Criterion Collection Questions with the HFCS


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Season’s greetings! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Criterion Collection 50% off sale is in full swing at Barnes and Noble through Monday, November 28th. The Criterion Collection needs no introduction for cinephiles and fans of quality movies. For almost 40 years, the company’s put out top-shelf releases (on LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K) for some of the best movies in the history of world cinema.

In 1999, as a 17 year-old movie fan, I came across a DVD of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai at a Virgin Megastore. It looked different than other DVDs; less gimmicky, more artsy. The words “THE CRITERION COLLECTION” were demonstratively printed across the top of the case above a cool shot of the Samurai from the movie. It looked official. (It also cost more than most DVDs. $40 if I remember correctly.) I was intrigued and I picked it up. The gamble paid off. The movie was amazing and the disc had an audio commentary by Japanese film expert Michael Jeck that was like a free film lesson. I’d go on to purchase more Criterion DVDs, but because of the steep price tag, I could usually only spring for one or two at a time. This led to a joyful tradition that still exists to this day; going to the movie store, picking out a handful of Criterions that look interesting, reading the backs of the boxes and narrowing them down one by one “Kumite-style” until I’ve made my selections.

The films in the Criterion Collection are highly-curated and everything from the content on the disc to the design on the box is well-thought-out and made with an emphasis on quality. The movies often come with a booklet that features supplemental material like essays by film scholars. The art on the boxes and cases are commissioned from a wide range of talented artists and not cranked out by hacks on photoshop. The discs also include bonus material; audio commentaries, making-of documentaries, interviews, storyboards, etc. This is still the way in 2022, despite the modern trend of sacrificing quality for the sake of convenience. Cheers to Criterion for doing things the right way, even if it’s more costly and takes more effort. The collectors and movie fans who buy their releases appreciate this approach.

The best time to buy Criterions is during the flash sales on the Criterion website or during the bi-annual 50% off sales at Barnes and Noble. There are almost 1200 movies in the The Criterion Collection. That’s a lot of cinematic adventures… During these sales, I’m always curious what madness my fellow Criterion-collecting buddies are getting into. What are they watching? Which discs are winning their own personal pre-purchase Kumites? What gems have they stumbled upon in the collection that I haven’t yet seen or been made aware of?

That’s the purpose of this article. To nerd it up Criterion-style with 10 questions for some of my buddies from the Houston Film Critics Society and see what they’re into. Hopefully we all find a movie (or 10) that we didn’t know about and want to check out. Enjoy!

Thanks to Michael Bergeron (Screen Reflections), Alan Cerny (Vital Thrills), James Cole Clay (Fresh Fiction), Joe Friar (The Fort Worth Report), Travis Leamons (Fresh Fiction), and Craig Lindsey (Houston Chronicle) for participating. It was fun reading your answers and you’ve all added movies to my “must watch” list.

I also provided answers to the questions (couldn’t resist) as Adam Sanders.

Question 1. What are your top 5 (or top 10) Criterion Collection releases? Your all-time favorite Criterion?

Michael Bergeron: All my CC blu-rays (and a couple of DVDs) are my favorites, it just depends on which one I am watching at the time.

Alan Cerny: My all-time favorite Criterion is Seven Samurai. But that’s because it’s probably my favorite film of all time (it depends on the day – it’s between that and E.T.). It’s actually a pretty substantial disc, too, loaded with special features, a very informative commentary, and the transfer is gorgeous. I hope we get a 4K scan of it soon – I know there is one because Toho commissioned one recently, I believe. Seven Samurai is still essential cinema. My top 10:

  1. Seven Samurai
  2. Rushmore
  3. Ikiru
  4. Do the Right Thing
  5. Night of the Living Dead
  6. The Red Shoes
  7. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  8. The Night of the Hunter
  9. Sweet Smell of Success
  10. Le samouraï

James Cole Clay: In no order:

Do the Right Thing – This is for the Cannes Press Conference and the overall attention to detail in the art/transfer.

Dazed & Confused – This is because of an amazing verite style making of doc on the disc.

True Stories – Frankly because I love this movie and it perfectly captures consumerism in the 80s mixed with strange faces.

Tampopo – What a wild ride made with so much love and devotion to its lead actor and subject matter.

