The Best Movie & TV Book Gifts of 2014


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Star Wars Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Model Shop Limited edition $394: This thing is a beauty. I’ve seen it in person at Comic Con and was amazed at all that it included. The book itself is almost like an extra compared to all the things included in this amazing gift set.

Star Wars Sculpting a Galaxy Deluxe Limited Edition features more than 300 full-color photographs and illustrations from the Lucasfilm archives; models from all six films; interviews, images, and text with concept sculptors; an overview of the ILM model shop from 1976 through today; and numerous gatefolds of the most loved models. This limited edition set takes readers behind-the-scenes for the first in-depth look at these amazing models and the process behind their creation, punctuated by Lorne Peterson’s exuberance and dedication to craft. And Lorne knows, because he’s worked on all the movies!  Star Wars Sculpting a Galaxy Deluxe Limited Edition is a unique visual treat is a must-have for any Star Wars fan. Ready to see all the extra goodies you get, other than the book mentioned above? Here we go:

  • A tipped in vellum sheet for number and signature, 5 gatefolds, 4 bound-in postcard sheets, a bound-in 12 page booklet describing the “white” model process, an accordion foldout containing all cut-outs of the ships, a bound-in Model Shop booklet detailing the model shop evolution, and a gatefold of “The Family Tree” of all the model makers involved in the 30 year process of creating the Star Wars legacy.
  • A “make your own” Millennium Falcon model kit.
  • DVD of model shop documentaries.
  • A 32 page book showcasing all of the computer graphics surrounding the models and the special effects of the films.
  • An 8 page booklet that will serve as a guide to all the model pieces included in the limited edition (includes a certificate of authenticity).
  • A Landspeeder Model with detachable rear fin – based on the original cast and painting by Peterson.

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith $15: This book is currently being developed for the big screen by Edgar Wright.

“Grasshopper Jungle is a rollicking tale that is simultaneously creepy and hilarious. It’s propulsive plot would be delightful enough on its own, but Smith’s ability to blend teenage drama into a bug invasion is a literary joy to behold… Smith may have intended this novel for young adults, but his technique reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s in “Slaughterhouse Five,” in the best sense.” —New York Times Book Review In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things. This is the truth. This is history. It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it. You know what I mean. Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

Star Trek Fun with Kirk and Spock

Star Trek Fun with Kirk and Spock $12: Looks like fun.

See the Enterprise. See the Enterprise go boldly. Go Go Go, Enterprise! Go Boldly! Join Kirk and Spock as they go boldly where no parody has gone before! This Prime Directive primer steps through The Guardian of Forever to a simpler time of reading, writing, and red shirts. Fun with Kirk and Spock will help cadets of all ages master the art of reading as their favorite Starfleet officers, Klingons, Romulans, Andorians, and Gorn beam down into exciting adventures.

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Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders $9: While not about movies, this collection of short stories was recommended by /Filmcast co-host Jeff Cannata. It is a National Book Award finalist and named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times.

One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation. Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human. Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.”

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion $10: 21 Jump Street/The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are reportedly developing a movie adaptation written by (500) Days of Summer scribe Michael H. Weber.

Now in paperback, the international bestselling romantic comedy “bursting with warmth, emotional depth, and…humor,” (Entertainment Weekly) featuring the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love. The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie?and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you. Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).

TASCHEN’s The Making Of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey $1500: The regular edition is sold out but you can get either of the the art editions, each limited to 250 copies which come with a signed print by 2001 art advisor Brian Sanders. I wish I could afford this beautiful edition but its way way out of my price range.

It’s the movie that revolutionized science fiction and the art of cinema, that transformed the way we think about film with its special effects, narrative style, philosophical importance, and unusual musical choices. Now, fifty years after its conception, TASCHEN presents the most exhaustive publication ever devoted to 2oo1: A Space Odyssey. Limited to 1,500 copies, this landmark edition has been made in exclusive collaboration with both the Kubrick Estate and Warner Bros. Get closer than ever to this movie that changed the movies. Conceived by the same designers behind our instant collectible Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made, this richly illustrated four-volume set features hundreds of previously unpublished documents and photographs, as well as personal testimony from Kubrick’s co-screenwriter Arthur C. Clarke. All hardcover volumes are presented in a sleek metal slipcase inspired by the famous monolith, and come boxed with exclusive cover art from Wayne Haag. The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2oo1: A Space Odyssey Four volumes with a metal slipcase, all designed by M/M (Paris): Volume 1: Film stills Volume 2: Behind the scenes (including new interviews with lead actors, senior production designers, and key special-effects experts) Volume 3: Facsimile of original screenplay Volume 4: Facsimile of original 1965 production notes Plus a small comic surprise Limited to a total of 1,500 copies, all signed by Christiane Kubrick: Art Edition No 1-500 (Art Edition A and B, with a signed print by Brian Sanders) and Collector’s Edition No. 501-1,500

