' Cinema Romantico: My Criterion Wishes Demands

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Criterion Wishes Demands

The Criterion Collection, that hoity toity distribution inc. thankfully reveling in contributing to the power of a DVD shelf, a power that an archetypal cineaste still believes in, just announced the films it would be adding to its for-purchase library this October. This list was, as it usually is, impressive, ranging from newer films, like Cinema Romantico’s #3 film of last year, to sort of newer films, to a film meant to capitalize on current pop culture trends, to your obligatory Hitchcock, Kubrick and Welles, to The Boldest Experiment In Advertising History! This is all well and good. I have no complaints.

Still, I have some complaints. No list on the interwebs is complete without an asinine “What about...” riposte, so here’s mine...


What about... Stromboli?

Yes, yes, I am aware that “Stromboli” already is in The Criterion Collection. But. Criterion has only made “Stromboli” available as part of its 3 Films by Roberto Rossellini. And while I like “Journey to Italy”, absolutely, and while I am completely cool with “Europe ’51”, sure, “Stromboli” is, like, my neorealist jam, man, and my favorite Ingrid. And I don’t want to cough up $80 to get 3 Films when I just want 1, okay, though no disrespect, Roberto. So c’mon, Criterion. Even George Lucas, who never saw a few bucks he wouldn’t take, not even out of the tip jar at the Starbucks he had installed on Skywalker Ranch, made his “Star Wars” films available individually. So give this guy just a single order of “Stromboli”, why don’t you?


What about... Wife Vs. Secretary?

Yes, yes, Criterion is all about the auteur, fair enough, but Jean Harlow is Jean Harlow, son. Savvy? And if you’re gonna fudge your dumb rules that don’t really exist then fudge ’em for the Platinum Blonde. And there is no Jean Harlow in the Criterion Collection aside from “City Lights”, which only counts because she had an uncredited appearance as an extra which does not count at all. And though you could argue all day about peak Jean Harlow, I’ll go to bat for “Wife vs Secretary”, which is due for a cultural re-examination, and which has a solid rom com ethos that nevertheless quietly erupts into something else, something deeper, something sadder, which is brought home in the best few seconds, at the end of Clark Gable’s bed, that Harlean Carpenter put on film.


What about... Dick?

Andrew Fleming’s re-imagining of the Watergate scandal as teenybopper farce has re-entered the cultural conversation as of late, on account of obvious events, and it’s about damn time too. Cinema Romantico championed this movie since its 1999 release, which is to say before Cinema Romantico was a thing, and while we have fondness for “All the President’s Men”, we have always considered “Dick” to be the seminal Watergate film. (Kirsten Dunst is also still the Best Actress of 1999 in our hearts.) And because “All the President’s Men” is not in your collection, this is your chance, Criterion, to say the same thing. Betsy Jobs & Arlene Lorenzo 4-Ever.


What about... Cool Runnings?

Tell you what, Criterion, I will even write the introductory essay for you free of charge.


What about... My Cousin Vinny?

This. Above all others, past, present and future, a Criterion release of “My Cousin Vinny” is imperative for a proper home movie collection. For if Criterion is, as it claims, “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films” and “the most significant archive of contemporary filmmaking available to the home viewer” then the lack of Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito in its archives is not only glaring but unacceptable. If her performance is the touchstone for all others (it is) and you are called Criterion (you are) then her performance must be in your collection or your moniker is illegitimate. I’ll expect to see this title in November. Good day.

1 comment:

Alex Withrow said...

Hell to the yes for My Cousin Vinny. How can you not own that movie? A Criterion would be an absolute delight.