OFCS members answer the question:
If you had to give your friends just one DVD (or Blu-ray) as a holiday gift, which one would you choose, and why?
I would choose a movie that represents this year. It definitely would be Inception because it’s an original and brainy movie that surprised Hollywood with its success as if it were a commercial blockbuster, revealing that people are looking for good cinema and that the movie magic is still strong.
Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965), directed by Mike Kuchar. Released by Other Cinema. This is probably my favorite underground film of all time and Other Cinema did a quality job for its DVD release a couple years ago. The DVD also contains two other rarely seen brilliant Kuchar films, The Secret of Wendell Samson and The Craven Sluck; plus, insightful commentary by the director; and has a printed interview with Mike Kuchar conducted by Jack Stevenson in the accompanying booklet.
I’d give this to both my non-underground film fan friends, who’d be in for the bizarre sight of a robot rebellion a million years in the future that’s mostly filmed in Brooklyn basements with sheets draped on the walls, as well as to my weirdo cinema friends, who if they don’t have this classic in their library, they should. Alas, with the DVD currently being out of print, I’d go completely broke buying up hoarded collector copies.
Since most of my friends are just as excited when I give them DVDs as they would be if I were giving them tube socks, I usually don’t bother. However, if I were to choose a film this year, it would without a doubt have to be Metropolis: Limited Steelbook Edition (Masters Of Cinema, Blu-ray & DVD-combo). Finally the ultimate sci-fi film is as complete as we will ever see it. If only one of my friends would open the gift and watch this great classic in its original glory, I’d have done my job as a film critic.
My title of choice would be A Christmas Story (pick an edition), for two primary reasons: 1) As my all-time favorite film, I won’t rest until every man, woman, and child in the world has seen it, and 2) No other film I’ve seen better blends the nostalgia we associate with the holidays and the cranky snark that we usually experience.
I would give Bikini Bloodbath Christmas, which just came out on DVD. My reasons are threefold: (1) it is a fun movie, (2) it is a holiday film – sort of, and (3) I’m in the movie (I play the villain and I get disemboweled with a claw hammer).
I’d pick Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 House (a.k.a. Hausu). This cinematic phantasmagoria is hands-down the craziest film I have ever seen. And I mean that in a good way. Watching it is like having a 90-minute fever dream. Upon my first viewing, I became instantly obsessed. My reason for giving it would be simple: I’d want to give my friends an experience they’d never forget. Oh sure, I could buy them the latest Hollywood blockbuster, or a beloved indie, but I’d rather go for something that will knock their socks off in a totally left-field kind of way. House is completely insane and unpredictable, a work of mad genius that I’d love to share with everyone I know.
The DVD/Blu-Ray I would want everyone I know to have (had I the funds) is the Planet Earth series. Not only is it interesting and beautiful just as a work, but because I am passionate about advocating for the importance of preserving the earth. I feel like one cannot watch that series without being moved or without feeling the fragility of the wild world around us.
Micmacs. Without a doubt in my mind, Micmacs. After such a sublime year of films — and I’m the kind of guy who has Black Swan and Piranha 3D on my top ten — it’s still the best film experience I’ve had all year. Jeunet’s a pretty whimsical filmmaker, and Micmacs was simply delightful. There’s no other word for the film. It’s like the bastard child of Amelie and Ocean’s Thirteen, a throwback to the slapstick heyday of Chaplin and Keaton. It’s something you could show to children and to grandparents, to cynical hipsters who praise the glory of Godard without knowing who he actually was and to ardent fans of Paul Blart: Zoo Keeper, and everyone would enjoy it.
José Manuel Robado:
I Love You, Phillip Morris. The funniest way to show how true love is even stronger than laws.
Betty Jo Tucker:
How I would love to give my friends a Singin’ in the Rain DVD! There’s not one boring minute in this entertaining musical. And, as Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) says, “If we bring a little joy into yer humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain’t been in vain fer nothin’.”
Felix Vasquez Jr.:
I would give them The Big Lebowski mainly because it’s a movie that needs to be spread among the general movie going public like the gospel. It only takes a friend to get you hooked, so I’d give a copy to a friend or loved one as a way of showing them that their lives were incomplete before they met The Dude.
My choice is Gone with the Wind — great reminder to never give up.