It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are Buying?

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Ribs
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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#51 Post by Ribs » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:12 pm

I am terrified by the prospect anyone on any forum I've been a member of could potentially recall posts from ten years ago

To get back to the subject, kind of: I started buying Criterions when I was in high school, inspired by a film class, but my interest really first piqued a few years earlier when I read about this prestigious film label releasing Robinson Crusoe on Mars of all things, the third title I bought, one I watched the day I bought it and haven't put it in or really given it much thought in the years since then. But it, in many ways, was my gateway title in a totally literal sense, because I literally just fell in love with the title, and it made me really want to check out what this label is.

(I like the movie, too, but it's still an utterly perplexing release to me)

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#52 Post by teddyleevin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:30 pm

Ribs wrote:I am terrified by the prospect anyone on any forum I've been a member of could potentially recall posts from ten years ago
But I suppose it's to be expected from username "dustybooks."
Last edited by teddyleevin on Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#53 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:31 pm

These tales of being morally judged for your Criterion choices also reminds me of something bizarre that happened to me back in the mid-2000s when I worked as a legal secretary in a law firm. I had to get a package delivered to work because there wouldn't be anyone to sign for it at home and I took a quick look at it in the office to make sure of what had arrived. While doing so I got simultaneously major kudos points from one of the German partners in the office for having picked up the Fassbinder BRD set (lady in undergarments on the cover notwithstanding!) and then after he left one of the other people in the office picked up the set of the 1946/1964 versions of The Killers and said I was a monster for having bought something so violent!

I poorly tried to explain that they were 'classic film noirs from the 1940s' (I know, what was I thinking! But at least I didn't bring up Ronald Reagan slapping Angie Dickinson around!), but apparently just the title The Killers was enough to suggest a horrible bloodthirsty piece of work to them. And I don't think that this was an act - I'd never have imagined in my wildest dreams that there were actually people with no sense of humour, or even a vague sense of a funny bone, who took everything literally in the world but I think I met that particular person in that job. Either that or they had an amazing poker face!

It felt a bit like having a real-life Curb Your Enthusiasm moment!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#54 Post by teddyleevin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:39 pm

Whereas I'm now the one making moral judgements, casting sighs at the NYU students I bump into at the B&N sale who talk about the cool things they've heard about Hausu and then look at (but ultimately shelve) The Rules of the Game.

I wish I had some Fassbinder fans in the office when I was a legal assistant, but at least my co-worker and I would discuss whether or not Richard Brody's reviews were satirical.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#55 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:51 pm

Colin, based on some of your viewings in the Horror thread, can you imagine how much more awkward someone seeing your purchases could have been?!

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#56 Post by dustybooks » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:52 pm

teddyleevin wrote:
Ribs wrote:I am terrified by the prospect anyone on any forum I've been a member of could potentially recall posts from ten years ago
But I suppose it's to be expected from username "dustybooks."
Pretty much. I'm in the library world by trade and I've been on internet forums all too constantly since 1998 or so, and while it's handy at times, it's weird how much off-the-wall information I've retained. Someday I'll write a book about the endlessly escalating drama of Beach Boys message boards.

To swing this back on topic, my first Criterion was -- surprise -- Rushmore. I was 18. It was actually my first DVD, period, and it was actually my girlfriend buying it, but we were young and dumb and shared a collection until we broke up several years later. I no longer have Rushmore and I should really pick it up one of these days.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#57 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:12 pm

domino harvey wrote:Colin, based on some of your viewings in the Horror thread, can you imagine how much more awkward someone seeing your purchases could have been?!
I'll have you know that my imported copy of 1980s Japanese erotic comedy "I Love It From Behind!" is essential for my ongoing research into the history of Nikkatsu studios!

But it is true, it goes to show you can be as careful as you want about making sure people are not unnecessarily exposed to Nekromantik, yet they'll still go nuts over a Burt Lancaster classic if they're so inclined!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#58 Post by LightBulbFilm » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:17 pm

First title was Chasing Amy on DVD and I remember how fascinating it was to discover The Criterion Collection. I must have been 12 or 13 at the time, and those years feel like I was on LSD--it was so mystical, I remember thinking; the concept of this thing existing outside of the normal company releases was, even at that young age, something I didn't comprehend. So CC started as this sort of legendary beast for me and prompted me looking into more of their films.

I was already a love, and voracious film viewer, so at that point this mythic repository of "the most important" films became an excellent guideline in finding new work by directors I wasn't familiar with.

That's what's wonderful about this thing though, and smart business practice. Releasing these popular titles is going to drag those who already have an interest into a deeper hole they very well may never get out of; at least they're not out on the streets. I've long admired the seeming lack of pretentiousness in Criterion's releases. There's a wide net, and there's access points for all.

"Film School in a Box" y'all!

