Father's Day: HDD's Last Minute Blu-ray Shopping Guide!

Posted Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 01:45 PM PDT by Mike Attebery

Don't forget, Father's Day is this Sunday. If you're looking for some last minute ideas, HDD reviewer Aaron Peck is here to help!

See that guy over there flipping through the used DVDs. That's my Dad. Yes, he just bought a Blu-ray player, but he's already forgotten that buying Blu-rays is requisite. Oh crap, he's already got a few titles in hand, time to intervene.

"Dad, what are you doing?"

"Picking up some movies."

"But, you just bought a Blu-ray player, why are you searching through the DVDs?"

"Those Blu-rays are too much money," this exclamation is followed by a wave of the hand towards an overpriced Blu-ray shelf.

"Yes, these Blu-rays are too much. Did you realize we're at Hastings?"

"I like it here; they've got a great used DVD selection."

I can see that this is going to be tough, "Why did you buy a giant high-def TV and a Blu-ray player in the first place then?"

After a moment of contemplation, my Dad puts down the used copy of 'Catwoman' he's holding and replies, "The guy at Best Buy was a really good salesman, plus he gave me a dynamite deal."

"So, why aren't you getting any Blu-rays?"

"Because the salesman said Blu-ray players also play DVDs."

I don't know. Maybe it's a generational thing and there's a technological gap that holds them back, or may you have a more technologically savvy father. Whichever Dad you might have, shopping for them on Father's Day can be challenging. Whether he's the kind who doesn't realize the importance of upgrading his DVD collection ("But, I bought all these DVDs, I'm not just going to get rid of them"), or the kind of Dad who buys up every new release that hits the shelves ("Please tell me again, Dad, why you're holding 'Twilight: New Moon.' Are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob?") you still have to get him something for Father's Day.

So how do we shop for our different types of fathers? The following is a list of Dads that we all might have and suggestions on what to get them. Remember, he's the one that didn't tell your mom when he caught you making out with your high school crush in the basement, when you said you were only going down to watch 'Gremlins.'

New Releases Only Dad

Doesn't matter what the movie is really, as long as it's on the new release rack he'll pick it up. 'Inglourious Basterds,' check. '2012,' check. 'Couples Retreat,' ugh, check. To this Dad, Blu-rays are only available for movies after the format was invented. One mention of the word "catalog" causes a furrowed brow and confused look.

"Older movies Dad, catalog means older movies."

"They put older movies on Blu-ray? How does that even work?"

"None of that matters right now, let's just find you some movies that you didn't know existed in high-definition."

As you walk him past the giant cardboard cutout displays for 'Avatar' and 'Sherlock Holmes,' his look slowly changes from confusion to glee.

"Holy cow, they have 'The Natural,' and 'Field of Dreams'! Do they have 'Man from Snowy River?"

After suppressing your giggle, "No Dad, but I'm sure they'll get to that one soon."

Showing this Dad that other movies exist outside of the new release realm will be the gift that keeps on giving, and if your gift-giving conscience allows you, it could suffice as your Father's Day present. If not, picking up any John Wayne movie ('Rio Bravo,' 'The Searchers,' or 'The Cowboys' ) on Blu-ray would go a long, long way in showing him the vastly expanding catalog Blu-ray library.

Questionable Taste Dad

This Dad is a curious creature. It's amazing how he can come home with bags of films that run the gamut of the Quality Spectrum, everything from 'Anaconda,' to 'Braveheart.' After looking at his haul it's easy to be proud and mortified simultaneously.

The best cure for the Dad with Questionable Taste is to get him a collection of films that represent quality films across the board. Box sets are a perfect solution to the problem. Picking up the 'Rocky' collection on Blu-ray would be a nice start. Five out of the six films are great, giving you a wonderful ratio of good films compared to iffy ones. Other solid box sets include 'The Mel Brooks Collection,' and 'The Bourne Trilogy.' Another option for this type of Dad is purchasing a quality TV show that spans hours and hours of excellent storytelling. Blu-rays of 'Dexter,' 'Planet Earth,' and even '24,' can give him a new found love for watching TV on Blu-ray.

Snobby Dad

Look, all Dads don't swig beer, tell dirty jokes, and play golf every other weekend. Some fathers out there are heads of university English departments, sip lattes, and read poetry for fun. You may have a Dad like this, and find him very hard to please.

