Now comes the mother of all guides: the guide that will share with you all of the vest best of the best in DVD and Blu-ray movies and TV series out there. This is the place that you want to go to locate, learn about, and discover the DVDs and Blu-rays that you want to buy your friends, loved ones, yourself (we all deserve a little treat in these hectic times), and maybe even your favorite pizza guy. We’ve also included the online order deadlines for Christmas delivery.
Without further delay, we invite you to keep on reading and discover the cherished DVD and Blu-ray treasures of the year 2009 in our Holiday Geek Gift Guide ’09!
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut DVD | Blu-ray One of the most talked about films of the year, Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the groundbreaking DC Comics miniseries Watchmen is now available in a 5-disc Ultimate Cut edition loaded to the gills with blood-dripping, smiley-faced goodness.
The centerpiece of this new set, which comes packaged in a handy slipcase, is a new expanded cut of the film that incorporates the animated Tales of the Black Freighter short film into the previously-released Director’s Cut for the complete Watchmen cinematic experience. The Ultimate Cut set is rounded out by a bounty of bonus features including multiple featurettes on the production of the film and the history and impact of the original comic series, the Under the Hood mock documentary, a digital copy of the Watchmen theatrical cut, and the complete Watchmen Motion Comics set. For all hardcore devotees of Watchmen, book and film, this is truly the way to go. An essential purchase.
There are great documentaries, and then there are great documentaries like Anvil! The Story Of Anvil. As kids, now middle-aged best friends Lips and Robb vowed to rock together forever, and that’s exactly what they do; it’s as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. This is one DVD every movie fan needs to watch and every metal fan cannot afford to be without.
The Wrestler DVD | Blu-ray
Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as Randy “˜The Ram’ Robinson, an ex-professional wrestler gearing up for a re-match of his most famous victory in one of this year’s best movies. The Wrestler is compelling viewing and could be an ideal choice for when that inevitable sugar high wears off this holiday season.
Monty Python: Almost The Truth DVD | Blu-ray This is the perfect gift for the Monty Python fan in your life. Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut) is a new documentary featuring new interviews with the Pythons themselves as well as those involved with the show. It looks at the entire history of the group, from how they got together in the 60’s to what they are doing today. If you know someone who has ever said “Nee” to an old woman, they will love you for giving this to them.
Star Trek DVD | Blu-ray
Someone here at Geeks of Doom watched the latest Star Trek film 15 times the first week of the Blu-ray release, so it’s no surprise that the JJ Abrams Trek reboot made it onto this year’s holiday gift guide. Said person believes that Star Trek was the best blockbuster-type film this year and it apparently should be watched every day. Said person also recommends getting an edition that comes with a digital copy, so that watching it on the go on your iPod is possible. Yes, we strongly recommend getting and giving Star Trek this holiday season.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVD | Blu-ray
In this sixth Harry Potter film, Harry and his young wizard friends are back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for another year of learning, spell-casting, and of course, a face-off with the evil Lord Voldemort’s minions, the Death Eaters. In this darker tale, which finds Harry in danger yet again, the boy who lived learns more about Voldemort’s past while on a dangerous journey with his mentor Professor Dumbledore. Another fine installment in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will still attract younger audiences while its darker storyline and the insertion of real-world danger will appeal to adults too.
Disney’s Up DVD | Blu-ray
Hands down the most beautiful film of the year, if you have a Blu-ray player, this is a movie to show off your system to your friends. If you don’t have a Blu-ray player, buy it any way. Like all Pixar movies, Up is at times hilarious, touching, heart-breaking, and just plain fun. This may be my new favorite Pixar film.
The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD | Blu-ray Since being transferred to the Blu-ray format, the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz has been praised for its incredible video quality (though some Amazon reviews seem to think it’s not good at all. This has me wondering if they’re watching on an HD TV with the proper cables in use), though it seems kind of tough to locate.
There are a few ways to buy Oz on Blu, including a single disc, a 3-disc, and this special 70th Anniversary collector’s edition. If you don’t want all of the extra flash and bang that comes with the special edition and you can find an affordable copy of the lesser versions, jump at it, but with the single disc listed at $34 and the 3-disc listed at $44, this massive set sitting at $55 is a great deal.
