2014: The Best of The Criterion Collection
I started blogging Criterions about midway through 2014, but previously bought and watched most, if not all of them. This is probably the first year where I saw the vast majority of all the year’s releases, including all of the supplements, although I didn’t blog the early ones.
It was tough to come up with a best list because there were truly some spectacular releases. I started with a list of 5, then expanded it to 10, and finally settled on 20. Rather than separate them by upgrade, reissues, and new titles, I just combined everything. Sure, a lot of these releases I have already seen before, but I still enjoyed revisiting. The only separation was for the three box sets, which naturally do not fit with the single-disc releases. You could argue that the Monte Hellman westerns are a box-set, but I kept them with the single releases because they are one spine number.
The criteria is the same for how I usually rate these. The quality of the film is a major factor, which is why The Big Chill probably had no shot at the list even with the best supplements ever. On the other hand, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is not as strong a film as some of the releases that didn’t make the list, but the supplements were fantastic, especially the Roadshow version with commentary. As with everything, film is subjective and I’m sure other Criterion collectors would have different lists. That’s what makes the discussion fun.
3. All That Jazz
4. Fantastic Mr Fox
5. Breaking the Waves
6. Red River
7. The Innocents
8. Il sorpasso
9. Sundays and Cybele
10. It Happened One Night
11. The Freshman
13. All That Heaven Allows
14. Y tu mama tambien
15. Picnic at Hanging Rock
16. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
17. My Darling Clementine
19. The Shooting / Ride in the Whirlwind
This was the toughest decision, because all three of the box sets were fantastic. You could make a case that each one is up there with the best Criterion release ever, yet they also had their own character. The Tati films are the best of the bunch, especially the middle three. The Demy films were the least consistent, but the set benefited from having Agnes Varda and her documentaries. The Les Blank set was one of a kind and the type of set I hope Criterion continues to focus on. Even though they were all large sets and time consuming, they were a joy and not a labor to consume.