In search of the best flicks and shows to gift this year? We've got you covered.
Sure, you're eager to grab one of those massive and massively discounted TVs that the big box retailers are selling this year, but once you fight off your neighbors and their grandmothers for the big screen prize, you've got to actually have something to watch on it. TV these days is a toss up -- who wants to watch even more reality programming? -- and so why not cut to the good stuff?
Here's a guide to the top DVD/Blu-Ray releases that your whole family can enjoy (with some fun for you, too). Just favorite place or print out this list, and let the buying begin. You can grab these at stores, or, at online retails such as Amazon.com.
"Beginners": This coming out story of a 75-year old man and his renewed relationship with his son was loved by critics, and has generated Oscar buzz for star Christopher Plummer. It's cut $10 in price on Amazon, making it $18.49 for a DVD that speaks to generations.
"Half Nelson": Everyone is saying that Ryan Gosling is having a breakout year, with three big films in 2011 (as well as last fall's "Blue Valentine") but he's been in the acting game since he was a pre-teen. In fact, he was nominated for an Oscar for his lead role in this inner city teacher drama. Check it out and immediately one-up all those web meme-ers who think life began at "The Notebook." It's up for $6.87 on DVD at Amazon.
"Bridesmaids": We've always known Kristen Wiig is hilarious, but her star truly got to shine on an international level with the release of this blockbuster ladies' comedy. But don't let the name lead you astray; men and women both loved this movie, which gets gross, awkward and wild in equal measures. The DVD is going for $5.99 on Amazon.com.
"Community": There's been an internet outcry at the news that NBC is benching (for now) the cult comedy "Community," and for good reason: it's just about the smartest show out there. Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Chevy Chase and Alison Brie, amongst others, star in this series about a wacky community college and all the shenanigans that transpire there. With episodes that range from claymation to space adventures in 80s-era KFC trucks, it'll be the most unique thing you've seen on TV. All of season two will cost just $11.99 on Amazon.
"Crazy, Stupid, Love.": Out this week, this Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling-starring romantic comedy touched three generations of family, bringing laughs and glitzy co-stars such as Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Maris Tomei and newcomer Analeigh Tipton. Today, $9.99 for the DVD and $11.99 for the Blu-Ray.
"Mad Men": Pushed back by AMC until this January, you'll have time for a crash course in the Emmy-winning drama that has made Jon Hamm an international star. Start at season one for just $12.49 on DVD.
"The Tree of Life": The big winner at Cannes, this Terrence Malick-directed meditation on family and earth will astound you with its gorgeous imagery, strong performance from Brad Pitt and amazing breakout from 2011's it-girl, Jessica Chastain. You can get a Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy 3-pack for $24.99.
The Whole Family:
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2": Fresh out just in time for the shopping holiday, this epic franchise wrap-up astounded moviegoers across the world. See Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint all grown up and facing down Voldemort in one final showdown. You can get it for $6.99 on DVD on Amazon.
"The Muppet Movie": As you take the family to see the Jason Segel-driven big screen revamp, why not show your kids the original film? They'll better understand the in-jokes from the new one, and it's delightful and charming on its own, too. Have it for $11.99 on Amazon.
"X-Men: First Class": After a rough couple sequels, "First Class," the 60s-set origin story reboot, was a masterclass and needed revival for the mutant franchise. Michael Fassbender, as Magneto, gives a fantastic performance, as does James McAvoy, who took on the role of pre-paralyzation Professor X. Just $9.99 for a Blu-Ray on Amazon.
"The Dark Knight": Sure, it's a few years old now, but with next year's epic followup, "The Dark Knight Rises," already getting fans geeked up, you've got to make sure you're all caught up on the franchise. How about a refresher on a film that won Heath Ledger a post-humous Oscar for his mind-bending turn as the Joker? Only $13.99 at Amazon -- or, if you buy by 11 am EST, just $4.99.
"Captain America": Surprisingly well-done film debut for the Cap. Set in World War II, we see skinny Steve Rogers (a digitally trimmed version of Chris Evans) go from weakling to international hero with the injection of secret serum. You'll see him in next summer's "The Avengers," so it's good to make sure you know how it all began. $17.99 on Amazon for the DVD, $19.99 for the Blu-Ray.
"Arrested Development": The news that Netflix will bring the series back in 2013 was met with thunderous excitement, as this beloved cult hit still stokes passion in its fans, six years after it was canceled by Fox. You can get the complete, three season series of the Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi and Jeffrey Tambor-starring sitcom for just $34.99.
"Modern Family": The current torch-bearer for hit wacky family sitcom, this ensemble comedy has won Best Comedy Series at the Emmys two years in a row. With amazing performances from Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara, you'll know why. The first season is just $12.99 at Amazon, as is the second season.
"Submarine": This indie English comedy about a boy too smart for his age features an impeccable script and a breakout performance from star Craig Roberts. You may not have gotten to see it in theaters, but make sure you catch it at home. It's worth the $18.49 for the DVD.
For the Kids:
"Monte Carlo": Fan favorite teen star Selena Gomez leads the cast in this wish-fulfillment tale of a few traveling friends who get whisked away to romance and splendor while visiting Europe. Amazon has it for $15.49 on DVD.
"Winnie the Pooh": A delightful big screen return for everyone's favorite stuffed, hungry bear, it's a light and breezy film that can introduce the 100 Acre Woods to a whole new generation. $17.99 for the DVD on Amazon.
"Justin Bieber: Never Say Never": If you have a teenage daughter and somehow don't already have this, you'll probably be a hero for bringing home the Bieb and his inspirational tale of going from small town Canadian busker to international hair-flipping sensation. And only for $11.49 on DVD.