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Old 08-08-18, 05:45 AM   #1
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2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread



30 Days of Criterion - Discussion Thread
August 31st (dusk) - October 1st (dawn)

September is upon us, so it's time to actually watch those Criterion discs we bought in July during the Barnes & Noble sale and get as many viewings out of our Hulu subscriptions as we can before the Criterion Channel launches on Filmstruck later this year! CardiffGiant has done a fantastic job hosting this challenge the last several years, and here's the overview of this challenge that he's crafted:

The goal of the Criterion Challenge is to watch Criterion content and share your experience with the rest of us. There is no specific number goal, no winners, no losers, no prizes.

Rather than compile long lists, watch what you would normally watch in a month, but concentrate it on Criterion content as much as you can/want. In fact, bulk watching is discouraged, as that will limit your time for discussion and for immersing yourself in a film. Participants are encouraged to explore fully a film and its supplemental material.

There will be a separate thread to include your lists as linked above. A daily journal sort of entry is recommended for your list. Since counting is not required or "scored" in any way, you are free to be as creative as you wish in how you list items. Bolding of your item titles is encouraged, if only to make them stand out to allow others to quickly see if they have seen the same items and wish to comment. Give reviews. Even if it's just a mini-review, a simple /, or a one word description. Be creative and personalize it however you wish - use one post for the whole month, daily posts, weekly posts, give reviews, provide IMDB links, add YouTube videos, add images, etc. It's recommended that you provide a link to your list(s) in your signature for easy access. Last year's List Thread should give you a good idea how participants format their lists.

What qualifies?
  • Any film, short, video or supplemental feature that is planned for release or has been released by Criterion/Eclipse qualifies.
  • The film does not have to be watched on an actual Criterion disc. You may watch the film on any format, provided that it is the same film that Criterion has released. For example, the film On the Waterfront was released by Criterion on DVD/BD. But you don't have to watch the movie on that particular DVD/BD. You can watch it on VHS, on broadcast TV, on FilmStruck (the new official streaming home of the Criterion Collection), anywhere else that may have the streaming rights, or any of the other DVD/BD releases On the Waterfront has had.
  • Additionally, any title released by Criterion exclusively on streaming (See: FilmStruck) is eligible for this challenge.

Check out the full list of Criterion and Eclipse DVD and BD releases here. Criterion's website allows for sorting by Brand, Format, Director, Country, Decade, and Features. This will allow easy searching for working through needed checklist items.

There are some titles currently streaming on Netflix, including a number of OOP titles. On rare occasions, you can find an Eclipse title there as well.

The Criterion Collection's streaming library moved to FilmStruck in 2017. This is an add-on channel not included in the base FilmStruck subscription. It includes titles that have yet to be issued on physical disc from Criterion; any such film included in this channel is eligible for this challenge (but not anything else on FilmStruck outside the Criterion Channel).

Criterion titles occasionally appear on broadcast television. Keep an eye on this discussion thread for upcoming broadcasts.

Titles originally released on Criterion Laserdisc are also eligible for the challenge.

Optional Checklist

The checklist is completely optional. It is just a "fun" inclusion to give one a sense of accomplishment, to help one diversify viewing, or to use as a guide on what to watch next.

Each film can count for multiple sections, but only one check mark per section. Example: Pierrot le fou could count for the 1960's in Decades and Jean-Luc Godard in People, but it could not count for Godard and Anna Karina in People. You would need a separate film for Karina.
Spoiler:
Feature Presentation
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 -
--- 1950 -
--- 1960 -
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 -
--- 1990 -
--- 2000 -
--- 2010 -

Watch something from each of the following spine number ranges.
--- 001-100 -
--- 101-200 -
--- 201-300 -
--- 301-400 -
--- 401-500 -
--- 501-600 -
--- 601-700 -
--- 701-800 -
--- 801-900 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- Watch a title not released on DVD by Criterion (a title released on Laserdisc or a streaming exclusive) -