Bottle Rocket – Whackadoo Texas in a nutshell. So funny and gorgeous.

Joe Friar:

8 1/2, Breathless, Paris, Texas, Bell de jour, The Brood

All-time favorite Criterion: Scanners

Travis Leamons: With over 300 titles in my collection, a Top 5 (or top 10) for one of my favorite boutique labels is a tough one. I’d have to include my first Criterion title, which was the DVD for Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. I picked that one up at a Suncoast Motion Picture Company store in 1998.

Other favorites (in no specific order)

Rififi (Jules Dassin)
Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick)
In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray)
A Special DayUna Giornata Particolare (Ettore Scola)
Beauty and the BeastLa Belle et la bête (Jean Cocteau)
Being There (Hal Ashby)
A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor)
The Third Man (Carol Reed)

Have to pick favorite: Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa)

It was a toss-up between this and The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman). Both films represent
what I think of when I think of what the Criterion Collection label is/means.

Craig Lindsey:

  1. Beastie Boys Video Anthology
  2. In the Mood for Love
  3. The Third Man
  4. PlayTime
  5. Bottle Rocket
  6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  7. Written on the Wind
  8. Crumb
  9. My Man Godfrey
  10. Hoop Dreams 

Read more about Craig’s favorite Criterions here.

Adam Sanders:

  1. Brazil
  2. Barry Lyndon
  3. Ran
  4. Do the Right Thing
  5. Three Colors Trilogy
  6. The Irishman
  7. My Man Godfrey
  8. Le Cercle Rouge
  9. Ace in the Hole
  10. Thief 

Honorable mentions: Being There, The Third Man, Dazed and Confused, Chungking Express


Q2. What’s your favorite Criterion Collection box set? 

Alan Cerny: Lone Wolf and Cub – I never thought Criterion would release these movies and I’m so happy they did. Just fun from beginning to end. It even has the Shogun Assassin edit. It gives such classy arterial spray!

James Cole Clay: America Lost & Found: The BBS Story – These guys are punk rock to the 9s and I love them forever for it.

Joe Friar: Three Colors

Travis Leamons: Some might have gone filmmaker specific (The Complete Jacques Tati, Trilogia de Guillermo Del Toro), or gone with a film series (The Before Trilogy, Three Colors), but for something
completely different I have to go with this impressive set:

100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012

Not only do you get an extensive look of how the Olympic Games evolved and were depicted,
you get three of the most important sports documentaries ever made with Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia, Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad, and Visions of Eight – the last of which features contributions from Miloš Forman (Amadeus), Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman), Juri Ozerov, Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde), Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), and Mai Zetterling.

Craig Lindsey: Essential Fellini

Adam Sanders: Three Colors, Dekalog, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, and Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema.

Michael Bergeron: I have box sets for Vampyr and Mr. Arkadin … I wish I had the Bergman or Kurosawa collection too.


Q3. What’s an underrated movie in the Criterion Collection?

James Cole Clay: I would say Minding the Gap because of its human portrait of skating and escapism but that’s fairly recent so I’ll say… Female Trouble by John Waters.

Joe Friar: Two Days, One Night

Travis Leamons: Nagisa Oshima’s Death By Hanging.

I was disturbed and amused by this feature from Oshima, who I knew was very renowned for his contributions to Japan’s New Wave film movement in the 1960s, though I had never seen any of his work. A farce that subversively jabs both capital punishment (which more than 70% of Japanese were in favor of at the time the film was made) and the treatment of Korean immigrants in Japan, Death By Hanging is a tale of how authorities have to deal with a Korean man who survives his execution.

Craig Lindsey: Lola Montès is a colorful-ass film people don’t talk about more.

Adam Sanders: I’m going with the Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman box set featuring Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955), Invention for Destruction (1958), and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962). I would love to see some modern motion pictures inspired by Zeman and the techniques on display in The Fabulous Baron Munchausen.

Michael Bergeron: n/a

Alan Cerny: When it was released, no one would have imagined a movie like Deep Cover to be in an elite collection like Criterion. But it’s aged like fine wine – or Bill Duke just knew the score and the rest of us took almost 30 years to catch up. I saw it for the first time recently and it’s absolutely deserving of the Criterion Collection.


