Every year since 1989, the National Film Registry — a division of the LIbrary of Congress — has added films to its roll of movies that “represent important cultural, artistic and historic achievements in filmmaking.”

This year’s roster of twenty-five choices features a typically diverse collection, including inclusions whose significance can hardly be disputed (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Matrix, Dirty Harry, The Times of Harvey Milk), persistent cultural touchstones (A Christmas Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s), pleasing if slightly surprising inclusions (Two-Lane Blacktop, Slacker) and a few left-field choices, such as A League of Their Own.

The full list, with text about each movie from the NFR, is below. You can also visit the Registry website to nominate films for the 2013 list. Read More »

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Want to read about visual effects in Man of Steel? What does the cast of Community look like as Batman characters? Which character would David Fincher have killed had he made a Spider-Man movie? Do Marvel characters and A Christmas Story have a common ground? What happens when you mix Tintin with the X-Men? Where can you start pre-ordering merchandise for The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers? And has a spoiler slipped about the post-credits scene in The Avengers? Read about all of this and more in today’s massive Superhero Bits. Read More »

Little known fact: I collect Hallmark Ornaments. It’s a very expensive hobby my mother got me into when I was still in elementary school. Every July, she and I would go to the store on the day that Hallmark first released their ornaments for that year and we’d buy all the cool ones. This was a tradition that probably would have faded away as I grew older if Hallmark didn’t start making ornaments out of awesome licenses like Star Wars and Star Trek. Now, they’re in bed with almost everyone making ornaments of comic book characters, Disney films, TV shows, holiday classics like A Christmas Story and even new movies like The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in addition to all the traditional stuff too. After the jump, check out a huge gallery of the 2011 Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments that are inspired by pop culture properties. Read More »

VOTD: 50 Christmas Movie Spoilers in 3 Minutes


In honor of the upcoming Christmas holiday, our friends the Fine Brothers have filed the latest episode of their popular “Spoiler” series — 50 Christmas Movie Spoilers in 3 Minutes, in one take. You might remember that we’ve featured their videos 100 Movie Spoilers in 4 minutes, Spoiling Every Best Picture Winner in Oscar History, 50 spoilers of 2009 in 4 minutes, 100 Horror Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes, and 50 Disney Spoilers in 3 Minutes.  Hit the jump to watch their latest. And if it isn’t completely obvious already, please be warned that the following video contains spoilers.
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‘A Christmas Story: The Musical!’ in Seattle

The legacy of A Christmas Story won’t end with the Christmas-day “24 Hours of A Christmas Story marathon and the annual conventions and filming location house tour. Peter Billingsley, an actor who is probably best known as Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story, is executive producing a musical adaptation of of the film for the Seattle stage. Billingsley’s childhood acting efforts lead into a Hollywood career as a producer on Jon Favreau’s directorial efforts and most recently, he tried to direct a feature film — Couples Retreat (we’ll forget that happened).

Benj Paske and Justin Paul wrote the original score, and preview performances will begin on Wednesday at the 5th Avenue Theatre, where the production will run from December 9th to the 30th (click here to see a schedule). Billingsley tells THR that he hopes to bring “the play to more stages” across the nation, however nothing has been announced. Hit the jump to see some clips from a previous production of the musical.

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Believe it or not, A Christmas Story was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater. Which is probably one of the reasons I feel more of an attachment to the film than most. I would be afraid to add all the hours of passive viewings over the years. When I was younger, 24 Hours of A Christmas Story would remain on my television set, from the first airing, to it’s last – playing in the background for the entire Christmas holiday.

But as much as I love the film, I’ve yet to feel the need to travel to Cleveland to visit the original home which was used in the film’s production. Which is kind of strange because I love visiting real life movie locations. It might be because the house is in Ohio, and I don’t ever expect to set foot in the state (no offense to Ohio, its just… out of the way). A few years ago, a fan of the film bought the original house from the movie and restored it to it’s original screen-used conditions. The house has been turned into a tourist attraction and museum that is open all year long. A couple years ago they even held a massive Christmas Story fan convention in the city.

This year they have hired 35-year-old actor Ian Petrella, who played Ralphie’s little brother Randy in the film, to “come home” and live in the house during the months of July and August, where he will serve as a special tour guide. I guess they couldn’t get Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie in the original film but is too busy as a Hollywood producer (Iron Man) turned director (Couples Retreat). Read the full press release, after the jump.

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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. In regards to movies and shows the author hasn’t seen, the DVD release is placed in its respective category based on critic and audience response. Those who find that approach questionable are welcome to leave a comment stating their thoughts, and we’ll be happy to ignore it.

