Personal favorites

by maha1

Created 09/17/12

Edit List

Everybody who loves film knows that there is a canon and a history to filmmaking but it gets a little repetitive seeing the same Welles, Hitchcock and Kurosawa movies appearing in the all-time top tens every year.

One thing I love about Criterion is that they will sometimes choose films which I love in quiet and subtle ways- these films are classics, but they are also special to me in the sense that I found them on my own and that they resonate with me in an intimate, familiar, luminous way.

There's the classics you learn about from elsewhere and come to really love and appreciate as great works of cinema and then there's the movies you find on your own and love and are thrilled to see them appear in deluxe, souped-up editions that finally do them justice.

It's about favorites, yes, but it's also about personal favorites.

  • Love the author, love the play, love the movie, love the cast, always have a bittersweet lump in my throat at the end. Almost bought a cheaper, no-frills version many times but I always suspected that Criterion might do this up right. Plus it's Louie Malle's curtain call...priceless.

  • Can't get enough of it. So sharp, so funny and wise. Veronica Lake's on the take, all right, but this is all about laughing in the face of your own ambitious vanities. Got a big check from work one day and had to pick it up. I've seen it about 5 times, I think.

  • Seen it years before Criterion put it out and I was immediately drawn to adding it to my personal collection. Chaplin was very brave and bold to have put this out at a time when the only person second to his worldwide fame and reach was the genocidal fool he commits to mocking relentlessly. One of my best friends' favorite films and I'd rather not quibble over specifics...

  • Caught it on tv randomly one day and was hooked right away. Kubrick's pretty much always a solid choice, but this one seemed to have fallen a bit by the wayside. Again, I thought of picking this up in a no-frills edition many times but I had a hunch that it was due for a Criterion treatment. Turns out I was right. Lucky day.

  • Ok, so the video store around the corner from my house growing up had a poster of this movie on the wall when it came out and made a big splash in the indie, foreign film curcuit. I remember looking up at that meaty, gravelly, hangdog face dangling between two black-stockinged legs and being impressed and allured. The blurb above it read "one man's existential cry from the heart" or something like that and I recall being intimidated, like this was a movie that ADULTS watched. Maybe someday I'd see it...

    When I finally did, I watched in ambivalent disdain until I started to catch the humor of it and suddenly I was drawn into the movie's web until I really started to appreciate the subtleties of wit, social commentary and the mercurial performances. Now, as for an entrypoint into adulthood....welll...uh....

  • Again, pretty much where it all started for me, art film-wise. I watched it a couple of times to see if I was catching on to the things Bunuel does with imagery and plot and camerawork until I figured out that I was pretty much on the level.

    It has a lot of sentimental value for me, partially for this reason, and I was really pleased to see that Criterion decided to put it out in a georgous new edition.

  • I don't know how many times I've seen this thing. It seemed to be on tv all the time for awhile and once I start watching, I just can't look away. The pacing and the quiet menace of the story is so...mesmerizing. I had to track down the Criterion version.

  • Saw a section of it in a film class (the only one I've ever taken) and had to have more. The long wordless shot of the girl looking out the window and lighting a match and grinding the coffee haunted me.

    This movie is so sad and so beautifully minute that it definitely deserves the best treatment possible. If that's not what Criterion is for, then I don't know what to do.


  • By Alexander
    October 01, 2012
    01:38 AM

    I relate to your initial impressions of Naked. I'm unsure if I'll warm up to it.
  • By maha1
    January 21, 2013
    03:11 PM

    I know what you mean. I think the best way to look at it is as a long, black-comic monologue....
    March 10, 2013
    01:21 PM

    Love your list.
  • By Theo
    April 17, 2013
    12:20 PM

    Great list. The only one I disagree with is The Killing. I tried it out, but it was a bit typical, like any other noire film. I normally love Kubrick (Clockwork Orange is one of the most genius portrayals of society on film ever), I just couldn't get into that one. A better noire film, in my opinion, is Blast of Silence. It shows the emotional loneliness of a hit man instead of focusing on the suspense.
  • By Alexander
    May 09, 2013
    11:43 PM

    hah, so I've seen Naked several times since then. it's now one of my favorite films. after seeing Happy Go Lucky(another Mike Leigh), I understood the entire film better and appreciate it much more.
  • By TheBenana
    September 28, 2016
    08:27 PM

    Great list, Sullivan's Travels is hilarious!