Criterion Year Week 61: Thief

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...


Spine Number: 691

Director: Michael Mann

Genre: Heist


Michael Mann is in that rare club of directors with a first film that is not only far better than any first feature has the right to be, but also whose first film shows their style fully formed. Few people have figured out how to shoot at night as well as Mann (hint, wet streets), or make shadows against deep blue look as striking, or to present focused anti-hero protagonists with an uncompromising moral code as deftly.

In short, Michael Mann is a bad ass, and his first film "Thief," shows it.



James Caan stars as Frank, an ex con who pulls carefully planned heists while maintaining the facade of a local business owner. In his quest to have a normal life, the normal life he has no real life guide to, he decides to pull a job for a syndicate and get the big payday he needs to walk away. 

But things never go that easily, do they?

Everything about this movie is bad ass. The music by Tangeriene Dream, the use of Chicago at night, the cast (including Tuesday Weld, Jim Belushi, and Willie Nelson himself) are all pitch perfect. 

Hell, even the original poster is so incredible that it makes Criterion's decision to change it all the more baffling,


I mean... my DAMN!


So, if you haven't checked out this masterpiece yet, do yourself a favor and get on it. If you have, then enjoy it with us again. 

Also, the soundtrack to this episode is provided by Zombi, so check them out as well.




Next week,  

 Spine number 692: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

 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

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

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.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

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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