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7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

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7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Old 08-19-15, 03:27 PM
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7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread



30 Days of Criterion - Discussion Thread
August 31st (dusk) - October 1st (dawn)

First, an important announcement from your host (spoilered for minor length and irrelevancy to this year's challenge):
Spoiler:
I have been fairly absent from DVDTalk, my last post was in September of last year (for the Criterion Challenge). I haven't left you for another forum; rather, my life has gotten exponentially busier and my movie watching has taken a significant hit. I have quite the backlog of Criterion and I'm hopeful that I can get through some of that in September.

It's important that a host is attentive and highly participatory and I'm not sure what my level of participation will be. Travis McClain led much of the discussion last year and I tallied two whole films, which in itself was quite a struggle. There were years where I could get deep into conversation on here and debate the finer points of films. I hope that I still can, but I probably can't give it the full-throated effort that I once could. It's tough to admit that because this is a great community, I've been here since 1999 (first as a long-time lurker and then as a member), and I pretty much live and breathe Criterion, but I want everyone to get the kind of attention from a host that they deserve. I want to be able to participate, I love leading the challenge, but I also want the best user experience for everyone. You deserve a host with more than two films notched and minimal participation.

I’m writing this to get some to think about whether they would be interested should I step down as host after this year. I think it’s best to mention this a year ahead of time to ensure a smooth transition. Feel free to openly discuss in this thread prior to the challenge, in the Challenge Compendium thread, or PM me. By the end of this year’s challenge, I’ll have a better idea of whether last year was an aberration or my expected future contribution.


Although I've been running the challenge for a while now, much of the credit goes to Trevor for first leading the challenge and to Travis McClain for his countless contributions. Much of the language in this post and in the checklist originated, at least in one way or another, to Trevor's original challenge.

The goal of the Criterion Challenge is to watch Criterion content and share your experience with the rest of us. There is no specific number goal, no winners, no losers, no prizes.

Rather than compile long lists, watch what you would normally watch in a month, but concentrate it on Criterion content as much as you can/want. In fact, bulk watching is discouraged, as that will limit your time for discussion and for immersing yourself in a film. Participants are encouraged to explore fully a film and its supplemental material.

There will be a separate thread to include your lists as linked above. A daily journal sort of entry is recommended for your list. Since counting is not required or "scored" in any way, you are free to be as creative as you wish in how you list items. Bolding of your item titles is encouraged, if only to make them stand out to allow others to quickly see if they have seen the same items and wish to comment. Give reviews. Even if it's just a mini-review, a simple /, or a one word description. Be creative and personalize it however you wish - use one post for the whole month, daily posts, weekly posts, give reviews, provide IMDB links, add YouTube videos, add images, etc. It's recommended that you provide a link to your list(s) in your signature for easy access. Last year's List Thread should give you a good idea how participants format their lists.

What qualifies? Any film, short, video or supplemental feature that is planned for release or has been released by Criterion/Eclipse qualifies. The film does not have to be watched on an actual Criterion disc. You may watch the film on any format, provided that it is the same film that Criterion has released. For example, the film On the Waterfront was released by Criterion on DVD/BD. But you don't have to watch the movie on that particular DVD/BD. You can watch it on VHS, on broadcast TV, on the internet, Netflix, HuluPlus, iTunes, or any of the other DVD/BD releases On the Waterfront has had. Additionally, any title released by Criterion exclusively on streaming (See: HuluPlus) is eligible for this challenge.

Discussion and debate on how to change the Challenge is encouraged. We made sizable changes last year, but it's always good to get the conversation going for next year.

Check out the full list of Criterion and Eclipse DVD and BD releases here. Criterion's website allows for sorting by Brand, Format, Director, Country, Decade, and Features. This will allow easy searching for working through needed checklist items.

There are some titles currently streaming on Netflix, including a number of OOP titles. On rare occasions, you can find an Eclipse title there as well.

There are many Criterion titles available on Hulu Plus. Any title available on Criterion's Hulu Plus site counts. These include titles that Criterion has the rights to, but has yet to release on DVD/BD. Hulu Plus offers a standard 1-week free trial. Additionally, Criterion regularly rotates new titles for "free" viewing on Hulu.

A quick Google search will occasionally locate various "deals" with longer free Hulu Plus trial memberships.

Criterion titles occasionally appear on broadcast television. Keep an eye on this discussion thread for upcoming broadcasts.

Criterion Laserdisc releases are also eligible for the challenge.

Optional Checklist

The checklist is completely optional. It is just a "fun" inclusion to give one a sense of accomplishment, to help one diversify viewing, or to use as a guide on what to watch next.