North by Northwest DVD | Blu-ray North by Northwest is the ultimate ‘Wrong man’ tale. A film that combines the best elements of a thriller, romance, and comedy makes this one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most entertaining films, which in turn makes it one of the most entertaining efforts of any kind by anyone who ever attempted to make a movie. It helps that Cary Grant puts forth one of the best performances of his career as ‘normal dude mistaken for secret agent.’ This 50th Anniversary release on Blu-ray is one of the finest transfers from original media to digital to date. I’m one lucky geek. Thanks to one awesome geek Empress, I already own this, so I’m speaking from the heart here when I tell you that this release is a masterful ‘remaster.’ The care taken to respect and enhance the original work is clear. This is a must-own for any true lover of film.
Trick ‘r Treat DVD | Blu-ray
Nowaways, the horror genre has gone the way of torture porn, so when a classic horror film like Trick r Treat comes along that’s not trying to shock you with disgust, it’s time to take notice. There’s no torture, no excessive blood and gore, just some chilling suspense and some unexpected twists. The film is actually an collection of four Halloween-related stories tied together by a few common appearances. Trick R Treat is by far the best horror movie of the year, and the most surprisingly delightful one probably of the decade.
Coraline DVD | Blu-ray
If you have a blu-ray player, you owe it to yourself to pick up the Coraline Blu-ray edition, but it’s so visually beautiful that the standard DVD still ranks highly. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, director Henry Selick (of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame) brought the characters to life through stop-motion animation and does so stunningly in this fantastical tale. The young Coraline Jones is bored with her life, not getting the kind of attention she needs from her parents, so she goes over to the “Other” side — that is, the enticing world on the the other side of her apartment where an Other Mother and Other Father are there to cater to her every whim. Unfortunately, the “Other” parents are really too good to be true, but it might be too late for Coraline to get back to her old life. Coraline is a delightful film, enjoyable for all ages, but the kids will absolutely love this one.
Inglourious Basterds DVD | Blu-ray Perhaps the most glorious 153 minutes spent at the movies all year; Quentin Tarantino has made a World War II film disguised as a spaghetti western. Inglourious Basterds is a really a testament to Tarantino’s love of all things cinema and ultimately about the power of cinema. In other words, it is Cinema Paradiso for psychotic cinephiles like myself. It is no secret that I think this is the best film of the year and went back many times to see it in the theater. I think this is the Blu-Ray to own this Christmas. This edition comes with a host of features such as extended and alternate scenes, Nation’s Pride film directed by Eli Roth, roundtable discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt, and Elvis Mitchell, a digital copy and other features. I know what you’re thinking: Why should you spend now when there will be another edition further down the road? Well, this is one of those films worth owning more than one version. This is one of those films that I will revisit for many years to come. I have no problem owning several editions. This is a film worth owning.
The Hangover DVD | Blu-ray
Did you laugh out loud while watching Todd Phillips? If you did, then chances are you laughed even harder while watching The Hangover. This Blu-Ray edition comes with the theatrical and unrated versions of the film. This film is the Memento meets Reservoir Dogs of bachelor party films. It is a non-stop laugh fest as four friends try to piece together what happened on a night they would never forget. They are horribly hung over and have to find the missing groom to be. The great ensemble cast includes Bradley Cooper, Mike Tyson, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Heather Graham. Relive one of the funniest films of the year and one of those films that is destined to be quoted for many years to come.
Gran Torino DVD | Blu-ray
One of the best films of last year is also one of Clint Eastwood’s best films as actor and director. Gran Torino is Eastwood’s version of The Shootist. /Eastwood’s Walt Kowalski is the perfect bookend to his classic Dirty Harry character. If this is going to be Eastwood’s last time in front of camera, it is quite simply one of the best performances of his career and that is saying a lot because he has given so many great performances.
This had award winner written all over it and come the voting it was nominated for an incredible 13 Academy Awards, with 3 wins. Based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story and starring Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a tale of a person who’s born an old man whose body gets younger as he ages. It is the most beautiful movie of this year and is guaranteed to make you cry.
Dexter: The Third Season DVD | Blu-ray I’m a newbie to the world of Dexter, having only made my way partially through Season 2 so far. Even as a rookie, I can already confirm what many have been screaming since the show began: this is something special.
