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Project Fandom Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Movies and Television

We know geeks can be a pain to shop for (we are), so we’ve curated a compilation of some of the best things we’ve seen in 2013 to help you this holiday season. Hopefully our picks will translate to happy times for your loved ones.

Today, we’re focusing on a handful of movies and television series that are available on home media, right now. These include some of the year’s biggest commercial and critical hits, as well as a few fan favorites that saw special releases in 2013.


Movies


42

42

Telling the story of Jackie Robinson’s early playing days and his fight to keep his composure amidst discrimination and prejudice as one of only two African-American players in the MLB in 1947, 42 is a gripping sports drama that any baseball lover will love to add to their collection. Chadwick Boseman portrays Robinson with a bubbling determination that demands your admiration, while Sleepy Hollow‘s Nicole Beharie is his loving and supportive wife. Harrison Ford turns in what I believe to be the finest pure acting performance of his long and storied career. – ProFan John

RELATED: John’s ProFan Review: 42

 


Before Midnight

Before Midnight

The third installment in Richard Linklater’s extraordinary Before film series, Before Midnight, continues right where 2004’s Before Sunset left off, even as it takes place nine years later. The dialogue-driven series on the meaning of love, relationships, and long-term commitment has, itself, turned into a decades-long tale of forlorn romance between the filmmaking trio of Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy and their aging audience that has followed this journey ever since its humble beginnings way back in 1995’s Before Sunrise. Before Midnight continues the series’ exhaustively human exploration of two people just being together. It’s one of the best films of the year, and it’s the perfect gift for that one couple you know who love to watch movies together. – ProFan John


The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

The Dark Knight Trilogy

Now, this is a collection for your friends who are Batman fanatics (which is all of your friends, right?). The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition, of course, comes with all three films and their respective special features, but the real meat and potatoes of the collection are: a documentary on the impact of the trilogy, an interview between Christopher Nolan and Richard Donner, a 48-page book of production stills and artwork, collector art cards, Hot Wheels die cast vehicles… There’s a lot here for that Batman fan in your life; that’s for sure. Beyond that, The Dark Knight Trilogy is the best film trilogy of all time, so it also has that going for it. – ProFan John


Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University

Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University

The two biggest animated films of the year (assuming Disney’s latest hit Frozen doesn’t overtake them), Despicable Me 2 (>$900 million worldwide) and Monsters University (>$740 million worldwide) certainly did not disappoint. If you have kids, chances are, you saw these two films–possibly more than once. If you haven’t, though–or if you know someone who hasn’t–they are guaranteed winners under your tree on Christmas. The real person you’ll want to get this for, though? That teenager in the family who may think they’re too old for “cartoons” now; every family has at least one. That kid watched Monsters Inc when they were little, and they would secretly love to get Monsters University and “only watch it because it was a gift”. – ProFan John

RELATED: John’s ProFan Review: Monsters University

 

  


Man of Steel Collector’s Edition

Man of Steel Collector's Edition

Man of Steel Collector’s Edition is a perfect gift. Well, if the person you’re buying for is a fan of Superman, this is a perfect gift. What makes it perfect is the mixed feelings a lot of Superman fans had for Man of Steel. Unless you know your recipient absolutely hated the movie, this is a no-lose situation for you. On one hand, if they loved it (as I did), you have no worries. On the other hand, if they were kind of so-so about it, the collection is so cool that they will, at the very least, enjoy having it without having to actually pay for it themselves. You get three versions of the film: 3DHD, HD, and standard definition… yada yada yada; it comes with a badass metal glyph in the shape of Superman’s “S” chest plate. That’s sweet shit, and nobody will be able to unwrap that without thinking it’s awesome. – ProFan John

RELATED: Joseph’s ProFan Review: Man of Steel

 


The Uninvited (Criterion Collection)

The Uninvited

Not the subsequent horror films that copied the title, but the original The Uninvited from 1944, and one of the first, serious ghost story movies. With Ray Milland; Ruth Hussey; and the haunting, beautiful Gail Russell. This movie was never available on DVD before being released in October by Criterion Collection. – ProFan Rivka


World War Z

World War Z

As I mentioned in my review of World War Z, Marc Forster is my favorite director, so I was guaranteed to enjoy this film. If you can find someone who also considers Marc Forster to be their favorite director (and who hasn’t already purchased World War Z), you should stop reading this and go to a casino. With that said, The Walking Dead is one of the most popular television series in the history of television series, so it’s almost a certainty that you know someone who is a fan of that show. This is a good gift for them because it’s entirely possible they seeing it because it doesn’t seem anything like The Walking Dead. Another option is to give this to that person you’ve been trying to convince to watch The Walking Dead, but they still haven’t (you know that person). Give them this as a gateway to The Walking Dead; just don’t let the power go to your head. Including the World War Z book would make for a nice combo present, if you’re so inclined. – ProFan John

RELATED: John’s ProFan Review: World War Z

 

  