Kevyip would have a field day in this thread.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#59 Post by John Shade » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:26 pm

In light of the "10 pm" secrecy of this thread title, I remember certain movies at that age were late night low volume features. Most of my Bunuel viewing was done this way because of "That Obscure Object of Desire". Pardon the lame pun but the discreet charm of that film has lasted for me which is its connection to the late night low volume fast forward in hand. Anyone who was young and watched Stern show on E! or similar fare might relate.

Also, in regards to being a teenager and having money to buy the films: No, I didn't really have the means so I would only buy the films after one viewing that I really liked, or would blind buy from a director I liked. This practice has mostly stayed with me, but I do think a few blind buys happened back then because of the cover--Discreet Charm included. The public library was really the source of my film education and still is sometimes even with the internet options.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#60 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:05 pm

My first Criterions were Walkabout, The Third Man, and Amarcord, all purchased in 2000 or thereabouts, just as I was getting into buying DVDs. I was only about seventeen but I had already seen these films on TCM or other cable outlets (Bravo used to show films by Bergman and Fellini back then, if you can believe it) and had taped them on VHS.

That glossy, ~30-page catalog that used to come inside a lot of those early Criterion DVDs was itself hugely instrumental in exposing me to some of those classics that I had never heard of. I actually went on to blind-buy Andrei Rublev, Black Orpheus, Black Narcissus and the Eisenstein box based solely on the descriptions of them in that catalog. They were films I hadn't ever heard mentioned by my more mainstream film books. I could tell pretty early on that the Criterion DVDs were special, just based on their unique cover designs and the picture quality (which at the time seemed to be state-of-the-art).

I'm glad I got in on the ground floor, so to speak, by discovering Criterion when they were themselves a relatively new company with only about 50 available titles, and have gone to buy/watch the new releases as they have come out over the years. If I were just discovering Criterion for the first time now, with 800 titles in the collection, I would probably feel overwhelmed and not know where to even begin.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#61 Post by Morbii » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:51 pm

LightBulbFilm wrote:it was so mystical, I remember thinking; the concept of this thing existing outside of the normal company releases was, even at that young age, something I didn't comprehend. So CC started as this sort of legendary beast for me and prompted me looking into more of their films.
There was a point where I had very similar feelings about the CC.

My story began here: I'm (somewhat) ashamed to admit that my first Criterion was Amageddon. It was shortly after high school, and I really hadn't been exposed to much besides standard modern American fare and *maybe* a handful of modern foreign films (though possibly not even that by this time). So, I saw the Armageddon 2-disc in one of those Columbia House catalogs and wondered why it counted as 2 discs/why it was so expensive ($50) and ordered it (probably as two of my freebies).

Anyhow, fast forward a bit and I began seeing Criterion releases in the local Fry's Electronics where I did most of my purchasing at the time. I remember thinking (ala LightBulbFilm's quote above) it would be really cool to try to collect the entire collection. That day, I picked up both Onibaba and Le Corbeau as complete and total blind buys. I eventually did have the entire collection (by spine) at one point.

Armageddon was my gateway, so I'm glad it made the collection (and I'd say it's still pretty much still a guilty pleasure for me even though I haven't watched it in years -- though that opinion might change if I actually popped it in the player again!).

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#62 Post by TMDaines » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:55 am

teddyleevin wrote:I don't know. I haven't seen it in 10 years. Maybe there's residual guilt. On the plus side, I've made at least 100 pornos in the intervening years!
God, I hope this is true.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#63 Post by teddyleevin » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:23 am

You won't when I mention that I feature in all of them.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#64 Post by Feego » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:09 pm

ianthemovie wrote:My first Criterions were Walkabout, The Third Man, and Amarcord, all purchased in 2000 or thereabouts, just as I was getting into buying DVDs. I was only about seventeen but I had already seen these films on TCM or other cable outlets (Bravo used to show films by Bergman and Fellini back then, if you can believe it) and had taped them on VHS.
Yep, I remember the good old days of Bravo, and that helped lead me into the Criterion Collection as well. I don't remember specifically what my first was, but I'm sure Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast and The Passion of Joan of Arc were among the earliest CC DVDs I owned. I first saw Beauty and the Beast on Bravo and was staggered by its visual beauty. I'm pretty sure Charade was also among my first owned titles after seeing it on AMC (a silent memoriam for the Bravo and AMC of yesteryear).

Edit: And now that I think about it, the very first Criterion title I owned was actually the Home Vision VHS of Picnic at Hanging Rock, which I bought after seeing it on Bravo and before I got into DVD.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#65 Post by ianthemovie » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:44 pm

Yeah, in the mid-1990s I owned "special editions" of movies like Walkabout and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on VHS before they came out on DVD. That was back when nearly all VHS tapes were pan-and-scan, unless you were buying a specially marked letterbox edition. They really did feel special, too! We've come a long way in the last twenty years, folks...

