30 Easy Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Pop-Culture Fanatic
Buying the right gift for the entertainment obsessive on your list can be a challenge. You think you got your cousin the right DVD, but they actually want Blu-rays this year. It's tempting to give up and buy them a Barnes & Noble gift card. But don't do it: No matter your budget, we've got you covered with the coolest stocking stuffers, the most bingeable boxed sets, the best pop-culture books, and all the new subscription services that will keep your Netflix-crazed friends and family busy in the new year. Get shopping, and feel free to buy yourself something -- you deserve it.
Guillermo del Toro Trilogy Collection -- $79.96
Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro makes movies that feel like collectibles -- you want to pore over every detail and mount every image on your wall -- so it only makes sense that the Criterion Collection has put together a sumptuous boxed set of three of the director's Spanish-language films. Cronos, The Devil's Backbone, and Pan's Labyrinth share a creepy, magical realism-tinged sensibility that will send any movie buff burrowing into the discs' bountiful special features. (Our only question: When is Blade II getting the Criterion treatment?)
Chicago Cubs World Series on Blu-ray -- $27.99
On November 2nd, the Chicago Cubs made history by besting the Cleveland Indians in a seven-game series and winning the World Series for the first time in over 100 years. It was wild, and this DVD -- or the upcoming collector's edition with the complete games -- will let you relive those memories. Now you can watch the Series and "Fly the W" any day of the week with the added psychological comfort of knowing the outcome already. If you're a Cleveland fan, uh, maybe this will ease your pain?
Mad Max High Octane Anthology Collection -- $239.99
Mad Max: Fury Road not only topped our best movies of 2015 list, it also earned a spot on our ranking of the best action movies of all time -- so this high-octane dystopian thriller is a sacred text around these parts. Is the price on this collection, which includes all four movies in the series, hours of special features, and a collectible model car, a little insane? Yes. But the Mad Max series is all about extremes: If you're buying a gift for the Doof Warrior in your life, there's no better option.
Newsflash: Not everyone has an HBO GO subscription. If you know someone who is curious about Game of Thrones but hasn't checked out the show, this boxed set of the show's first six seasons will get them all caught up in time for Season 7.
Alamo Drafthouse gift cards -- prices vary
What's better than a movie? Beer and a movie! With locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, and more on the way, the ever-expanding Texas-based dinner-and-a-movie chain is a palace of nerdy gluttony. Gorge on new releases, cult favorites, and liquored-up milkshakes at your own peril.
FilmStruck membership -- $6.99 per month
This new streaming service, launched by Criterion and Turner Classic Movies, is what you get that friend who has already seen the 100 best movies on Netflix. With an emphasis on obscure genre favorites, foreign classics, and old Hollywood glamour, FilmStruck is the answer to your late-night scrolling woes.
Kacey Musgraves, A Very Kacey Christmas -- $8.90
When your parents turn on the holiday station during the drive to grandma's house, does anyone really want to hear "Wonderful Christmas Time" for the 1,000th time? Texas country singer Kacey Musgraves offers the perfect droll, irreverent alternative to stuffy holiday fare with this album of wicked covers, sly collaborations, and melancholy original compositions like "Christmas Makes Me Cry." It's the invigorating cup of spiked eggnog you'll need this holiday season.
Vinyl Me, Please subscription -- $100 for three months
As streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal fight for the rights to blockbuster exclusives, many music fans have carried on listening to music the old-fashioned way: by dragging a needle over a large, black, circular object called a record. If you're new to the world of records, Vinyl Me, Please will turn you on to new jams by sending you an exclusive LP every month, along with original art prints, cocktail recipes, and access to all sorts of member-exclusive products.
The Hamilton Mixtape -- $14.49
Unless you have a grand to spare, you probably won't be seeing Hamilton anytime soon. But you can make the founding fathers-related dreams of your friends and family come true by buying them this official mixtape, which features the show's cast alongside stars like Nas, Usher, Regina Spektor, and more.
David Bowie, Who Can I Be Now? boxed set -- $108.99
With the passing of Prince, Leonard Cohen, and David Bowie, there were many reasons for pop obsessives to shed some tears this year. Help your friends through their grief by gifting them this Bowie boxed set, which covers three insanely productive years in his career and includes 1974's previously unreleased album The Gouster.
A record frame -- $11.95
Records can be stored in crates, shelves, or piles in your garage. But if you really want to cultivate a home decor that says, "Please ask me about my exceptional taste in stoner-metal records from the late '90s," buy some of these record frames and lovingly hang them on your wall.
With a few notable exceptions, most podcasts are free and survive on a combination of donations, merchandise, and ads for Loot Crate. So if you have a friend who is always wearing earbuds, ask them what they're listening to and then buy them some podcast apparel, like this Marc Maron T-shirt or a Radiolab tote bag. It's like naming a star for someone, but not as corny.
NES Classic -- $59.98 and up
While you might want to buy the PlayStation VR for adventurous gamers, most casual fans will be praying for a NES Classic, which is quickly becoming the Tickle Me Elmo of this holiday season. It comes with 30 games, including the indisputable classic Super Mario Bros. 3. Buy it for the princess-loving plumber in your life.