Michael F-ing Bay: The Unheralded Genius in Michael Bay's Films by The Bitter Script Reader

Michael F-ing Bay: The Unheralded Genius in Michael Bay’s Films by The Bitter Script Reader $10: Hey, I know everyone loves to hate Michael Bay but I really appreciate the filmmaker for a pure visceral level. And I love the fact that someone has written a book praising the “unheralded genius of Michael Bay’s films.”

His movies have cumulatively earned $2.4 billion in the domestic box office, making him the second most-successful director of all time, right behind Steven Spielberg. If one gathered the top six directors in that category, that same man would be only one of the half-dozen to not also be in possession of an Academy Award: Michael Bay. Commercial success and meaningful art don’t always go hand-in-hand, but is it possible for a filmmaker to consistently hit his mark with the audience without truly doing something right artistically? Professional critics have long taken aim at Bay’s music-video-honed visual style, full of fast cuts, moving camera shots, hot women. The internet is full of negativity and scorn for the director too, but has anyone truly given Bay’s oeuvre the benefit of the doubt? Michael F-ing Bay: The Unheralded Genius in Michael Bay’s Films is the first-ever attempt to approach the Bay catalogue from an intellectual standpoint. Come ready to find the deep subtexts and profound meanings in Michael Bay’s filmography. EXPERIENCE – the controversial discussion about man’s relationship with God buried within Armageddon! DISCOVER – how Pearl Harbor demonstrates that emotional truth is far more vital than strict adherence to actual historical events! LEARN – how The Island is a pointed allegory attacking the proliferation of remakes and reboots that Hollywood produces! UNDERSTAND – the vulnerable confession that Michael Bay offers under the cloak of a true-life Miami crime story in Pain & Gain! And much more!

The Filmmaker Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom

The Filmmaker Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom $13: I’ve tweeted out photos of some of the quotes in this book and every time I have a dozen or so people inquire about the book. Its a fun coffee table book, and good inspiration for an aspiring filmmaker.

“No saint, no pope, no general, no sultan, has ever had the power that a filmmaker has—the power to talk to hundreds of millions of people for two hours in the dark.” —Frank Capra Inspiring everything from pop culture earthquakes to popular revolutions, filmmakers have demonstrated an uncanny ability to move the masses. But the drama they project on screen is only half the picture. Stretching back from its earliest days of two-reel silent films to the latest 3-D digital blockbusters, film history provides a cast of characters ready to spill witty bon mots, outrageous pronouncements, and heartfelt reflections. The Filmmaker Says is a colorful compendium of quotations from more than one hundred of history’s most influential and opinionated creators of filmed entertainment. Paired like guests at the ultimate filmgeek dinner party—a celebrated filmmaker of today might sit next to a giant from the silent era—the members of this raucous crew puts on a show arguing, complimenting, and disagreeing with each other about every step of the moviemaking process. A perfect gift for working filmmakers, aspiring auteurs, and avid moviegoers, The Filmmaker Says will delight anyone who has dreamed of yelling “action” or just can’t wait for the lights to go down and the curtain to go up.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography Hardcover by Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography Hardcover by Neil Patrick Harris $16:Yes, autobiographies are usually borring but NPH knows how to do it right — retelling his life story in the form of a choose your own adventure book.

Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened? Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based-life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born to New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht. Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, and make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!

Peter Sciretta and The Muppets

Thanks for reading Part 1 of our Holiday Gift Guide. I spent a lot of time curating this list and am very grateful you made it this far and hopefully you found it useful! If you’re feeling extra generous this Holiday season, you can send me a gift off of my Amazon Holiday Wishlist. No pressure! Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

Check Out The Other Parts of /Film’s Ultimate Film Geek Holiday Gift Guide 2014:

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