Favorite

The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe. 

BOOK -- 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: This gargantuan volume is the perfect tip sheet for cinephiles, and includes everything from 1902's A Trip to the Moon to last year's Million Dollar Baby. Its balanced diet of indisputable classics (The Godfather), cult flicks (Eraserhead), and obscurities (The Ear) oughta keep you and your DVD player busy for many, many years . . . or until Ben Affleck makes a movie worthy of inclusion.

PRODUCT -- Nintendo Retro-Styled Game Boy Micro: The slick, slim Micro -- which fits in our pocket alongside our teeny cell phone and iPod Nano -- gets a blast from the past with a nostalgic faceplate that looks just like Nintendo's original game console from 20 years ago. Tetris has never been this smooth.

MOVIE -- King Kong: Peter Jackson's big-budget remake of the 1933 giant-monkey classic is almost as sprawling as his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Like each of the Rings films, Kong clocks in at three hours. Also like Rings, the CGI and awe-inspiring sets often overwhelm the actors. But it sure beats the 1976 version and gives audiences quite a thrill ride. The shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

CD -- Singles: This two-disc New Order collection gathers all the A-sides released during the past quarter-century by the influential British modern-rock group -- from its first post-Joy Division tune ("Ceremony") to four songs from this year's Waiting for the Sirens' Call. Think of it as a streamlined version of the clunky Retro box and a more cohesive set than the single-disc best-of that came out a couple years ago.

DVD -- Star Wars: Clone Wars: The second set of animated shorts -- originally shown on the Cartoon Network, now stitched together as an hour-long feature -- leads up to the action that unfolded in Revenge of the Sith. Occasionally, it's more riveting than the movie itself. Extras include storyboards, concept art, and a trailer for Lego's Revenge of the Brick, a short film that renders a Sith scene in interlocking plastic pieces -- all of which have more personality than Hayden Christensen.

TV -- Video Game Awards 2005: Any awards show that features nominees like former porn star Traci Lords, hosts like Samuel L. Jackson, and categories like Cyber Vixen of the Year will, by its very nature, rock (see for yourself at 9 p.m. Saturday on Spike TV). Also included are a performance by 50 Cent, sneak peeks at some of next year's hottest games, and an appearance by Aeon Flux babe Charlize Theron. It's enough to make us put down our joysticks.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- America's Funniest Home Videos: Home for the Holidays: Somehow, this people-do-the-wackiest-things program has managed to stay on the air for 16 seasons. This DVD culls more than a decade's worth of holiday-themed bloopers and blunders -- from ghastly decorations and disaster-prone school pageants to the show's stock-in-trade: the groin shot. Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a kick in the nuts.

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