Whatever form your holiday season takes, I think we can all agree that this season of giving, sharing and goodwill to all is a giant and stressful puzzle too. And that’s at best. You know, when a seemingly endless pandemic doesn’t hamper our efforts to go out and buy the perfect gift for that loved one / family obligated on our list.
And while we here at the Indie Film office have no idea what it takes, say, your family’s boat enthusiast (An anchor? Just spitting), here are some last-minute choices for the movie fanatic on your list. Added points for shopping local and supporting Maine businesses, and for avoiding holiday mail crush.
Give a membership.
Local screening / deal venues like Space and PMA Films offer discounted movie tickets to members, along with other tangible benefits. (A Space membership entitles members to free tea at events!) Oh plus, your donation will also help support two vital local arts organizations during tough economic times, but we’re mainly here for tickets. inexpensive cinema. You can also purchase your gift subscription online – no fuss, no fuss. Cross that one off the list.
Offer free evenings at the movies.
Of course, you can just buy tickets by buying your favorite moviegoer a pass book or a gift certificate to their local cinema. Since you don’t necessarily know (or want to know) your recipient’s cinematic tastes, this gives them the ability to go see any giant superhero punch-up or artistic alien erotic drama they want. . And while many of us are still a little doubtful on the wisdom of sitting with other people in a movie theater in these times of a pandemic, free tickets never go bad. (It’ll be over someday, I’m pretty sure.) If you don’t pick up your gift vouchers in person, you might have to wait for the mail, but who’s going to the movies when there’s so much shopping to do all the same ?
Cost: roughly yours. (Again, depending on how much your loved one is actually loved.) Portland Nickelodeon, for example, sells gift certificates as low as $ 25, which covers entrees and concessions. And if you’re still wary of the experience of “breathing other people’s air for two hours,” good Maine drive-ins (like The corner of pride at Westbrook, currently showing a few holiday favorites) are a safe bet (as long as your car’s heater is on) and could always use your support as a gift.
Donate weird movie memories.
Portland businesses love Strange Maine and The Fun Box Monster Emporium are literally crammed into their Congress Street rafters with exactly the sort of movie-adjacent stuff any movie buff worthy of their salt popcorn loves to scatter all around their house. A glimpse of Strange Maine is rewarded with the sight of shelves filled with obscure VHS and DVD movies, movie-related gewgaws, and the occasional buried cinematic treasures. Meanwhile, until the Congress at The Fun Box, you’ll likely find a wealth of carefully curated and reasonably priced improbable T-shirts, posters, and action figures. You know there is a “Puppet Master” enthusiast who would love this evil jester figurine. (Note: We cannot guarantee that the Evil Jester figurine will never come to life.)
Cost: go ahead and charge – while some of the rarer items are going to cost you dearly (a limited-edition cinematic-quality Hellboy hand isn’t cheap, folks), there’s a lot of movie nostalgia in your price range. And, again, supporting local businesses is the giveaway.
Give them something to listen to.
Like many of us, I’ve been heavily invested in podcasts during all this forced time. And, me being me, movie podcasts are my primary source of entertainment. I listen to “The Flop House” and “How Did This Get Made?” for my enjoyment of “making fun of bad movies,” while “With Gourley and Rust” has become my benchmark for an encyclopedic (and fun) review of the entire slasher genre. And while there is a lot of free content (like the great content from Portland Podcast Monster Fun Box), a subscription to podcast outlets like Audible or Maximum Fun will ensure that the movie enthusiast in your life will always have an exclusive and exhaustive cinematic conversation for their headphones.
Cost: Audible is $ 8 / month, Maximum Fun is free, but publicly supported, with loads of bonus content for paying members. Believe me, your cheerful movie fanatic will never run out of things to listen to.
Books on cinema? Why not!
I read about the weird and wonderful expanses of cinema before I even had the right to see, for example, the works of the Franco-Chilean director of spooky nightmares Alejandro Jodorowski. Books were my gateway to film craziness, and still are. So whether you’re looking for scholarly treatises on Ingmar Bergman’s work or a dirty retrospective on shady “Jaws” fakes (sign me up for “Jaws Unmade: Lost Sequels, Prequels, Remakes & Scams”By John LeMay, available at Green Hand Bookstore in Portland), Independent Bookstores of Maine (as The green hand, To print and Longfellow Books) has just what you need to cross that latest movie-obsessed weirdo off your shopping list.
Cost: The choice is yours, but one last time support your local Maine businesses? Invaluable.
Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.
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