What DVDs did you get for Christmas?

Normally I buy my kids whatever the new blockbusters are on DVD. But IMO, there weren’t many good movies this year, so I got my kids (who are all teenagers) mostly cult classics. I think it’s safe for you to assume that my kids would appreciate them more, anyway.

My 15 year old son asked for and received:

Dr Strangelove
He wanted it because it’s the only comedy Kubrick’s ever done. I’d never seen it, so he was sure to point out to me (many times) that it was the inspiration for both my favorite book (Catch-22) and my favorite TV show (MASH). It is completely bizarre and totally awesome. And has some classic Kubrick direction, of course. Did you know the scene where George C Scott is half-running across the room, ranting about something excitedly, falls down and gets back up in the middle of his sentence and never stops talking was an accident? He never broke character so they left it in.

Monty Python’s The Holy Grail
No, we didn’t already own it. My kids have seen it many times already though.

I also got them:

Harold & Maude
Would you believe I’ve never seen this movie? I don’t know how that’s possible, since when I was a teen, my brothers watched it over and over. I’ve seen bits and pieces but have never watched the whole thing. I think this is the only movie that we got for Christmas we haven’t watched yet. But we will, and soon.

I’d never seen this one, either. Made in the early 1930s by a filmmaker who used to work in a circus sideshow, he used real circus sideshow freaks as the cast. There is a bearded lady, midgets, “pinheads,” armless women who eat with their feet, a legless man who walks on his hands, conjoined twins, and even a fellow with no arms OR legs who can light his own cigarette. What’s fascinating about the movie is that the real freaks are the “normal” people who use and abuse the sideshow performers. The movie was banned in different places after being released. Probably the most famous scene from it is the wedding celebration scene:

There’s also an extra feature about the performers in the movie, what is known about their history and such. We started watching it because we were interested, but it goes on and on, and we started joking that it was going to be longer than the actual movie. And it is! But we couldn’t turn it off because we wanted to know about them all. The limbless man was married and had kids; the main midget character was in the Lollipop Guild in the Wizard of Oz. Some of the performers later regretted being in the movie because they thought it portrayed sideshow performers in a bad light.

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story
When I heard about this movie I HAD to get it. It’s not available officially, you can only find pirated copies of it. It tells the story of Karen Carpenter’s struggle with anorexia nervosa. But it’s told using Barbie dolls. Barbie dolls! The filmmakers didn’t get permission to use the Carpenters’ songs in the movie and were sued by Richard Carpenter, which is why it’s not available in stores anymore.

However, it is available on youtube.

I kept asking my kids why we weren’t making movies like it. My son said it was even freakier than Freaks.

I also got my husband the second season of the Miami Vice TV show, because whenever there’s nothing on TV we’ve been watching season one and we’re almost done with it. We are loving it.

Also picked up because they were cheap at Blockbuster:

Star Trek
GI Joe
Ghost Town

The only one we’ve tried to watch so far is GI Joe, and we fell asleep in the middle of it. Action movies are so boring.


34 thoughts on “What DVDs did you get for Christmas?

  1. The Bourne Identity (had the 2nd & 3rd but not this one for whatever reason)
    Man on Wire (best film of 2008)
    Let the Right One In (I’m not a vampire movie fan, but this movie is amazing)
    The Wrong Guy (got this in a Secret Santa exchange – not very good, but there are a couple of great moments of physical comedy)
    Xavier: Warrior Angel Seasons 1 & 2 (also received in the Secret Santa exchange. It’s an Adult Swim cartoon from the folks who did Wonder Showzen and it’s probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen)

  2. Wow Susan! OK, Harold and Maude was my all time favorite movie when I was in Jr High and High School. I think I saw it like over 50 times (in the THEATER!). Wow. I hope you like it. Monty Python and the Holy Grail — basically I was one of those geeks that memorized most of the movie.

    I think these are great gifts! No one got any DVDs for Christmas, but before Christmas, my husband went and bought several at the going-out-of-business Blockbuster. I’m not sure of all the titles, but one was Pollack.

  3. I should add those were primarily for the kids. I don’t get videos much. Between Netflix and bit torrent I don’t feel the need. Plus I don’t have as much time to watch movies. It’s funny as when I was single I bought a lot of videos.

  4. Watching Dick Clark at the New Year’s Eve thing last night felt like witnessing a hate crime. Poor guy.

  5. [quote]What the heck is wrong with Dick Clark[ /quote]

    He sold his soul to the devil to never age. Some rumor by bathing in the blood of virgins. And he didn’t. He did the new years eve bash for decades. Then knowing the jig was up – he was 80 and looked 38 – he hired someone who looked vaguely like him but who was old – in his late 70s. Using this imposter (who really believes he aged 40 years in a single year) Dick Clark BECAME Carson Daly. And the nightmare will continue for decades more.

  6. I enjoyed Man on Wire. But I love documentaries. Unfortunately every doc we watch always ends up being held up to King of Kong, and none can compare.

  7. Meems: How did you see Harold & Maude in the theater? Didn’t it come out in ’71? I thought you were my age or younger. Or was it one of those theaters that show cult classics?

  8. No, I don’t think I’ve heard of it. Is that about a spelling bee?

    Have you seen Wordplay? That’s pretty fun, if you like crosswords.

    Another fave of mine is the classic Errol Morris one about pet cemeteries called Gates of Heaven.

  9. I bought my wife The Truth About Charlie, not because it’s a good movie (it’s not), but because it has one of the best available versions of Charade on the B-side of the DVD.

    If you see Spellbound (the documentary, not the Hitchcock movie), you *must* watch the deleted scenes. There is one that that just blew me away with its greatness.

  10. No, I don’t think I’ve heard of it. Is that about a spelling bee?

    Yes, it’s about a spelling bee.

  11. Susan — there was a rerelease of Harold and Maude that was playing in all the theaters in the mid-late 70’s. It was also playing a lot in retro theaters, and always on a double bill with weird movies like Robin and Marian, and Lifeguard. I sat through those other movies countless times. Ahh, the memories!

  12. Oh! I LOVE spellbound. I tried to find it and buy it on iTunes ones, and they didn’t have it. I was SO bummed out.

  13. Meems: Finally saw Harold & Maude last night. What a great movie! Totally an all-time fave now.

    “You sure have a way with people.”

    “Well, they’re my species!”

  14. He was old enough that his mother was trying to find him a wife. He looked like he was 16 though.

    It’s understandable that a 60-year age difference would creep you out.

    I think the movie was making a big statement about the Vietnam War.

  15. I never caught the Viet Nam references. It just struck me as a weird combination of The Graduate twisted around in odd ways. And to be honest socially 60 year old differences were acceptable then in reverse. (There was a Charles Bronson movie I recall where he is dating an 18 year old and is in his 40’s in England that proposes a big deal)

    Still, it did creep me out. But then the trophy wives of old rich guys creeps me out too. (Although my wife is 10 years my junior)

  16. Maude didn’t look or act 80 years old, of course. But it is a dark comedy, you guys. Meant to be absurd.

    You guys seen the part with the priest?

    I would be remiss in my duty if I did not tell you that the idea of intercourse – the act of your firm, young body… comingling with… withered flesh… sagging breasts… and flabby b-b-buttocks… makes me want… to vomit.

    But maybe the movie was more of a commentary on the differences between the two generations and how war shaped them. Maude is a Nazi concentration camp survivor and her experiences made her embrace life, she became a very free person. Harold’s generation is fighting the Vietnam war and just look at him: obsessed with death and living under his mother’s thumb.

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