We had hoped it wouldn’t come to be, but 2021 turned out to be more of the same from the previous year thanks to the pandemic. Lots of hunkering-down isolating or enjoying the great outdoors more often than usual. And once again, books played a big part in helping us all cope and maintain some kind of normalcy. Now more than ever, books in all their various formats will make a great gift this holiday season. This year saw a resurgence of Dune; illustrated versions of J.R.R. Tolkien works; memoirs from the world of rock and heavy metal; graphic novel collections; fun, pop-culture-themed cookbooks; stories from the imaginations of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Grady Hendrix; continuing adventures from the Star Trek, Star Wars, and Marvel universes, and much more.
Check out our Holiday Gift Guide 2021 for Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks for our favorite holiday gift picks for the readers in your life.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”Ž 4K Ultra HD | Blu-ray | DVD | Digital
Directed by Joachim RÃ¸nning and Espen Sandberg
Screenplay by Jeff Nathanson; story by Nathanson and Terry Rossio.
Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin R. McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen Graham, Geoffrey Rush
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release date: October 3, 2017
Hard to believe there was a time before Johnny Depp was Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp was a superstar for nearly two decades and then took the role playing the swaggering pirate in a blockbuster based on a Disney theme park attraction. That role earned Depp his first of three Oscar nominations and changed his career path. Here we are 14 years later, and Depp is still chugging along on the high seas in his fifth Pirates film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
This time, Jack is searching for the trident of Poseidon, while an old enemy, Captain Salazar (Oscar winner Javier Bardem) hunts him down. While these films have had their ups and downs over the years, no one can deny Depp’s ability to entertain, and part 5 is maybe the best Pirates film since the original. It is out now on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack and loaded with special features.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the seminal and legendary album by The Beatles, which not only seemed to crystallize the band, but also the entire sensibilities of the youth of the globe during the mid to late 1960s, celebrates its 50th anniversary today.
Released in America on June 2nd, 1967, and a week or so earlier in the band’s native UK, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has become such a recognizable force in pop cultural history, it’s almost like a brand, a headquarters where so many musical and cultural influences spawned. From its rich and vibrantly complex yet totally welcoming cover to the same adjectives applied to the wide range and scope of music, which almost acts as a primer for every single style of music up to that point in musical history (pop, cabaret, vaudeville, psychedelia, straightforward rock) and even acting as a blueprint to just the around the corner genres that followed (like progressive and even acid rock), Sgt. Pepper is a true artifact of a time long gone and yet still acts as a straight arrow pulse right in contemporary society, whether it’s for novelty’s sake or reality’s sake.
Just like that, it’s that time again, where the holiday season is upon us and the mad scrambles down store aisles to find just the right gifts for friends and loved ones commences. It’s a yearly ritual that always seems to come sooner than later. It’s also a sign that the year is coming to a close, and of course there’s no question that 2016 will remain in memory and history as one of the most turbulent, challenging, and painful times ever seen. It is for that reason that the holiday time should hold even extra special positive emotional weight, as community and solidarity run high among people during this time, acting as sort of metaphoric concrete that fills in the gaps that division among many created. And music too, is an eternal, external, and ultimately internal healing agent for the soul, regardless if times are happy or sad, joyous or maudlin. Music also reflects those aforementioned emotions and more. Here’s some of the best released this past year that will for sure excite even the most hardened by the whirlwind of the times and warm someone’s soul like kindling a hearth on the coldest December nights.
Check out our 2016 Holiday Geek Gift Guide for Music…
We pretty much kept you up to date on Sunday night into Monday morning with our SNL 40 coverage. NBC broadcast the 3 1/2-hour Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, which featured some of today’s biggest celebrities, past show hosts, past and present cast members, and musical guests. Amongst the returning cast members was Jimmy Fallon, current host of NBC’s The Tonight Show. Fallon and pal Justin Timberlake did a cold open rap to kick off the show, and Fallon was highlighted in several flashback reels.
On Monday night’s episode of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, which, like SNL, is recorded from the studios at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, the host reminisced about the amazing night. Along with red carpet arrivals, there was also an after-party that featured some all-star jams, including one Fallon did with Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney, as well as a mind-blowing appearance by Prince.
Check out the 9-minute video here below of Fallon talking about the After Party, as well as some snippets from the various jam sessions, which included Fallon, Swift, and McCartney doing The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There” and Swift’s recent hit “Shake It Off.” There’s also Instagram video of Bill Murray playing tambourine; Prince doing “Let’s Go Crazy,” and the B-52’s doing “Love Shack.”