Feature Presentation
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 -
--- 1950 -
--- 1960 -
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 -
--- 1990 -
--- 2000/2010 -

Watch something from spine number range:
--- 001-050 -
--- 051-100 -
--- 101-150 -
--- 151-200 -
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
--- 301-350 -
--- 351-400 -
--- 401-450 -
--- 451-500 -
--- 501-550 –
--- 551-600 -
--- 601-650 -
--- 650-700 -
--- 701-750 -
--- 750-800 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- Watch a title not released on DVD by Criterion (Hint: Check DVD Spine# here for some eligible titles or Unreleased material on Hulu here (Thanks, ntnon!)) -

Watch films in at least 5 languages.
--- First language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Second language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Third language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch 5 films from different people in Criterion's Explore People section (Each title must be unique. For example, Pierrot Le Fou could NOT count for Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Luc Godard, and Anna Karina, just one)
--- First Person, (insert title)
--- Second Person, (insert title)
--- Third Person, (insert title)
--- Fourth Person, (insert title)
--- Fifth Person, (insert title)

Watch a film from 5 different “themes” on Criterion’s website
--- First Theme name, (insert title)
--- Second Theme name, (insert title)
--- Third Theme name, (insert title)
--- Fourth Theme name, (insert title)
--- Fifth Theme name, (insert title)

Special Edition Features
Read 5 essays from the Criterion booklets and/or listed here
--- First Essay title, (title of film)
--- Second Essay title, (title of film)
--- Third Essay title, (title of film)
--- Fourth Essay title, (title of film)
--- Fifth Essay title, (title of film)

Watch 5 Criterion supplemental interviews.
--- First Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Second Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Third Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Fourth Interview Name, (insert film title)
--- Fifth Interview Name, (insert film title)

Watch 5 Criterion Theatrical Trailers
--- First Trailer Title
--- Second Trailer Title
--- Third Trailer Title
--- Fourth Trailer Title
--- Fifth Trailer Title

--- Watch a film with commentary –
--- Watch a supplemental short film –
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set/Top Ten List -
--- Listen to a Criterion/Eclipse film soundtrack -

(One film could fill multiple items. Example: Fanny & Alexander would qualify for a decade, language, spine number range, theme (Blue Christmases), etc.)

(Change "---" to "-X-" or some similar mark when you have completed that line item.)

The challenge officially begins August 31 at dusk in whatever location you are in at the time, and ends on October 1st at dawn in whatever location you are in at that time. Also, feel free to time your final Criterion film(s) to coincide with the start of the Horror Challenge.


Criterion.com
Twitter - @Criterion
Criterion on Tumblr
CriterionCast

Travis McClain provided the following links, which are incredibly helpful.

"It's every box set and Top 10 list presently on Criterion.com, formatted for our purposes."

Flickchart - The Best Criterion Collection Films
Flickchart: The Blog - Criterion Commentaries
ICheckMovies.com - The Criterion Collection
iCheckMovies - Criterion's Eclipse Collection
Flickchart - Criterion Collection on Hulu
Flickchart - Criterion Eclipse Titles
Flickchart - Criterion Collection
Travis McClain's Criterion for Noobs
Old 08-19-15, 03:31 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Placeholder for other things.
Old 08-19-15, 04:02 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Since there's an overlap between the Animation Challenge and the Criterion Challenge, I'm wondering what animation Criterion carries that would be eligible. I remember we had this discussion during a past challenge, but I can't remember what titles were offered.
Old 08-19-15, 04:03 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Since there's an overlap between the Animation Challenge and the Criterion Challenge, I'm wondering what animation Criterion carries that would be eligible. I remember we had this discussion during a past challenge, but I can't remember what titles were offered.
The two off the top of my head are Watership Down and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Old 08-19-15, 04:10 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

The only other animation I can remember that is eligible is Akira.
Old 08-19-15, 04:13 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Well, I have two out of the three. (You can guess which ones.) That's enough for me to watch on Monday evening. Thanks!
Old 08-19-15, 04:25 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

There are also some shorts on a couple of the least owned Criterion titles. I remember we had a few options before Watership Down and The Fantastic Mr Fox were released.

Cardiff, thank you once again for starting things. I'm sure that someone will take over for you next year, but to be honest, all these Challenges can run themselves. Sure, the Horror Challenge wouldn't be nearly as much fun without the 17,000 hours of work that Chad puts into it, but even it would still thrive due to committed participants. You don't have to contribute to the daily discussion to be the host.
Old 08-19-15, 04:28 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Jason and the Argonauts would also overlap. Stop Motion animation.

I just got the Criterion Collection edition of The Black Stallion in the mail today.
Old 08-19-15, 05:05 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

After last year's dismal performance, I want this to be the year I finally complete the checklist. However, with things being as they have been, I may be fortunate if I just match last year's four.

