Customer Review

40 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Counterculture And A Film Revolution--Criterion Collects Film History, October 26, 2010
This review is from: America Lost & Found: The BBS Story (Head / Easy Rider / Five Easy Pieces / Drive, He Said / The Last Picture Show / The King of Marvin Gardens / A Safe Place) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
With so many surprising and great releases, I've come to take Criterion for granted. But then comes the announcement of "America Lost and Found: The BBS Story" and I'm like an excited kid on Christmas morning. Amazon has done a comprehensive job listing the contents of this impressive set, so I'm going to direct my comments at the eclectic mix of films provided. The BBS story is no less than a film revolution that occurred in the late sixties to try to foster younger artists to the industry and cultivate younger, more adventurous film goers. All films within "America Lost and Found" were produced between 1968 and 1972 and represent a challenge to the conventional film narrative of that period. In retrospect, some of the films have been proclaimed classics while others have become somewhat obsolete. But all are fascinating examples of an artistic rebellion that influenced the film industry for years to come (all the more astounding as much of the company's financing came from the funds generated by the Monkees).

My personal favorite within "America Lost and Found" is Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" which has been begging for a better DVD release. An evocative look at a dying small town, this gorgeous black and white film is supremely entertaining and boasts a spectacular cast. Desolate and spare, the film tells the story of Sonny and Duane who as they approach manhood must face the harsh realities of life, love, and friendship. Nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture, the film won supporting statuettes for Ben Johnson (a career high) and Cloris Leachman. Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn also received nods as did Bogdanovich for Directing and Screenplay (which he co-wrote with the incredible Larry McMurtry).

Two other undeniable classics in counterculture are Dennis Hopper's "Easy Rider" and Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces." "Easy Rider" picked up two Oscar nods (including Jack Nicholson's first) and tells the simple story of two motorcyclists' journey across America. Capturing a specific time so perfectly, the film seems to embrace the anti-establishment freedom of its leads (Hopper and Peter Fonda) while making the compelling argument that ultimate freedom is an illusion and that choosing to challenge societal norms thus becomes the norm. And "Five Easy Pieces," another of my all time favorites, was nominated for 4 Oscars (including Jack Nicholson and Karen Black). Another journey picture (both in physical travels as well as in the spiritual/psychological realm), Rafelson's landmark has one of Nicholson's most iconic performances in a film that is immensely angry and riotously funny by turn. The chicken salad sandwich scene is an undisputed classic in American cinema!

Bob Rafelson's well regarded "The King of Marvin Gardens" is also included. An underrated gem set in Atlantic City, this tale of brotherhood and dreaming big casts a realistic light on a get-rich-quick scam gone wrong. Nicholson and Burstyn are on hand, as is Bruce Dern--and this compelling quasi-masterpiece shows the three on disparate (and times desperate) paths toward redemption. Rafelson also supplies this collection with the bizarre "Head," a meandering and psychedelic excursion into the minds of The Monkees. With a documentary feel, the film follows The Monkees on numerous and random musical encounters and celebrates their celebrity while at the same time seeming to indict the culture who embraces such excesses. Jack Nicholson makes his directorial debut on the uneven "Drive, He Said"--noteworthy mostly for the Nicholson credit. Depicting the college experience in the sixties, "Drive" tells the story of a disaffected basketball player. Introducing many plot threads, the film fails to follow an effective through line and is a fairly disjointed (though interesting) effort. And lastly there is Henry Jaglom's "A Safe Place," another oddity of interior monologue with Tuesday Weld descending into a world of fantasy.

Many of the films in "America Lost and Found" share a thematic connection. The films eschew conventional plot driven narratives in favor of character study. These directors wanted to present a realistic portrait of the era in which they lived and not an idealized film world. And many of the central characters in all the works are seeking to identify their place in the modern world or, indeed, determine if they have a place at all. The BBC story, through film, is an intriguing and progressive one in that it functioned in the studio system. Independent cinema of today still reflects many of the same ideals. A must have collection for film lovers. KGHarris, 10/10.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 27, 2010 1:27:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2010 1:29:03 PM PDT
Great review; this box constitutes about a third of the great period of the American New Wave. I am hugely excited for this, most especially for the titles I've never seen -- A Safe Place, Drive He Said, and Head. Throw in Two Lane Blacktop, middle period Peckinpah, late '60's-early '70's Cassavetes and Altman's widescreen-overlapping dialog period,a few Hal Ashby flix from the early '70's, and you have the cream of The New American Cinema, before the film school generation took over, recycling movies rather than telling it like it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2010 5:08:06 PM PST
Barry says:
I'm not sure how this can be a great review. The item is a Blu ray disk release which hasnt been released yet. This review has no information about the product in question at all??

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2010 7:46:46 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:22:15 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2010 11:05:10 PM PST
D. Frost says:
I can get movie reviews lots of places. But if I'm going to pay good money for a Blu-Ray disc I want to know if it's going to look significantly better than the same movie on DVD. Some Blu-Ray movies aren't mastered very well or they lack interesting extras. I'd like to know what I'm getting before I buy. So yes, knowing the quality of the disc is very important. If we didn't care about quality we wouldn't have bought Blu-Ray players to begin with.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2010 12:06:57 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:22:15 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2010 1:43:53 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:17:06 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2010 2:19:33 PM PST
Robert Moore says:
I have to agree with those who view this review as completely inappropriate. Frankly, I think Amazon should delete it.

I've seen all the movies included, but I haven't seen the restorations, haven't heard the new commentaries, and haven't seen the special features. I haven't seen any booklets or inserts. I don't know a single helpful thing that the reviewer can say about this. I can talk about FIVE EASY PIECES, but I can't say anything about this particular product.

I'll give an example. Criterion recently did an absolutely gorgeous version of Night Train to Munich, but the special features were intensely disappointing. I reviewed the disc only after having seen it, not prior. A set like this would be even harder to review ahead of time.

It is irresponsible. And yes, people are free to review what they want. But others are equally free to complain about what is obviously an inappropriate review.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2010 9:36:52 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:20:09 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 21, 2010 10:05:53 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:20:09 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 21, 2010 10:12:06 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 3:20:09 PM PDT]
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›