My least favorite Criterion titles I’ve seen would be:Tout va bien (I admit this is purely taste, I just find Godard to be painfully dull in general with a few exceptions)The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Darjeeling LimitedSpartacus Fear and Loathing in Las VegasThe Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonDrive, He Said (Though the BBS set would be incomplete without it)
Really I enjoy the fact that Armageddon and The Rock are on Criterion, if only because it gets people all riled up.
“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Darjeeling Limited”
Two Wes Anderson films in the Criterion Collection? For real?
Criterion loves Wes Anderson.There are five with Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and the Royal Tenenbaums.
And people complain about Yojimbo and Walkabout and Samuel Fuller?
How come Criterion loves Wes Anderson so much? What do they see and I don’t?
I like Anderson’s first three films quite a bit, I think RUSHMORE and ROYAL TENENBAUMS are excellent, although you can see the beginning of his visual style threatening to overwhelm the characters in the latter. LIFE AQUATIC and DARJEELING are both messes of movies, especially LIFE AQUATIC. I thought FANTASTIC MR FOX was pretty good, but it’s not on Criterion, but I’d bet money it will be someday.
I also think that Rushmore has some terrific qualities but only when it comes down to comparison between the generation x’s offsprings, that is Anderson himself and miss Coppola, David O. Russell etc. Although his worst is inevitably his prequel-short film to Darjeeling, that’s still not an excuse behind the predictability of Bottle Rocket and (true) Life Aquatic. I understand the target of both films but were those heist / aquatic adventure tributes really necessary? For a respectable label like Criterion is?
Yes, I’ll agree with you that Hotel Chevalier is the worst, slightly embarrassing for Natalie Portman. I really like Bottle Rocket, but mainly because I love the characters so much, not necessarily the actual story. The fact that it was mostly shot in the neighborhood I grew up in doesn’t hurt either :)
WHITE DOG?!?!? DRIVE, HE SAID?!?!? what?!?!?
my picks for the least Criterion-worthy:
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
The Night Porter
The Naked Prey
I look forward to a FANTASTIC MR. FOX Criterion
Also, it would nice to have…
CUL DE SAC
A Billy Wilder eclipse collection: FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO; A FOREIGN AFFAIR; THE EMPEROR WALTZ
“my picks for the least Criterion-worthy:”
“The Night Porter”
Moreover, I’ve seen a couple of short films from the Robinson Crusoe director and he’s just as great as some other household names like Bela Tarr. I suppose Criterion looked for diversity and found naysayers. I wonder how will Criterion fanboys act like when they see more from Edward Yang.
How come I’m the only one who thinks Benjamin Button is a drivel? I’m not even a Criterion fan and it’s quite glaring!
Birdy! Had forgotten all about it ♥
Sorry Dimitris…but no way!
The Night Porter…YES! It’s junk, high gloss trash dressed up to look like something meaningful…it’s not…it’s ludicrious, offensive and, yes, despite the great Bogarde & Rampling, poorly acted.
Robinson Crusoe on Mars…I don’t know what short films you’ve seen by Byron Haskin, but RCOM is a pretty crummy movie. Certainly it’s great that Criterion has embraced some “B-Movies,” but the inclusion of Ulmer’s BLUEBEARD or even Haskin’s own ARMORED COMMAND (with a very vixenish Tina Louise!) would be more worthy.
And yes, I think Benj. Button is drivel…it would be great to see Fincher’s THE GAME or FIGHT CLUB included…
“WHITE DOG?!?!? DRIVE, HE SAID?!?!? what?!?!?”
Sorry, I just found Drive, He Said to be a bit of a mess. Jack Nicholson isn’t a very good director, Two Jakes was also all over the place. But as part of the BBS set, it totally belongs, otherwise it would be a glaring hole in the set! I like that Armageddon and Robinson Crusoe on Mars are on Criterion, they give voice to more areas of cinema and make the collection seem less elitist. Diversity in a prestige brand like Criterion is a good thing.