Who, What, and How
Watch 5 films from five different directors. [New for 2018!]
--- First Person, (insert title)
--- Second Person, (insert title)
--- Third Person, (insert title)
--- Fourth Person, (insert title)
--- Fifth Person, (insert title)

Watch films in at least 5 languages.
--- First language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Second language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Third language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Special Edition Features
Read 5 essays from the Criterion booklets and/or listed here.
--- First Essay title, (title of film)
--- Second Essay title, (title of film)
--- Third Essay title, (title of film)
--- Fourth Essay title, (title of film)
--- Fifth Essay title, (title of film)

Watch 5 Criterion supplemental interviews. Many of these can be found on Criterion.com and in The Criterion Channel on FilmStruck (see Clips for the related film).
--- First Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Second Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Third Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Fourth Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Fifth Interview Name, (insert film title)

Above and Beyond (Not Required to Complete Checklist)
--- Watch a film with commentary –
--- Watch a supplemental short film –
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Top Ten List -
--- Listen to the soundtrack album for a Criterion/Eclipse film -

(Change "---" to "-X-" or some similar mark when you have completed that line item.)


The challenge officially begins August 31 at dusk in whatever location you are in at the time, and ends on October 1st at dawn in whatever location you are in at that time. Also, feel free to time your final Criterion film(s) to coincide with the start of the Horror Challenge.

Online Resources

The Criterion Collection Official Pages and Online Stores
Criterion.com | Barnes & Noble | Facebook | Google Play | FilmStruck | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube

List of Criterion Collection Laserdisc releases on Wikipedia

Every box set and Top 10 list presently on Criterion.com, formatted to be copied and pasted in DVD Talk.

CriterionCast
iCheckMovies.com The Criterion Collection | The Criterion Collection Signatures | Criterion's Eclipse Collection | Criterion's Eclipse Collection Signatures
Flickchart The Criterion Collection | The Criterion Eclipse Titles | Flickchart: The Blog - Criterion Commentaries
Travis McClain's Criterion for Noobs

Previous DVD Talk Criterion Challenges
2009 Discussion Thread | List Thread | 2010 Discussion Thread | List Thread
2011 Discussion Thread | List Thread | 2012 Discussion Thread | List Thread | 2013 Discussion Thread | List Thread
2014 Discussion Thread | List Thread | 2015 Discussion Thread | List Thread | 2016 Discussion Thread |
2016 List Thread
| 2017 Discussion Thread | 2017 List Thread

2018 List Thread
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Last edited by Travis McClain; 08-09-18 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 08-08-18, 06:57 AM   #2
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Janus Films is marking the centennial of Ingmar Bergman's birth with a film festival series this year. Here are the theaters participating during the time of our challenge:

August 30 - September 2
Cary, NC - The Cary Theater

September 5 - September 26
Brookline, MA - Coolidge Corner Theatre

September 6 - September 21
Philadelphia, PA - International House

September 7 - September 16
Louisville, KY - Speed Art Museum

September 7 - October 14
Cambridge, MA - Harvard Film Archive

September 28 - October 28
Winnipeg, MB - Winnipeg Film Group

I'm pretty excited that the Speed Art Museum here in Louisville is showing these. I'm hellbent on seeing Persona and Wild Strawberries, my #1 and #2 Bergman films, respectively.

Also, during the winter, I won a Barnes & Noble gift card from a writing competition and treated myself to some stuff during the just-ended Criterion sale there. All stuff I've seen before, but I'm keen to revisit, and to check out the supplements.
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Old 08-08-18, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I shouldn’t make goals that I know will be almost impossible to meet, but 30 unwatched films would be nice.
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Old 08-09-18, 12:08 AM   #4
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Since last year's challenge, Criterion has significantly revamped their website. I've updated the checklist links accordingly and made the following revisions:
  • "People" has been changed to "Directors", as "People" no longer exists.
  • "Themes" has been eliminated, as "Themes" no longer exists.
  • Watch Five Trailers has been eliminated.