Buy It

FUTURAMA: BENDER’S GAME
Following Bender’s Big Score and The Beast with a Billion Backs, it’s now time for Futurama’s third direct-to-DVD feature (out of the planned four) with Bender’s Game, a spoof of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. According to David and Devindra on the /Filmcast (the discussion for which you can listen to when the Zack and Miri Make a Porno episode is released), this entry plays more like a series of comedic gags than a film with a compelling and structured story arc. Being that I absolutely love Futurama, I’m sure I’ll be able to forgive it (much like I did for the last film) but I really hope their final film is able to offer more of what made Bender’s Big Score such a satisfying viewing experience.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Audio commentary, featurettes (‘Dungeons & Dragons & Futurama’, ’3D Models With Animator Discussion’, ‘How To Draw Futurama In 83 Easy Steps’), Storyboard Animatic: Bender’s Game Part One, outtakes, Bender’s Anti-Piracy Warning, a deleted scene (‘Cup or Nozzle?’), and a sneak peak at the next release (Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$19.99 $17.99
Amazon – $17.99

TRANSSIBERIAN
Now here’s a movie I’m excited to see. Taking place almost entirely on a train heading from China to Moscow, this indie thriller stars Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer as a couple who meet a mysterious pair of travelers and get pulled into a chase of deception and murder. The film is directed and co-written by Brad Anderson, previously having brought us The Machinist and Session 9. It currently holds a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: None.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$14.99 $19.99 $11.99
Amazon – $14.99

Rent It

GET SMART
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Editions)
Held together by the saving grace that is Steve Carell, this pleasant and amusing action-comedy is a perfect rental and nothing more. It has some funny moments, a few cool bits of action, and a number of engaging performances. It’s also wholly forgettable and generic and is unlikely to warrant many repeat viewings. I don’t think it can be put any more simply than that.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single disc features solely a Comedy Optimization Mode. The 2-disc has that, plus featurettes (‘The Right Agent for the Right Job: Behind the Scenes Training’, ‘Max in Moscow: On Location or on a Soundstage? You Decide’, ‘Spying on Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control’, ‘Spotlight on Linguistics Master Steve Carell’) and a gag reel.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $14.99
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? 2-Disc with Shoe Phone Case ($24.99).
Where? Best Buy.

REAPER (SEASON 1)
I caught the first few episodes of this show when it aired (the pilot by Kevin Smith was a great way to kick it off), but was put off when it became apparent it was going to be another “monster of the week” series. After I eventually tuned out, I heard the storyline started to evolve a bit more, so I’m interested in giving it a second chance and seeing how well it’s progressed. I’m also psyched to see more Ray Wise, because he is absolutely hilarious as The Devil.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: An audio commentary (with the creators of the show, Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, and Deborah Spera), deleted scenes, and a gag reel.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $29.99 $34.99 N/A
Amazon – $29.99

WATERWORLD (2-DISC EXTENDED EDITION)
I have a soft spot in my heart for Waterworld. I’m fully aware of what an awful movie it is, and yet I still find it enjoyable. That’s all the justification I have for being psyched to see the extended edition of the film, which I never caught when it aired on network television. It restores around 40 minutes of the footage that was cut out by Universal Pictures and star Kevin Costner against the will of director Kevin Reynolds, bringing back such cool scenes as Helen and Enola standing atop a cliff at the end of the film and uncovering a plaque that says they’re at the peak of Mt. Everest. Sadly though, the visual presentation on the extended cut is said to be piss-poor.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Disc one contains the theatrical cut, disc two holds the extended cut. No special features except for the theatrical trailer.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $14.99
Amazon – $13.99

Skip It

A CHRISTMAS STORY (ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION)
Not unlike last week’s so-called “30th Anniversary Edition” of Animal House, this “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” for A Christmas Story is nothing more than a re-packaging of the already released 2-disc DVD with a collection of sort of cool but ultimately useless extras: collectible retro holiday cookie tin, five collectible cookie cutters in iconic Christmas Story shapes, a 48-page cook book filled with recipes inspired by the film, photos and quotes and a custom-designed chef’s apron. However, unlike that Animal House cash-grab, this is at least being released in Blu-ray.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The extras are the same as on the previous two-disc set: commentary (with Peter Billingsley and director/co-writer Bob Clark), Original readings by Jean Shepard (author and voice narrator of A Christmas Story), 2 featurettes (‘Get a Leg Up’, ‘A History of the Daisy Red Ryder’), a Another Christmas Story documentary, Triple Dog Dare Interactive Trivia, Decoder Match Challenge, Hidden “Presents”, and the original theatrical trailer.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $29.99 $34.99 N/A
Amazon – $29.99

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
Shrek the HallsPrimeval (Series 1 and 2)Batman (The Complete Animated Series)Fraggle Rock (The Complete Series Collection)Spin City (Season 1)JAG (Season 7)

Editor’s Notes: I decided not to link to the new releases of the Star Wars DVD originals/prequels trilogy sets and The Bourne Trilogy, since they’re blatant cash-grabs that simply repackage the already released DVDs with absolutely no new additional content. Also, to the Fraggle Rock fans who haven’t yet heard, HIT Entertainment has decided to be a giant gaping bunghole by making the only way for fans to complete their collections after purchasing season 1-3 to purchase the “Complete Series” box set for $140. You can email them about releasing an individual 4th season set at consumerrelations@hitentertainment.com.

