Tis the week we overeat, overspend, overindulge, etc. It’s our duty as rotten citizens of this hellhole country to participate in
the annual Purge Black Friday, and you know what, I’m gonna do my part. Gotta look the part too, naw I’m saying?
Since last year, stores have been dropping their Black Friday sales online as early as a week out. If you’re one to avoid crowds, have empathy for service workers, or if you’re a plain old lazy shopper (the pandemic trifecta) then I highly recommend taking advantage of these sweet 4K movie deals that are live RIGHT NOW.
Now, I myself only made the switch to a 4K TV setup 2 years ago, so my 4K collection is pretty bare compared to my Blu-Rays. When you spend the better part of a decade collecting movies in one format, it leaves you exhausted knowing you gotta do it all over again. The upgrade is worth it though—that’s the thing, and a pricey overhaul at that. Lucky for you, I’m here to help.
I scrolled mercilessly through all the Black Friday movie deals and compiled a list of ten 4K Blu-rays to wholeheartedly recommend. These are the ones I already own and can personally vouch for, which is why I’m humbly submitting these picks for ya AND they’re all $10 apiece at Best Buy. If you’re looking to jumpstart your collection, this should be enough to get going. Fellow physical media collectors, how can we not dig in??? Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Best Buy or any retail stores. I’m just doing this for the movies babyyyyy.
1. GODZILLA VS. KONG
If there’s one big screen experience from 2021 that you ought to take home with you, it’s Godzilla vs. Kong. The title bouts are thundering; Kong and Godzilla’s roars never sounded so pristine, and the movie is gorgeously shot. Director Adam Wingard nods to the sci-fi spectacle of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, to Ridley Scott’s epic panorama, and to the good old fashioned cinematic slugfests that ought to have Batman and Superman sitting the fuck down. This is a mighty flex for your 4K setup.
2. A QUIET PLACE PART II
Another 2021 release worth snagging. If you’ve got Paramount+ then you don’t need a physical copy unless you care about certain specs. For me, the quality of the sound design is a MUST. Mind you, nothing beats the theater. The two Quiet Place movies so far are great theater experiences if only for the sheer immersion of a (mostly) silent, tension-filled crowd. That being said, it’s nice to watch this at home without other people munching on their popcorn.
A Quiet Place Part II is a rarity because it’s one of the few movies shot on film in a day and age of moviemaking where everything is digital. You’d think the 4K transfer would be cumbersome, but it’s the opposite. 4K film intermediates are STUNNING when done right. (It’s why Christopher Nolan’s films are excellent 4K grabs, more in a sec.) Also, Part II is one of the best films of the year in an already stacked year. Don’t skip it imo.
3. THE DARK KNIGHT
I don’t trust any 4K collector who doesn’t have The Dark Knight in their library. Legendary movie, yes, we all know that. But Christopher Nolan himself supervised the 4K intermediate for his films, along with the original VFX artists involved. He might be a stickler for the theater (and an obnoxious one to some) but he also gives a shit about the home viewing of his movies too. TDK is one of those movies I wish I could have wiped from my memory so I could experience again. I bought it on DVD and then on Blu-Ray trying to chase that high. The 4K disc is the only one that came close. Next step for me is buying the IMAX print, obviously. (Batman Begins & The Dark Knight Rises are also on sale.)
Another Nolan one for you. Tenet gets little love, and understandably so. When Neil deGrasse Tyson or Cinema Sins pick apart the logistics, it makes one feel like movies are puzzle boxes that need to be solved. Tenet gives you the key to the whole experience first thing: “don’t try to understand it, feel it.” Admittedly, I wasn’t feeling it when I saw it in theaters, nor the second time I picked it up on 4K. But the more I kept watching it, the more it worked its magic trick.
Tenet is a full-blown audiovisual sensory experience tailor-made for film dorks like me who crave the bombast and spectacle of the big screen. The opening opera siege is a magnificent sonic immersion; the protagonist duking it out with the inverted man is both baffling and jaw-dropping, and the highway sequence gives Mad Max/Matrix Reloaded vibes to the highest power. A year later, I’m still buzzing over Tenet. It’s my most watched 4K in my collection.
5. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
Not a lot of you stan this movie because you’re straight-up fucking WEAK. Here me out: how about vibing to a Beck soundtrack in Dolby Atmos? How about this magnificently edited sequence in pristine 4K? How about Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the manic pixie girl of your dreams? From a visual standpoint, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World remains a wowser of a movie that puts video game adaptations to shame 11 years later. Hot take: it puts some Marvel movies to shame too. (Fight scenes, we should be able to see them!) Those who saw Scott Pilgrim in theaters, it is our duty to own a copy. And those who missed out, there’s never been a better time to change that.
6. INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
I get it, y’all are hyped for Spider-Man: No Way Home, but 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse was already doing the multiverse thing while the Avengers were still fighting Thanos. No Way Home is basically the live-action version of Spider-Verse, so why not take this saga home? The animation alone is a dazzling comic book rendering, one that feels like it was lifted both literally and in the spirit of Stan Lee’s original panels. If you’ve got the proper setup, the “What’s Up Danger?” scene can be a goddamn transcendental experience. Raimi’s Spider-Man 1 & 2 are unmatched, but Spider-Verse rounds out the top 3 Spidey flicks for me.
7. BAD BOYS FOR LIFE
Best of the three BY FAR. As much as adolescent me enjoyed the hell out of 1 & 2, Michael Bay was only interested in the carnage that Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett wreaked on Miami. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah seem genuinely interested in this buddy cop duo as characters. Sure, they can’t beat Michael Bay’s pyrotechnics but Adil & Bilall’s staging is quite good. There’s clarity, less shaky cam, which is perfect for clean and crisp 4K. The colors pop like crazy in Bad Boys for Life, and it’s madly impressive for a 25-year-old franchise to feel fresh once again. Wanna add a Bad Boys movie to the collection, why not own the best one?
8. THE MARTIAN
Among the five best 4K discs I own. Ridley Scott filmed this sci-fi survival odyssey on the RED Dragon, which shoots in 6K. That makes the level of detail in a 4K disc all the more enriching and leaves plenty of valleys to explore in later formats, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The Jordan desert used as a stand-in for Mars’ exterior is flat-out gorgeous to gaze upon. It’s momentarily disorienting at times; I think I’m watching Lawrence of Arabia for a sec, and then I wonder if Ridley actually flew to Mars himself to shoot this shit. Visually, The Martian is a must for any 4K setup. Plus there’s the added bombast of its delightfully retro soundtrack. There’s a reason why people called The Martian Ridley Scott’s best film in years. See for yourself.
9. SUPER 8
J.J. Abrams last good movie. (Half-joking here.) Super 8 is his ode to all things Steven Spielberg. Part imitation, which is Abrams’ strength as filmmaker, but it’s also the apex of his “mystery box” storytelling. There are some things you just won’t know the answers to, because the forward momentum that the mystery of the unknown provides is all that matters to Abrams. That sheer propulsion is wonderful to experience in the polished format – another richly rendered film intermediate. Super 8 is basically pre-Stranger Things, or Stranger Things wants what Super 8 has, etc. Nostalgia comes in many forms. Thankfully, it’s also in 4K.
10. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT
You can never go wrong with Mission: Impossible. (Okay, except that one time they tried to make it explicitly a love story.) Fallout is hands down the best one, coming off a string of M:I movies you could easily proclaim as the best one. From the HALO jump to the motorcycle chase, and later, the BMW chase, all of it is a wonder to behold in 4K. And I haven’t even gotten to the ballsy helicopter stuff, or Cruise and Cavill slugging it out on the cliffs. If I had the means, I’d watch Fallout in theaters whenever I so please. Owning it in 4K is the next best thing.
One More – The Green Knight
The Green Knight has the most sumptuous visuals I’ve seen this year, with Dune in a close second. Every frame feels so carefully measured, calculated, rendered. But The Green Knight is an A24 movie, and A24 movies – I believe – aren’t for everyone. David Lowery’s latest in particular plunges deep into ambiguity, so it’s no surprise to me that audience reception has been mixed. This is a movie that invites contemplation of every choice made within the frame. If you’re not on that wavelength, or don’t like to ride that wavelength at all, then The Green Knight will fly right over your head. But if you’re one for ponderous cinema, then you cannot pass up this 4K deal.
Lastly, Do NOT Buy – Terminator 2: Judgement Day
It pains me to say that T2’s transfer sucks. All-time action classic, James Cameron at the height of his powers, etc. But this 4K cannot measure up. It was upscaled for 4K and didn’t involve Cameron (because he’s busy making 5 Avatar movies) so the quality of this disc is flat and subpar. I say this because it’s $7 and might seem too good of a deal to be true, and it is. Not to worry, T2 is getting a proper 4K re-release WITH Cameron’s supervision. It drops on Tuesday, so remember it is NOT the same as that thing you’ll see on sale on Black Friday.
Happy hunting! (For 4K Blu-rays)