Actress/musician Brie Larson — AKA Scott Pilgrim's Envy Adams, of 21 Jump Street and United States of Tara fame — is also a Criterion Collection fangirl, and given her terrific recent round of the cineaste label's Top 10, she's probably got a better-stocked DVD catalogue than you. Consider Red Desert: "Antonioni’s first color film. I felt like I was opening my eyes for the first time. An incredible palette and commitment to tone. He actually painted trees whites and grays! I have always wanted to talk technicalities with someone about this film. The fog? How did he do the fog?!" And, on Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage: "This was the most invested in any relationship I had ever been — including my own." Read Larson's full Top 10 and share in my newfound nerdy girlcrush. [Criterion]
The Film: Putney Swope (1969), now available via The Criterion Collection's Up All Night With Robert Downey Sr. box set
Why It’s an Inessential Essential: Filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. is probably more famous for being the father of Iron Man's megastar than he is for his scathing and surreal comedies. As part of the New York underground scene of avant garde filmmakers, Downey’s films, like the 1979 absurdist acid western Greaser’s Palace, are probably more linear and narrative-driven than most of his peers’ films. So it’s fitting that the stand-out title in the Criterion Collection’s new box set is both his most popular film and also his straight-est comedy.
Dazed and Confused often gets lumped in with pot comedies and is celebrated on 4/20, but Richard Linklater’s first studio film transcends mere pot comedy and is still one of the most realistic teen movies ever made. It arrived at a time (1993) when teen movies were out of vogue, and it dared to take a trip down memory lane to a time remembered more with cringes than smiles. It’s arguably the most anti-nostalgia period movie ever, as acknowledged by Linklater himself. Digging in to the Criterion Collection extras (a Blu-ray Criterion release came out in October), here are some bits of evidence of that, tied to some of the movie’s most memorable lines.
Did you all have a good April Fool's Day? Either way, chances are it wasn't nearly as satisfying as that of the Criterion Collection, which turned its customary April 1 brio on the perfect target: Kindergarten Cop.
Movieline is pleased to introduce Inessential Essentials, a regular feature about some of the most intriguing — if not necessarily most obvious — new home-viewing options on the market. We begin today with a film practically doomed by controversy a quarter-century ago, resurrected for DVD and finally given the treatment it truly deserves this week on Blu-ray. — Ed.