I don't like to tell people what to get me for Christmas. I'm not that kind of guy. But, if I was that guy, the below items are the sort I would ask for. But again, using this list would be wrong because the real me would never ask for any of these things. So use it for someone else. People very, very, very much like me.
Star Wars Build-A-Bear
You know ... for kids! I made one of these for someone recently and the clerk -- an evil, vindictive person whom I will leave nameless -- asked me to close my eyes and make a wish when I kissed the bear's heart (don't ask). There were children watching which 1) made me kind of have to comply or suffer the "mean old adult" label and 2) made it that much more humiliating. Why am I telling you this? To remind you that you can order online.
Finally, after all these years toy manufacturers have figured out that what kids really want is a purple bear who smells like strawberries and sounds like Ned Beatty.
Star Wars Wampa Rug
You know, those Rebels knew how to use a tauntaun to maximum effect, but they were pretty wasteful when it came to some primo wampa fur. If Han had any stones he would have abandoned the Rebels and become a wampa fur trader. New hyper-drive system in no time. There are a lot of geeks out there who will never christen this thing.
Harry Potter Legos
If you want to be the coolest mom, dad, aunt, or uncle, you will buy some Harry Potter LEGOs this Christmas for the little ones.
I have to hand it to Sony, this is pretty cool. They started on online MOD (manufactured on demand) service for hard-to-find or never-before-released (on DVD) films. They are adding more and more titles every month. So before you write off a gift because you can't find it on Best Buy or Amazon, stop by here first.
Fans of the Freddy series will go nuts for this four-hour documentary on one of the most popular horror franchises of all time. This baby is loaded with extras, including a marathon four-hour commentary with the filmmakers.
The Elia Kazan Collection
You get a ton of Elia Kazan's classics, including Gentleman's Agreement, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden. If that isn't enough, this set includes A Letter to Elia, Martin Scorsese's close look at the controversial film director whose legacy has been tarnished for his regretful decision to name names.
Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection
In case you're on the fence, just understand what you are getting here: 24 of Bogie's films, many of them classics. While Sabrina and The African Queen are nowhere to be found in this set, you do get The Big Sleep, Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, To Have and Have Not, Key Largo, Casablanca, and a whole lot more. I love that the set also includes the kind of old news reels and pre-movie cartoons you would have seen in their initial releases. If you don't at least want this you're a very, very bad person.
Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years
Thirty-five films? That is almost too much Eastwood. But for the price, it's a little hard to ignore. The screen icon has more than enough classic films to make this purchase a guilt-free one. It may be the only way you get to own The Rookie without inviting mockery.
Alien Anthology (Blu-ray)
I can tell you the other bonus material is fantastic, particularly the making-of doc on Alien 3. It's a truly interesting look at a project that had many hands in the cookie jar, began one way, evolved into another and somewhere between that and the end product, sunk in the quagmire. The fact that David Fincher essentially stepped in at the last minute and was able to make something watchable out of that mess says a lot about his talents. Despite its flaws, I dig it.
Apocalypse Now (Three-Disc Full Disclosure Edition)
I didn't really need "full" disclosure. "Partial" or, even better, "Healthy" disclosure would have been nice. See, I'm not a huge fan of the Redux version. But it's more than welcome to gather dust in its casing. I just gotta see how pretty this movie looks on Blu-ray. And the inclusion of Hearts of Darkness, a revealing documentary full of footage and audio Mrs. Coppola took during the epic production of the film (some of it unbeknownst to Francis) is especially sweet.
The Thin Red Line (Criterion Edition)
I didn't love this movie when I first saw it. I thought it lagged too often, forced its poetry upon the audience. Yet I've always wanted to return to it -- for John Toll's beautiful cinematography, Hans Zimmer's haunting score, some terrific performances (Nick Nolte and Elias Koteas are especially effective), and the spell this film manages to pull over me in stretches. And now here it is, getting the Criterion treatment, complete with a commentary, outtakes, and interviews.
Avatar: The Extended Collector's Edition
I haven't seen this baby since the theater, can't wait to dive in again. The extra footage has my curiosity peaked.
Back to the Future: The 25th Anniversary Trilogy
I have very mixed feelings about the two sequels in this trilogy, but Marty and Doc are always worth a visit in my living room.
The Sound of Music (Limited Edition Collector's Set)
I've heard some great firsthand accounts about this set, particularly how beautiful the movie looks on Blu-ray. I'm not a huge fan of musicals, but this is one of the truly great ones. Hard to ignore.
Toy Story Trilogy
Technically, I already own this trilogy of movies but I don't own this ridiculous carrying case that comes with it.
I held out for as long as I could before purchasing Death Proof and Planet Terror. I waited and waited and waited, and when I finally broke down and picked them up at Target I read about this Grindhouse combo pack a week later. Please don't make me buy this. I don't have any children yet. But I will one day. Do you want them to go hungry?
Bridge on the River Kwai
One of my favorite movies ever gets the Blu-ray treatment with some new bonus material, including a William Holden/Alec Guiness appearance on The Steve Allen Show.
There Are Many of Us
Sure, you could just watch Spike Jonze's online short I'm Here for free. But with this book set, you can also enjoy interviews, behind-the-scene photos, and the short film's soundtrack.
RiffTrax Gift Certificate
I'm a fan of what the Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums have done with both Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax. But the RiffTrax boys have a lot more goodies for me to choose from right now. A few months ago I made it out to one of their live riffs on Reefer Madness and it's got me itching for more. Do I want to watch Twilight and The Room with the Riff crew? Yes. Yes, I do.
The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
This highly acclaimed, behind-the-scenes book might be a tough find this Christmas. Empire is the most popular film in one of the most popular movie franchises and here it gets the in-depth look it deserves. This, my friends, is a quality purchase.
The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box
OK, this actually isn't available until February of next year but you could purchase it now. So what's included in this $499.99 set? Is it worth it? You can check it all out here.
Tommy Wiseau (as "Johnny") Bobblehead
Finally, no Christmas would be complete without a little Tommy Wiseau. And I mean little. This bobblehead will bring giant buckets of Christmas cheer when you push the little red button at little Johnny's feet. That's right, relive all the classic Wiseau moments with the push of a button. Say "Oh, Hi" to Johnny till your heart's content. And it will never be content. Just don't accuse me if asking you to get this or anything else on this list. "I did naaaat."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dre writes for Film.com weekly.