High-Def Digest’s Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Blu-rays for the Folks Who Have...Issues

Posted Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 09:00 AM PST by Mike Attebery

All relatives are different, but some relatives are a little more...different...than others. Fortunately, Aaron Peck has compiled a list of perfect Blu-ray's for the loved ones who tend to keep us on our toes! Without further adieu, we present High-Def Digest's Alternative Gift Guide for 2009!

by Aaron Peck

Families are anything but generic. With that in mind here's a more specific approach to gift giving this year.

For that Brother-in-Law who is always trying to get you to invest in another one of his "side businesses," you could offer him a subtle hint that you don't think this new opportunity will amount to much by giving him 'Enron - The Smartest Guys in the Room.' Or you could go with a more abstract approach and give him 'Jennifer's Body,' with a note that simply says, "Nothing is ever a sure thing." Whatever you do, don't buy him any movies that showcase someone making tons of money from a harebrained scheme. In short, you can be happy 'Envy' hasn't found its way to Blu-ray yet. Continuing to weave our way through the list of eccentric characters we call our family, what follows is a list of the typical and not so typical family members and the perfect high definition gifts to give them this year.

Deeply Disturbed Emo Sister: She's just turned fifteen and her favorite pastimes are painting her nails black, applying thick streaks of dark eye makeup, shuffling around Hot Topic, and listening to "The Used." Her dour look and demeanor make you think she doesn't care much for life, let alone Christmas. But, being the nice person that you are, you decide to get her something anyway. You could go with the tried and true method of buying her 'Nightmare Before Christmas,' which is always a hit with the emo crowd. Chances are she's already got a zip-up hoodie with Jack Skellington's face plastered on the front. Or you could go with a more subversive approach and get her 'Twilight,' in the hopes that she'll see she's acting exactly like sour-puss Kristen Stewart, and change her ways.

Please avoid happy- sappy movies as these might cause an adverse affect, causing your sister to spiral downward into a state of endless woe. Whatever you do, don't attempt to remind her how happy the world can be, you've been warned.

Slacker Brother: Sitting in the basement playing Halo, this family member is rarely seen with the rest of the family, unless, of course, he has a Hot Pocket craving and must venture out of his cave to microwave his next meal. The Slacker Brother is one of the easiest to buy for. Any movie based on a video game will suffice. You have a wealth of movies to choose from, starting with the 'Resident Evil' films and moving right along to 'Max Payne.' Really, it doesn't matter. Sure he might bicker that the movie doesn't follow along exactly with the game storyline, but after passing out in a Mountain Dew induced coma, he won't remember what he watched anyway.

This may go without saying, but avoid movies with excessive love stories in them. This will just be remind him of a life that shall forever remain just out of reach , given his current rut.

I'll-watch-anything-as-long-as-there's-fighting-in-it Dad: Oh, Dad. Sometimes we shake our heads at his movie choices. How in the world can someone come home from the movie store with 'Saving Private Ryan' in one hand, and 'Catwoman' in the other? We'll just never understand it. In any case here's your chance to help your Dad add some quality titles to his collection, all the while keeping in mind the fact that he likes the rock'em, sock'em "Seagalian" genre of movies. 'Braveheart,' and 'Gladiator' are always safe choices, and if he's buying 'Catwoman' we know that he's not going to be concerned with a few missing arrows.

You may want to avoid films that may further his descent into crappy action movies. He's probably already bought 'Transformers 2,' but you can stop the bleeding and not pick up 'G.I. Joe' for him.

Overworked Mom: She never has time for movies anyway, right? So why not get her something else? Well, because everyone needs to take a break to watch a movie now and then. Here's the perfect time to show her that the old classics look fantastic in HD. 'It's a Wonderful Life,' 'Miracle on 34th Street,' or 'Wizard of Oz,' should do the trick.

Contrary to popular belief I think avoiding movies like 'Julie and Julia' would be a good idea here, it's probably not a good idea to remind her of what she's probably been doing all day.

Clueless Best Friend: We all know one. He's not clueless when it comes to life, but when it comes to Blu-ray and high definition media he's completely lost. He's still out buying DVDs at Border's for MSRP for heaven's sake. Every time he asks us "Is Blu-ray really that much better than DVD?" and we answer "Hell yes!" we just get a strange, skeptical (infuriating!) look back. Since he's already got a semi-nice high-def TV to watch sports on digital cable, all you have to do is point him in the right direction for a cheap Blu-ray player. If you're really a nice friend, spending a bit more money to upgrade him to Blu-ray by buying him a cheap player would be a perfect present. To show off the capabilities of Blu-ray you'll want to get some great demo material. 'Wall-e' or 'Up' would do quite fine in that regard.

Tyrannical Boss: Face it, even though your boss makes your life a living hell, it might be strategically prudent to get a present for them, just so you aren't in the dog house the next time you have a special request. You can give a gift and make a statement at the same time though. After lamenting that 'Glengary Glen Ross' hasn't made it to Blu-ray yet, you can get 'Office Space' as a subtle jab to your employer. If you'd rather not waste a modern day comedic classic on the person who makes you loathe getting up in the morning, then maybe 'Wanted' would do. That way you're giving a solid movie that almost anyone would like, with the satisfaction that your boss is watching a movie that slyly gives the middle finger to administrative tyrants and cubical Napoleons everywhere.

Dirty Old Uncle: Every family reunion he just sits there, a table away from the Jell-o buffet, leering at any girl that walks past. He makes lame jokes about the buttons on a girl's blouse, just so he can inch his finger closer. Drawing the gift giving line right before this person may be a good idea anyway. It's too bad all those Lifetime movies featuring countless deviant men don't usually get put on Blu-ray. But, maybe a little hint with 'Fireproof' might work.

Whatever you do, please do not forward his morbid curiosity with much younger women by purchasing him anything that could be associated with the word "titillating." He doesn't need the reinforcement and the rest of the family doesn't need the added aggravation.

Rambunctious Niece/Nephew: "Stop chewing on the couch! Don't touch that TV! Hands off my Blu-ray collection!" Just another day of babysitting your beloved nieces and nephews, right? Well, what we're looking for here is something that will induce that much needed trance effect that we all crave with out-of-control children. For the niece, 'Hannah Montana' should do quite nicely, although this may spawn impromptu child karaoke. For the nephew, 'Bolt' or any of the 'Ice Age' films should be colorful enough to trigger the trance receptors in his head. Before you know it, you'll have a noise free living room. Introducing them to non-CGI animated features may also be an interesting idea. The 'Wallace and Gromit' collection should go over well with the younger generation.

Just because your little nephew is a fan of Batman, doesn't mean 'The Dark Knight' would be a good choice. You may have to console him after that dude gets a pencil shoved in his head. You don't want to be the person who has to explain how dangerous pencils can be, seriously, he just started school!

(Any representations that may appear to be from my own life are purely coincidental. I promise)

Looking for other ideas? Be sure to check out our other Holiday Gift Guides for 2009!

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Tags: Aaron Peck, High-Def Retailing, Best of 2009, Holiday Guides 2009 (all tags)