Discuss: What are you planning to rent or buy this week?

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.


Exclusive Retail: Imax: Ultimate Collection ($79.99) and Superman: Doomsday (Blu-ray) ($27.99)

$19.99 – South Park (Seasons 1 – 10)

$9.99 – The Sarah Silverman Program (Season 1), The Batman (Season 3), Batman: Gotham Knight
$12.99 – Chappelle’s Show (Seasons 1 – 2), Reno 911 (Seasons 1 – 4), Drawn Together (Seasons 1 – 3)
$14.99 – Batman Beyond (Season 3)

2 for $12 OR 5 for $25 – Gangs of New York, Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Good Will Hunting, Rounders, Swingers, Equilibrium, Bridge to Terabithia, The Brothers Grimm, 10 Things I Hate About You, and more…


$6.99 – The Bourne Identity, Miami Vice, Friday Night Lights, Breach, The Good Shepherd, Cinderella Man, Ray, Seabiscuit, Field of Dreams, Alpha Dog, Meet the Parents, American Pie, American Pie 2, American Wedding, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar, Fast Times and Ridgemont high, Fletch (The “Jane Doe” Edition), and more…


$3.99 – Garden State, X2, Sexy Beast, Find Me Guilty, The Abyss, Die Hard 2, The Day After Tomorrow, There’s Something About Mary, Moulin Rouge, True Lies, Master and Commander, Speed, In Her Shoes, and more…

A Christmas Story Fan Convention

Believe it or not, A Christmas Story was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater. Which is probably one of the reasons I feel more of an attachment to the film than most. I would be afraid to add all the hours of passive viewings over the years. When I was younger, 24 Hours of A Christmas Story would remain on my television set, from the first airing, to it’s last – playing in the background for the entire Christmas holiday.

But as much as I love the film, I’ve yet to feel the need to travel to Cleveland to visit the original home which was used in the film’s production. Which is kind of strange because I love visiting real life movie locations (just one of the many reasons its fun to live in San Francisco). It might be because the house is in Ohio, and unless I ever visit my good friends at Film School Rejects, I don’t ever expect to set foot in the state (no offense to Ohio, its just out of the way). A few years ago, a fan of the film bought the original house from the movie and restored it to it’s original screen-used conditions. The house has been turned into a tourist attraction and museum that is open all year long.

But the big news is that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the film’s release, and to mark that milestone, A Christmas Story fan convention has been announced. Yes, you read that correctly. Conventions aren’t just reserved for Star Trek fans and comic book geeks anymore. The convention will take place from November 28 to the 29th in Cleveland. I’ll let the press release explain the rest…

The convention will bring “A Christmas Story” fans (known as Ralphies) to Cleveland where many exterior scenes of the movie were filmed. Cleveland is the location of A Christmas Story House, the home featured in the film that was restored to its original movie appearance and opened to visitors two years ago. The convention will take place at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel with other activities occurring at A Christmas Story House. Highlights of this year’s convention include:

  • Appearances by eight of the original cast members, including Ian Petrella (Randy), Scott Schwartz (Flick), Tedde Moore (Miss Shields), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Yano Anaya (Grover Dill), Dwayne McLean (Black Bart), Patty Johnson (Head Elf) and Drew Hocevar (Male Elf)
  • The premiere of two documentaries: “ClarkWORLD” about the life and works of “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark and “Shooting Your Eye Out: The Untold ‘Christmas Story’” about the making of the movie and the phenomenon it has become
  • Rides in the original fire truck used in the movie from Flick’s famous tongue-on-the-flagpole scene with proceeds benefiting the Chippawa Volunteer Fire Department of Niagara Falls, Ontario, which owns and maintains the fire truck
  • The unveiling of newly acquired costumes from the film
  • The first public display of two Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) won by “A Christmas Story” for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay on loan from Clark’s estate
  • A special preview of the upcoming “A Christmas Story – The Musical”

For more information on “A Christmas Story” 25th Anniversary Celebration & Convention,” including a schedule of events, hotel packages and convention tickets, visit http://www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com.

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