Holiday Gift Guide for the Movie Buff on Your List

So it’s that time of year. Time to buy gifts for your friends and family yet again as the world all over celebrates this corporate, commercial, money-hungry, festive and generosity-filled holiday. Some of you may already have it all taken care of by now. Others may be last-minute shoppers like myself and think that even now is just the start of the shopping season. No matter which you fall under, there’s bound to be at least a couple more on your list to check off. In this article, we’ll give you some ideas for gifts for those movie buffs you may have on your list.

1. Movies

Of course a movie buff loves movies. However, this gift selection isn’t as obvious as some of you may think. In fact, it could be one of the hardest choices for a movie fan there is. There are all types of problems that may arise here. You could pick the wrong format, the wrong medium, the wrong edition. Or you could plain and simple just pick the wrong movie. Or even more possible, buy them a movie they already own (afterall, they are movie buffs, chances are they have TONS of movies already making it even more likely to buy something they already have). Thus, that’s why I recommend staying away from this selection unless that movie fanatic in your life has actively been hinting at a certain movie lately. In which case, go for it. Movies are definitely good for us movie buffs. But again, be careful in what you buy. Or at least save the receipt and don’t be offended when that person needs to return your gift.

2. Netflix

Now for those of you wanting to get your movie buff some movies, but don’t want to go through the headache of making sure you don’t get the wrong thing, Netflix is your answer. Netflix allows that cinephile on your list access to all kinds of movies from the old to new, domestic to foreign, indie to blockbuster and so on. The great thing about this too, they get to choose which movies they want to watch, while you just pay for the subscription. Netflix Gifts come in a variety of plans and a variety of lengths. You can get your movie lover just the streaming package or you can choose a package which allows streaming, plus up to 1, 2, or 3 DVDs out at a time. These can all be bought in lengths from 1 month to 1 year. For instance, a streaming package for 6 months will run you about $48. Or you can go with 2 DVDs out at a time for 1 year for about $180. No matter what the choice, it’s sure to be a hit with the movie buff in your life. It doesn’t matter if they already have a subscription either as a Netflix Gift can simply be added to their already existing subscription and they’ll get free months of their service.

3. Fandango Card

Of course every movie buff spends ample amounts of time at the theater. So, along the lines of the Netflix thing, another option is a Fandango gift card (or a gift card from a local theater). This gives your movie buff a gift that will keep on giving over the year as they revisit the theater. Each time getting to enjoy the big screen magic on your dime. The movie buff on your list will surely love a gift like this over the months as they get to catch all the latest releases.

4. Movie Memorabilia

Your typical movie buff is obsessed with movies in probably a way you will never fully understand. As such, this means everything about movies they enjoy. Thus, another good gift for that movie lover on your list is movie memorabilia. This ranges from movie posters, to shirts, to collector’s items, to autographed items, to boxed sets, to film cells and artwork. You can even buy scripts/screenplays/props from their favorite movies online. With many online outlets that sell this type of stuff, the possibilities are endless once you know some of your movie buff’s favorite movies or actors, etc.

5. Movie-Related Books and Magazines

As I stated before, chances are the movie buff in your life loves everything movie-related. This goes for books and magazines as well. Biographies on their favorite actors or movie-related books are good unconventional ideas for the movie buff in your life. There are plenty books out there designed for these types of people. From 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die to 1000 Films to Change Your Life to The 100 Best Movies to Rent You’ve Never Heard Of to even more specific books like 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die. All would be a welcome treat for the movie buff in your life. Likewise, the movie buff in your life most assuredly likes to keep up with all things movies and get insights into the industry they so love. As such, magazine subscriptions that cater to these types are also good choices. These include print and online types. Though I will say you’ll want to go beyond the more mainstream types of Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stones, etc. Instead, look into things like ‘Boxoffice Magazine’, ‘Hollywood Reporter’, ‘Premiere’, ‘Empire’ (UK), ‘MovieMaker’ or ‘Filmmaker Magazine’. Likewise, you could also get them a subscription to online industry rags like Variety.com or ProductionWeekly.com.

6. Universal Remote

As you probably know, the movie buff in your life definitely has a love for electronics. This is especially true when it comes to their home entertainment setup. All of that gear can get out of hand though when remote controls begin piling up. Introduce the Logitech Harmony. The cream of the crop when it comes to universal remotes. This line of remotes from Logitech range from about $100 to over $300. Any movie buff would be happy to get their hands on such a remote control to accent their setup.