I discovered that Criterion curates some playlists over on Hulu. These seem to be 8-10 movies on average, selected to represent a specific theme. I want to suggest that watching all the films in one of these be added as an option for the Collector's Set/Top 10 List item. Unlike the Top 10's, being in print is not an issue since all films are there to be streamed.
Old 08-19-15, 05:10 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

I agree that the host doesn't need to be actively involved. The challenge can mostly run itself through its participants. I think if you need to drop the challenge because of life demands and peace of mind, you should do that. But not because you think you're giving us a substandard experience as host.

Last edited by davidh777; 08-19-15 at 06:05 PM.
Old 08-19-15, 06:00 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
I agree that the host doesn't need to be actively involved. The challenge can mostly run itself through its participants. I think if you need to drop the challenge because of life demands and piece of mind, you should do that. But not because you think you're giving us a substandard experience as host.
I agree with this.
Old 08-19-15, 06:09 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Cardiff, thank you once again for starting things. I'm sure that someone will take over for you next year, but to be honest, all these Challenges can run themselves. Sure, the Horror Challenge wouldn't be nearly as much fun without the 17,000 hours of work that Chad puts into it, but even it would still thrive due to committed participants. You don't have to contribute to the daily discussion to be the host.
As I prove each May and November.

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
I agree that the host doesn't need to be actively involved. The challenge can mostly run itself through its participants. I think if you need to drop the challenge because of life demands and peace of mind, you should do that. But not because you think you're giving us a substandard experience as host.
I agree with this, but I also like the idea of Challengers who haven't hosted a Challenge before getting the chance to host one, just to see what it's like.
Old 08-20-15, 07:30 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

^ True, it is nice to share the wealth. But honestly, the Challenges run themselves.

Cardiff, in my opinion, just by posting this thread you have been as great as a Challenge host as we've ever had on DVDtalk, outside of Chad. That might sound mean, as others do put effort into 'hosting', myself included once. But again, in my opinion, the posts that we hosts make as the Challenge is planned and executed are no more important than the posts of anyone else in the thread. Yes, some Challenges slightly benefit from an occasional tweak of the checklists or such, but those really aren't all that important. The main goal of the Challenges is not the little optional details, but just a very basic genre and communal thread where we all hang out and enjoy each other's musings.

I'm definitely planning on a cross Challenge day of devouring the new Watership Down bluray. It's my favorite novel, and perhaps my favorite animated film. I hope to be able to watch the film and every single supplement on August 31st/September 1st.
Old 08-20-15, 08:53 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

I plan to watch Jason and the Argonauts for my cross challenge viewing.
Old 08-20-15, 09:56 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Since there's an overlap between the Animation Challenge and the Criterion Challenge, I'm wondering what animation Criterion carries that would be eligible. I remember we had this discussion during a past challenge, but I can't remember what titles were offered.
Jason and the Argonauts and Robocop use stop motion animation.

The Brakhage collection has hours of stuff.
Old 08-20-15, 10:21 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Cardiff, thank you once again for starting things. I'm sure that someone will take over for you next year, but to be honest, all these Challenges can run themselves. Sure, the Horror Challenge wouldn't be nearly as much fun without the 17,000 hours of work that Chad puts into it, but even it would still thrive due to committed participants. You don't have to contribute to the daily discussion to be the host.
Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
I agree that the host doesn't need to be actively involved. The challenge can mostly run itself through its participants. I think if you need to drop the challenge because of life demands and peace of mind, you should do that. But not because you think you're giving us a substandard experience as host.
Originally Posted by LorenzoL View Post
I agree with this.
Originally Posted by Dimension X View Post
As I prove each May and November.


I agree with this, but I also like the idea of Challengers who haven't hosted a Challenge before getting the chance to host one, just to see what it's like.
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
^ True, it is nice to share the wealth. But honestly, the Challenges run themselves.

Cardiff, in my opinion, just by posting this thread you have been as great as a Challenge host as we've ever had on DVDtalk, outside of Chad. That might sound mean, as others do put effort into 'hosting', myself included once. But again, in my opinion, the posts that we hosts make as the Challenge is planned and executed are no more important than the posts of anyone else in the thread. Yes, some Challenges slightly benefit from an occasional tweak of the checklists or such, but those really aren't all that important. The main goal of the Challenges is not the little optional details, but just a very basic genre and communal thread where we all hang out and enjoy each other's musings.
Wow! Thanks for the love everyone. Considering this response, I don't think there's much problem with me continuing in this role, but it's good to know that others could take over, if needed. To elaborate, for those that have expressed concern, I'm fine. Family and work occupy much more of my time than it used to (which is a good thing!), but it means that I watch Frozen and Bambi more often than Fanny and Alexander and Pierrot Le Fou.

