544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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zedz
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#126 Post by zedz » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:48 pm

Lemmy Caution wrote:I found the extras on King of MG to be fairly repetitive.
This is presumably the hazard of taking on wholesale extras that were developed with a major label release in mind. Criterion are normally very good about dodging tautology.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#127 Post by cdnchris » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:52 am


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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#128 Post by cc99999 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:39 am

This Box set makes me yawn were it not for Last Picture Show and Five Easy Pieces. That said, the only thing about Easy Rider I like is the joke Hopper made to John Lurie in fishing with John that he could make another Easy Rider if he wanted because you didn't see him or Fonda die on screen.

My problem with Easy Rider and Woodstock too, for that matter, is that they seem to valorize a generation of the most selfish sell-out Americans.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#129 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:46 pm

cc99999 wrote:That said, the only thing about Easy Rider I like is the joke Hopper made to John Lurie in fishing with John that he could make another Easy Rider if he wanted because you didn't see him or Fonda die on screen.
That was a half-joke, he actually spent decades kicking around ideas for a sequel or prequel. This was the "best" one:
Written by Michael O'Donoghue, Nelson Lyon and Terry Southern, it takes place in 2068, after a nuclear war, when the US is divided up into various tribal areas, all run by biker gangs: Cannibal Cops, Black Panzers (an Afro-neoNazi gang), Savage Sluts, and so on. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper were to reprise their roles as Captain America and Billy, brought back from the dead by Jack Nicholson, who was to play the Biker God. There are some great scenes in it, but my favorite is near the beginning when Cpt. America and Billy grind the skull of Crazy Horse into powder, then snort it like coke, thus giving them the courage to embark on their adventure (the reclaiming of the Gasden flag).
I probably would've liked this more than the original.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#130 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:39 pm

Ahhh... the infamous unfilmed Michael O'Donoghue scripts. I've never heard this description, so thank you. That version actually would have happened if Jack Nicholson didn't decline. Sounds like it would be up there with the Nick Cave-penned Gladiator sequel.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#131 Post by charal » Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:28 pm


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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#132 Post by cdnchris » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:05 am


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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#133 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:04 am

As with Marvin Gardens, I found the supplements on Last Picture Show to be very repetitive, where Bogdanovich tells the same stories over and over in different pieces.
Not sure why these things can't be edited to avoid that.

I did like the small glimpses of Larry McMurtry and the oddly longer time spent with his mom.

The thing that really struck me on this latest viewing of LPS was how good the casting was.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#134 Post by cdnchris » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:13 am


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Joe Buck
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#135 Post by Joe Buck » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:21 pm

My DVD set finally arrived from Amazon. I am very excited to dive into this set. But... my set received some damage in the mail. 2 of the cases are cracked, Head especially, which is a drag. I guess I could return it to Amazon, but I've been so eager to get this set I really don't want to wait any longer. Maybe I could just get a replacement plastic tray and glue it in myself. It annoys me that such a beautiful set got ruined by the hands of wreckless mail carriers.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#136 Post by charal » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:11 pm

My only gripe [re: DVD edition] is with the double discs. I prefer the Cassavetes format with each disc in its own nest [e.g. CHINESE BOOKIE]. My complaint is minor but this system of disc-on-disc can lead to potential damage - especially in the hands of the no-so-careful.

Other than that the presentation is superb and the inclusion of the previously rare films: DRIVE HE SAID & A SAFE PLACE is satisfying.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#137 Post by Joe Buck » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:22 pm

This set is just as great as I thought it would be, even with the cracked cases. I'm through Head and Easy Rider and will move on to Five Easy Pieces tonight. I want to put the box under my pillow at night, that's how much I love it.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#138 Post by Tom Hagen » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:04 am

Went through the Head disc tonight. I can't think of another film in the collection where the director's interview is this much more interesting and entertaining than the film itself. These deadpan Rafelson drug stories are even better than anything Biskind managed to dredge up.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#139 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:05 pm

David Thomson on Easy Rider: "Then came Easy Rider, a disaster in the history of film to set beside the loss of Technicolor, the invention of gross participation, the early death of Murnau, anf the longevity of Richard Attenborough."

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#140 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:07 pm

David Thomson's a hack.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#141 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:27 pm

That last part was pretty funny though

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#142 Post by Yojimbo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:13 pm

I actually saw 'Drive He Said' in my hometown cinema on its original cinema release; back then my staple diet was Clint Eastwood, Hammer horror, and Carry On movies so I recall me and my pals didn't know what to make of it.
Since my tastes broadened, due to my exposure to a wider variety of cinema since moving to Dublin a year or two later, I've often thought, would I now be able to 'appreciate' it, or would I ultimately judge it a misfire, or ill-judged.
I've seen 'King of Marvin Gardens' a couple of times, most recently about 5 years ago; comparing and contrasting it with another film set in Atlantic City, Louis Malle's film of the same name, it comes off a distant second best..
'Marvin Gardens' seems determinedly dreary and gloomy, perhaps not dissimilar to Bela Tarr in that respects; perhaps it could be said to have succeeded on its own terms.
I'd be interested to watch it and see it in context of the other films in the set, and I await an economic sale price, and a more favourable exchange rate.

