My Favorite Criterion Films

by Jackson S.

Created 12/18/17

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That I've seen so far.
I'm a film and comm major and with a passion for film and a dream to peruse that passion.....though I don't quite know exactly what I want to do. Think of it as Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, but as a film buff.
Love discovering new films, so feel free to give me some suggestions.
I really do love all of the films I have in my collection. But here is a rough top 12(+) (was meant to be 10).
Of course, I will update it as time goes on.

  • This movie has changed my life in that it completely changed my perspective of film. I've seen it so many times I've memorized some scenes word for word. The cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, I found so inspirational and amazing, I've even named by instagram account after him. I can't explain how much I love this film and how much it means. The score, the acting, the music, the.....everything.
    Next to MAYBE the Wizard of Oz (1939), it's the greatest fairy tale film of all time.
    With this new trend in Hollywood of "Adult" versions of Fairy Tales (I cannot put enough quotations around the word adult......nor can I emphasize how naive it is for some people to think that Fairy Tales are just for kids and how apparently something made for kids make it a lesser form of art, but I digress).
    This is what that trend should be. It's still a Fairy Tale though, no questions.

  • Again, I got a thing for Fairy Tales, I love this film for the exact same reasons I love the Red Shoes but I don't want to repeat myself too much.
    It's basically Alice in Wonderland/The Wizard of Oz if it were R rated. Also I love the historical tie-ins, as well as the Mercedes character.
    "You're not the first pig I've gutted"

  • My Favorite Hitchcock film, as well as the best picture Oscar for what is perhaps my favorite year of film, 1940 (which includes Pinocchio, The Great Dictator, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, Fantasia, etc.). Without giving too much away, there's a scene where Joan Fontaine tries on a certain dress at a party and realizes she is tricked by Mrs. Danvers (considered one of the greatest villains in film history, and rightly so). The scene is devastating, and has such a great set up and pay off. It reminds me of the Scene in Cinderella (1950), where the titular character gets her dress torn. This scene in Rebecca is similarly such a emotional roller coaster of a scene, and yet it's only a couple seconds long.
    Some people have argued that it's a B-list Hitchcock at best because it doesn't have the grit of Psycho or Rear Window, and while I won't fight them hard against that. My question is: what the hell is wrong with that?
    It also has the producer of Gone with the Wind, with that Marriage how could you go wrong!?

  • There has yet to be a Chaplin film that I did not love, and this one takes the cake. Not only am I a sucker for history, but also satire. I've heard about this film as I'm sure most people have, but I did not expect that I would be emotionally moved by a guy playing Hitler.
    While one must watch it with the knowledge that we did not fully know everything about the holocaust at this time. When all was revealed Chaplin regretted this film (or at least parts of it, if I remember correctly).
    But at the same time I'm glad he made it the way he did, otherwise, the film wouldn't be as ballsy. A film for everyone to see, and the gold standard for films that could be comedic but sentimental.

  • Yes, It's better than the Disney version, which borrowed so much from this movie it's more appropriate to call the 1991 classic a remake of this film than an adaptation of the original fairy tale (yes I know Disney denies it, but if you've seen this film and know how influential this film is.....yea it's like Nixon denying Watergate)
    Here's why it's better to me:
    1. Whereas Disney's version is more like a Broadway show, this is more of a fairy tale (not that there's anything wrong with the musical part, but this movie has the surrealism that you see in some of my other favorite Disney Fairy Tales, such as Snow White (1939), Pinocchio (1940), and Alice in Wonderland (1951)., which I personally prefer).
    2. Whereas the Gaston/Avanant character in the Disney film is obviously a doof who is respected by his peers. In the Cocteau version, he is charming and likable "even the floor longs to be your mirror". He's still a masculine jackass, but he's so charming you totally side with Belle and the movie loving him. Therefore his transition to monster is much more effective. Which brings me to....
    3. This is Belle's story, she's the one who changes, she's the one who sees that Beauty is found within. In the Disney version, Belle doesn't fundamentally change (like most Disney leads, though I guess you could argue that she's a bit of a hypocrite: Doesn't judge a book by it's cover but still terrified of the Beast). But anyway..... she has a real arc, and connecting it with #2, it's much more effective. In the Disney version, it's really about the Beast, he's a prick but he's not and learns to be good. I think it's a great story, but it's not Beauty and the Beast anymore, it's Pinocchio as a romantic movie. The whole point of the fairy tale is that the Beast IS good, he just needs to be loved before he can become lovable.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Disney's film, but this one wins by just a nose. Sure the relationship might not be very PC, but that' might not have been the point. It's about the power of love, and what it represents. The best film version of the tale, and one of the greatest romantic movies of all time.