It's funny that Chad was mentioned twice here because I'm sure that somewhere, subconsciously, and because this challenge leads into the Horror Challenge, that I've felt like I couldn't match that kind of participation. I'm glad that no one here seems to think less of me for that.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this challenge again and hoping to work my way through my unwatched Criterions.
Old 08-20-15, 11:10 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Wanted to chime in and say cheers to CardiffGiant; I imagine most of the hosting duties fall before (preparation) and after (results) the challenge so not being 100% in the challenge itself seems minimal.
Old 08-20-15, 01:27 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by CardiffGiant View Post
It's funny that Chad was mentioned twice here because I'm sure that somewhere, subconsciously, and because this challenge leads into the Horror Challenge, that I've felt like I couldn't match that kind of participation. I'm glad that no one here seems to think less of me for that.
I know exactly how you feel, since I host the November Comedy Challenge (which, obviously, immediately follows the October Horror Challenge). Heck, it was so bad the first guy who hosted it disappeared, never to be heard from again. Maybe I should be worried.
Old 08-20-15, 11:04 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

In case you haven't heard about Documentary Now!, it looks like it might be entertaining and there are three Criterion films spoofed in the first 6 episodes (Ep. 1 - Grey Gardens; Ep. 3 - Nanook of the North; Ep. 4 - The Thin Blue Line). The premiere was tonight. I recorded it, but haven't watched it yet. While it doesn't fall within the challenge exactly, it might be a nice companion piece, if you're planning on watching one of those 3 films.
Old 08-22-15, 11:45 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LorenzoL View Post
I agree with this.
Thirded.
Old 08-22-15, 11:47 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by CardiffGiant View Post
Family and work occupy much more of my time than it used to (which is a good thing!), but it means that I watch Frozen and Bambi more often than Fanny and Alexander and Pierrot Le Fou.
Ditto...

Last edited by ntnon; 08-23-15 at 12:47 AM.
Old 08-22-15, 11:49 PM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

More 'include animated* bits' titles for crossover purposes:

King Kong (CC Laserdisc)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (CC Laserdisc)
Jason and the Argonauts (CC Laserdisc)
Life of Brian
Godzilla

(Time Bandits and Baron Munchausen also probably have bits in them, but not enough to count by my way of thinking.)

I think it's (as mentioned) only AKIRA, WATERSHIP DOWN and FANTASTIC MR. FOX as full animated feature in the various parts of the CCs.

I would also give a slightly sarcastic mention to Crumb, Chasing Amy and two episodes of The Addams Family. Not animated, but featuring comics (and artists) or based on a comic strip.

Then there are shorts - I think - on the Hollis Frampton set, and maybe elsewhere...

Last edited by ntnon; 08-23-15 at 12:51 AM.
Old 08-25-15, 12:21 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
^ True, it is nice to share the wealth. But honestly, the Challenges run themselves.

Cardiff, in my opinion, just by posting this thread you have been as great as a Challenge host as we've ever had on DVDtalk, outside of Chad.
I'd take exception to this, having originated two challenges from scratch, establishing their parameters, coordinating prizes on occasion, and striven to make each year's incarnation something interesting for all participants...but the truth is that nothing I've ever done for either challenge mattered in the slightest.

Anyway, I've been streaming Deep Space Nine lately; I'm on pace to finish the third season tomorrow. It got me wondering which movies in The Criterion Collection were direct influences either on specific episodes or at least themes. I've only scarcely begun to brainstorm, and I'm going to bed momentarily but I wanted to throw it out there to see what anyone might be able to name. I can think of only two offhand (three if we include Casablanca, which had a Criterion LaserDisc release and was a direct influence on the episode "Profit and Loss"):

Shoah
Clearly, the Bajorans were modeled in large part on Holocaust survivors.

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
The spy literature of John le Carre was alluded to often, primarily through the character of Elim Garak.

Seems like Seven Samurai was a strong influence on at least one episode, though I'm having a hard time thinking which one. Anyone else have anything?
Old 08-25-15, 11:10 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Rashomon (though the TNG episode is more obvious, but themes recur).


Maybe the laserdisc BOND films, per Bashir's holodeck excursions.
Maybe Hidden Fortress (i.e. Star Wars) on some level..?

(Hmm.. not CC, but I wonder if the whole thing were inspired in any way by Grand Hotel..? 'People come, people go, nothing ever happens..')

Last edited by ntnon; 08-25-15 at 11:31 AM.
Old 08-25-15, 11:12 AM
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Re: 7th Annual Criterion Challenge - Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
I'd take exception to this, having originated two challenges from scratch, establishing their parameters, coordinating prizes on occasion, and striven to make each year's incarnation something interesting for all participants...but the truth is that nothing I've ever done for either challenge mattered in the slightest.

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