Q4. Name a favorite movie or director that you discovered through the Criterion Collection.

Joe Friar: Federico Fellini

Travis Leamons: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. They made it into my top 10 list with A Matter of Life and Death (which could be paired with Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life, also found in the Criterion Collection, if doing a double bill). Though I only have one other film they made (The Red Shoes), these two offerings are too beautiful for words and the epitome of every frame being a masterpiece. As an aside, my affinity for film noir has introduced me to a number of quality titles thanks to Criterion. Among them: Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder), The Breaking Point and Mildred Pierce (both from Michael Curtiz), Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich), and several works from Jules Dassin and Jean-Pierre Melville.

Craig Lindsey: That’s a toss-up between Amarcord and My Man Godfrey.

Adam Sanders: Ted Wilde’s Speedy (1928) starring Harold Lloyd, and René Clair’s À nous la liberté (1931) are a couple of favorite classic comedies that I discovered through the Criterion Collection.

Michael Bergeron: n/a

Alan Cerny: I don’t think my love of Akira Kurosawa would be possible without Criterion. Not just Seven Samurai either – releases like Ikiru, Dreams, The Hidden Fortress, High and Low, Kagemusha, Red Beard (which I hope makes its way to Blu-Ray soon). Criterion is the single greatest source of Kurosawa’s films, and I hope someday they are able to bring us his entire catalog from top to bottom.

James Cole Clay: Tampopo and its now in my all-time favorites.


Q5. What’s one of your favorite Criterion Collection audio commentaries or special features? 

Travis Leamons: Video essays have long been a favorite ever since I discovered “Every Frame a Painting” on YouTube. So when Kogonada did a visual analysis of Alfonso Cuarón’s deeply personal Roma (titled “Nothing at Stake”), I was like Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained, “[Criterion] now you have my attention.” Come to find out, the essay is not on the official video release. There is, however, a 2016 piece he did for Sight & Sound titled “Linklater // On Cinema & Time” that was included on the Before Sunset disc as part of The Before Trilogy box set. Other short montages he did, like Wes Anderson’s adherence to center symmetry within the image, I surmise influenced Kogonada’s own visual style with his 2017 debut Columbus and this year’s After Yang.

Craig Lindsey: The Beastie Boys Video Anthology is a treasure trove of bells and whistles: commentary tracks, remix tracks, multiple angles and versions, etc.

Adam Sanders: The Thief of Bagdad (1940) is only available on DVD, but it’s a great flick and the disc has a fantastic audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. Brazil is loaded with special features that shed light on both the making of the film and the fight with the studio over its release.

Michael Bergeron: I was recently going through the extras on the F for Fake disc.

Alan Cerny: You know, it’s nowhere near a great movie, but I appreciate that Michael Bay recognized the importance of Criterion and got Armageddon into the collection. The commentary is hilarious, and I love how Ben Affleck, subtly and not so subtly, digs at Bay and his “talents”. It’s a very fun commentary that is worth seeking out. They need to get it on 4K or something. I’d buy it first thing.

James Cole Clay: Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis, a full concert featuring the music of Inside Llewyn Davis. Bonus: the Crash Cannes Commentary – James Spader is hilarious in it.

Joe Friar: Repo Man – deleted scenes, commentaries, interviews


Q6. The Criterion Collection features box art and package design from a variety of artists around the world. Which movies in the collection have your favorite box art or package design?

Craig Lindsey: Beastie Boys Video Anthology, Menace II Society, The Celebration, The Daytrippers, and Hollywood Shuffle.

Adam Sanders: 10 of my favorites. Artists are listed when I could identify them.

Time Bandits – Cover based on a theatrical poster created by Terry Gilliam

Ran – Lucien S. Y. Yang

Do the Right Thing (DVD)

Le Cercle Rouge – Art Chantry Design Co.