The show’s concept alone should be enough to persuade you into at least giving it a try: a serial killer working with the Miami police department as a forensics bloodwork specialist. That’s some genius mixing and matching of elements, my friends. But how does a man with such secrets maintain a normal life surrounded by friends, family, and his girlfriend? It is not an easy thing to do.
You can grab the first three seasons on DVD or Blu-ray box set and get to it, but as with all of the others, individual seasons are not tough to find.
In sticking with the more popular current TV show, one can not neglect to mention Mad Men. The AMC series about the 1960s world of advertising in New York City has won over hordes of fans for its fantastic recreation of the sexy and stylistic lifestyles of that time period in history.
Personally, I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of the show and wasn’t able to get into it. I do however plan on jumping back into it as soon as I get the chance to; this many fans can’t be wrong and it will take more than just a couple of episodes to really get into the flow of the series.
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series DVD | Blu-ray Ah, Battlestar Galactica. It has been so long since you closed your doors forever, and yet we still weep. Even with new movies like The Plan, and a brand new prequel series called Caprica set to begin next year, the sheer joy we all received from that show will never be replicated.
Thankfully, the time has now come where we can all own every single second that was ever produced of the show. The complete series will run you deep into your wallet for sure (especially for the Blu-ray), but if you have the coin, it is well worth every single one of them. One day when I am less…not rich, I will be buying this myself (and likely cuddling with it).
True Blood: The Complete First Season DVD | Blu-ray
One of my (and many others’) favorite new shows of recent memory. True Blood takes place in a quintessential little Southern town during a time in fictional alternate history where vampires are real and live among us. They survive on a synthetic blood drink called TruBlood and we all try and just get along.
The show is on HBO so nothing is sacred and those who are easily insulted or like to complain should avoid at all costs. True Blood mixes ultra violence, massive amounts of sexuality, and fictional creatures with many real-world problems like discrimination and racism and religious battles all together in one incredible guilty pleasure b-movie style TV show. Can it get much better than that? No. No it can not.
It will take you a few episodes to acquire the taste that is necessary to enjoy True Blood, but once you have tasted it, there will be no looking back. Act quickly: Season 2 is well on its way to DVD and Season 3 is planned for the Summer!
Lost: The Complete Seasons 1-5 DVD | Blu-ray
On February 2, 2010, one of the most popular shows of all time in Lost will begin its final season. If you haven’t seen this show yet, then you are exactly who this suggestion is aimed at!
Being a fan of the show who still doesn’t own any seasons, I will be waiting until I can acquire them all in one quick action. But again, if you’re not familiar with the show or haven’t seen any of it, you need to do so immediately. Even if you think you don’t like it, you’re very much mistaken. Most who weren’t impressed tried to watch a random episode in the middle of a season and nothing made any sense (you know who you are, peoples). Get the show, watch from the very first second straight through to the very last second, and you will finally get it…though you won’t really get it, just like the rest of us.
Adult Swim in a Box DVD Got a family member who likes odd ball cartoons? Maybe a friend who likes a slice of irreverent humor? Then perhaps the Adult Swim in a Box is just what they would like in their stocking. Collecting full seasons from some of their most popular shows like Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Box is what DVD samplers should look like.
Best of all, the set is only 60 bucks. Now when have you seen anyone offer up six full seasons of anything for the price of one? Plus, the episodes are funny, if you are into that sort of humor. You cannot get a better deal than this folks!
The Venture Bros.: Season Three DVD | Blu-ray
Of course I’m going to recommend this. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, if you’re reading this website you will enjoy The Venture Brothers, a brilliantly hilarious mash-up of Johnny Quest, Marvel Comics, and any other bit of pop culture you can think of. If you have a Blu-ray player, I’d suggest picking up the Blu-ray version, if only for the bonus soundtrack CD not available on the DVD, but either way you get it, you’re getting one of the best shows on TV.
Futurama: The Complete Collection DVD
Here it is: every hilarious second of Matt Groening’s Futurama all in this 18-disc set which comes packaged inside Bender’s head! It contains all four series plus the feature-length episodes Bender’s Big Score, The Beast With A Billion Backs, Bender’s Game, and Into The Wild Green Yonder. Plus, each disc is crammed with extra features.
Family Guy Presents: Something Something Something Dark Side DVD | Blu-ray This will be a late present, since it comes out on 12/22, but for the Family Guy or Star Wars fan in your family, there will be nothing better than Something Something Something Dark Side. Similar to the first Family GuyStar Wars special, Blue Harvest, this hour long episode makes fun of The Empire Strikes Back and mixes it with the humor that Seth McFarlane and company have become known for.