7. Roku Box

This is a great accompanying gift for a Netflix subscription. The streaming player allows the movie lover to use any of those streaming services to stream movies directly to their TV instead of having to watch on their computer or laptop. This is great for any movie buff who would much rather watch on their big screen TV rather than their little computer monitor. The Roku box allows for Netflix instant streaming on your TV. It also allows access to such services as Hulu Plus, Amazon On Demand and more.

8. Blu-Ray Player

Chances are your movie buff already has one of these in their collection. However, for those that don’t a Blu-ray player is a great gift for the movie buff in your life. Providing for a high-definition movie viewing experience, the movie buff in your life will love the immersion of watching their favorite movies in pristine hi-def.

9. Popcorn Maker

Everybody knows: popcorn goes with movies like jelly goes with peanut butter. And for some reason, kettle popcorn just tastes better. So why not bring that theater goodness into the home of your favorite movie buff giving them the gift of snacks anytime they sit down to watch a movie at home. You can find many kettle popcorn makers for under $100. Any movie buff would find it cool to have their very own popcorn maker sitting in the corner of their room for access whenever they want to spend the evening watching movies (and trust me, they do this very often).

10. “Gaming” Chair

These provide the ultimate comfort when sitting in front of the TV for a movie. With built-in speaker systems and ultimate comfort, there are tons of stylish gaming chairs out there. Any movie buff would love one of these cool recliner/pedestal chairs to kick back and enjoy their movie-viewing experience. Not only does it just flat-out look cool and are they comfortable, but they also provide more immersion with the speakers in the headrest and subwoofers built into the chair that make you rumble along with explosions on the screen.

11. Surround Sound System

Speaking of sound, if your movie buff doesn’t already have one, a surround sound system is always a welcome addition to their home entertainment experience. Providing an immersion of sound to accompany their viewing experience, a surround sound system is an absolute must for any movie buff that is looking to make the most of the home entertainment experience. Of course, this can be a costly gift, but the movie buff in your life will definitely be grateful.

12. HDTV

Since we’re mentioning essential components, a TV definitely falls in that range. Obviously your movie buff already has one, but they’re never opposed to a new TV (or even just a secondary TV). Whether it be a smaller LCD TV to put in their room or an upgrade to a top-of-the-line brand new 3D TV, TVs are always welcome. Your movie buff would definitely love you for this. With the pushing of 3D TVs, these are a definite hot item too which most movie buffs in your life would more than happily take. Again though, this is one of the more costly gifts, so expect to pay thousands for something like that.

13. Movie Storage

You probably know this already, but the movie buff in your life probably has a very extensive collection of movies. A collection they love to proudly show off as well. Of course such a collection can often become something of a beast that needs taming. Enter the realm of media storage. This actually comes in two forms as well: physical and digital. First we’ll touch on the traditional physical form. This simply means cabinets and shelves. If the movie buff in your life doesn’t already have the shelving for their collection, or is simply running out of shelf space, then a new shelf, rack or tower would be a practical and welcome gift for your movie buff in helping to tame that ever-growing collection and bring some order to it. Of course you have the digital front as well. This is the same concept as storing all of your music on your computer. Many companies make devices specifically for media storage like this. There are even companies like Kaleidoscope and PrimeArray which create systems that serve as storage and servers. This means all movies are saved on a digital storage device. The cherry on top though is that these devices then provide a means to share all that data across a network and have access to your entire movie collection with one click of a button on your remote. Having instant access to any movie in your collection without having to get up and change out discs, etc. These however can get extremely expensive. Some even more costly than the TVs themselves. But the techphile/cinephile in your life would love it.

14. AFI Membership

Every film buff is familiar with the prestigious American Film Institute. What better way to reward their passion for films than allowing your movie buff to become part of that institute by buying them a membership to the AFI. This can range from $60-2,500. Offering cool perks like movie tickets, exclusive release schedules and magazine subscriptions, an AFI membership also grants members admission to AFI events. On top of that, your movie buff would even be able to vote alongside industry professionals for various movie awards and accolades dealt out by AFI each year. To top it off, they would even get an AFI membership card to proudly show off to friends as a sign to their dedication to films.

