Employee Gift Guide
You probably have a lot of pop culture-savvy people to shop for this holiday season, but how do you comb through all the amazing releases of 2014 and beyond to find that perfect, personalized gift for each one of them?
We're always looking out for you here at Shout! Factory, so we asked some of our in-house pop culture experts to pick some of the best gifts — Shout! Factory and otherwise — for the TV/movie/music geek on your list! Each employee picked two favorites from 2014, one classic release and one non-Shout! title from this year.
(See also: the official Shout! Factory 2014 Gift Guide and check out our festive It's A Wonderful Sale!)
As a fan of animation, I found this film to be utterly beautiful. Mix that with a fantastic soundtrack (by French group Dionysus) and you get a film that can stand-up next to any of Tim Burton’s masterpieces. The film itself is a little dark and not suitable for the younger kiddies. Now you know!
What’s not to love? Bob Newhart delivers his signature deadpan across this impressive 19-DVD set. The situations are timeless and, having grown up watching the show and its re-runs, totally memorable. The cast, the storylines … This is a Shout release that I wanted to add to my collection for ages.
Home Movies: The Complete Series
Quirky, irreverent, awesome. All words I’ve used over the years to convey why Home Movies was such an amazing, endearing show. It ran only four seasons on CN’s Adult Swim, but the talent behind it has gone on to create/work on Bob’s Burgers, Archer, Metalocalypse, Lucy: Daughter Of The Devil and others. There’s a lot of music and a load of laughs across these 12 DVDs. Our complete series set includes a tote bag and a director’s clapboard.
Every year, at least one set comes out through another studio that I salivate over. Last year’s Breaking Bad barrel comes to mind. This year, my childhood has come calling in the form of a Blu-ray set. I love everything about Batman’66: the villains, the guests, the sixtiesness, Bat Girl and our titular hero, along with the Boy Wonder. It’s cheesy fun and I cannot wait to have this beauty in my collection. I mean, it comes with a replica Batmobile, you know. Kapow!
Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series
Paul Reubens transformed a generation when this magical show first aired nearly 30 years ago. Its creativity and charm is off-the-charts, and the gorgeous restoration process for our Blu-ray release is perfectly timed to allow many of us who grew up with it to re-discover the magic ourselves while perhaps introducing it to a new generation of children. It’s difficult to think of another show that’s truly, perfectly entertaining for both kids and adults alike.
This is one of those movies that is bizarre enough to transcend the good/bad debate and move straight to endlessly entertaining. Whether Clint Howard is exacting revenge on military academy bullies via computer-downloaded demons (Esteban!) or a rampaging army of pigs, there’s never a dull moment. The last act alone is worth the price of admission.
Freaks & Geeks: The Complete Series
There’s no sense in going into a whole thing about why this is one of the greatest shows ever broadcast on television because most of us are very much aware of this. Apatow, Feig, Rogan, Segal, Franco, Starr... in the 15 years that followed, they have all become household names (try convincing an NBC exec back in 1999 that would one day be the case). But on the off-chance that just one person is reading this and still hasn’t sat down to discover this series, I urge you to go do so as soon as humanly possible. And if you’re a proud freak and/or geek who already lovingly owns the set, do yourself a favor and take it off the shelf to marathon through once more. It’s always a good time to return to McKinley High.
While it would have been beyond amazing to have been involved with this release, it’s immensely thrilling just to know that a restored set containing not only the show and the film but the long-rumored deleted footage as well now exists in our world. I won’t speculate on what the new season will be like in 2016, but it’s good to know that after nearly 25 years, that gum I like is finally back in style.
Everyone deserves to win a drink from the fire hose! Fans of "Weird Al" Yankovic should consider this movie mandatory fun — for the first time ever on Blu-ray, it's a must-have for Al aficionados everywhere.
MST3K Volume XXXI - The Turkey Day Collection
Not only does this DVD set come in a collectible tin (with a slipcase), you get limited-edition coasters sporting art from ten beloved episodes of the cult TV phenomenon. It's sure to make anyMST3K fan squirm with delight.
Rocko's Modern Life: The Complete Series
If you haven't seen this show in a while, it's time to revisit so you can remember how much it got right. The set makes a great gift for the '90s Nickelodeon kid in your life, and you can kick off the viewing marathon with the stellar Christmas episode!
Paradoxically known as both the "quiet one" and the "funny one" in The Beatles, George Harrison's best solo music rivaled any of his former bandmates' releases. In addition to his 1970 masterpiece All Things Must Pass, this box set collects all of his early solo work while signed to Apple.
WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series T
wo words: Les Nessman. The tape lines around his imaginary office made for classic sitcom tomfoolery. And you couldn’t help but wonder where he’d be wearing a band-aid next.
A twisted take on a classic story that makes you wish more movies were fueled by glam rock. Winslow Leach’s elaborate transformation into the Phantom is a high point.
Solid sketch comedy that tries really hard to be controversial (seriously, it has more drug references than a Cheech and Chong movie). But at its core, it’s pretty funny. Plus it gets bonus points for Andy Kaufman’s is-it-real-or-not meltdown in the middle of a sketch.
Admittedly, this movie takes a little while to get going. But once it’s firmly planted in the world of food/animal hybrids, it’s a fun ride. Assuming you’re not afraid of tacodiles.
Lady Hooligan Kat
The Angela Mao Ying Collection
As a former karate dummy for my older brother, I can deeply appreciate this awesome collection, as it honors a legend. Angela Mao Ying is famously known as Bruce Lee’s sister in the iconic Enter The Dragon, but in this collection, A.M.Y. leads the action. The little sister becomes the star and takes care of business!
Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series
Paul Reubens’ Pee-wee Herman character has meant so much to me since I was a kid. To this day, I still use versions of the “Pee-wee voice” at random times. This wacky release finally forced me to buy a Blu-ray player!
This classic '80s cartoon hits you at the core of your childhood rock star fantasies. For me, this “truly outrageous” series also shaped my penchant for sparkly earrings and colorful dudes named after exotic cities.
The queen of hip hop soul recorded this album in my favorite city in the world, cementing her status as a goddess in my book! You know you want to be as cool as her!
I’m sure any and all of your friends would love to hear stories from Cary Elwes himself about the making of this beloved movie. The only issue is whether to get the hard cover book (for all of the on-set photographs) OR the audiobook (to hear actual narration by Cary Elwes, Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, et al). I guess I have to get both!
One of cinema’s most controversial and enigmatic figures, Werner Herzog has been mesmerizing audiences for decades with his uniquely moving, often disturbing, but always awe-inspiring stories. The 16 acclaimed films and documentaries (15 of which are making their Blu-ray debuts) in Herzog: The Collection are some of Herzog’s most significant works, having inspired an untold number of filmmakers and leaving an indelible impression in the world of cinema. Perfect for the artist or fan of indie film on your list.
Years before The Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Apple, there was Phantom of the Paradise, Brian De Palma’s darkly satirical glam rock musical that tells the Faustian tale of Swan, (Paul Williams, who also wrote the acclaimed score) an evil record tycoon who is tormented by the disfigured composer Winslow Leach (William Finley, Sisters) he once wronged. This Academy Award-nominated cult favorite finally gets the release it deserves on Blu-ray, loaded with new bonus features. A great gift for lovers of musicals or anyone on your list who knows how to do The Time Warp.
Rocko’s Modern Life: The Complete Series
One of the few animated shows to break through the genre and emerge as a truly original television experience, Rocko's Modern Life is brimming with anthropomorphic social satire and offbeat humor. Whether you grew up watching the show, want to introduce it to a new generation, or just need a dose of 90s nostalgia,Rocko’s Modern Life: The Complete Series makes a great gift.
The story of the most famous movie never made. Anyone who loves film should see this fascinating portrait of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to create a big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal science fiction novel Dune. A joyous celebration of the creative spirit; invigorating and exhilarating, a beautifully told tale of Jodorowsky’s passion for art and the creative process. Perfect gift for the cinephile or sci-fi lover on your list, even if they aren’t familiar with the Dune books or Jodorowsky’s work.
In time for its 50th Anniversary, this beautiful Blu-ray transfer captures the jubilant energy of one the greatest rock n’ roll films of all time. With a soundtrack full of timeless Beatles tunes, A Hard Day’s Night is a brilliant reinvigoration of the movie musical format, showcasing the raucous enthusiasm of The Beatles on the cusp of their rise to stardom. A wonderful addition to the collection of any fan of The Beatles, rock n’ roll, or classic film.
Hey Arnold: The Complete Series
All 99 episodes of the beloved '90s Nicktoon starring a football-headed stoop kid came together for the first time in this year's Hey Arnold box set. Let the nineties nostalgia wash over you!
CatDog: The Complete Series
As long as you have a shelf adorned with Hey Arnold, Rocko's Modern Life, The Angry Beavers, etc., you might as well add one more Complete Series set of classic Nickelodeon animation.
Undeclared: The Complete Series
While Freaks And Geeks gets its well-deserved due, Undeclared was another gone-too-soon Judd Apatow comedy starring Seth Rogen (along with a very talented cast). Freaks And Geeks focused on the awkward high school years, but Undeclared focused on the awkward college years. Totally different!
Underneath the bizarre song titles and colorful album art lie 11 tracks of beautifully-layered indie pop music from singer/violin virtuoso Kishi Bashi. A solid follow-up to his excellent debut, there is always something new to discover with each listen.
Creative Services Department
My favorite genre of movie is the zombie movie. After over 2 decades of watching them, they can get old. But every couple of years, someone brings something fresh to the table, and The Battery does just that. Yes, we all know how horrifying a zombie apocalypse would be, but The Battery goes further. It explores the needs of different people and what conflicts arise when those needs clash. But don't worry, there are also some good old fashioned zombie head bashings in it too.
Werner Herzog is both a genius and a crazy m-effer. Examples of both are exemplified in this collection of his films (which include both narratives and documentaries). His madness and passion for film is highlighted in every film in this collection — from trying to haul a huge ship up a mountain to the deterioration of his working relationship with longtime collaborator, Klaus Kinski. I think Herzog himself would ponder with me when I ask, are his films simply a creation of a gifted artist, or are they a mirror into the darkness of our own souls?
As a very popular low-budget sitcom about teens was making its last run (starts with the world, "Saved"), I needed a void filled in my tween life. Lo and behold, California Dreams swooped in at just the right time. Not only did these good-looking teens get into their silly predicaments, but they were also in a band together! Pop songs and angsty teens? What a treat!
One of my favorite directors, Joon-ho Bong, makes his English-speaking film debut in this latest work. The story takes place in an apocalyptic future and Earth is in a new ice age. All of the survivors reside in one continuously moving train, where the rich live near the engine (where it's warmest) and the poor live in the back. With Chris Evans starring as the rebellion leader, Tilda Swinton as the mysterious spokesperson of "The President," and Joon-ho Bong regulars Sang Kang-ho and Ahn-sung Ko, this movie is my favorite from 2014.
It rocks! The music is great and it shows that friendship is really the most powerful magic.
It’s timeless and it’s Cinderella! Plus it included a retrospective featurette with cast interviews.
It’s a beautiful story with stunning animation and incredible music.
It’s like Mean Girls, but even funnier. (Yep, I said it.)