Rosemary’s Baby – Cover based on Stephen Frankfurt’s theatrical poster

Tampopo – Ping Zhu

Diabolique – David Plunkert

Charade 

Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams – Art by Akira Kurosawa

Repo Man – Illustrations by Jay Shaw and Tyler Stout. Design by Rob Jones

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman box set – Criterion outdid themselves with this one. An epic lineup of artists was assembled to commemorate the 25 epic Zatoichi films, housed together in one magnificent package (that’s still currently available). Not to be missed, this is Criterion’s crown jewel of packaging. It stands out even in a collection full of beautiful box art. Ron Wimberly provided the box cover; individual films are represented by artists Samuel Hiti, Greg Ruth, Paul Pope, Scott Morse, Josh Cochran, Evan Bryce, Ricardo Venâncio, Robert Goodin, Yuko Shimizu, Jorge Coelho, Vera Brosgol, Matt Kindt, Connor Willumsen, Patrick Leger, Jim Rugg, Jhomar Soriano, Angie Wang, Ming Doyle, Caitlin Kuhwald, Benjamin Marra, Bill Sienkiewicz, Andrew MacLean, Polly Guo, Barnaby Ward and Victor Kerlow.

Alan Cerny: This is hard. So many great ones. That Pan’s Labyrinth sketch is pretty beautiful. And I’m always down with the Seven Samurai flag or the Dreams cover. Hard to decide. I guess if I had to, the Rushmore art done by Wes Anderson’s brother. Just sums up everything I love about the film.

James Cole Clay: Ohhh man easy. Tampopo, Do the Right Thing (DVD version), Polyestor, Smooth Talk.

Joe Friar: Polyester, Diabolique, Repo Man, Scanners, The Brood

Travis Leamons: With such a rich history, a Criterion cinephile has to take time to pick favorites. Now, I don’t mean favorite movies. I mean favorite artwork. I know it seems silly. Adherence to not judging a book by its cover and all that. But considering the artwork (read: Photoshop faux pas) Hollywood studios commission to sell movies to audiences, a great piece of art can encapsulate an entire film without the need of moving pictures.

Criterion has more than a few that do just that.

As a film noir aficionado, Sean Phillips’ cover for Alexander Mackendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success manages to evoke the Broadway hustle and vibe in full color that James Wong Howe brilliantly photographed in black and white. Another noir starring Burt Lancaster (Jules Dassin’s Brute Force), is simple in its design. It puts an emphasis on a single shot of Lancaster behind bars.

Other great classic and neo-noir cover art designs:

Ace in the Hole, The Killing, Dressed to Kill, Blood Simple, Nightmare Alley, Blow Out, and
Devil in a Blue Dress

Travis Leamons (continued): Probably the most consistent artwork in terms of overall aesthetic are for the films of Wes Anderson. But of his eight films in the collection, it is the designs drawn by his brother, Eric Chase Anderson, that stand out the most. The Royal Tenenbaums is his best.

The films of the late 1960s and the 1970s changed the face of Hollywood. It’s as if there was a collective effort by studios to allow filmmakers to throw a wrench in the system by making the type of features where audiences willingly left the comfort of their homes and television sets to go see on the big screen. The color scheme of Jay Shaw’s Midnight Cowboy cover is brilliant as is the stencil font for the film’s title and stars Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. For Hal Ashby’s Being There, the design is one of the great original theatrical posters with slight alterations. Simple and effective. Jay Shaw illustrates another masterpiece with Robert Altman’s Nashville. He weaves an American flag pastiche and manages to fit all of the characters as if they were present in a police line-up.

Sam Smith’s Modern Times and Olly Moss’s The Great Dictator designs both compliment each other and revere the great Charlie Chaplin.

Greg Ruth’s composition for Jane Campion’s The Piano and The Power of the Dog are also marvelous.

As someone who dismissed westerns for the longest time, even I can appreciate the use of color and shading in Eric Skillman’s cover for John Ford’s Stagecoach. Also, Gregory Manchess looks like he channeled Edward Hopper when illustrating Delmer Daves’ western Jubal.

If you knew little to nothing about foreign films, the artwork for House, Diabolique, Tampopo, and Bitter Rice might steer you into expanding your movie palate.

Travis Leamons (continued): Three great films with illustrations that represent a particular moment or shot that will evoke sadness (Make Way for Tomorrow), hope (A Matter of Life and Death), and laughter (Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).

Finally, as far as new releases go, my favorite covers are for Atom Egoyan’s Exotica and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure.


Q7. Are there any out-of-print Criterions that you regret not picking up?