15. Film Festival Pass

I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Sundance. Cannes. Attending these more prestigious film festivals are like a life-long dream for the movie buff in your life probably. They’d probably give an arm or a leg to get to experience going to the prestigious Sundance festival or Cannes or the Venice Film Festival. However, these events book well in advance and can be costly. Thus, they don’t make good last-minute gift ideas. Though, I’m sure your movie buff would happily take a “rain check” on a gift if it means the promise of getting a pass to one of these festivals later on. Likewise, many bigger cities offer their own film festivals throughout the year. If you live near one of these, your movie buff would definitely love the chance to get to attend one of those as well.

Bruce Lee Movies

We all know Bruce Lee from some particular fight scenes from his movies. There is the classic scene of Bruce versus Chuck Norris at the Coliseum in Rome in Enter the Dragon. There is the fight scene with a 5’7″ Bruce and the 7’2″ tall Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in “Scenes of Death”. Who can forget the classic ending of Bruce running and jumping at his attackers in the final scene of “THE CHINESE CONNECTION”? With a lot of these classic movie scenes framed in memory, let’s take a walk through Bruce Lee’s movies.

This first movie, “GOLDEN GATE GIRL”, takes us way back to 1941. Bruce was only a couple of months old when this movie was filmed in San Francisco, where Bruce was born. No karate in this film. Entering this early into show business gives us an idea that film making was introduced to Bruce at a young early age.

Bruce’s first starring movie, “THE KID”, was filmed in Hong Kong in 1950, when Bruce was 10 years old. In this film you are starting to see a very personable and involved kid, who played very well for the camera. Bruce Lee’s father was a well known Chinese actor, who also starred in this film. Bruce Lee also worked with his father on a previous film, “THE BIRTH OF MANKIND”, in 1946.

Bruce moved to San Francisco, California in 1959, then moved to Seattle, Washington to complete is high school education. He later attended the University of Washington, where he enrolled in the drama, and also studied philosophy. All through this time, Bruce practiced the Wing Chun Kung Fu he had learned in Hong Kong from Yip Man. Through Bruce’s innovations, he mixed traditional kung fu, boxing, wrestling, and other fighting forms, to create his style of mixed martial arts, he called, Jeet Kune Do.

While expanding his practice and teaching of martial arts in the 1960’s, Bruce never forgot his background in films. This led to several TV roles including, “THE GREEN HORNET” and “BATMAN”, in 1966-1977. Bruce was also in “IRONSIDE” in 1967, “BLONDIE” in 1969, and “HERE COME THE BRIDES” in 1969. In 1971 Bruce also starred in some episodes of “LONGSTREET”. What was unique about his LONGSTREET role is he starred as himself, and taught his form of martial arts and martial arts philosophy. In 1971 Lee pitched a modern kung fu western show to Warner Brothers, which, of course, he was to star in. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers used the concept of a Shaolin priest wandering the cowboy west and awarded the role to David Carradine. At the time, David Carradine had never had any martial arts training. This let Lee know he was limited in what types of movies or roles he could play in the U.S. TV and movie market. In all fairness to Warner Brothers, Lee’s English may have been difficult for some people in the U.S. market to understand.

Bruce’s first movie in the U.S. after the 1941 “GOLDEN GATE GIRL” was “MARLOWE”, starring James Garner, as a somewhat rough characterized private detective. The movie was fairly mediocre, with Bruce playing a Chinese gang member who used karate and tore up James Garner’s office. In one scene James Garner fights Bruce Lee and somehow beats him. This is not a movie Bruce Lee is very well known for.

With Bruce Lee’s movie acting career going nowhere in the U.S., Bruce travels to Hong Kong and finds he is well known from the “GREEN HORNET” TV series. In Hong Kong TV series is known as the “KATO SHOW”. With his popularity in Hong Kong and Asia, Bruce decides to try his hand in the Asian film industry. In 1971 Bruce Lee stars in “THE BIG BOSS”, which is his first Asian Kung Fu/Martial Arts movie. This movie was filmed in Thailand, and became popular in Asia. Frankly, in my opinion this was not a very good movie. The fighting was not that good. The only unique part of the movie I remember was the bad guy throwing a knife at Bruce, which Bruce intercepts with a kick, which strikes the opponent in a killing blow to his body. The movie plot was based on workers in an ice factory being subjugated by the boss, who was also selling drugs. If I had never seen this movie, I would not have missed anything Bruce Lee represents. I’ll give it one star for historical purposes. Note: in the U.S. market this film is also known as “FISTS OF FURY”