If you enjoyed the first special, you’ve been waiting for this one for a while, and if it’s anywhere as good as Blue Harvest was, then it is going to be an even longer wait for the Family Guy trilogy capping spoof of Return of the Jedi, currently said to be called We Have A Bad Feeling About This.
Glee, Vol. One: Road to Sectionals DVD
Feeling the Christmas blues? Just because Christmas has come and gone doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself with a gift. I mean, you have been a good little boy or girl this year, right? Of course! And what better way to reward yourself than with Glee Season One, Volume 1: The Road to Sectionals.
This part musical, part episodic dramedy follows a group of high school kids with nothing in common but a love for singing in a Glee club. The best part of the show? The cast sings some really funky tunes during the show. If you are a fan of musicals and sharp comedy, you will love the latest from Ryan Murphy, creator of Nip/Tuck. Watch it with caution though: Prolong exposure to this show may cause you to sing Journey and Bell Biv DeVoe songs at all times in the day.
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season DVD
A show for geeks, about geeks! Leonard and Sheldon’s lives are littered with references to comic books and sci-fi TV shows and movies. Sound familiar? The Big Bang Theory Complete Season 2 continues to show why this is one of the funniest new sitcoms on TV; the writing is sharp and the cast is perfect.
Reaper: Season 2 DVD
It’s been a long time since Reaper was canceled too early (read, Reaper Canceled…), but its second and final season was still released in 2009, and you all need to get both seasons of the show right away.
The show told the story of a young man who discovers that his parents sold his soul to Satan, and that on his 21st birthday, he was to become a bounty hunter for the Devil, capturing the evil souls who have somehow escaped the fires of Hell.
This sounds like a horror movie of course, but would you ever believe it, it’s actually a very, very funny show, and you’ll never regret checking it out. Reaper is a show that had so much potential and was cut down in its prime. A sad end to accept, but that does not mean what we did get shouldn’t be enjoyed always.
Everyone knows about Netflix already, right? — the delivery service that mails DVDs to your house. The real reason to check it out this year is the different ways you can get your movies. Not only is there the standard service through mail, but you can also watch certain movies instantly on your computer. Or if you have an XBox 360 or a PS3, you can also stream movies instantly. Or, if you have a Roku Box, you can stream them using that (Netflix is what the Roku Box was designed for). Or, there are many Blu-ray players that are Ethernet or wireless capable that will allow you to stream instantly. The digital download revolution is upon us, and Netflix is leading the way. A Netflix subscription is a great gift for the movie-lover in your life.
If you’re ordering through Amazon, here’s their ordering deadlines for delivery on or before Christmas Eve (12/24):
– December 17th – Last day for Free Super Saver Shipping*
– December 20th – Standard Shipping
– December 21st – Two-Day Shipping (Free with Prime), Last full day to order two-day
– December 22nd – Two-Day Shipping (Free with Prime), order as late as 8pm PDT [varies by item]; One-Day Shipping ($3.99 per item with Prime) Last full day to order to order one-day
– December 23rd – One-Day Shipping ($3.99 per item with Prime), order as late as 4:30pm PDT [varies by item]
– December 24th – Local Express Delivery in Select Cities ($5.99 per item with Prime); cut-off times vary by item.
– December 25th – Christmas Day – email and printable gift cards, sent immediatelly
*FREE on orders of $25 or more
** Cutoff times for Local Express Delivery:
* Seattle: Order as late as 1 p.m.
* New York City: Order as late as 10 a.m.
* Philadelphia: Order as late as 10 a.m.
* Boston: Order as late as 10:30 a.m.
* Washington D.C.: Order as late as 10.30 a.m.
* Baltimore: Order as late as 10.30 a.m.
* Las Vegas: Order as late as 11 a.m.
Remember, if all else fails, there’s also the Amazon.com Gift Card you can have emailed to the recipient (arrives immediately) or you can print out the gift card at home and give it to the intended that way.
The 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: DVD & Blu-ray Edition was compiled and written by Empress Eve, Dave3, The Movie God, Henchman21, JackBauerstein83, Obi-Dan, Cinema Junkie, and BAADASSSSS!