I made the decision on eliminating Trailers unilaterally. If there's any strong request to restore it, I'll do so. I'm pretty sure all the links are now working properly, but if anyone finds something that doesn't, let me know.
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Old 08-14-18, 07:14 AM   #5
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I've tried to add a link to The Criterion Collection in iTunes, but when I test it on my end, I keep encountering a problem. It may be with my cache or something else, so could someone test this and see if it opens correctly in their iTunes Store?
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Old 08-14-18, 09:08 AM   #6
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
I've tried to add a link to The Criterion Collection in iTunes, but when I test it on my end, I keep encountering a problem. It may be with my cache or something else, so could someone test this and see if it opens correctly in their iTunes Store?
Maybe I wasn’t patient enough, but it didn’t quite open in mine. It looks like it’s trying to open the Criterion Collection, but it’s stuck in the music tab.
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Old 08-30-18, 09:28 PM   #7
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Can I just say how much I hate, Hate, HATE the Criterion site redesign? Revamping the site was unnecessary and pointless, turning a navigable site into a mess. Losing the My Criterion page was a blow. Feh, I say, feh!
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Old 08-31-18, 06:09 PM   #8
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I started tonight by watching my 19-year-old, pan and scan DVD copy of True Stories. Can't wait to upgrade to the Criterion Blu. Thirty-two years later, I'm struck by how prophetic the bits on technology and conspiracy theories resonate now. The movie is like if David Lynch and Godfrey Reggio had a baby.

Last edited by Gobear; 08-31-18 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 09-02-18, 12:02 AM   #9
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Travis, maybe I'm missing something, but the "Directors" section of the checklist is just to list five different directors whose films we've watched, correct? I ask because I don't see a "Directors" section on the Criterion website any more. So am I just missing the section, or do we just list five directors whose films we've watched?
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Old 09-03-18, 04:34 PM   #10
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
Travis, maybe I'm missing something, but the "Directors" section of the checklist is just to list five different directors whose films we've watched, correct? I ask because I don't see a "Directors" section on the Criterion website any more. So am I just missing the section, or do we just list five directors whose films we've watched?
I hate to answer for Travis, but I know he might not be on here for a bit. Looking at the new checklist, my understanding would be that, yes, you're supposed to watch 5 movies by 5 different directors for that section.
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Old 09-03-18, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
I hate to answer for Travis, but I know he might not be on here for a bit. Looking at the new checklist, my understanding would be that, yes, you're supposed to watch 5 movies by 5 different directors for that section.
Thanks, LJG. That's what I've been doing, so I guess that I'm good.
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Old 09-05-18, 03:48 PM   #12
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

This made me laugh, and has a relevant reference.
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Old 09-06-18, 11:43 PM   #13
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Late start for me, as usual. But in keeping with traditions, I began with Chungking Express. Fourth time I've watched it for the challenge.

I've been trying to knock out the rest of Spike Lee's filmography lately. I've already seen them, but I may rewatch Do the Right Thing and She's Gotta Have it.

I like Criterion's redesigned website, but it's been up for months and My Criterion is still "Under Construction."

Also, for anyone who's hesitant, you CANNOT go wrong with Filmstruck. There's way, way more stuff than Criterion ever had on Hulu. They have supplements for a lot of their titles, includine audio commentaries. And I'd guess at least 20% of the titles have never had a DVD release.
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Old 09-07-18, 07:14 PM   #14
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I'm finally ready to start this challenge. I want to make watching one film from each decade my unofficial goal for this challenge, so I started by seeing what caught my eye in each decade and what was available from my library. I'm in the mood to mark some of Chaplin's work off my "must see" list, so he is featured very heavily for the first 2-3 decades.

I get to the 980s, though, and there it was: The Breakfast Club. When did this get a Criterion treatment?! First, don't get me wrong, I enjoy this movie, but does it really need a Criterion release? The same with Bull Durham... I have a feeling, I'm going to start with this one tonight since I do own a copy of it but, I think it's kind of pushing the boundaries.