“How come I’m the only one who thinks Benjamin Button is a drivel? I’m not even a Criterion fan and it’s quite glaring!”
Dimitris, as I said before, I’m with you on Benjamin Button, it’s overpraised tosh.
Carlos and Cul de Sac are coming, according to the New Year’s Drawing. Anyway, is there a chance they’ll release films not alluded to in the new year’s drawing over the course of this year, or is every upcoming 2011 release alluded to in that drawing in some way, because they list the clues on criterion forum, and excluding the releases that have already been announced on their website through April, there are only eleven new additions listed as being alluded to in the New Year’s drawing. Eleven seems a little low over the course of eight months, but then again Broadcast News was the only new addition in January.
" I just found Drive, He Said to be a bit of a mess."
You say a mess, I say ambitious…LOL…
Could not agree more on Nicholson’s direction of THE TWO JAKES…he chickened out with that one…there’s no villian and a big cop-out of an ending!
“I like that Armageddon and Robinson Crusoe on Mars are on Criterion, they give voice to more areas of cinema and make the collection seem less elitist. Diversity in a prestige brand like Criterion is a good thing.”
Yes, but the bar needs to be placed somewhere. Before you know it, we’ll have Slumdog Millionaire, The Aviator, Up in the Air, and The Reader added to the Collection.
re: Rossi…I wouldn’t mind THE READER…that’s one of the great books made into a great movie. I don’t think it was marketed properly. I recommend that to a lot of people.
I totally agree that “diversity” should be considered but agree that a bar should be set. As I wrote earlier, it’s not the inclusion of a director like Byron Haskin that I think are not worthwhile, it’s the film they got the rights to & released that I think is nothing special…he made some really terrific films, I just don’t think Robinson Crusoe was one of them.
@Jaspar: “You say a mess, I say ambitious”
Fair enough! I certainly defend my share of ambitious failures and it was an ambitious film. I love the interviews with Jack Nicholson on the Blu-ray, it’s fun to see him get excited talking about it.
@Rossi: I doubt we’ll see an infiltration of Oscar tosh because of those movies, if Oscar tosh has ever snuck into the collection I gotta point to our friend Benjamin Button!
Jesus. I’m starting to think I’m the only person who loves Robinson Crusoe on Mars. My picks for worst are:
Equinox (I watched it a few times trying to see why it’s supposed to be good)
Ride with the Devil (Ang Lee has more misses than hits. Just because all his films are pretty doesn’t make them great)
Armageddon (but The Rock is one of my favorites)
The Beastie Boys Video Anthology (who the hell thought that was quality “cinema?”)
Jack Nicholson’s “directorial achievements” are part of the Criterion Collection and no Greek and Portuguese masterpieces are yet to be seen there????
“it’s not…it’s ludicrious, offensive and, yes, despite the great Bogarde & Rampling, poorly acted.”
That was the whole point…
“it would be great to see Fincher’s THE GAME or FIGHT CLUB included…”
You say Night Porter is junk yet you want to see Fincher’s real junk be included?
I say let’s include Fincher’s real achievement: his direction of Madonna’s Vogue.
EDIT: Pardon to anyone about my confusion with Robinson Crusoe. I mixed it up with an art-house film and I just realized it’s the b-movie which I haven’t seen yet even though I’m a hardcore b-movie fan.
fincher is overrated in my opinion.
THE GAME pwnz THE NIGHT PORTER
I think they could have done better than White Material introducing Claire Denis to the collection, although introducing her with White Material is certainly better than introducing Chabrol with Bellamy, which they could have released if they wanted to since it’s an IFC film. A lot of Chabrol’s recent releases have been through IFC, and I guess criterion figured none of his recent films deserve to serve as his introduction to the collection.
“THE GAME pwnz THE NIGHT PORTER”
Yeah, and Michael Douglas is a great actor, right Ben? Man, these Fincher fanboys have reached Criterion too?
Fight Club isn’t junk, but The Game is lame. Still, neither need a Criterion release. Fincher is more than generous with his DVD supplements. Criterion needs to focus elsewhere.
