JBO: Joystiq Box Office Holiday Edition, plus Joyswag!

Kevin Kelly
K. Kelly|12.26.09

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JBO: Joystiq Box Office Holiday Edition, plus Joyswag!

We can't be gaming all the time, despite our best efforts, and from time to time we'll actually take advantage of the movie-playing abilities on our gaming systems. JBO features our top picks for XBL, PSN, Netflix's Watch Instantly and Blu-ray each week.

It's Christmas! So we're going to recommend a slew of holiday movies that might peel you away from your gaming loot, or TBS' all-day Christmas Story marathon, AMC's all-day National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation programming, or even the Spike TV Bad Santa all-day extravaganza. Also, with the holidays in mind, we're going to be giving away ... wait for it ... MOVIES with each Joystiq Box Office post on Friday from today through January 1! Simply leave a comment below telling us what you'll be watching on your Xbox, PS3, PC, PSP, DS, OMG or whatever, and we'll pick two winners at random each week to receive a nifty prize. This week we'll be giving away one copy of Jim Henson's Labyrinth on Blu-ray, and one copy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray set, complete with pizza box packaging and a beanie! Read the complete rules at the end of this post, and good luck!

Recommendation of the Week:

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ($34.99 suggested retail, lower at many retailers)
On paper this probably sounded a bit strange: shoddy burglar Robert Downey Jr. solving crimes with a homosexual Val Kilmer? Is that what kept people away? This ended up being one of the better films from both of these actors, and it all opens with a scene at a Christmas party. A pretty unforgettable (and realistic) Christmas party thrown in Hollywood. There aren't a slew of special features included here, except for the commentary track from writer/director Shane Black, and Downey and Kilmer. There's a gag reel thrown in as well, and both of those make this a must-buy. This is a terrific film that many people didn't get a chance to see, and it's well worth picking up. I just wish it had made enough money to spark a sequel.

Read on for the rest of the recommendations, and as usual, we'll see you at the popcorn sta -- well, actually, we won't see you at all. But you catch our drift. Plus, be sure to tell us what you'll be watching, or what you've seen recently that bowled you over.

Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)

Four Christmases
(1200($19.99) HD to own, 480($6) HD, 320($4) SD, to rent)
Four Christmases accepts the fact that we live in a day and age of dysfunctional families and never looks back. Besides Robert Duvall's performance as a cantakerous jerkwad of a father in this movie, there's a to like in here. From Jon Favreau growling "I gotta go take a grumpy" to Vince Vaughn, all the way up to Reese Witherspoon's fear of bouncy houses, it combines to make probably the strangest Christmas movie this side of Bad Santa. It's better than Vaughn's other holiday effort, Fred Claus, and it reunites most of the Swingers crew. Next time they need to find a way to get Ron Livingstone involved. Why not Swingers II: A Swingin' Christmas? Until then, you've got this.

Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)

Amazing Stories: Santa '85/'86
Netflix Watch Instantly recently added 35 Criterion titles, including classics like Seven Samurai and The Vanishing, but my personal favorite out of all of these is For All Mankind. It's a documentary about about the Moon landings, told with never before seen footage and using the words of the astronauts themselves. Simply gorgeous. But learning about the Apollo missions isn't holiday-ish enough, so consider flipping it over to Amazing Stories: Santa '85/'86. This Steven Spielberg produced show had high and low moments throughout its run, but this story was one of the best. Pat Hingle (remember Commissioner Gordon from the Tim Burton Batman films?) plays a grumpy sheriff who learns about the magic of Christmas via Buck Rogers. Good stuff.

PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)

Die Hard ($4.50 HD, $2.99 SD to rent $9.99 SD, to own)
Just a reminder that it's Double Cash all weekend long in Uncharted 2, and while you're not busy racking up the dough to purchase that last skin you need for your collection, you can settle back and watch Die Hard. Both Die Hard and the sequel Die Hard 2: Die Hard Harder take place at Christmas, but only Die Hard has Alan Rickman chewing up scenery and spouting lines like "Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho." Toss in "Christmas in Hollis" by Run-D.M.C. alongside a classic like "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" performed by Vaughn Monroe and you have the added bonus of a terrific Christmas soundtrack as well. Yippee-kai-aye, indeed. Now go make some fists with your toes and get to it.

Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)

Miracle on 34th Street ($34.99, much lower at many retailers)
How adorable is Natalie Wood in this movie? Probably the cutest kid to grace the screen since Shirley Temple. This classic was remade in by John Hughes (we miss you, John!) in 1994, but you really need to see the 1947 original to appreciate the true spirit of Christmas, which was apparently captured by Macy's. Yes, there is rampant consumerism in this movie, but it pays off when they take Santa to court. It's a Wonderful Life gets a lot of credit as the quintessential Christmas movie, but I'm in the 34th Street court. After all, it has Santa Claus in it. No wonky, goofy angels anywhere. The Blu-ray disc has a few fun extras on it, yet apparently doesn't include the colorized version despite the wording on the back of the case. But, do you really need those faux colors to enjoy this?

What are you watching? Let us know to enter for your chance to win a Blu-ray move prize detailed below:
  • Leave a comment telling us what you're watching (on any format).
  • You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Limit 1 entry per person (replies to other comments won't count as entries, so feel free to chat it up).
  • This entry period ends at 12:00PM ET on Monday, December 28.
  • At that time, we'll randomly select one winner to receive a one copy of Labyrinth on Blu-ray (ARV $27.95); and one winner to receive a copy of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25h Anniversary Collector's Edition on Blu-ray (ARV $84.99).
  • For a list of complete rules, click here.

What is Joyswag? Since we don't keep the games and merchandise we receive for review or promotional purposes, it becomes "Joyswag," which is passed along to our readers. For more info on our policy, click here.
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