The Dork Shelf Guide to Holday Shopping: Day 1

For the first day of our holiday gift guide, we look at some movies, games, books, and random nerdy and dorky ephemera for your loved ones and friends!

New Movies:

The Wolverine

The Wolverine – Unleashed Extended Edition (3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download Combo Pack)

While The Wolverine was just fine and dandy in its original form, it’s worth it for fans to grab the 3D Blu-Ray combo pack for a few dollars more than the regular two disc Blu-Ray that features only the theatrical cut of the movie. In the 3D package on a separate disc (which isn’t in 3D, so don’t worry if you don’t own a 3D TV), is a much more violent and foul mouthed cut of the film. It runs about 12 minutes longer, and aside from adding more of what fans want to see from their favourite adamantium clawed X-Man, it also beefs up the character development and relationships between Logan and his Japanese hosts. It doesn’t fix the problematic ending, but for fans of the franchise this is more in step with what they have been dreaming of for quite some time. (Available pretty much anywhere Blu-Rays are sold this Tuesday)


Older Movies:


Matilda (Blu-Ray)

Adapted from the children’s novel by Roald Dahl, the incredibly artful, and surprisingly dark Matilda has always been one of the most unsung children’s literary adaptations. The best movie that actor Danny DeVito ever directed (and I am including War of the Roses in that statement, which says a lot) finds a smart young girl (Mara Wilson) in a Carrie-like situation: developing telekinetic powers that she uses to better her own life and to stand up to the bullies that surround her. Full of inventive mischief and funny gags, DeVito also never pulls back on Dahl’s darkness, showing just how miserable her life is. It’s never too dark for kids to handle, but DeVito understands what all great filmmakers already know: kids can handle tough material provided that you give them enough reasons to smile through the darkness. The Blu-Ray (out this Tuesday) has mostly special features from the DVD a few years ago, but also a brand new and touching backyard tea party hosted by DeVito and his wife/co-star Rhea Pealman that brings the cast together to reminisce and re-enact scenes from the film. It’s quite something watching DeVito openly get choked up, and he’s clearly proud and energized by the film despite it not being a big success at the box office. Also, the Blu-Ray transfer is immaculate, making the film look possibly even better than it did on the big screen. (Available this Tuesday wherever Blu-Rays are sold)

Movie Box Set:


Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Blu-Ray/DVD set)

Zatoichi Box Set

Criterion has never shied away from ambitious restoration projects or sprawling box sets, but their recent release of all 25 original films featuring one of the most widely recognizable characters in world and action cinema might be one of their greatest achievements yet. Showing no massive preference (and including DVDs on top of the Blu-Rays in this 27 disc set), Criterion runs down all of actor Shintaro Katsu’s thrilling adventures from 1962-1973 as a swordsman who lives by his own code of rules. The movies are sometimes a bit suspect (and thankfully the botched 2000 reboot of the franchise isn’t included here), but the fact that they are almost all consistently entertaining despite coming out over the course of just over a decade is astounding. It’s one of the best franchises in film history. As always, there are plenty of special features in this box set, including a book with synopses, criticism, and new artwork, a 1978 documentary look back on the franchise and its star, a sit down with film critic Tony Rayns, and trailers for all of the films. (Available now wherever finer DVDs and Blu-Rays are sold)

TV Box Set:

Futurama – The Complete Series (DVD)


Futurama the Complete Series

Not sure if it matters that this isn’t available on Blu-Ray or not, but just the fact that this competist 27-Disc box set exists is a cause for celebration. Bringing together all 127 episodes of the perpetually underrated and sometimes cancelled show from Simpsons creator Matt Groening and including all four feature length movies, the set works brilliantly to document a series that people are still only discovering today. It’s a show (like many animated shows that had a rough run) that continues to see its cult and audience growing by the day. If you know someone who like silliness, sci-fi, or classic Simpsons, and for some reason they haven’t seen Futurama and you have a few bucks to spend, then this is the gift for them. Also, if you have been buying the last few single editions of the series on DVD, this comes in a nice and hefty box instead of those sometimes cumbersome paper packages. (Available mostly anywhere box sets are sold on December 10th)

High End Tech Gadget:

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 2D/3D 1080p 3LCD Projector

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema Projector

For the movie or gaming fan who wants it all and has the space to match, this gorgeous looking LCD projector from Epson delivers exceptional 3D images for both movies and games, something a lot of projector manufacturers still struggle with, but that Epson has ironed out quite nicely. With 1080p resolution, full HDMI capabilities (including use with tablets and smartphones), and equipped for easy device connection and 7.1 sound, it’s a great way to show off to your friends if you have the means. (Available through Epson and select retailers)


Video Game:

Super Mario World 3D


Forget about all the hoopla about the X-Box One (which to me still sounds like a rejected Nelly song) and the PS4, and double back to the Wii U, which is worth buying on the strength of this game alone. Jon wasn’t kidding last week when he said that Mario’s latest platform outing with his buddies might be one of the best in the franchise. I honestly can’t remember the last time I played a Mario game that was this much fun; probably since Super Mario 3 on the NES. It’s that good, and with a multiplayer option that combines old school Mario with Smash Bros styled chaos, it’s one that everyone can enjoy at once. (Available wherever video games are sold)


Board Game:


Firefly The Game Board Game

Firefly: The Board Game

We know you miss Firefly as much as we do (and if you haven’t seen it, you need to go watch it right now. Go on. We’ll wait). Relive the space cowboy-est adventures in the verse with this brand-new board game, and aim to misbehave! (Available wherever finer board games are sold) (Sam Maggs)

Graphic Novels:



Do you have a friend who’s still on the fence when it comes to graphic novels and what they are capable of achieving? It’s officially a decade old now, but for someone looking to give a thoughtful, (somewhat) romantic, and wintry gift, Craig Thompson’s 550+ page heartbreaker Blankets stands up as one of the best examples of the genre. I include it here because it’s a book I often find myself going back to over the holidays and I invariably end up giving this tale of young love, misguided faith, siblings, growing up, and mixtapes to at least one person that I know of as a gift. And when I do, I am always thanked profusely. It’s a great gateway to other graphic works, but also one of the best love stories ever written. It’s that powerful. (Available mostly anywhere graphic novels or books are sold)

Regular Books:

The Geek’s Guide to Dating

Geeks Guide to Dating

Want to find a geeky guy or gal to spend the holidays with? Check out intrepid author Eric Smith’s guide to the sometimes-hazardous but always-worthwhile world of nerdy dating! (Available mostly anywhere books are sold) (Sam Maggs)

Women’s Apparel:

The Millennium Falcon Skirt from Her Universe


For the girl on your list who doesn’t want to come off like a scruffy-looking nerf herder, get her one of these adorable Millenium Falcon skirts from Her Universe. She’ll be the star of every party – so long as it’s not a party full of Trekkies (Trekkers? Whatever). (Available through Her Universe) (Sam Maggs)

Food and Drink:

Game of Thrones – Take the Black Stout (Ommegang Brewing)

Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout

Winter is here, and what better way to celebrate with the second brew from American brewers Ommegang in their Game of Thrones inspired series (following this summer’s equally tasty Iron Throne Ale). This 7% stout is a perfectly nerdy and absolutely delicious winter warmer with heavy coffee and chocolate tones and a fruity aftertaste. They come in big bottles perfect for sharing at any feast, but a few too many of these easy drinking stouts and you’ll be under the tree babbling “YA KNOW NOTHING JON SNOW” all night. (Available wherever finer beers are sold)