1. ROLE MODELS
Don’t let the slacker dudes, potty-mouthed kids, and gross-out jokes fool you. Models is seriously funny, mining surprising humor from a genre we were beginning to think was tapped out.
2. KUNG FU PANDA on DVD
Best extra: martial-arts classes so you can make like Jack Black‘s bear, even if you aren’t computer-animated.
3. PRESIDENTIAL FANDEX
Keep the party (politics) going and snag a set of Family Field Guide’s Commander-in-Chief trivia cards, with a brand-new entry for President-elect Barack Obama.
4. LISA EDELSTEIN on ‘House M.D.’
Edelstein displays a wrenching emotional core we haven’t seen in boss Cuddy, as she tries to adopt a baby while dealing with the whiny, needy brat she already has: House.
5. THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED, by Wally Lamb
The Columbine tragedy leads to a rumination on life and faith in what may be Lamb’s best novel yet.
6. A BATHING APE
Stay current on cool with this biography of a Japanese niche clothing line that exploded into a global fashion brand.
7. TRUE BLOOD supporting cast
Suck it, vamps. Humans like combustible Tara (Rutina Wesley), ”fangbanger” Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), and himbo Jason (Ryan Kwanten) truly give the HBO series its bite.
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays an actor named…Jean-Claude Van Damme, who gets caught in a bank hold-up but can’t use his movie-star skills to save himself. The really crazy part? He’s good.
9. WARREN ZEVON Collector’s Edition
Devotees and newbies can all find something fresh in this reissue of his debut album with 15 unreleased tunes.
READER’S CHOICE*: BOOKS
10. TWILIGHT soundtrack
Squeal appeal? ”Never Think,” sung by Twilight star Rob Pattinson. But even non-Twihards will appreciate Linkin Park’s ”Leave Out All the Rest.” —Submitted by Shana Gray
READER’S CHOICE*: MOVIES
11. QUANTUM OF SOLACE
Quantum of Solace is barreling atop my Must List at breakneck speeds like only a Bond flick can. Who better than the incomparable Daniel Craig to continue his refreshingly human portrayal of Bond in this first-ever true sequel? —Dennis N.
READER’S CHOICE*: MOVIES
12. FOUR CHRISTMASES trailer
The movie trailer for Four Christmases is so funny. I just hope all the funny parts haven’t already been shown. —wendy
READER’S CHOICE*: MUSIC
13. BAND OF HORSES
I’m a little late catching on, but Band of Horses! I ”rediscovered” them awhile back, and I could listen to ”Detlef Schrempf” on repeat for the rest of my life and be happy. Love them on the Nick and Norah soundtrack, and one of the old O.C. mix tapes. —Jen
READER’S CHOICE*: TV
15. THE WEST WING on Bravo
The network began airing reruns on Monday, starting from the first episode. Between the amazing writing and the parallels of President Santos to President-elect Barack Obama, the series is still worthy of all of its Emmys. —LP
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