Every self-proclaimed film enthusiast should be able to describe the purpose and existence of the holy Criterion Collection but for those who aren’t film enthusiasts;
Every month, the folks over at Criterion select films which are either important, hard-to-come-by or just damn good and release them on DVD & Blu-Ray with a mountain of special features, high quality video and with swanky new packaging.
12 Angry Men: Standard cover VS Criterion cover
But not every film graced into the Criterion Collection is as perfect as 12 Angry Men. Every now and then, a film is welcomed into the collection by Criterion but not by us (Armageddon and the unbearable Double Life of Veronique are, for some godawful reason, in the collection) while there are great films out there which still aren’t.
This list is a combination of two short lists of mine;
-Five films I can’t find anywhere which would fit in with the collection’s basic initiative.
-Five films I’ve seen which I think would make great additions.
Psycho is one of the five which I have seen and most probably anyone else who has ever studied film has seen. There are already some Hitchcock films in the collection (The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much) but why not his most important?
Not only did Psycho break barriers for what could be shown on cinema screens with it’s brutal violence, gruesome story and hints at nudity, but it also remains one of the scariest horror films of all time continuing to terrify audiences even today.
Let It Be (1970)
One of the five I have not seen, Let It Be was the last released album (not their last recorded) by the legendary Beatles and it is famous for being the album which mainly caused the breakup of The Beatles due to rising feuds caused by Yoko’s presence and Phil Spector’s despised involvement among other things.
But whilst recording, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg was asked to document The Beatles in action, unbeknownst that he would be filming their darkest hour.
The film premiered just after the album was released and won the Oscar for Best Original Score. However, after it’s theatrical run, it has become somewhat of a myth. There isn’t an official DVD available (apart from pre-owned bootleg copies circulating fans) and it would be nice to see it get an official release… or even better… a Criterion release!
Alice Cooper: The Nightmare (1975)
Another music film myth, Welcome to My Nightmare is without a doubt my favourite album ever made. Alice Cooper is a god among mortal men and that is the end of that conversation (it may be opinion but that’s yours).
Alice Cooper’s debut solo album is a rock classic, a musical masterpiece and was written as the soundtrack to a TV movie?
Yes, Welcome to My Nightmare was originally written to accompany a TV movie called Alice Cooper: The Nightmare which starred the legend himself alongside horror icon Vincent Price.
This movie was shown on television in the April of 1975 yet never again saw an official wide release. The only available copy I can find online is a used VHS copy on Amazon selling for $145… I think I’d rather pass on that offer.
Knowing Alice, this thing was probably very peculiar and filled with imagination only possible within the shock rock community, so seeing it in the Criterion Collection would certainly be interesting (not to mention it would have a perfect soundtrack).
The Breakfast Club (1985)
One of the greatest teen films of all time, The Breakfast Club resonates with generations more than 30 years after it’s release.
This film is a lot easier to come by than The Nightmare or Let It Be but I’d still really like to see what kind of special features Criterion would muster for a release of The Breakfast Club (also I’m dead keen for whatever poster they’d design).
City on Fire (1987)
One of the five I haven’t seen, City on Fire is a Hong Kong thriller most famous nowadays for being the inspiration for Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs –a great film which should also be in the collection–.
Some argue that Reservoir Dogs is a complete rip-off of City on Fire.
Some argue that Reservoir Dogs is simply a homage to City on Fire.
I would like to join in this famed argument however I can’t, not until I get my hands on a copy of City on Fire…
A Fistful of Fingers (1995)
Edgar Wright is my absolute favourite director and I have seen every one of his films… every one except for the damned elusive A Fistful of Fingers…
Many think that the classic Shaun of the Dead was Wright’s feature debut but nay, it wasn’t. Edgar Wright actually released this satire of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars nine years before Shaun with a tiny theatrical release around London.
It has since been shown a few times at one-time screenings but has never seen the light of an official release. I think that if Criterion will release Ingrid Bergman’s home movies, they should at least give our master Wright’s debut a chance.
Russian Ark (2002)
Criterion are known for releasing predominantly interesting and powerful foreign films and it doesn’t get any more interesting and powerful than Russian Ark.
Beautiful in colour, marvellous in scope, subtle in story, wonderful in score and abound in filmmaking magic, Russian Ark seems like exactly the kind of film that should be in the Criterion shelves.
The Room (2003)
One I still urge to see, The Room is famous for being “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”, so why should it be in Criterion?
Customers of the Criterion Collection are usually film enthusiasts and filmmakers themselves, and what is the best way for filmmakers to study their craft? By watching bad movies.
The Room hasn’t only built up an enormous cult following, it has also taught thousands of filmmakers how NOT TO MAKE A MOVIE, which is essential in study.
If its cult status and filmmaking lessons aren’t enough to put it in the collection, how about the fact that it’s almost exclusively available through midnight screenings at peculiar cinemas?
Birdman should be in the collection for the same reason Russian Ark is; its filmmaking beauty.
Whether you like the story or not is irrelevant. The direction, cinematography, editing, acting and sound are enough to get it into Criterion packaging.
The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (2004, 2007, 2013)
This is more of a personal favourite than an obscure endeavour.
I have expressed, time and time again, that Edgar Wright is my favourite director of all time. All of four of his main-release films are gems and his Cornetto Trilogy is absolutely brilliant.
If Criterion are willing to release 12 Angry Men for its elegance, please release these three films as a box set! I am begging you Criterion, for the good of the filmmaking world! LET THEM KNOW OF THESE WONDERS!
So those are the ten films that I think should be added to the Criterion Collection.
Are there any peculiar films which you really want to see? Do you agree that Alice Cooper is a god among mortal men?
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