My Criterion Collection

One of the greatest sources for rare Art House films, the Criterion Collection delivers high quality releases, cleaned up and with a ton of special features (the original laserdiscs, in particular King Kong, invented the concept of a director’s commentary). However, not every great film makes the cut, and the company has specific styles of films it chooses. So I’ve taken it upon myself to pick a few titles that I feel deserve to be part of the collection.

My criteria (no pun intended):

Has to be good, or at least made in a way that pushes the limits of filmmaking, is innovative, and/or helps to advance the craft

Has a cult status, is something die-hard fans would want to spend money to have in their collections

Is rare, not something that is readily available but is worth owning

Is quirky, unusual, or out of the ordinary

My Pics:

American Movie (1999) – A documentary about an indie filmmaker’s struggles couldn’t be more fitting for the collection, a film by, about and for those who love movies. Mark Borchardt’s Coven (the film he’s trying to make in the doc) would make an excellent special feature for the blu-ray.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – Its unlikely, given Wes Anderson’s deal with Criterion, that this film won’t get a release, however, if ever a movie deserved to be  included, it’s this one, with its offbeat plot, incredible cinematography and inspired performances.

The Fall (2006) – I’ve already mentioned Tarsem’s masterpiece in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. Given how the film itself, besides being breathtakingly beautiful and a love letter to the art of telling stories, manages to visually preserve a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites for future generations, it makes the Criterion treatment a no brainer.

The Tenant  (1976) – The missing film from Polanski’s informal Apartment Trilogy (the other two being Repulsion (1965) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968), both already released by Criterion) the film features the director himself, playing a lowly clerk who fears the other tenants of his apartment are conspiring to drive him insane. As if the atmosphere of existential dread wasn’t frightening enough, it features Polanski in drag.

Any movie by Alejandro Jodorowsky – This man needs to make a Wes Anderson-ian deal with Criterion, any and all of his bizarre, avant-garde work would fit the bill for a release.

Amadeus (1984) – Another film from my top 10. All I’ll add is that there’s no excuse for this not to have gotten a Criterion release, none.

La Grande Bouffe (1973) – A precursor to The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover (1989), and arguably a sort of unofficial companion piece to Pasolini’s Salo (1975) in terms of setup (though not nearly as mean-spirited or violent as either, yet still scatologically repulsive), Marco Fererri’s film follows four wealthy men, with three prostitutes and a teacher in tow, to a secluded mansion in order to engage in a decadent orgy of food and sex. Unlike Salo, however, the goal is not murder but suicide, as the four intend to eat themselves to death. An offbeat but highly underrated masterpiece.

Honorable mention:

Ghostbusters (1984) (again) – There are few who would deny that this is one of the greatest comedies ever made, though few would think it was the type of film Criterion would pick. Guess what? It did get a Criterion release, on laser disc, though its one of several selections that never made it past that format. However, the film is still widely available and has gotten a decent extras-laden release on blu-ray.


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