Friday flicks: a selection from the Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection is a selection of important films from around the world. Founded in 1984, the Collection features films that are exemplary of their kind, meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be insanely critically acclaimed or worshipped as a masterpiece, they simply need to be an important example of the kind of film that they are. That includes all kinds of films, whether they’re Hollywood blockbusters or small-budget independents. The movies are then enhanced to create an edition with the highest technical quality of the times so that these significant films can continue to be enjoyed and appreciated as they age. While many cinephiles are familiar with the Collection, it includes 1476 movies, increasing every month. So if you’re looking for a place to start, we have selected four favourite films for you that present a variety of genres. The Collection is intended for multiple viewings, so feel free to sit back, smoke up, and enjoy. If you don’t remember the plot in the morning, just watch it again 🙂

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) by Director Nicolas Roeg 

This movie is an incredibly impressive debut to film for David Bowie, who could not have been replaced in this role. The film follows the story of an alien who comes to earth on a desperate mission to save his planet. While the premise is very sci-fi, the film itself is more about the strangeness of humanity and the world we live in through the eyes of an extraterrestrial than it is about space travel. The naive and hopeful alien, Thomas (played by David Bowie), is subjected to love, greed, and betrayal, while trying to navigate life on Earth. Bowie’s androgynous, out-of-this-world persona lends itself beautifully to this role; coupled with the witty script and exceptional supporting performances, the whole thing comes together to create a truly fantastic film.  

Coffee And Cigarettes (2003) by Director Jim Jarmusch

An 11-vignette film that explores the nuances of human interaction through a series of absurd conversations. An impressive line-up of actors and other artists contributes to the surrealism of the film as we witness them play a strange version of themselves. This collection of short scenes explores the power of tone, inflection, timing, and context in a delightful and entertaining way. With cameos from Bill Murray, GZA and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, and Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes, to name a few, it’s a must-watch for music and movie lovers alike.

Cure (1997) by Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Detective Ken-ichi Takabe (played by Kôji Yakusho) investigates a series of murders committed under bizarre, almost supernatural circumstances. As he attempts to understand this violent phenomenon, Takabe becomes increasingly maddened by the incomprehensible reality of the mystery. It’s a psychological, meditative experience wherein the viewer explores the dark possibilities of the human psyche as we attempt to figure out what is going on. While it is a horror, this movie won’t make you jump or scream and you won’t feel the need to watch it through your hands. Instead, it’ll leave you feeling deeply unsettled as you replay the details of the film over and over in your head, attempting to make sense of it all. Acting, script, and direction come together beautifully to create a dark and contemplative experience. 

The Graduate (1967) by Director Mike Nichols

Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), a young, polite college graduate with a world of possibilities ahead of him feels crushed by the weight of expectation. He finds himself in the eyes of a beautiful older woman, Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be a friend of his parents, and it only gets more complicated from there. Benjamin’s naive and juvenile manner makes the entire journey incredibly entertaining as he attempts to navigate the demands of adult life. The near-constant stream of Simon and Garfunkel throughout gives the film a dream-like ambiance. It’s no wonder this coming-of-age film became a timeless classic, as hilarious and entertaining today as it was in the 60s. This one’s an easy watch, so smoke as much as you like 😎

You can stream these movies and the rest of the Collection on the Criterion Channel or purchase them on the Criterion Collection website.

We hope you enjoy our selection! Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram if any of our Friday Flicks made it into your movie night, and stay tuned for more recommendations every other Friday on our blog 🤗

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