I had to think long and hard about the items I wanted to include in this year-end list. For physical media collectors, this year has been an absolute goldmine. We’ve been spoiled rotten with one great release after another and, at times, it was really difficult to keep up.
Here are five items – nay, six – I’m really glad I bought this year. This is the cream of the crop as far as I’m concerned and I highly recommend every single thing on this page. Tell me what your picks of 2020 were – I’d love to know what your stand-out products were! And they can be ANYTHING! Not just film-related.
12.9″ iPad Pro – I had wanted to upgrade my MacBook Air for quite some time and when Apple released the new iPad Pros, I thought well, this is it. I wanted something that would not only replace my laptop, but act as a phenomenal (portable) entertainment system. Something I could both work and play on and watch LOTS of movies on. Hands down, this was one of the best purchases I made this year because since I got it, I haven’t put it down.
Indicator Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg At Paramount, 1930-1935 LE box set (blu-ray) – this is the box set that started it all. It was the very first thing I ordered from Indicator and because I was so impressed with it, I made it my mission to own practically everything that label has ever released. Indicator produces the best-looking limited edition sets – the packaging is robust, the artwork is to-die-for and the special features are stacked!
McMichael Canadian Art Gallery Membership – if you’re a Canadian who attended grade school in Ontario, then chances are you’ve probably gone on many school trips to this art gallery. I hadn’t been back there for a few years, but when I heard there was a special exhibit featuring the works of Canada’s own Group of Seven, I snapped up a couple tickets for me and Pops and we headed over in October. Just that one visit alone prompted me to become a Member and now Pops and I can look forward to free visits, free parking, exclusive events, guest passes and a discount at the gift shop. All worth it, in my opinion, especially when you consider you’re supporting a beautiful Canadian art institution.
Alex Ross Universal Monsters steelbooks (blu-ray) – I cheated a little with this one because I didn’t only buy one steelbook, I bought four (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy & Bride of Frankenstein). These are four of the best-looking items I have in my physical media collection and I literally gasped when I unboxed them. I’m debating whether I should purchase the ones I’m missing in order to complete my set, but I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any new media in 2021 so … chances are my collection of Alex Ross Universal Monsters steelbooks will remain incomplete.
Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations (blu-ray) – this was the year where I really got into Laurel & Hardy. I watched Stan & Ollie (2018) in the spring and ever since then, I can’t get enough! This blu-ray set is immaculate, I highly recommend it! The prints are gorgeous, there are lots of great special features, and the artwork is quite nice too. This set contains 4 discs and each one has it’s own collection of bonus materials.
Warner Archive Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 (blu-ray) – I’m going to be completely honest and admit that prior to Warner Archive releasing this disc, I had never heard of the Tex Avery cartoon shorts. I thought Looney Tunes and Disney shorts were the be-all and end-all of cartoon shorts. I had no clue that MGM produced its own collection of cartoons that aired before main features in cinemas. These shorts look GORGEOUS, guys. The colours are so bright and vivid and the humour in them is so naughty. It’s like watching pre-Code cartoons and we all know how much I love pre-Codes. Warner Archive has just released Volume 2 and I will definitely be adding that disc to my collection too.