Of course, I do have to admit to being excited about The Princess Bride getting a new release next month! I'm sure some of you would think the same about this film as I do about The Breakfast Club.
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Old 09-07-18, 09:35 PM   #15
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Okay, I take it back. I can see why The Breakfast Club was picked. I forgot how sad/dark it gets at times. I always think of it as a comedy, but it's definitely more of a dark comedy/drama than anything else.
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Old 09-13-18, 09:50 PM   #16
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I've been watching Topsy-Turvy tonight. It's about how Sullivan and Gilbert almost broke up their partnership. It's a bit slow paced, but I'm enjoying it overall. There are several segments of their operas being preformed which are enjoyable to watch. It was a fairly random pick based on it's Criterion number, but I'm glad I did.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:05 PM   #17
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

If anyone is interested in looking for some Showa era Toho kaiju films, Criterion has released many of them as Starz exclusives. If anyone has Starz On Demand, they are all there under Godzilla films.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:15 PM   #18
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
Okay, I take it back. I can see why The Breakfast Club was picked. I forgot how sad/dark it gets at times. I always think of it as a comedy, but it's definitely more of a dark comedy/drama than anything else.
Wasn't that a fairly recent addition? I just figured it was one of those "let's release a more popular film to pay the bills" kind of things.
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Old 09-13-18, 11:17 PM   #19
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
I get to the 980s, though, and there it was: The Breakfast Club. When did this get a Criterion treatment?! First, don't get me wrong, I enjoy this movie, but does it really need a Criterion release? The same with Bull Durham... I have a feeling, I'm going to start with this one tonight since I do own a copy of it but, I think it's kind of pushing the boundaries.
Does Bull Durham really need a Criterion release? YES.

As regards The Breakfast Club, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read this personal essay that Molly Ringwald wrote for The New Yorker earlier this year about the films she made with John Hughes, as seen with the hindsight of time. The things she spotlights as troublesome are things that bothered me when I first saw The Breakfast Club. It's kind of peculiar to me that mainstream society has begun to catch up to the reactions I had ages ago.

Moreover, though, I think the essay is worth reading because it uses these films as a microcosm for the #MeToo movement's impact on us as people unused to looking close enough to see the things that have gone on so casually for so long. When we think of films that might represent the cultural elements finally being challenged in meaningful ways, I don't think John Hughes's films come to mind as examples. For most of us, they've existed in an entirely safe spot in our minds, not "innocent", per se, but overall benign. We recall them as reflecting either our own experiences as teens or the experiences of people we knew as teens. They were films that understood us, which made them our cinematic friends.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't bring something that large into a thread. But given that the film has recently received the Criterion treatment around the time Ringwald's essay was published (Criterion discs were released 2 January; the essay was published 6 April), it's the kind of essay that I would honestly expect Criterion would have included in their materials had they had access to it. It's the kind of historical analysis that characterizes the essays they're known for.
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Old 09-13-18, 11:19 PM   #20
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Wasn't that a fairly recent addition? I just figured it was one of those "let's release a more popular film to pay the bills" kind of things.
I would think so as I don't remember seeing it available last year but I'm not sure. To be honest, I'm sort of surprised they got the rights to do this; I would think that the original company would be making enough money they wouldn't want to sell it to Criterion to use. *shrugs* But what do I know?

Though, I think Criterion could get a broader audience by finding a few more "gateway" movies. Draw them in with a popular name, keep them by showing how well they treat them.
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Old 09-13-18, 11:21 PM   #21
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Wasn't that a fairly recent addition? I just figured it was one of those "let's release a more popular film to pay the bills" kind of things.
It's worth remembering that in the LaserDisc era, Criterion was keen to issue releases of mainstream movies. It was only when DVD came along and the studios were able to release their movies with supplements themselves that they stopped licensing them to Criterion. As catalog titles have begun to wane on disc, we've begun to see Criterion get back into the mainstream.

Personally, I'm entirely in favor of that. My only caveat is that it would be a shame if mainstream movies began to dominate their library. I don't think that's an especially strong likelihood, though.

Plus, it increases the chances that there'll be enough recognizable movies for some of our fellow forum members who have previously shied away from this challenge to reconsider participating! Or, at least, in theory it could do that.
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Old 09-13-18, 11:59 PM   #22
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
Does Bull Durham really need a Criterion release? YES.

