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Ask the Strategist: What Are the Best Gifts for Movie Buffs?

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In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and scour friends, call up experts, and draw from personal experience to answer them. As always, please comment with one of your own — we’re here to help.

Question: What are the best presents, or sites to shop, for a friend who’s a big movie buff, especially old and classic movies? They already have FilmStruck and other streaming services. 

Jumping right off of where you started, FilmStruck, otherwise known as the Netflix for movie nerds, is run by Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, both of which have online shops with all kinds of movies and movie-related merch. Here’s TCM and here’s Criterion. Can’t go wrong there.

I also reached out to Michael Lieberman from the Metrograph, a new movie theater on the Lower East Side that mostly shows archival films and has an excellent vintage and classic movie-related book collection, who recommended the British Film Institute for books and DVDs they’ve published and produced, including very recent releases like Detroit. For “DVDs not from Criterion,” (and for people who still buy DVDs) he suggests Twilight Time and Kino Lorber.  

Moleskine Passion Journal — Film, Large, Hard Cover

Angelica Bastién, a staff writer over at Vulture, first offered FilmStruck, again, confirming its status as the gold-standard status subscription for any movie buff, before adding some fun movie-related products. First, the Moleskine Film Journal, which is a “fun way to keep track of everything you see,” she says. It looks like a regular Moleskine notebook, but the pages have sections to write down the name of the movie you just saw, its director, actors, favorite quotes, and who you saw it with, as a way to remember the full experience of each movie. There’s also a pocket in the back for ticket stubs, of course.

The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin

She then recommended five books. The first of which is The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin, a book of his essays and criticism on film.

City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the ’40s by Otto Friedrich

“This is not as stuffy as it sounds!” Bastién says. “It’s an engaging, thorough exploration of the fall of classic Hollywood and its culture during that decade.”

Conversations With Wilder by Cameron Crowe

Here, “a book about Crowe’s interview with the legendary Billy Wilder.”

Joan Crawford: The Enduring Star by Peter Cowie

And something to display: “A big, gorgeous coffee-table book that has biographical details and interesting writing on Crawford between the beautiful pictures.”

All About All About Eve by Sam Staggs

And lastly, this is “a HILARIOUS and in-depth book about the behind-the-scenes story of All About Eve for people who are into gossip mixed with their film history,” Bastién says. “It’s a very fun read.”

Harry Potter Movie Posters

And then I gave it a good internet sweep to find some cool movie products that even a non-movie buff like me could get into. There are tons of really great minimalist movie posters around the internet (some of which we’ve written about before), but my favorite is this series of Harry Potter movie prints on Etsy. The same artist also does Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, and the Karate Kid.

Fictional hotel notepads (set)

An online shop based in the U.K. sells these great notepads from fictional movie hotels like the Overlook (The Shining), and Kellerman’s Resort (Dirty Dancing).


MoviePass is now selling its movie pass for just $10 a month. That means you can see one movie in theaters every single day for just $10 a month. The concept is crazy. There are some drawbacks, though, like you can only buy one ticket per MoviePass, which makes things a little tricky for dates. In that case, there’s still $25 AMC gift cards on Amazon.

Star Wars Princess Leia Movie Film Cell Bookmark

Floating around Amazon, I found Princess Leia bookmarks made with authentic film cells from the movie. (There’s a whole Amazon store selling authentic film cells.)

Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting

And lastly, with MasterClass, a company that offers web tutorials directly from “geniuses” in their fields, you can give the gift of learning screenwriting straight from Aaron Sorkin (in 35 lessons) and filmmaking from Werner Herzog himself (in six hours).

Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking

We’d love to hear from you. If you have any burning questions, please leave them for us in the comments.

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Ask the Strategist: What Are the Best Gifts for Movie Buffs?