Movies That Should Be in the Criterion Collection

OPINION: Movies that have yet to be added to the Criterion Collection but should be.

Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash

It is safe to say that I have watched a significant amount of movies in twenty-eight years. Most recently, I have been thinking about why certain movies make it into the Criterion Collection and some have yet to get the honor of being called a “Criterion Classic”. Although I could give you a grand list of all the movies that deserve the title and why all of these movies should be in the Criterion Collection, I am not. I will, however, give you at least four that I have been thinking heavily about that should have the title.

Warner Bros.

After Hours (1985) dir. Martin Scorsese:

Starring Griffin Dunne as our main protagonist, Paul Hackett who is just having the worst night of his life. It all begins with Paul meeting Marcy at a cafe diner late one evening. They start talking, Paul finds her attractive. Paul then goes home and calls her, gets invited over to her apartment, and takes a cab straight over. It was from the moment he entered a cab that a series of the most unfortunate events starts to unfold. This dark comedy directed by Scorsese was the most stressful hour and a half I have had watching a movie in a long time. I don’t know who has the worst luck, Paul Hackett or Howie Radnor from 2019’s Uncut Gems.

20TH CENTURY FOX

Panic In Needle Park (1971) dir. Jerry Schatzberg

  • trigger warning: needles, abortion, addiction, blood, overdose, drugs, abuse

I just couldn’t take my eyes off of the screen when it came to this film. Based on a novel of the same name, Panic In Needle Park follows a homeless woman named Helen who meets a lovable heroin addict Bobby. This film is so heartbreakingly poignant. Both Helen and Bobby live in the New York area that is named “Needle Park”. They are in love but also very codependent on each other in the most toxic way possible. It highlights the grim realities of 1970s New York but also addiction in a way eerily relevant. This film will break your heart watching a vicious cycle continue to repeat. This is one of the first Al Pacino features and happens to be one of the greatest in his filmography. I searched the internet to watch this film because no film distributors are producing a DVD/Blu-Ray DVD of this one. If it ever were to be printed again, it should be a part of the Criterion Collection.

20TH CENTURY FOX

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996) dir. Baz Luhrmann

This film is a 90s time capsule. Baz Luhrmann was able to adapt a story as old as time and bring it into a modern setting with such extravagant and vibrant backdrops. This movie is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, brings the comfort of the familiar, and has two of the biggest teen icons of the 90s (Leonardo DiCaprio, and Claire Danes). The soundtrack to Baz’s Romeo + Juliet adaptation is very 90s. People either love or hate this movie however it captures the essence of the time and should be appreciated.

Photo Credit by MUBI

Velvet Goldmine (1998) dir. Todd Haynes

Another aesthetically pleasing film I am adding to my list of “How is this not Criterion?” is Velvet Goldmine. This film has some notable names such as Ewen McGregor, Christian Bale, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The story is about Brian Slade, an extravagant glam-rock superstar, and the mystery around him. A few years later, Arthur, played by Christian Bale, starts investigating the enigma that was Brian Slade played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Velvet Goldmine almost feels as mythical as its characters. It is such a special film that brings you into the world of 70s glam-rock. It opens with one of my favorite Brian Eno songs and has an appearance by the band Placebo. Todd Haynes has directed some of the best films I’ve seen. This film is such a whimsical ride and very queer. It’s everything.

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Chelsea Alexandra

Chelsea Alexandra

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Top writer in Movies! 🎬🍿 An insufferable pop culture enthusiast who writes about Movies and TV. Loves drinking an iced coffee at 10 PM at night.