Adam Sanders: The AK 100: 25 Films By Akira Kurosawa box set. It was pricey and I never got around to picking it up. Wouldn’t mind having that one in the collection…

Michael Bergeron: I have so many discs/movies that I am running out of room so no, not really.

Alan Cerny: I had my hands on John Woo’s The Killer and Hard Boiled when they were originally released on DVD, and I regret letting those slip through my hands.  Maybe someday Criterion will get them back and put those films (and some of Woo’s others) on 4K and we can experience two of the greatest action films of the 20th century all over again.

James Cole Clay: Nope I am quick to get what I want/need.

Joe Friar: Rosemary’s Baby

Travis Leamons: If going strictly from the advent of DVD and Blu-ray technology – so no Criterion LaserDisc releases – some of my missed opportunities at the time of their release included: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le flambeur* (DVD), John Woo’s Hard Boiled (DVD) and The Killer (DVD), The Man Who Fell to Earth** (Blu-ray), and Eisenstein: The Sound Years (DVD).

Thankfully, of the thirteen Criterion Blu-rays that have gone OOP, I own six of them:

Days of Heaven, Don’t Look Now, Harold and Maude, Nashville, Rosemary’s Baby, and The
Third Man

*Would later pick up the Kino Lorber Studio Classics’ Blu-ray release.
** Would get a limited Blu-ray re-release distributed by Lionsgate Films (now OOP).

Craig Lindsey: The Killer and Hard Boiled


Q8. What’s the last Criterion(s) you purchased? 

Michael Bergeron: Cannot remember.

Alan Cerny: I bought all the releases for November – The Power of the Dog, the Infernal Affairs trilogy, Wall-E, and Malcolm X. I also grabbed Arsenic and Old Lace, got my Lynch on with purchases of Lost Highway and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Virgin Suicides, and True Stories at the Barnes and Noble sale. I… think I may have a problem.

James Cole Clay: David Lynch’s Lost Highway

Joe Friar: Night of the Living Dead 4K

Travis Leamons: Let’s see, it would have to be Raging Bull and The Worst Person in the World. Both
purchased during the last Barnes & Noble bi-annual sale. I had also considered Double
Indemnity, Citizen Kane, and Okja, but I decided to hold off…for now.

Craig Lindsey: The In-Laws, Raging Bull, All That Jazz, The Tales of Hoffman, Some Like it Hot, and Thief.

Adam Sanders: Tampopo, Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, and Criterion’s Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! set featuring Elephant Boy, The Drum, and Jungle Book.


Q9. What Criterions are you currently eyeing or itching to pick up? 

Alan Cerny: I’ve put it off long enough – I need the Godzilla box set. Also the Zatoichi box, before both go out of print. I’ll likely get The Adventures of Baron Munchausen day one – although Gilliam has fallen out of favor as of late, I still adore that movie.

James Cole Clay:

The Complete Films of Agnès Varda (For her documentary work)

Sweetie (Jane Campion)

The Funeral (Juzo Itami)

Crumb (Terry Zwigoff)

Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May)

Joe Friar: Cooley High and the Infernal Affairs trilogy.

Travis Leamons: As much as I love the distribution deals Criterion has with streamers Hulu, Prime Video, and Netflix in allowing some of their celebrated films to have physical releases, I’m most interested in the older titles.

And wouldn’t you know it, shortly after I get David Lynch’s Lost Highway on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, a Criterion release was announced. I should have expected as much, since the last few Studiocanal 4K restorations for Lynch titles (Mulholland Drive and The Elephant Man) would go on to be added to the Criterion Collection.

I’m also looking forward to Kasi Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure, the
last of which I discovered through the Criterion Channel.

Craig Lindsey: The Last Waltz

Adam Sanders: The Tales of Hoffman, The Qatsi Trilogy, Devil in a Blue Dress, Round Midnight, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Michael Bergeron: I have pretty much put my collection on hold due to space but I do like to be aware of the latest releases.


Q10. Name a few movies that you would love to see join the Criterion Collection.

James Cole Clay: Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is new, but incredible. You Can Count On Me. Gummo.

