I was pretty happy with last year’s Holiday Gift Guide, so I thought I’d do it again this year. This year gifts range from $5 books to $250 dollar box sets. I’ve scoured Amazon for the best box sets, as well as added some films and books that have made my year pretty great. I think there’s a little something for everyone here. Treat yourself. Treat the movie lover in your life. Treat your favorite film blogger. Everything you need can be found in this handy, dandy guide. I upped this year’s list from 15 to 20 items because there were just so many great new Blu and box set releases this year!
A few weeks ago I did an interview with Stephen Bogart as he was promoting the new Warner Bros. Smithsonian Theater in D.C. The theater’s first showing was a gorgeously restored digital print of Casablanca, which celebrates its 70th Anniversary this year. Last night Fathom Events did a one-night only screening of the classic film in theaters across the nation. I am in North Carolina right now on business (related to this site actually; more info on that coming soon!), so I was able to see the film with my friend Kate. I saw it in theaters once before when I was in college, but it is a film that just gets better and better with each additional viewing.
Next Tuesday Warner Bros. is releasing the swankiest Blu-ray edition ever as part of the film’s 70th anniversary. Not only does it feature a brand-new restored digital transfer, but the set comes with so many fantastic special features and goodies. I have definitely pre-ordered this baby and you should, too!
Tomorrow is the grand opening of the new Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian Institute. In celebration of the opening the theater will be screening four films featuring Humphrey Bogart, arguably the studio’s must notable star: Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of Sierra Madre and The Big Sleep. Stephen Bogart, son of film legends Bogart and Lauren Bacall, will be on hand for the inaugural presentation of Casablanca. I was lucky enough to speak with him briefly this morning about the new theater, his father’s legacy and some of his thoughts on Hollywood today.
So I recently completed one of my life goals: watching every single film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. I would say it took me 24 years, because that’s how old I am and the Academy Awards have been my favorite hobby as long as I can remember. However, it was in the last six weeks or so that I’ve been really hitting the list hard because I realized I only had twenty left and that seemed like a very doable task. All but two of these films are available on DVD. Sadly, one of my Top Ten Winners isn’t. You can, however, get it on VHS and find it on YouTube if you’re wily. It’s been a wonderful experience watching all 82 films. Most are really quite wonderful, others are so-so and a handful I thought were downright boring. My next goal is to watch all of the films that were nominated for Best Picture. There are 474 films that have been nominated and I’ve seen 257 of those films already, which only leaves 217. I’m figuring on some of the earlier films to be a little hard to come by and I also plan on taking a few years to try to complete this goal. I’m sure I’ll write something about that when I do finish it! But now on to my favorite and least favorite Best Picture winners.