X-Men: The Adamantium Collection

X-Men Adamantium Collection

The 2000 film X-Men can be–and has been–credited with blowing open the doors for Hollywood to start spending hundreds of millions of dollars making comic book adaptations. It did that because the Bryan Singer-directed film is fantastic. Singer’s follow-up X2 was even better. We don’t have to talk about X-Men: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but then X-Men: First Class really brought the film series back into positive territory; this year’s The Wolverine continued that move in a positive direction. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, you’re in luck; X-Men: The Adamantium Collection includes each and every film I mentioned: X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine are all collected here and joined by a one-hour documentary on the film series. Is that enough? Of course not! With this, you also get a Wolverine claw! There’s even an extra slot in the packaging where you can put X-Men: Days of Future Past, after it releases next year. Any comics fan should drool over this. – ProFan John


Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Collection

Finally, a collection for that person you know loves movies because they happen to own damn near every one that comes out, each and every week. You’re in luck because 1. This collection just came out last month, so your cinephile friend probably doesn’t own it. 2. While they’ve probably heard of Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, it’s likely they don’t actually own any of the Zatoichi films, yet. In case you’re unaware, Zatoichi is one of the longest-running film series in Japanese film history. This Criterion Collection release features digitally remastered versions of all 25 films spanning from 1962-1973, as well as a book of essays, short stories, and illustrations. – ProFan John


Television


Breaking Bad: The Complete Final Season

Breaking Bad: The Final Season

Breaking Bad is widely considered one of the best television series of all time, if not the best. I’m one of those people who would agree with that sentiment, and I’d say its final season was also its finest. Each of the eight episodes included in are phenomenal. If you have a friend who still hasn’t seen a single episode, probably go with the first season for them, but this is a great option for your friends whom you know loved the show. There was an awesome collection of the complete series released on the same day as this set; if you can find that still in stock anywhere, that’s a gift that will make your friend shit their pants with gratitude. – ProFan John


Dexter: The Complete Series

Dexter: The Complete Series

Dexter is not widely considered one of the best television series of all time. I think that’s unfortunate because I loved it. Even with what I do consider a weak final season, those first seven seasons we enjoyed living beside the dark passenger inside Dexter Morgan’s mind were outstanding. The time and care taken to unravel the psychology of a serial killer was absolutely well-spent. Dexter: The Complete Series is certainly worthy of the series. Not only does it come with plenty of interviews, featurettes, and two new documentaries, but the coolest part is the perfect packaging. Any Dexter fan will tell you this is the only way this series could have possibly been collected. It’s what Harry would have wanted. – ProFan John


Downton Abbey: Seasons 1-3

Downton Abbey

Your mother. Calm down; I’m not hurling yo mama insults. I’m saying, this is a great gift for your mother, if she’s not already watching Downton Abbey. This collection of the acclaimed series’ first three seasons will get her all caught up before the fourth season premieres on PBS, January 5, 2014, (the fourth series has already aired in the UK). Why do I say moms and not dads? Just a hunch, really; you know your family and friends better than I do, but I’m thinking there’s a better chance of your mother watching this and sticking with it. If you think your dad/brother/sister/boss will be into it, go for it. As a bonus, the collection also comes with Amazon-exclusive special features (which is easy because, as I said, the fourth series already aired in the UK). – ProFan John


Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Seasons 1-5

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

5 seasons. 14 discs. 108 episodes. That’s a ton of Star Wars: The Clone Wars excellence, and you can have it all; every last bit. Much like with The Walking Dead, everyone knows a Star Wars fan. You can be the hero of your Star Wars fan’s dreams, if you gift them this. Not only do you get every episode of the five seasons, you also get hours and hours of bonus material that includes: director’s cut episode, deleted scenes, and interviews. Plus, there’s a booklet filled with exclusive artwork. The only setback is that there will be a sixth and final season of the series in 2014, so this is not a “complete series” collection, but it’s still a damn fine collection. – ProFan John


Sons of Anarchy: Seasons 1-5

Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy is one of the best series on cable television, but it’s also terrible abrasive; that is to say, it’s not something you look at and automatically think it’s going to be a great story (unless you’re already a fan of motorcycle clubs). That’s why this collection would be a great gift for someone (or yourself) who hasn’t taken the plunge into anarchy, yet. It’s a great show to marathon, so your friend will burn through all 66 episodes included in this set, in not time at all; then they’ll be ready for season six, which is finishing up on December 10th and should be available on home media sometime around Valentine’s Day… ladies… – ProFan John


Supernatural: Seasons 1-8

Supernatural

Supernatural is in the middle of its 9th season; can you believe that? I can’t, but I think it’s awesome. It seems like just yesterday, the series was premiering on The WB and airing after Smallville; now it’s looking like it could just keep going forever (or at least a few more seasons). With that in mind, this collection is perfect for someone who desperately needs to tear through as much of the series as possible and jump on the bandwagon to ride until the wheels fall off. What you might not think about is, as often happens with long-running series such as this, some people came late to the party, so they’re watching the series’ new episodes but haven’t seen the earlier ones. I’m talking about daughters, sons, older parents; people who may not have the means or wherewithal to find these earlier episodes. Those are the people you buy this for, and they’ll be just as grateful as that time you “fixed” their computer by plugging it in. – ProFan John

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