This is where the classics come in. Showing your snobby Dad that they have classic movies like 'Casablanca,' on Blu-ray should be the way to go. Introducing him to the foreign Blu-ray scene should go over well. He may be one of those haughty types that thinks if it doesn't have subtitles, I'm not watching it. The German film, 'The White Ribbon' is due out in a couple weeks, and promises to satisfy the snobby and casual film watcher alike.

Get him a few Criterions to start out with, and he just may be collecting for the rest of his life. 'Vivre sa Vie,' 'M,' 'Everlasting Moments,' and 'Pierrot le fou' would be perfect starting points to show him exactly what can be had when investing in Criterion Blu-rays.

DVD Hound Dad

His DVD collection is legendary. His Excel spreadsheet catalogs all his titles alphabetically, and he's even engineered an efficient system for lending them out. He was a very early DVD adopter, and now the money he has spent amassing his collection could've easily put you through college. In short, it's his baby. He isn't going to give it up without a fight.

First thing's first, get him to find out what HD actually looks like. Remember he went from VHS to DVD, a world of difference. In his mind it's darn near impossible anything could look better.

He's most likely been using standard definition cable for years. A small present might be getting him hooked up, for a little extra money with HD cable (assuming he has an HD-ready TV. If not, well you know what to do). Make sure to show him what sporting events look like on regular cable and then what they look like in HD. This is a good segue into mentioning Blu-rays. Don't be frightened if your father recoils in fear. He's most likely heard from his DVD-loving buddies that Blu-rays are "Too expensive," "Don't look any different," "Are just another way for the movie studios to bilk more money out of you because you're forced to re-buy your entire collection." After you've talked him out of the corner he's cowering in, take him over to your local Best Buy and show him a side-by-side comparison. Once he sees the error of his ways, it may be hard to curtail him when he's spending his retirement money on the latest and greatest equipment. This is when you have to step in and say, "Dad, I know you're excited, but that three thousand dollar 3-D TV probably isn't going to be the best purchase right now."

To get his Blu-ray collection started, you may want to go with some great demo material like 'Avatar,' or any of the Pixar titles ('Up,' 'Monsters, Inc. and 'Toy Story') to give him a good idea of what he can expect with his new purchase.

Weaning him off of DVDs, will be the challenge, but give it time. Future Father's Days you can continue to purchase Blu-rays for his favorite films on DVD, slowly replacing his collection. It will be a slow process, but be proud of yourself it definitely wasn't an easy road.

Sports Junkie Dad

His gigantic high-def TV is used for nothing more than watching every sporting event ever broadcast. There's a simple solution here. Getting this Dad any few sports movies should suffice nicely.

If he's a football fan give him 'Remember the Titans,' or 'Any Given Sunday,'. Baseball fan? No problem we've got comedic baseball with 'Major League,' dramatic baseball with 'The Rookie,' or Kevin Costner baseball with 'Bull Durham.' Is your Dad a basketball guy? Well, Blu-ray has him covered there too. Take your pick from feel good teamwork types like 'Coach Carter,' or 'Glory Road.' Want to go more in the way of sporting classics? Try the storied 'Hoosiers.'

After buying all these sports films, you may find yourself lamenting that the 'Mighty Ducks' hasn't found its way to Blu-ray yet. I know I have.

Action Jackson Dad

Balls-to-the-wall, one hundred and ten percent action all the time. Explosions, gunfire, and balled fists connecting with faces continuously emanate from his sound system. This Dad is pretty easy to buy for actually.

Any action film will do, but let's try and stick to the ones that are actually good films as opposed to getting him 'Transformers 2' and then having to suffer through it every time he sits down to watch it. 'The Dark Knight,' and 'Batman Begins,' should start things off well. Follow those up with 'Iron Man,' 'Casino Royale,' and 'Enemy at the Gates,' and you've got yourself a pack of action that also contains some quality cinema.

So, whichever Dad you may have (or whatever combination of the above) you have a general roadmap of what to do if you're planning an HD-centric Father's Day surprise. Your Dad is special, he raised you, and made you the person you are today, the least you can do for him is show him what he's doing wrong and correct it.

Happy Father's Day!

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