Now that the Christmas shopping season is officially under way, I thought I’d toss out a few ideas for the movie fan on your list. Here's what to get for the independent film fan, the horror film fan and the cult movie fan.

Now that the Christmas shopping season is officially under way, I thought I’d toss out a few ideas for the movie fan on your list. I’ve tried to cover all the bases, offering ideas for cult and classic fans and including both DVDs and books.

For the independent film fan: You may never have heard of BBS Productions, but that loosely organized “studio” produced movies that influenced both the great films of the 1970s and the wave of independent films of the 1990s. Managed (again, loosely) by Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider and Steven Blauner (their first initials gave BBS its name), the studio didn’t last long, but it produced some genuine classics.

And now they’re collected on “America Lost and Found: The BBS Story,” a new set from Criterion. Available on both DVD ($79.96) and Blu-ray ($99.96), “America Lost and Found” acts as both a snapshot of an exciting time and a lesson in film history. Things get off to a surreal start with “Head,” the 1968 Monkees movie that Rafelson directed and, believe it or not, Jack Nicholson co-wrote. Not only did this strange movie reveal a different side of the TV pop stars, with blatant drug jokes and material about the Vietnam War, it gathered some of the characters who would shape cinema in the 1970s. More than 40 years after its debut, “Head” is a weird little time capsule, funnier and darker than you might expect.

The next year, BBS released “Easy Rider.” One of the most influential movies ever made; it essentially invented 1970s cinema and it’s also one of the most widely seen. But even if you’ve seen it before, you haven’t seen it looking as good as it does in this remastered print. The wide-open landscapes of America look breathtaking, making even the overlong sessions of drug-fueled dialogue worth sitting through. The film also includes a commentary track from Dennis Hopper (who co-wrote, directed and starred), recorded before his death last year.

The other films in the set — “Five Easy Pieces,” “Drive, He Said,” “The King of Marvin Gardens,” “A Safe Place” and “The Last Picture Show” — weren’t as revolutionary, but each did its part to establish the stars, directors and concepts of independent cinema. “The Last Picture Show” is the best of the bunch, a gorgeous black-and-white ode to nostalgia that features some big stars in their early days (Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid and Cloris Leachman) and director Peter Bogdanovich at his best.

Being a Criterion release, “America Lost and Found” comes loaded with extras, including multiple commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes features on each film and a multipart documentary about BBS itself.

For the horror movie fan: Who says horror movies have to stop when Halloween is over? If you’ve got a scary movie fan on your list, buy ’em a copy of “Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death” by James Marriott and Kim Newman ($24.95). Unlike all those other books of movie lists, this one is smart and sophisticated, acting as a concise history of the horror genre, from the early silent days to the 21st century. If you’re looking for a good scare, you’ll find plenty of suggestions within these pages.

For the cult movie fan: And speaking of books, I’ve read a lot of books about weird films, but I’ve never seen one quite like “Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film” by Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly ($35). Printed in black-and-white and day-glo pink, the book catalogs virtually every single movie that ever featured a punk on-screen. I’m not just talking about the classics, like “Rock ’N’ Roll High School” and “Repo Man,” either. I’m talking about movies like “Star Trek IV,” which features a punk rocker in exactly one scene. And the book has an interview with the actor, too! Now that’s attention to detail.

Coming next week: Gifts for silent movie fans, TV fans and fans of old movies.

Will Pfeifer writes about DVDs for the Register Star on Saturdays. Contact him at wpfeifer@rrstar.com or 815-987-1244. Read his blog at blogs.e-rockford.com/movieman/

Make room in your collection –– some new DVDs out this week:

“Twilight Saga: Eclipse”: If you’re a “Twilight” fan, you’re probably already waiting in line for this movie to hit the shelves. Stay warm out there — it’s almost winter!

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”: Nicolas Cage plays a modern-day magician in this special-effects extravaganza from Disney, makers of the original “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

“Knight and Day”: Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz team up for action in this summer movie that didn’t make nearly as much money as everyone thought it would.

“Biggest Loser: Power Walk”: Here’s a power walking tip: Get up off the couch, walk over to the TV and turn off this DVD. If you need a DVD to tell you how to walk, something’s wrong.

“Parks and Recreation: Season 2”: One of the best sitcoms on the air gets a much-awaited collection of its excellent second season. Thankfully, the third season returns to NBC’s Thursday night lineup in January.

“Meet John Doe”: After years of shabby-looking public domain DVD releases, this Frank Capra classic finally arrives on a re-mastered disc with bonus features.

“Sid & Marty Krofft’s Saturday Morning Hits”: If you’ve forgotten how psychedelic and drug-inspired children’s TV used to be, this DVD set should provide a welcome flashback, man.

And CDs:

Soundtrack, “Glee: The Music, Volume 4”: Another week, another “Glee” soundtrack album. How many of these can they possibly release?

The Black Eyed Peas, “The Beginning”: Not, despite the title, a collection of early hits. Instead, it’s an ironically named follow-up to the last Black Eyed Peas album, “The E.N.D.”

Tim McGraw, “Number One Hits”: Tim McGraw is so popular that it takes two discs to collect all 22 No. 1 hits he’s had.

Jazmine Sullivan, “Love Me Back”: Producers on this sophomore effort from Sullivan include Ne-Yo, Los da Mystro, Ryan Leslie, Lamb, Missy Elliott and Salaam Remi.

Flo Rida, “Only One Flo (Part 1)”: You’ll have to wait until spring for Part 2, which the record company promises will be “an edgier compilation that showcases the rapper’s verbal dexterity and various rhyme patterns.”

Soundtrack, “Black Swan”: This is the soundtrack to the creepy ballet movie starring Natalie Portman and directed by Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”). If you want a spooky but classy album, this could be your best bet.

Miguel, “All I Want Is You”: This is not, despite the title and the time of year, a Christmas album.
 
Sources: thedigitalbits.com, tophitsonline.com