The real turning point in Bruce Lee’s movies was “FIST OF FURY” in 1972. Note: in the U.S. this film was known as “THE CHINESE CONNECTION”. This film is an absolute classic. In this film we are seeing more hand to hand fighting and less swords and knives that we saw in “THE BIG BOSS”. This movie is definitive of a new class and genre of martial arts films. The storyline of the movie has Bruce Lee as a student of a kung fu school in the early 1900’s. This was a period of time where Shanghai, in China, had been subjugated by European powers, and more recently by Japan. The Japanese held the power over the local police and treated Chinese like second class citizens. One day two Japanese came by Bruce Lee’s school and left an insulting sign, taunting the Chinese. Bruce Lee incensed at the insult, took the sign back to the Japanese karate school beat everyone up. Things then escalated between the Chinese and Japanese with Bruce Lee essentially beating up all of the Japanese. The final scene has the Japanese and police coming to close the Kung Fu school and arrest Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee resists to the end with a flying kick straight into the guns facing him. There are a number of important points here. You have a country or part of a country which has been subjugated by a foreign power. The locals fight back. It pits the good regular people against the bosses. My school is better than your karate school. The real story line here is that Bruce Lee stood up for something, and stood against bullies. This message resonated with many people in third world countries at the time. This was a fight against oppression. The martial arts in this film were good. The story line made it great. If you are a Bruce Lee fan, this is a must see film.

With two recent martial arts movies completed, and a tremendous response at the box office, Bruce Lee is now a certified movie star Hong Kong and Asia. With this Asian movie success, Bruce Lee is getting more recognition as a film star from Hollywood. Bruce’s next movie is “THE WAY OF THE DRAGON” or “RETURN OF THE DRAGON”. This is the film shot in Rome with the epic scene between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. This film was the first movie Bruce wrote, directed, produced, and starred in. This was considered a martial arts action, comedy movie. The movie was fairly mediocre. The fight scene behind the restaurant showed Bruce’s talents with empty hand karate, as well as using a bo staff, and nunchucks. Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were friends and used to work out together. Bruce asked Chuck if he would like to be in his movie. Chuck asked who was going the win the fight between them. Bruce said, “Me, of course, it’s my movie!” This fight was classic in that it was between two marital artists who respected each other, and vowed to fight to the death. This fight scene really spoke more about the essence of what a martial artist is and represents. This film is what really made Chuck Norris’s film career. Good stuff! I’ll give this movie one star for storyline and three stars for Bruce and Chuck’s epic battle.

Bruce’s next film was “ENTER THE DRAGON” in 1973. This film is significant with production being co-produced by a Hollywood film company, Warner Brothers, along with a Hong Kong company, Golden Harvest. Bruce Lee was a writer, editor, and star of this film. “ENTER THE DRAGON” also featured, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Robert Wall, Bolo Yueng, and a newcomer, Jackie Chan. Quality and story wise, this was a well produced movie, with good video, action, story line, and characters. According to one source, Bruce Lee wanted to show some to the good parts of martial arts and Chinese culture. The film cost about $850,000 to make, and made around 25 million dollars in the U.S. and 200 dollars million worldwide. This was a well put together film which I give five stars to. Due to Bruce Lee’s death in 1973, this was the last film Bruce Lee made before he died.

“THE GAME OF DEATH” came out in 1978. This is the movie where Bruce Lee fights various martial artists up different levels of a pagoda. The main idea of this film was to showcase Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do techniques and how it is used to adapt to different fighting styles. The most stand out part of this film is Bruce Lee, 5′ 7″ tall fighting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 7’2″ tall. Talk about extremes. In this case, Bruce found out Kareem’s sensitivity to light, and defeated him. The Pilipino karate master, Dan Inosanto, was one of Bruce Lee’s opponents in this film. Dan was the martial artists who introduced Bruce Lee to nunchucks. After three months, Bruce was better than Dan with nunchucks. Bruce also fought a Japanese karate master using a variety of techniques. I’ll give this film three stars for the nature of the movie and how Jeet Kune Do is showcased. Bruce is probably best known from this movie from this yellow sweat suit.

To recap, Bruce Lee’s first movie role was when he was a couple of months old. He acted in a number of U.S. TV shows and a movie, which showed his talents, but could not achieve stardom and a Chinese man. He rocketed to stardom in Hong Kong martial arts movies, and then finally received the recognition from Hollywood he deserved. More than an actor Bruce Lee re shaped martial arts, karate movies, and became a cultural icon. His popularity today, shows the significance of who he was, and what he gave us. He was truly a man before his time. We are fortunate to be able to see Bruce Lee from his movies.