^^i like Fight Club and The Game, although not as much as i used to, but i agree entirely with your last two points. FIncher is well looked after by the major studios with dvd’s, and Criterion should be looking elsewhere for films that are not as widely available
Not very excited about Broadcast News, especially when there is the much better Network. I really don’t understand what is so special about Fincher or Bay that warrant Criterion editions, other than Criterion thinks these titles will boost their sales. But, who will pay $35 for Armageddon when you can buy the same abysmal movie for $12, or simply download it. Who watches a movie like this except teenagers?
To me the box sets are what makes Criterion special, like The KIllers box set which includes Tarkovsky’s version as well as the two more famous versions, and added features like Permanent Vacation on Stranger Than Paradise. I like what they did with Slacker as well.
^ I’d love to have a couple of Eclipse sets, particularly the Korda and Akerman AND Makavejev ones and I’m all for buying popular masterpieces like Tarkovsky’s and Becker’s but prices are doubled when it comes to my country, so my only option is to follow the fair and square advice of……online buying (which I’ve never tried)
House, Fight Club may not be junk but it doesn’t differ much from being an expansive Clockwork Orange. Ironically, both are based on incredible books.
Dzimas, Broadcast News boosts Brooks’ fame a bit, what with his new film release and all.
I liked The Mary Tyler Moore Show just fine, as I do The Simpsons. Brooks is a television man, not a mubi man.
(Sorry for delayed response)
White Dog is brilliant (and credible, and scary) because of how it illustrates the idea that racism is largely a taught function of society, passed on to the next generation by the “wiser” older people. To drive home that point, Fuller uses the analogy of how a person would train an animal to perform a task.
(Spoiler) Just an example of how insidious and seemingly non-threatening a guise racism can take on, if you were looking at the grandpa in the movie walking down the street, would you even imagine him being capable of something so hideous, or that that person would feel the way they do about a group of people? No, I didn’t initial think I could either. (Spoiler end)
It’s absolutely true that people can provide themselves with their own reasons to find prejudice against a person who looks different than they do. That’s how the disease of racism was started, but that’s not what White Dog deals with. It deals with how racism is allowed to spread and continue across the generations, and I think it’s scary as hell.
I’m white, but I find the idea of having a trained attack dog coming at me because of the color of my skin (like what happened here in The South and elsewhere) genuinely frightful. My dad will be 74 next month, he’s lived in Northwest North Carolina all his life, and he knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the fact that I had seen a movie called “White Dog.” Getting attacked by an animal would be bad enough by itself, but to think that someone took the time and effort to have a dog come at me on sight because of how I looked, and that it could happen most anywhere with any other type of dog, is a terrifying thought, and that’s a reality that many people of color had to deal with for a long time in The South especially, and elsewhere in the U.S.
But speaking specifically of the film and why it might not deserve a Criterion release, on a technical level, it has the production values of a “made-for-TV” movie, and some of the editing seams are fairly obvious, like with the dog being stained with “blood” in any number of random scenes, or that you can tell there’s a different dog from scene to scene. And while I thought the lead woman was fine in her role, as were Burl Ives and the man who played the dog trainer, I could see how the over-wrought nature of their performances could rub people the wrong way, especially with such a linear story arc.
But I’ve been convinced that this film is valuable to me because of how it can draw attention to just how any type of attitude, good bad or otherwise, becomes institutionalized under the seemingly benign guise of familial bonding. That’s where the real terror comes from with this movie’s narrative.
But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure it’s not the first time people have thought of White Dog as “that crazy movie about that damn racist white dog that’s just a monster and it’s all out there to scare black people.” Noooooo, it’s not the first time people have thought that about White Dog…..
Just a sidenote, but my wife (who’s from Guangdong Province in China) actually understood what the movie was trying to say, and she admitted to me that she needed to not assume certain things about people who are black, who might be overweight, or who otherwise might be different from her. She’s not exactly what I would call a “film buff,” and she actually liked White Dog and understood what the story was getting at.