blu-Ray or DVD you pick up for them is already in their collections, and you really have no way of knowing until it’s too late. Well as usual, I’m here to help. For this week’s FFR, I’ve put together a few suggestions for what to pick up for your favorite film nerd.
Eraserhead: The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray
The Criterion Collection is a line of high-end DVD and Blu-Ray editions of the kinds of films that movie geeks love, paradoxically sold at prices that a lot of movie geeks can’t afford. Art house, foreign films, classics, pretty much anything outside the mainstream is a viable candidate for a Criterion release, and this year David Lynch’s classic Eraserhead was ushered into the Criterion ranks with a snappy Blu-Ray.
You get an apparently awesome looking 4K remaster of Lynch’s famously WTF opus, as well as new restorations of six of Lynch’s short films. Criterion releases have a tendency to go up in price, so its current Amazon price tag of $29.99 is probably the cheapest you’re ever going to get this sucker at.
If your movie nerd friend is a fan of fantasy movies, odds are he or she is also a fan of Guillermo del Toro, the Spanish auteur behind Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and more recently Pacific Rim. Cabinet of Curiosities is both an analysis of Del Toro’s work and a rare look inside his legendary sketchbooks and notebooks, which he keeps for every film he makes.
The book is filled with Del Toro’s musings on filmmaking, gorgeous hand drawn concept art, and even a photo tour of his LA house, which contains everything from a wax dummy of H. P. Lovecraft to his insane collection of movie props and memorabilia. When it was first released, Cabinet of Curiosities ran for around seventy bucks, but these days you can generally find it for half that, making it the ideal time to pick it up.
Halloween: The Complete Collection
But say your movie friend is more into the kind of flicks that involve lots of stabbing, mayhem and white-painted William Shatner masks. Well, after giving them a long talking to about maybe having less unreasonably specific tastes, you can give them this year’s complete box set of all 10 films in the series.
In addition to HD restorations of every film, you also get extremely rare deleted scenes as well as multiple cuts of various films, including the long-awaited “producer’s cut” of Halloween 6. By all accounts, the new cut doesn’t save the film from being one of the low points of the series, but is apparently still worth a look.
Hitchcock: The Ultimate Filmmaker Collection
So, let’s say you have a lot of extra money to blow on Christmas presents. Like, 200 bucks plus; and you want to ensure your money goes towards something that may still involve a brutal stabbing or two – but a classy brutal stabbing. Well look no further than the latest Alfred Hitchcock box set, containing 16 of Hitchcock’s better known classics, each one coming in their own case styled after a film canister, and all in an exceptionally pretty display case that probably accounts for a fair chunk of the asking price.
You get a LOT of extras with this set, posters and booklets, script pages and storyboards, to say nothing of new transfers of some of Hitchcock’s best films, but really this set is “shelf candy” in the purest sense. It just looks gorgeous on a shelf, bringing class and swag to any movie collection, even if it’s shelved between Hitch and the 2007 remake of Hitchhiker.
But let’s say your movie nerd friend doesn’t like any stabbing in his movie, classy or otherwise, and prefers beautifully crafted, offbeat dramedies steeped in quirk and nostalgia. Odds are he or she already owns every movie Wes Anderson’s ever made, but you may want to add this gorgeous art print of the Belafonte, Bill Murray’s ship from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to their lives.
Showing a cutaway of Zissou’s ship modeled on the cutaway set used for the film, this is about as classy as film artwork can get, striking and colorful and loaded with almost as much hand crafted detail and charm as a frame from one of Anderson’s films. The same company also offers an equally gorgeous rendering of the Grand Budapest Hotel from the film of the same name, and offers a discount when the two are bought together.
But let’s say you’re especially strapped for cash, and the movie nerd friend that you’re shopping for is either a fan of the more craptacular side of modern cinema or something of an insufferable prick. Either way, we got you covered. For less than than five dollars, you can gift your movie nerd friend with the timeless classic Theodore Rex, the story of a talking, human sized t-rex detective partnering with Whoopie Goldberg to fight crime in a futuristic metropolis.
It is exactly as bad as it sounds, and will leave the giftee with the bemused smile or a gentle hint to shut their damn pie-hole about Fellini for five seconds.