  • My favorite Silent film ever. I first saw this movie as a bootleg through Youtube (that's how my generation gets to see movies these days), there was no sound, but I didn't need it. I was so moved by this story and I got palpitations at the end scene, all without sound. I think that speaks a lot to the visual medium. On top of that, this movie is a perfect example of what we lost with the talkies.

  • I love Rita Hayworth! She's a mix of Kathrine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Her character is great as well as the story (and I highly recommend the bonus feature in the blu ray about the gay undertones in the film, which watching it with that lens is amazing.)
    It's also ultra quotable:
    "I hate you so much I'm willing to destroy myself just to take you down with me"
    I could watch "Put the Blame on Mame" forever

  • Easily the greatest teen movie of all time.
    Teen movies don't age well because they tend to have the teenage mentality... in that they're stupid. It's always this to all-be all time of your life where shit like prom and pep rally's are as important as the birth of your child.
    Once you graduate college, you have this "GOD I don't care" knee-jerk reactions to films like this
    This movie is one of the few exceptions.
    These are real teenagers, and you feel relate and sympathize with their problems.
    Not much of a plot sure, but otherwise it wouldn't be nearly as good.
    I think what also works so well in this one is how unpretentious it is.
    If this were any other teen movie they would show the 5 characters mingling with each other in the hall room, all of the other students would loose their mind and then accept it and it would be a happy ending, but that didn't happen (thank god).
    You don't know what happened the next Monday.
    Maybe they changed the system, maybe they gave it to peer pressure, you don't know.

  • Charming in a way I can't possibly describe. And VERY 1970s. It's all about the details in the simple moments in this movie that make it work. The ending, without giving too much away, perfectly epitomizes how celebrities come and go, and how quickly it can all happen.

  • Harold and Maude is a similar violently '70s film. Once given a seconds thought you might gag at the very idea of it. Yet it is un-ironically the most touching love story. It also has my favorite quote of any movie that I remind myself of everyday.
    "Everyone has the right to make an Ass out of themselves; you can't let the world judge you too much"

  • Late Spring touches on a subject that doesn't get talked about enough: how to let go.
    Setsuko Hara is simply one of the greatest actresses whoever existed no question, this is one of her finest works.

  • In the Mood for love is simply one of the most beautiful films of all time, as well as the greatest love story ever. EVER. No Questions.

  • Ikiruw_w160

    10. (tie)

    Akira Kurosawa

    Not a heck of a lot to say about this movie other than what has already been said. Easily Kurosawa's most universal film. I remember at the time I first saw this film, my father was teaching me about what life is all about, to make other people happy. It wasn't until I saw this film did I truly understand what he meant.

  • Two of perhaps my favorite Horror Films.

    Eyes without a face is more like a Fairy Tale, a story about a woman who goes insane from her Father's experimentation. As well as some adorable puppies.

  • This one is more like if Mary Poppins was a horror film, the kids are annoying, but that might have been the point.
    The cinematography is beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful black and white film ever made. The scene where Deborah Kerr walks around the mansion at night while ghosts whale is an unbelievably scary and beautiful scene at the same time.

  • OK I'm not gonna lie, I don't find this one especially "funny". But it's the story and romance that got to me. A very simple story with such brilliant acting. The ending alone is worth a watch. I can't possibly give it enough credit, it's almost hard to describe.

  • Joan Crawford is spectacular. And For the record I am on Ann Blyth's side of Joan as a person. I don't know how much of Mommie Dearest is true, but if it is, it's exaggerated I know that (or at least in the film). But I digress.

    For my generation I am so used to the rebellious child and concerned parent archetype (The Little Mermaid, How to Train Your Dragon, etc.). While they might make the parent sympathetic, every time it favors the child. To me this is essentially the same archetype, but it favors the parents. I highly recommend this to every Millennial, it's always important to have a film that shows the other side.

  • My family lived through Nazi Germany, including an Uncle (named Walter) who was in Hitler Youth at a young age. As you can imagine, this one hits close to home.

  • I know a lot of people proclaim that 8 1/2 is Fellini's best work, but I'm not sure I agree. First thing's first: The scene with Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountain is one of my favorite scenes of any movie (I have such a crush on her).
    Also, this is the definitive film about stars, media and the lives between them. Ultimately it takes several viewings to appreciate it, but irregardless, it's truly astonishing.

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