The first of our special, slightly expanded gift-giving editions of Culture Jamming. This week: home videos.
The Essential Daffy Duck
The 21 cartoons on this two-disc DVD collection come from some of the all-time greatest animators, including Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, and Chuck Jones. (Stick with the classics from the '40s and '50s; the handful of newer toons aren't nearly as good.) But the real star of these shorts is the most obnoxious cartoon duck to ever parade around onscreen without pants. Sorry, Donald.
Gamera: Triple Feature Collector's Edition
These aren't the classic movies from the '60s starring Gamera. They're three recent movies – Guardian of the Universe, Attack of the Legion, and Revenge of Iris – starring Gamera, still the most kick-ass giant flying, fire-spewing turtle around. There's a whole bunch of cool extras too, like deleted scenes and special features about the monsters and, best of all, explosions, all in Blu-ray.
Robotech: The Complete Series
One of the first anime series to make any sort of impression in the states gets boxed up in a 17-disc DVD box set that will probably take you all year to sift through. There's tons of extras on here – from documentaries to making-of features to a helpful overview of the universe – for you to explore once you've taken in this massive story arc (from 1985) about giant robots.
Smallville: The Complete Series
All 218 episodes from the TV show's 10-year run are included on this gargantuan box. The series – about Superman's early years – had its ups and downs over the years, but taken as a whole, it's a revealing piece of superhero mythology that gets to the boy behind the cape. Best of all, there's a previously unreleased pilot of a Superboy show from 1961 that never got off the ground.
The Smurfs Holiday Celebration
This new DVD set gathers two Christmas specials from the '80s starring everybody's favorite tiny blue forest dwellers. The Smurfs' Christmas Special is the earlier of the two and plays a lot like the TV show from back in the day. Better is 'Tis the Season to Be Smurfy, which wins on title alone. Stories and animation are somewhat sketchy, but they take little away from a smurfin' good time.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Holidays With SpongeBob
The three DVDs on this box are divided into Christmas, Halloween, and, inexplicably, To Love a Patty sections. Of the 26 cartoons included, maybe half of them have to do with holidays. No matter. It doesn't take much to make SpongeBob happy here: snowballs, a seahorse, squeaky boots, and a giant box, which he and pal Patrick use to enter a whole world unseen by others.
Warner Archive MOD Titles
(warnerarchive.com)It may not be a hand-knitted sweater, but Warner Archive's DVDs are still a pretty awesome gift, especially since these out-of-print movies are manufactured on demand and not found in stores. There's a whole bunch of titles available at warnerarchive.com. The best recent releases include the cult classics Night School, No Blade of Grass, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Tom Thumb, and Night Watch, starring a hysterical Elizabeth Taylor.