Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide: TV, Film & Movies

Welcome to our annual holiday gift guide, where the flock takes a break from talking about all the awesome and not so awesome things to... talk some of the awesome things you might want to consider for your Holiday shopping this year. And, unlike Joe's entry, this will be 100% Hamilton free.

Joe: For the Hamilton obsessed in your life (Editor's note: are you kidding me right now)

by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Others
(why are you doing this)

While less explicitly speculative fiction than everything on this list, one could certainly make an argument about the Hamilton musical itself being alternate history due to the race bending cast (and a number of people did last year in considering the soundtrack for the Best Related Work Hugo Award). In the case of the Hamilton Mixtape I'm more than willing to put forth the idea that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Nas wrapping on the sublime "Wrote My Way Out" is some sort of best and alternate dream of our world and even though it really happened, is still so perfect that it surely counts. Also, this is NERDS of a Feather, and if Hamilton love isn't the best example of Nerddom, I don't know what is. The Mixtape also features contributions from Dessa (don't miss "Congratulations"), Usher, The Roots, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Chance the Rapper and more!

Shana: For the horror obsessed in your life

2015, Dir Guillermo del Torro

Crimson Peak is a masterful and beautifully rendered gothic horror/romance movie. The plot centers around a young woman being swept off her feet by a hopeful businessman and inventor come to the city to meet with her father. They soon wed and he whisks her away to his family estate which sits atop a blood-red clay deposit. Unclear if the poor woman is haunted by her past or her new husband's, we watch as secrets slowly reveal themselves. The stunning visuals transport the viewer into Guillermo del Toro's world and serve to create a sensory experience unmatched by many. The bonus features allow for an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at how Guillermo del Toro created this lavish world. This movie will delight any gothic horror fan and provide endless enjoyment with multiple viewings just to catch all the delightful details.
Gustav: For the 80's obsessive in your life...

 by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

Everyone's favorite summer show wouldn't have been the same without the killer score by Dixon and Stein, who are both in the incredible Austin-based synth band S U R V I V E. It's hard to remember the last time a TV show had original music this evocative--probably Seinfeld.

Brian: for the person in your life who has a strong tolerance for dumb humor

Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan (dirs.)

I know you're probably laughing already, which is good! Get warmed up, because you're going to laugh at Sausage Party. Sausage Party is stupid. It's really stupid. It might be the stupidest movie I've ever seen. It's 90 minutes of computer animated food talking and trying to have sex with each other. I've spent a lot of time wondering how Sausage Party got made; who thought of it, who wrote it, who listened to the pitch, who agreed to make it, who distributed it, and how did they sell it to theaters. But when I was watching this movie, I was laughing. It got the most laughs out of me I've had all year. It's so incredibly stupid, but it works.

Dean: For the person preparing for January 20th in your life

Mad Max: Fury Road: Black & Chrome
 Dir George Miller

Fury Road is in my top five favorite movies for a whole host of reasons. Its few detractors knock it for "not having a story", which is silly, because it has an amazing story. We are just used to being spoon-fed stories from movies, whereas this is a masterclass in not telling us anything, but rather presenting it organically and viscerally.

Speaking of.

Black & Chrome takes that to new levels- George Miller said he meant for it to be this way, and who are we to argue with ol' Happy Feet? In any case, this is an amazing take on an amazing feature, in a way that most films would suffer from, but for this base brutality of storytelling and spectacle, feels just right.