A few weeks back, I started running contributions from some of my favorite film critics, writers, and theorists from around the internet. The series ended… but has officially been resurrected, as I’ve obtained new contributions. Each writer is listing their top 10 from the Criterion Collection. I first discovered and came to enjoy today’s writer, Eric from The Warning Sign, because his site focuses on so many things that I love. Specifically, Eric has been known to write about movies (obviously), beer, and occasionally baseball. There are also video games in the mix. More importantly, the wide array of films that Eric covers is truly impressive and he constantly tries to expand his cinematic experience. It’s very admirable. You can find all of the fun over at The Warning Sign, or follow him on Twitter @twscritic. Here is his Criterion Top 10 in alphabetical order.
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul 
My introduction to Rainer Werner Fassbinder. An unconventional love story between a 60-year-old white widow and a young Moroccan man who are brought together on one fateful rainy night in West Germany. They bond over their loneliness and begin a relationship, much to the chagrin of everyone around them. The blatant racism that both have to endure is terribly depressing, but the couple’s persistence proves that love has no bounds.
Belle de Jour 
This surreal classic from Luis Buñuel stars a stunning Catherine Deneuve as a housewife who secretly works as a high-class prostitute during the day. What made me fall in love with the film was its intricate use of flashbacks and daydreams, all of which are meant to question just what is real and what is not. It’s all open to your own personal interpretation, and it’s quite possible that everyone can take a different meaning from it.
Dazed and Confused 
One of these days I am going to have to sit down and write an extended piece on Dazed and Confused, which could very well be my all-time favorite movie. It’s infinitely rewatchable, the music is timeless, and it has some of the most memorable characters found on film. Hell, it’s still referenced all the time, as evidenced by Matthew McConaughey quoting his Wooderson character during his recent Oscar speech.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 
Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of the ultimate “unfilmable novel” is hallucinogenic bliss. Want to trip balls without ever doing drugs? Watch this movie.
Hoop Dreams 
In 1994, a year stacked with some truly incredible films, Hoop Dreams might be the very best. The idea of watching a three hour documentary about two high school basketball players is daunting, but this Steve James film feels much shorter than it really is. It is so much more than basketball, too. It’s about two adolescents with incredible drive and ambition, both of whom are pursuing their dream amidst frequent hardships.
I was torn between including this or Seven Samurai as my Kurosawa selection, but ultimately I went with this painstakingly beautiful film. When a lifelong company man learns that he has stomach cancer, he decides to finally start living his life, only to find it’s much more difficult than he expected. It’s a film that will hit home for anyone whose work is their life, or for those who simply aren’t living the life they want.
The Last Picture Show 
I grew up in a very small rural town, and I have never seen a film that perfectly encapsulates this setting like The Last Picture Show. So many people stuck in the only home they have ever known, most with zero ambition to get out and do something with their lives. Not to mention all of the awful small town drama… this really reminds me of home, for better or for worse.
Man Bites Dog 
This Belgian mockumentary is about as dark as it gets, but its biting satire of media violence is second to none. A film that follows a serial killer around while he commits increasingly gruesome murders should not be this funny, but it is.
Notorious tends to get overlooked when people discuss Hitchcock’s best, and that’s a damn shame. This tale of romance and espionage is one of the all-time greats, and it has some fantastic performances from Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains.
The Passion of Joan of Arc 
For the last four years, I have embarked on a 50 Movies Project where I finally watch important films that I have missed over the years. Last year, The Passion of Joan of Arc topped my list. I knew little of Joan of Arc’s story before watching the film, but that did not matter. I was instantly taken in by Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s amazing performance, and the film overall shook me to the core. Absolutely flawless.