‘Tis the season to find a special gift for friends, family members and loved ones. As a young culture connoisseur I am frequently asked for recommendations on the latest and greatest things. The last two weeks have been all about reading so now it’s time to use those eyeballs for something else. Below you’ll find great titles for any fan of movies. To be clear, this is not a “Best Movies of 2017” list because some of those are still in theaters and the home viewing experience can’t exactly be wrapped. However, you could always gift someone a movie ticket.
Samurai Jack: The Complete Series — It’s not exactly proper form to start a list about movies with a television series, however I have my reasons. Genndy Tartokovsky’s Emmy-winning animated masterpiece feels like watching a movie, especially the recent fifth and final season. While the earlier seasons have typical filler episodes here and there, the closing arc was one continuous breathtaking story. No matter the episode though, the box of Blu-rays showcases Tartokovsky’s signature cinematic style that deserves to be seen by all.
“Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” — Without this movie we may very well not be in today’s superhero renaissance. In 1993 Warner Brothers translated Batman’s acclaimed animated series to the big screen in the midst of the live-action versions and it was a hit. Yet though it’s often cited as one of the best Batman films, and inspired Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” it didn’t arrive on Blu-ray until now. Partner the gift with “Batman: The Animated Series,” which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, on Blu-ray as well to complete the award-winning saga that features Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Bruce Timm’s handiwork.
“The Big Sick” — If you want to gift a release that has the most heart in all of 2017, look no further. Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon, known for their stand-up show at The Meltdown, wrote a semi-autobiographical movie that will make you laugh and cry. Just like in real life, Gordon’s character meets Nanjiani at one of his shows before she suddenly enters a coma caused by a lung infection. This genre-blended flick combines meeting parents that disapprove of an interracial relationship, hospital stress, and Ray Romano and Holly Hunter to form a raw and earnest love story.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” — The first “Star Wars” film to stand outside of a trilogy happens to be one of the franchise’s best. Though we didn’t need to know how plans for the iconic Death Star were found, illuminating that corner of the galaxy gave us a gritty tale that slides perfectly into the original trilogy. I’m usually hesitant to recommend a single entry in a series before the inevitable box set, but since Disney will be pumping out space fantasy operas until the end of time that could be a pretty long wait. Borrowing themes from Vietnam War-based media, it is easily the most tragic and serious movie featuring a lightsaber in 40 years. I’m positive the pair would make a great double feature even though Rogue One doesn’t tie in directly to this week’s anticipated release.
“Logan” — If you got (or are going to get) a 4K television from a recent Black Friday deal then this should be one of the first discs you pop into the player. Everyone’s favorite Canadian X-Men unleashes his claws once more to protect his loved ones at all costs in the bleak year of 2029. The high dynamic range elevates the sun soaked roads and makes it feel like a Cormac McCarthy novel that came to supersaturated life. Taking a cue from “Mad Max: Fury Road” the home release even comes with a black and white version to please the cinephiles. Wolverine may be showing signs of age, but this edition will be timeless.
“Get Out” — I devoted an entire column to this movie earlier in the year so it should be no surprise that it’s on the list. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut put a twist on horror that smashed box office records because it’s funny, scary and highly relevant in today’s political climate. I don’t want to spoil too much because it improves with ignorance. Just trust the critics putting “Get Out” on the top of their end-of-year-lists. Remember when it took months or more until a movie was available to watch after it left the box office? We’re lucky that we can gift the best movie of 2017 in 2017.