My Obligatory Top Ten Criterion Films

by BobbyAnalog

Created 07/13/12

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My barbed, sonic, sometimes minimalist selection of suggested Criterion titles that you should throw your wallet at. Adhere to my favorites!

  • Jones passed, in 1977, before he could see his book become adapted into Terrence Malick’s vision: an 1,000 mile stare interrupted by blips of weathered poetry, arboreal slivers of sun, contagions of emotional malaise. “The Thin Red Line” is a war film, this much is true, from the speckles of faraway gunfire to tufts of exploding grass ripped from their island roots. The airy, ethereal tone, defined here by the vision of an insect eaten leaf, is a perforated gateway to a strange land of safety and danger: nature a warm deity capable of mercurial chaos, man a boundless reflection of that very same contained recklessness.

  • Bony phalanges, blistered walls, crumpled bodies. Steve McQueen's "Hunger" may seem minimalist - silence is barely perforated by syrupy, idealistic exchanges - but the horror pulses through the veins of this soul bruising film. Difficult to endure, McQueen's film is a gum baring primordial cry for help.

  • Ethereal, weathered, basted in a sinister glow, Picnic at Hanging Rock truncates expectations by lulling you into the thorny, indifferent hands of nature and dislocates humanity's sense of importance from its wiry frame.

  • Banister words such as "whimsical," "daffy," "maladroit" and "awkward" may paintball the oeuvre of Wes Anderson, the master of pastel dunked worlds. Here, in The Royal Tenenbaums, the ostensible greatness of Anderson is working on 5th gear. The chalky colors and fuzzy riffs of yesteryear bloom better here than in any of Anderson's other esteemed works.

  • Exhausting, feverish, lacquered in sweat and staccato editing. Che humanizes - not glorifies - a man whose namesake, modernly, has been that of a Hot Topic screen printed t-shirt. The stogie chomping, fuzzy jawed Che is seen not as a vehement counterculture icon, but instead as a wheezing, limping deer. Soderbergh's masterwork is an undervalued film of monolithic proportions.

  • Curiously meandering and grotesquely fascinating, Grey Gardens is a grimy, rusty examination of a tarnished family and their vibrant - yet splintered - history.

  • Obligatory existentialism from the skewed corneas of Andrei Tarkovsky. To some, Solaris is interminably long. To others, it is a hyper-real portrait of repetition compulsion, assigned emotions, and hopelessness in the face of wanton legerity. One of the most perfectly horrifying studies of romance ever put to celluloid.

  • The dialogue here is like listening to a guillotine fall. The black and white is crisp and felt-like. Tony Curtis is foppish and serpentine. Lancaster is stony and seething. Genuinely extraordinary.

  • Whit Stillman was the precursor to the overcast humor of Noah Baumbach and the low octave snark of Wes Anderson. Metropolitan is his best film. Crosshatching emotional bombast, brooding temperaments and pretentious zingers, Metropolitan was the bedrock for future deadpan, sardonic, and snicker-worthy features by many directors to come.

  • Crude, barbed, rife with emotional dystopia. George Washington is beautiful shot, anchored by the hopelessness of youth lost, and inundated with strong performances.

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