Joe Friar: Dog Day Afternoon, American Graffiti, The Conformist, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, The Changeling (George C Scott), Sounder, Bound For Glory, Straight Time 

Travis Leamons: Since NEON got the U.S. theatrical rights for 2003’s Memories of Murder in 2020 and it was later followed by a Criterion release, the news that the distributor is releasing Park Chan-wook’s 2003 revenge classic Oldboy in theaters later this year makes me suspect it will be added to the collection sometime in 2023. I’d also like to see Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden get the Criterion treatment. Criterion is lauded by scholars, cinephiles, and filmmakers alike, and it makes me wonder what current filmmakers will have select works added to the label. Can you imagine Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men or a work(s) from Paul Thomas Anderson got a spine number? And after watching Ethan Hawke’s docuseries The Last Movie Stars about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, I’d love to see a Tennessee Williams’ adaptation box set or the movie Hud come to Criterion.

Craig Lindsey: It would be a great April Fool’s Day stunt if Criterion surprise-released Hot Rod and Popstar on that day. But Paramount probably won’t let that happen.

Adam Sanders: There’s a lot of movies I’d love to see added to the collection. Here’s a short list of favorites:

A Stanley Kubrick box set with all of his films

Juice (1992)

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Fresh (1994)

Big Night (1996)

12 Monkeys (1996)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

City of God (2002)

Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Ruben Brandt, Collector (2018)

I’d also like to see a few things added that haven’t been released on physical media. It would be nice to have them on disc (like The Irishman and Roma) and not have to subscribe to a streaming service to watch them.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019) – Series from Netflix

Sylvie’s Love (2020) – Available on Amazon

Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) – On Apple TV+

Michael Bergeron: It is not a question I ask myself. I actually am plowing through seasons 3-6 of The Ozzie and Harriet Show, as well as a Munsters DVD that has a special spin-off they did for CBS as well as clips from a Danny Kaye show that was devoted to the Munsters. Hope this helps. Also just finished all six hours of the new Oliver Stone doc on JFK. Please note there are other distributors who handle movies on disc like Arrow, Olive, and Twilight Time that I have in my collection. I have a multi disc set of early Brian De Palma films that is cool.

Alan Cerny: No joke, I’d like to see Peter Jackson’s Meet the Feebles make the cut. I have no idea how it would play today – probably not well, the humor gets pretty raunchy, but this diseased puppet movie needs to be seen to be believed, and those who just know Jackson from The Lord of the Rings will find themselves shocked to see this anarchic film. On the same bounce, The Muppet Movie is absolutely deserving of a Criterion release. There is likely tons of archival footage of Jim Henson and Frank Oz that would be wonderful to see.  If I were to pick a Steven Spielberg for the Collection, I’d have to go with Empire of the Sun. It’s his most underrated film, and when I screened it a few years ago it surprised me how many people haven’t seen it, but it’s one of his best films that isn’t talked about nearly as much as it should be. This one will likely make it into the Collection someday, but Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter is a beautiful tragedy, with a mighty performance by Ian Holm and the movie breaks your heart. Since Egoyan already has a few films in the Collection, I imagine this one will show up eventually. Finally – James Cameron isn’t in the Collection, and if he were to be, it should be for The Abyss, possibly his best film and the one with a dearth of special features and archival footage.


That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading. I hope we uncovered some cinematic gems and helped stoke the fires that fuel your ongoing movie education and film odyssey.

Huge shout out to Michael Bergeron, Alan Cerny, James Cole Clay, Joe Friar, Travis Leamons, and Craig Lindsey for participating. You can check out their bios and the publications/sites they write for on the Houston Film Critics Society website. Join the Facebook group “Houston Film Critics Society” for links to recent articles and reviews.

The Criterion Collection is 50% off at Barnes and Noble through Monday, November 28th.

Bonus material:

3 generations of Criterion Collection DVD cases

Cover art face-off: DVD vs Blu-ray

Da Mayor: Doctor…

Mookie: C’mon, what. What?

Da Mayor: Always do the right thing.

Mookie: That’s it?

Da Mayor: That’s it.

Mookie: I got it, I’m gone.

Check out more from Salty Winters on Nerdlocker here.


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Salty Winters

Salty Winters once said, "Everything I learned I learned from the movies." He was quoting Audrey Hepburn.