Rick and Morty Dice Dares -- $30
It's not an insult to say Adult Swim's sci-fi comedy series Rick and Morty appeals to the type of person who hears the words "dice game" and says, "Sign me up!" The show inspires intense, obsessive fandom. So it's fitting that there's an actual dice game inspired by the Season 1 episode "Meeseeks and Destroy." If you don't immediately recognize that title, this might not be for you.
The George R. R. Martin Box -- $200
While Game of Thrones typically comes back in the spring, the word from HBO is that the acclaimed fantasy series won't return until summer 2017. How will the direwolves in your life survive this long winter? By playing this Game of Thrones card game, reading their very own reproduction of Robert Baratheon's will, studying a "silk map of King's Landing," and enjoying all the other collectibles that come in this mega-box. (Get 15% off with the code THRILLIST15.)
Uncharted 4 for PlayStation -- $48
Uncharted's Nathan Drake is an Indiana Jones-like hero who always seems up for another adventure, but this might be his last game. In his round-up of the best video games of 2016, Christopher Monfette described this as "undoubtedly the most visually glorious, technically impressive game ever crafted," and we bet you'll find it hard to disagree.
The latest entry in Microsoft's juggernaut of a third-person shooter series features a story from writer Tom Bissell and music from Ramin Djawadi, the composer behind Game of Thrones and Westworld. But for gun-toting fans, the appeal of this series will always be in the gameplay. And if you know a true Gears-head, buy them this tricked-out collector's edition, which comes with a mini-statue you can rub for good luck when you play.
Inside for PS4 and Xbox -- $19.99
If you're shopping for a gamer who prefers moody puzzles to visceral action, this might be the head-scratcher to give. Inside is the tantalizing, side-scrolling follow-up to independent gaming company Playdead's innovative Limbo, and we already picked it as one of the best video games of 2016, so, really, what are you waiting for?
The perfect gift for that cousin heading off to film school next year, this artifact-like book displays Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola's notes and annotations on writer Mario Puzo's original novel. It's a window into a filmmaker's creative process, a fascinating historical document of '70s cinema, and an inspiration for people who scribble in the margins of books everywhere!
Jerusalem by Alan Moore -- $23
Legendary comics writer Alan Moore has crafted a 1,000-plus-page novel that will be hard to stuff in your backpack, but don't let its girth intimidate you. As he's shown in works like Watchmen, From Hell, and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Moore has a knack for making seemingly dense layers of history, mythology, and wordplay come to life on the page.
If you have a friend who can't stop talking about the sci-fi blockbuster Arrival, this is the perfect gift. This short-story collection from writer Ted Chiang includes the mind-bending story that inspired the Amy Adams-talks-to-aliens movie, along with other original tales that Hollywood executives are probably skimming for more potential movies right now.
With David Lynch's moody cult television series getting the sequel treatment from SHOWTIME in 2017, there's no better time to brush up on the "secret history" of the town that started it all. Penned by series co-creator Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks uses "found" documents to create a web of mystery, murder, and damn fine coffee.
While many now view The Daily Show as a beloved American media institution, Jon Stewart's righteously irreverent late-night talk show didn't emerge fully formed out the gate. This comprehensive account of the show's ascendancy takes you into the writers room, out into the field with the correspondents, and behind the desk with the man in charge as they turned a scrappy satirical news show into a phenomenon. Send it to your friend who is always posting John Oliver and Samantha Bee videos on Facebook.
Sure, the American version of this beloved English competition show wasn't up to snuff, but don't hold that against the original. This colorful cookbook lets you re-create all the biscuits, breads, cakes, puddings, and pastries that you've salivated over while glued to your TV.
Pied Piper T-shirt from Silicon Valley -- $24.99
The Giphoscope -- $216
Finally, the ideal gift for your GIF-obsessed son-in-law! This profoundly strange (and very real) tool is described as a "Handmade GIF Machine" that can turn your favorite pixelated images of people falling down stairs, cats getting tickled, and pop stars making sassy faces into a hand-cranked piece of art. Vine may be dead, but goofy internet ephemera will live forever.
Star Wars heat-change mug -- 14.99
With Rogue One arriving in theaters this holiday season, there's never been a better time to invest in a Star Wars mug. What's the best type of Lucasfilm-affiliated hot beverage receptacle? One that changes design when it heats up. Trust us: The Force is strong with this mug.
So this is a weird one, but hear us out: The lines in Val Kilmer's face contain the answers to many of life's greatest mysteries. This collectible plate lets you marvel at the star of Batman Forever as both a young Iceman and a wise old painter. Stare into his eyes and unlock the mysteries of existence.
Custom Golden Girls shoes -- $55.95
If you wanna look fucking fly -- or are searching for a gift for your Blanche-worshipping grandma -- we recommend these colorful sneakers. Nothing says "don't mess with me" like a pair of canvas shoes with Bea Arthur's face on them.
Baby Groot phone charger -- $39.99
Come on -- this is adorable. Just buy one for everyone you know.
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