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Headsup: Throw Me The Hat, I Give You The Idol

Indiana Jones full hat Indiana Jones: The Hat's logo
Indiana Jones: The Hat 100% Fine Fur Felt Indiana Jones: Inside the Hat Indiana Jones: The Hat Band Logo

Well, we’ve spoken before about the wonderment of the Indiana Jones hat being sold at ThinkGeek. Not only are we talking a 100% fur felt hat but damn–this thing looks really well made for $99. And believe me when I tell you that I’m a cheap bastard: something’s got to be pretty damn sweet for me to be willing to drop that much dime on it. The inside says that it’s hand made, and the inside brim of the hat–which is leather–sports the Indiana Jones logo. There’s also a Indiana Jones coat of arms of some sort in there as well–a nice touch. There is another small Indiana Jones attached to the outside but it looks like you could take it off if you really wanted to make this look a bit more accurate. Now granted, I’m no hat expert. But I know cool stuff when I see it–and this is it. In fact, sad to say, the hat’s of better quality than the fourth film. All seriousness aside, if you’re a serious Indy junkie, then this is right up your alley. Or better yet–is your Dad? Remember, Father’s Day is almost upon us. (Buy it from ThinkGeek.)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull audiobook
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull soundtrack

[ad#longpost]Now, for those of you who would like to take a different approach with the fourth film, you could try the soundtrack by John Williams which features a lot of the tried and true Indy music that we’ve come to expect–no surprise there–but very little in the way of new material that would make this worth owning. I must admit I was a bit preoccupied with the thrill of anticipating which plot hole would frustrate me next and that kept me from appreciated the score as the film was playing, but I could swear there’s some bits missing. Regardless, I do know that of what’s here, the classic stuff is the best–and already available on other releases. Unless you’re a Williams completist, I think you’re fine skipping this or just buying the bits you like as MP3s from Amazon (see bottom of the post for that). This is out from Concord Records. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

And then we must pity James Rollins, given the task of novelizing the plot of the film, which makes very little sense when it’s going by at movie speed. Try to imagine the daunting deed to have to make it work at reading speed. The fact is: nothing can help it. There’s a bit more detail–as would be expected from the written word (or considering we’re talking about the audiobook here, the spoken word)–but in the end the Lucasian drivel overwhelms all. Rollins and reader L.J. Ganser can’t make a silk purse out of a paper bag. Eight and a half hours across seven discs from Random House. Again, if you’re an Indy or Rollins completist you can go for it–or if you do want to try the novelization, this way you can at least be multitasking while listening. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Join Us DVD cover art
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Region 0 DVD cover art
John Adams DVD cover art

Interloper Films offers us Join Us, a look at cults in America. The tagline alone tells you what you’re in store for: “There are thousands of cults in America…This is the story of one.” A lot of people who have never bought into a nice little pocket of mass hysteria that makes up a cult probably don’t have an appreciation for just how easy it is to have your mind mucked with. Whether you’re just a regular somebody from South Carolina like in this film or, say, *cough* Will Smith. And once the mind is mucked with, it’s actually really hard work to un-muck it. The struggle of coming to grips with getting one’s life and one’s family’s lives back under control is the focus of this documentary. And the thought that this is happening across America, much less the world, is terribly disturbing. Good and necessary viewing to remind us that we’re in the Age of Reason only by the skin of our teeth. (Click here to buy it from Interloper’s site.)

Umbrella Entertainment provides an all-region edition of Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, in which David Bowie plays a defiant POW and Ryuichi Sakomoto (who scored both this film and The Last Emperor) is the camp commandant who has to deal with him. Also involved are Beat Takeshi in his first major film and Tom Conti. What’s interesting about this is that from what I can tell, there hasn’t been a Region 1 release of the film on DVD. There appear to have been a mini-slew of Region 2 releases, one a special edition. This Umbrella release, from the fine company out of Australia, delivers the majority of the special edition’s special features on an all-region version. Those features are a half-hour featurette about the making of the film, along with interviews with Sakamoto and producer Jeremy Thomas. So if you’ve been waiting to be able to watch this without a hacked DVD player, then Umbrella can take care of you. (Click here to buy it from Umbrella Entertainment.)

John Adams excited the hell out of me from the first time I heard about it. Laura Linney as Abigail Adams? David Morse (who seriously, honestly needs to get cast more often) as George Washington? Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin? And Paul “Solid in Every Damn Film–Period” Giamatti in the title role? I was sold from jump. And here HBO is presenting all seven parts to the miniseries on a three-disc set. Simply put, this series is excellent. It takes a subject that we know is interesting (and yet countless history teachers around the country botch the amazing nature of it) and manages to keep it intriguing. It’s worthwhile not just for the performances, which surprise no one by being damn good, but also because the series doesn’t stoop to fill in every single detail like others might. It assumes we’re mildly intelligent. If you like fine television, this might be worth owning–but you know we assume that ownership requires rewatchability. Each must make their own call on that, but it fits for me. Rent it at the very least and try it out. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

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