A free way to build your virtual collection, make lists, and share them. It’s your new home on Criterion.com.
Learn More »
Films that I can watch time and time again, quote off the cuff, and just put a permanent smile upon my face.
This is simply my favorite film of all time. I love Wes Anderson. He is the best filmmaker working right now in America, and he tells such grand stories in a beautiful style. This is also the film that got me into Criterion. What a great set! I love the old book look. Right behind this are Darjeeling Limited, Life Aquatic, Rushmore and Bottle Rocket!
I saw this about a year ago for the very first time, at around 11 o'clock at night, when the credits rolled around 1, I was within inches of a heart attack. Many cheap political thrillers will advertise as "gripping, edge of your seat action"/"heart pounding!". Z doesn't make such promises, but delivers in full! (and then some)
Ever since I first saw Repo Man, I knew that Alex Cox was something special. My love of the Sex Pistols (and Joe Strummer, who composed both of these films) drew me into Sid & Nancy and it blew me away on my first viewing. It is just so strong, so vibrant, so dark, so surreal, so well acted and down right so entertaining. When I discovered that it was an early (and very rare out of print) title from Criterion, I had to pick it up (and ended up paying MSRP). Walker was a blind buy, and the best that I've ever come upon. Very few films have as much re-watchability for me. Strummer's score is hypnotic, Harris is mad as a hatter, and Cox and Wurlitzer have one hell of a good time poking fun at our political choices in the 1980s. Just as relevant today as it was when it came out. Reminds me a lot of a comic, light hearted and surreal Heaven's Gate or Misfits. People never really respond well to anti-westerns when they open initially. I'm glad this has been resurrected from the Universal vaults and given one of the best and most entertaining releases ever on home video! Plus, hey, Repo just got announced! The Cox trifecta is complete!
My favorite comedy in the collection, possibly of all time. It's a shame there's no Marx Bros. or Allen (yet...) I can still remember the jolt of energy I got when I snuck a library VHS of Brian one summer when I was probably nine or ten, thinking I was so adventurous for sneaking an R Rated movie. And that first time around, it made no sense! But still, it was a great time. About three years later I found it again on TV and found myself subdued with violent bouts of laughter every few seconds! Some genius writing from some of the great comedic legends of all time, and the best bible (sort of) send up of all time!
Bunuel's Truth Trilogy. My favorite trilogy of all time. There's no continuing narrative (in fact none really do have a narrative) through the three of them, but a continuous theme of hypocrisy and surreality. 'Liberty' is my favorite of the bunch (according to his autobiography, the Last Sigh, it was Bunuel's as well), and probably of all his films. It was the most all out, most surreal, wild film he could ever make. It was his second to last picture and at that point there was nothing holding the man back. While Milky Way is the funniest, Bourgeoisie is the best, Liberty is my personal favorite. The best example of surrealism on celluloid.
I LOVE grand epics, 3 (or more) hour long films that bring you amazing visuals, long lasting characters, sweeping story arcs, and some of the best stories in all of cinema. Those that tell the life of a man (Blimp, especially) really have a special place in my heart. There is nothing better than sitting back on a couch either late at night or early on a Saturday or Sunday, with a bowl of popcorn and hearing that Overture and knowing that you're in for a ride. These are films that expand to every last limit and bring you every little bit of story it can. These two titles especially are very well paced, to boot. It will feel like only 15 minutes and when you check the clock it's been an hour. I like to say "If a movie takes 3 or more hours to tell it's story, then it will almost always be a damn good one."
Two more great British comedies! Two tour-de-force performances, a little consumerism, blasphemy, talking boils, and random outbursts of songs make both of these some of my favorite films of all time!
Two of the saddest, best films in the collection. Movies that after I saw them really moved me (and nearly moved me to tears in the case of Gardens). I can see, clear as day, parts of my life, my past and my future, projected up there in these movies, mixed in with some beautiful fiction, and these directors treat it just right. It may be hard for me to watch them but, boy, is it a revelation every time I do.
In between two collections of very emotional films, a very very entertaining one. This film is one of my favorites of all time, and here in this list also represents such other classics as Mr. Arkadin, Night Train to Munich, Green For Danger, Spellbound, etc that follow along the same sense of European suspense that I love so much. This movie was just a miracle that it turned out the way it did, everyone involved was at their highest and a lot of improvisation from Reed to Welles went a long way in crafting one of the best films ever made. The "cat-got-your-tongue" scene (not to give anything away) always has me grinning from ear to ear every time at the reveal. Pure magic!
"There's a Bergman film playing in the neighborhood." "No, I don't feel like getting depressed tonight." - John Cassavetes' "Faces" Bergman has made comedies and epics and coming of age stories and musicals, but these two films will haunt me forever. They both contain elements from those other styles of movies (the Seventh Seal can be hilarious in sections) but carry with them a great sense of emotion and dread. The Seventh Seal raises essential questions of life and does so perfectly and with great elegance. Through A Glass Darkly (the first installment of his Faith Trilogy) was one of the single most depressing, insightful, dramatic, ingenious, and inspiring films I have ever seen. With merely four actors on a small island, he manages to set up a wide range of emotions and characters in the quick 89 minute run time that put you on your knees in tears by the end, a feat that would take even someone like Lean or Kubrick 2 1/2 to 3 hours - if they were lucky. The darkest pieces of Scandinavian film making and two of the greatest films of all time. I hope you check them out.
This is my miscellaneous/honorable mention slot. Some where between the music, the stories, the comedy, the casts and the overall brilliance these 5 films have burrowed deep into my cranium and taken up permanent residence.