Criterion Year Week 2: The Seven Samurai and its Remakes

The Criterion Collection is one of the few remaining reasons people have for buying actual, physical copies of movies. Personally, I would rather drop a few dollars to buy a digital copy of something on Amazon and be able to access it anywhere, at any time and never have to worry about a disk getting lost, stolen, or damaged. I have too many memories of the several hundred VHS tapes that became useless hunks of plastic one day. But for some reason, The Criterion Collection retains an old school hold on me, which is how I have a collection of 52 movies and counting (I actually have 53, but one is the Beastie Boys video collection, which is not a movie).

This week, we take our second step on our year (or so) long look at my personal collection.

Week 2:

The Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai)

Spine Number: 2

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Genre: It's the Seven Samurai. That is the genre.

Words like "master," "masterpiece," and "genius" tend to get bandied about all willy-nilly these days. There are too many instances of something or someone simply being good at something and being labeled by our hyperbolic society as one of those superlatives. That being said there are still times when those titles apply.

The following statements are inarguable FACTS!

Akira Kurosawa was both a genius and unquestioned master filmmaker.
"The Seven Samurai" is unquestionably a genius masterwork of cinema.

This is what happens when an absolute master of visual storytelling gets an amazing story and an even more amazing cast. "What is that?" you ask? You get a three hour film wherein every frame is a poster, every face is perfect at every moment, and every light and sound adds to the mood and carries you through an amazing fable that is as engaging and captivating as possible.

There is a reason this film has been remade as (at least) four different films that span genres and time periods. Make no mistake, Seven Samurai is the truth.

In addition to this masterwork, we discuss The Magnificent Seven, The Three Amigos, A Bugs Life, and (to a lesser extent) Galaxy Quest.

Next week:

Spine Number 3: The Lady Vanishes (by Alfred Hitchcock)

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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