As regards The Breakfast Club, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read this personal essay that Molly Ringwald wrote for The New Yorker earlier this year about the films she made with John Hughes, as seen with the hindsight of time. The things she spotlights as troublesome are things that bothered me when I first saw The Breakfast Club. It's kind of peculiar to me that mainstream society has begun to catch up to the reactions I had ages ago.
Both you and the article about this film, make very good points. I know the last time I watched the film, it was about 10 years ago, well before #metoo. I was surprised at several things said and done and how my feelings about it had changed. I know I was surprised at how serious some of the actions and conversations were. Now, that prank/bullying by the Andrew (the jock) would have put him in jail. For a sentence or two, Brian (the geek) brings up how bad it was and then it's dropped...no consequences, just a day of detention. How Bender treats Claire is awful, and does show how harassment has become mainstream-no one thought twice about it. Why should they? At that point, this was mild!

It does highlight how much media helps make actions acceptable or horrific. At the time, no one really thought twice about those actions, but looking back from this point in time, these behaviors immediately stand out as inappropriate.

I do still see why Criterion picked this one. Perhaps, like I mentioned a bit earlier, they were looking for a commercial film that was popular to bring new viewers to their brand. John Hughes is a well known and fairly respected name. You say his name, people know who he is. Sixteen Candles is more light-hearted, I would say, than this one. The Breakfast Club is fairly dark. In the article, Ringwald comments that it has a play-like feel, and I can see how that would appeal and have more in common with the majority of Criterion's other films. Should it still have been picked? I'm not sure. It was an important film at the time it was made. John Hughes, as a director, really made an impact with his films, of which, this is a good example. I can understand why someone might want to give it a special treatment.

That being said, I doubt I'll watch it any time soon. My image of it has changed quite a bit and not in a positive way. Maybe by re-watching these films and pointing out the flaws will help show more people where they need to change their thinking about how women (and minorities/outsiders) should be treated not only in film, but in real life.
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Old 09-14-18, 12:59 AM   #23
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Even aside from its content being reexamined, I do believe that The Breakfast Club merits inclusion in the Criterion library. It's a touchstone of movies that spoke to--and for--an entire generation. It's a solid pick to represent that part of its era and zeitgeist. I think the hangup for a lot of people, and I think maybe this is your issue, is that we're still catching up to the fact that our youth has now aged enough to be reconsidered as a past era.

For some context to consider, it has been 33 years since that film was released. Movies that were as old then as it is now include Singin' in the Rain, High Noon, and the final film Charlie Chaplin directed for Universal Artists, Limelight. That's right; The Breakfast Club is as close to Chaplin as it is to today.
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Old 09-14-18, 05:54 AM   #24
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
For some context to consider, it has been 33 years since that film was released. Movies that were as old then as it is now include Singin' in the Rain, High Noon, and the final film Charlie Chaplin directed for Universal Artists, Limelight. That's right; The Breakfast Club is as close to Chaplin as it is to today.
Ouch. Way to make me feel old!
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Old 09-14-18, 02:09 PM   #25
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

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Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
It's worth remembering that in the LaserDisc era, Criterion was keen to issue releases of mainstream movies. It was only when DVD came along and the studios were able to release their movies with supplements themselves that they stopped licensing them to Criterion. As catalog titles have begun to wane on disc, we've begun to see Criterion get back into the mainstream.

Personally, I'm entirely in favor of that. My only caveat is that it would be a shame if mainstream movies began to dominate their library. I don't think that's an especially strong likelihood, though.

Plus, it increases the chances that there'll be enough recognizable movies for some of our fellow forum members who have previously shied away from this challenge to reconsider participating! Or, at least, in theory it could do that.
Yes, it's interesting that the DVD era had major studios pulling back their licenses, and now the pendulum is swinging back the other way, and the market doesn't care about Special Edition, Ultimate Edition, etc.

I imagine a lot of filmmakers like seeing their work on the prestige Criterion label.
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