Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the criterion collection

all film fans are indebted to the criterion collection. their repertory dvd releases are pretty sweet. their existence allows the long-term survival of really solid, smaller-budget films from years/decades ago. films like that usually don't do much of a good job at the box office when they are released. but thanks to dvd, these solid films stick around. my favorite example of this is Fight Club. you really think 1999 was ready for that shit? 'boy meets world' was still on tv. now fight club's a must-watch, and not only among cinephiles.

criterion has these cool celebrity top 10 lists. they're really worth checking out. i recently discovered anthony bourdain's list. i just saw his number one film, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and i was floored. holy shit. to think a movie like this would've been lost in time if it weren't for the criterion collection. it was directed by peter yates, five years after he directed Bullitt, and is adapted from the novel of the same name. the novel is considered a crime classic, inspiring writers like elmore leonard (who's a huge influence on quentin tarantino; i love how these webs exist).

the movie is hard as fuckin' nails. real man shit. falls into the boston crime subgenre; corrupt cops, rookie criminals, and old-time gangsters mix and mingle, lifting banks, trying to double-cross everyone else but themselves. back in '73, movies like this were a dime-a-dozen, but nowadays this kinda shit is pretty rare. i mean we still have these crime flicks today– Contraband came out not-so-long ago, right?– but the genre's writing has become so cookie-cutter that nothing today is really worth watching (i'm looking forward to Cogan's Trade (2012), though, which is written by the author of this film's novel). it also has to do with the talent leading these films. as much as i love the jason stathams and mark wahlbergs, where's our robert mitchum? where's our walter matthau? philip seymour hoffman should play an aging criminal one day. he could pull it off (he could pull off anything, really). or maybe dustin hoffman playing an old, down-on-his-luck-criminal-type. that would be pretty sweet.

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