However low Bravo has sunk in the interim, it's because of that channel that I was first able to see Cries and Whispers and La Dolce Vita, and for that I'll be forever grateful.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#66 Post by Brian C » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:31 am

Yeah, I had a whole collection of letterboxed VHS tapes, by which I mean probably 30, which seemed like a big collection to me at the time. They really became a thing in the 2-3 years before DVD hit. It got to the point where some of the big chain stores even had a whole section devoted to them. WB was easily the most aggressive studio in putting those out, but Sony and Fox also had dedicated widescreen lines (Fox even used fancy clamshell packaging). Maybe the other majors did too, I don't really remember anymore.

Pretty sure the first Criterion I bought was Rushmore, but I was aware of them from their LaserDisc line. I never had an LD player, but I liked browsing the LD sections at stores. Rushmore just happened to come along soon after I did the DVD upgrade. If memory serves, The 39 Steps was very close behind (I found that one mispriced at $6.99, shelved with all those old Hitichcock PD titles at Fry's).

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#67 Post by teddyleevin » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:00 pm

Feego wrote:I'm pretty sure Charade was also among my first owned titles after seeing it on AMC (a silent memoriam for the Bravo and AMC of yesteryear).
This post makes me really need to pour one out for the good ol' days of AMC. I first saw Charade on AMC as well. AMC was commercial-free, my memory suggests, though I do remember a break-in announcer making quips and providing fun-facts at intervals throughout the film (as banal as, "Hey, did you recognize George Kennedy!" and as casually inflammatory as "Hey, did you know that Cary Grant was too old in this movie!"). Without AMC, Bravo, and the like, I wouldn't have seen a handful of future Criterion buys. Glad to see others appreciated the same route.

I read above of the very early ~30-page catalog of titles w/descriptions. Is there a scan or even a photo of that around anywhere? It's before my time (approx. spine 315), and I would love to see it as it sounds like a fascinating curio.
Last edited by teddyleevin on Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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VCD's

#68 Post by Lemmy Caution » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:53 pm

In China, the pre-DVD fad in the 90's = VCD's.
They were digital, but the storage space was limited, so a feature length film was split among two discs. In the middle of a film you had to get up and change the disc.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#69 Post by ianthemovie » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:10 pm

I'd be curious to see images of that print booklet, too, if anyone can find them. It used to come packaged with most of the Criterion DVDs from 1999-2001. At that time we didn't even have Internet at our house in rural upstate NY (I'd be curious to know what, if any, sort of web presence Criterion had back then), so the catalog was the only way I knew what titles were in the collection. Even though it was just a booklet with a description and special features of each title, with images of the cover art for each disc (and a few assorted extra stills scattered throughout), it was invaluably useful.

It's also worth remembering that Criterion did not sell their videos directly. After learning about them through the booklet, I (or my parents) used to purchase them (over the phone) through other video catalog services like Critic's Choice or Facets. (Again, no Internet = no Amazon.) Seems like another lifetime.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#70 Post by med » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:25 pm

ianthemovie wrote:(I'd be curious to know what, if any, sort of web presence Criterion had back then)
Earliest capture from the Wayback Machine is December 6th, 1998. They were having techinical difficulties!

https://web.archive.org/web/19981206115 ... ionco.com/

June 19th, 2000 is the first capture that produces something to look at:

https://web.archive.org/web/20000619111 ... ionco.com/
Last edited by med on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#71 Post by movielocke » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:52 pm

Man I remember criterionco. And that website. As I recall they had a FAQ that explained someone else had bought criterion and they didn't think it was worth the bother or effort or money to buy the domain off them. It was an FAQ because everyone tried criterion.com before using hotbot.com or askjeeves to search for criterion on the web

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med
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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#72 Post by med » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:34 pm

In 1998, people wanting buy "Criterion Lasers and DVDs" were directed to Ken Cranes. Amazon was around at the time, but it was primarily a bookseller.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#73 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:49 pm

I'm guessing my first Criterion DVD purchase was "Good Morning"....

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#74 Post by Peter McM » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:30 pm

First Criterion I ever bought was "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"; still have it, while praying for a blu-ray upgrade. That remained my only Criterion (save for "The Night Porter" which I sold after watching it once) until I got my first HDTV in 2010 and started collecting blus.

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Re: It's 10 PM. Do You Know The Criterions Your Children Are

#75 Post by scubadonc » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:44 pm

My first Criterion purchase was in 2002. I had been shown Solaris in a film class and had to have it. Amazon showed me the full scope of the collection. In the end, I ordered Solaris, Brief Encounter, Akira Kurosawa's Samurai Collection, and Brazil.

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