Criterion Year Week 51: The Killing

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...

The Killing

 Spine Number: 575

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Genre: Heist

Author James Ellroy one said that the distance between getting a screenplay or book optioned and having a green light on actually getting the movie made is about the same as the distance between first kiss and 50th monogamous wedding anniversary. Yes, people do it, but it is by no means an easy prospect. Hell, it's so difficult that it borders on the impossible. It is entirely possible to literally spend years on a project and never actually get a frame of it shot, and even if you do get it filmed... there is no guarantee it will ever be released.

That's why director's first film is very telling. 

What do you do when you actually get a shot at this?

A lot of people play it safe. That's completely understandable and absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. But some people decide to just go for it.

Stanley Kubrick was definitely one of the latter.

Although technically not a first film (he had two features under his belt before making this, but few people actually count those), The Killing was absolutely the beginning of Kubrick's career, and he was about as Kubrick with it as one could possibly be.


The Killing is, first and foremost, a heist movie. It has all the necessary elements, but Kubrick took it a step beyond that.

What could have been just another by the numbers crime film is instead one of the ballsiest debut features ever made. Kubrick plays with the very idea of film narrative. Not only is it not chronological, you repeat the same space of time over and over again from different angles. The film describes itself as a jigsaw puzzle, and that is the perfect metaphor. There are many different pieces, and you have no idea how any of them fit into the picture until the final image comes together. The narrative is stark and tight, and the pieces combine so perfectly that, although in retrospect, the plan is crystal clear you still get the joy of discovery as it unfolds. 

So, join us as we discuss one of the most impressive debut films ever from one of the true masters of the art form.


We reach the end of year one with...

 Spine number 608: Harold and Maude

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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