Criterion Year Week 47: Paths of Glory

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Paths of Glory

Spine Number: 538

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Genre: Drama

Stanley Kubrick lives in some rarefied air. Few filmmakers have ever been so fully embraced as complete masters in the way he has. His following is so devout that everything he does is hailed as a cinematic achievement. For good reason. He was uncompromising, honest, and had both an eye for visuals and an ear for story that most people would kill to have. He is a director whose very name invites hyperbole.

Mention Kubrick and most people immediately go to "The Shining," or "2001," or "The Clockwork Orange," or "Dr. Strangelove," or "Full Metal Jacket." That's fine. Each of those films deserve every bit of recognition they deserve.

However, we are both of the opinion that his finest work is his most overlooked. Two films in particular. The first is "The Killing," which we will be examining in a few weeks. The second is "Paths of Glory."


When it comes to anti-war films and Kubrick most people immediately go with "Full Metal Jacket," and with good reason. That is an amazing film with an incredible message.

However... "Paths of Glory,"... I don't even know where to begin. This lean, brutal film about the horror of World War I and the absolute disconnect between the reality and the politics of war is one of the most profoundly moving and powerful statements on the nature of war as a human endeavor.

World War I was more than warfare on a global scale. It represented the destruction of the old European social structure and the birth of a new, more complicated one, and the effects of this devastating conflict are still being felt today.

However, this film goes beyond that. Any good social commentary is applicable beyond the narrow set of circumstances it presents. "Paths of Glory," presents the harrowing brutality of war, but it also shows the disconnect between politics, power, and the people who actually have to work to get the job done. It highlights the risks that those on the front line endure on a daily basis, and the complete removal from that reality enjoyed by those who make the decisions. It is as relevant to any institution, be it a school or a bank or a job selling computers, as it is to the battlefield. Those who make the decisions are spared the consequences of those decisions.

This is a truly amazing film, and even if you don't listen to us ramble on about it we cannot recommend it highly enough. So check it out, and then spend some time talking about it with us.


Next week we begin a run of movies that Clarkson will be seeing for the first time ever with...

Spine number 546: Five Easy Pieces

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at

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Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

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Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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