I was a huge fan of the Monkees tv series as a lad, although I've never sought out the availability of box-sets.
I've never seen 'Head', though

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#143 Post by Yojimbo » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:40 pm

cc99999 wrote:This Box set makes me yawn were it not for Last Picture Show and Five Easy Pieces. That said, the only thing about Easy Rider I like is the joke Hopper made to John Lurie in fishing with John that he could make another Easy Rider if he wanted because you didn't see him or Fonda die on screen.

My problem with Easy Rider and Woodstock too, for that matter, is that they seem to valorize a generation of the most selfish sell-out Americans.
Does 'Five Easy Pieces' come across as too precious, and self-consciously arty for its own good, though?
(and Jack's performance, also)
I loved 'The Last Picture Show' on its original release, but I haven't watched it in about 20 years, and I wonder how much of its appeal was due to nostalgia, and pastiche of a multitude of cinephile influences?

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#144 Post by jbeall » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:45 am

Just over halfway through the set. Other than Easy Rider, I've never seen any of these films before (but knew several by reputation). I didn't particularly care for Easy Rider the first time I saw it, and this viewing didn't change my mind, but doesn't Fonda's "We blew it" line near the end suggest that the film is much more critical of its protagonists than is typically assumed? Also, I think there's no small irony in the mystical presentation of the huge tab of acid given to Fonda. Later, at a seemingly solemn moment, he takes it out and divides it up, and it just seems to fit, but then... they appear to have a really bad trip, esp. the prostitutes. This, combined with the line I mentioned above, suggests that nobody was prepared for/had thought through the consequences of their actions. And as a result, it all went bad. The rednecks who shoot Billy and Wyatt are just there to provide an arbitrary ending to the film; the protagonists aren't gonna get any closer to "making it."

I also wanted to comment on Drive He Said. I thought the first hour or so was very good, until it begins to focus more on Gabriel in the last half-hour. I suppose it's possible to read him as a guy who did too many drugs and went off the deep end, but his character was such an asshole throughout that his breaking into the science lab comes across as just another self-absorbed stunt. The film was much stronger when it focused on Hector and his confusion/ambivalence.

I thought Five Easy Pieces was terrific, and I'm really enjoying this set, not least for the supplementary material.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#145 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:00 pm

Having watched EASY RIDER a third time now (my second viewing was sometime in the 90s), I have to say I warmed up to it a little bit. I still find much of it to be pretty pretentious, but the overall tragic vibe struck me as much more pronounced this time around and deeper than just "us hippies against THE MAN". In fact, even though I knew it was coming...
SpoilerShow
...the bludgeoning death of Nicholson's character seemed especially shocking, perhaps the most surprising character death this side of Marion Crane's departure in PSYCHO.
The tonal change at this point is significant. Everything Wyatt and Billy do after is overshadowed by the death, from the decision to eat at the upscale restaurant to the bad acid trip visit to New Orleans. I never quite realized before that the only completely positive encounter the two have after making the big drug score is the dinner with the farmer and his extended family. Wyatt recognizes the moment as being just about perfect, but Billy believes better days await them. Instead, the film makes clear that the only joy to be found is when the two are literally on their bikes traveling down the road; every stop in between brings with it disillusion, hypocrisy or worse. Ultimately, the road itself turns against them.

While this film's many traveling shots have struck me as excessive before, I have to admit to being taken in by Kovacs' beautiful cinematography as rendered on Blu-ray. It's an alluring, romantic vision to be sure.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#146 Post by Nothing » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:55 am

I'm a huge admirer of Five Easy Pieces, perhaps the closest thing to Antonioni that American cinema has ever given us (unless you count Zabriskie Point). Rafelson's career is, however, quite perplexing - after such a promising start, he went downhill with every subsequent picture, until we end up with the ghastliness of Poodle Springs and One Good Deed, which I wouldn't wish on anyone. The pictures up to and including Mountains of the Moon are all worth watching, but still, it's a career arc that makes Orson Welles looks like Stanley Kubrick. Whahappen?! :-s

One possible answer might be that Laszlo Kovacs played a defining role in the success of Five Easy Pieces and Gardens, yet the evidence of Free Willy 2 and Miss Congeniality doesn't necessarily support this.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#147 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:09 am

You mean we shouldn't expect Man Trouble on Criterion any time soon? :'(

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#148 Post by Elmyr » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:49 am

I don't think your doing Five Easy Pieces any favors by comparing it to Antonioni. It feels more like a prototypical seventies star vehicle complete with cop out ending. Most of the characters seem to only function as easy targets for Nicholson to put down and/or sleep with. The movie is certainly an interesting one and Nicholson is electric here, but a kind of adolescent "nobody understands me" quality infects the entire film.

I think all of Rafelson's early work is a mess of one kind or another. The fact that his three movies in this set hold together at all is a credit to his intelligence and skill, but it clearly wasn't sustainable. Maybe I'll feel more sympathetic once I go through the extras, but over the years neither Five Easy Pieces nor Marvin Gardens have really held up for me.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#149 Post by knives » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:40 pm

Nothing wrote: One possible answer might be that Laszlo Kovacs played a defining role in the success of Five Easy Pieces and Gardens, yet the evidence of Free Willy 2 and Miss Congeniality doesn't necessarily support this.
More like Nicholson if the Monkees commentary is any indication. Speaking of that, what a weird commentary. They're much more normal and fond of the project than I would've expected. Guess that just makes the weird moments(mostly from Dolenz)all the more bizarre.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#150 Post by carax09 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:18 pm

It beggars belief that anyone would describe the ending of Five Easy Pieces as a "cop out".

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