Criterion Year Week 1: The Grand Illusion and POW Movies

The Criterion Collection is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions of the highest technical quality, with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film.

That is how the Criterion Collection defines itself. Among film fans it's simply known as the top tier of video releases. Along with curating a collection of important and amazing films, Criterion has introduced many of the extra features that are now standard. The first ever commentary track was on the Criterion laserdisc release of "King Kong."

Criterion collectors take immense pride in their collections, as evidenced in our recent Criterion Collection episode.

We figured we could take it a step further. So, this week we begin our Criterion Year.

Jim has 52 movies in his Criterion collection and we decided to watch one a week (going by spine number, as any real collector would), and discuss that film and how it fits into a certain genre or movement.

Week one:

Le Grande Illusion

Spine Number: 1

Director: Jean Renoir

Genre: Prisoner of war


This movie is an undeniable masterpiece that takes a look at war (in this case World War I) from the ground level. Specifically, it focuses on the experiences of a group of POW's trying to escape a German camp. It examines the nature of war in a rapidly changing world and how the gravity and significance of such a massive event can be lost when you get down to a personal level.

Additionally, we discuss a number of other prisoner of war movies and discuss the different perspectives they give on war in general.

Next week:

Spine Number 2: The Seven Samurai

Also, check this out.
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.

You can also click on one of our sponsor links below and THEY will pay us. That's right. You won't have to pay a PENNY extra, and Amazon/Onnit/Teefury will give us a little taste.

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...

Jim out

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