Criterion Channel selections for sports fans in want
Hey there, sports-loving cinephiles. We’re going to take a slight detour from normal format this week: I’m picking three sports-related titles from the Criterion Channel app/site. It’s in honor of Major League Baseball’s belated Opening Day today.
Recent Collection: 100 Years of Olympic Films, 1912-2012
Folks who are missing the Olympics now might enjoy this. Three years ago, Criterion put out a fantastic box set of fifty-three films, documenting the Olympic Games. Now the entire box is on Criterion Channel. Some of these films are already renowned for having world-class directors, such Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad (1965), Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1938), and the international collaboration, Visions of Eight (1973). But I actually think Bud Greenspan, who became the go-to director of Olympic films from roughly 1984 to 2010, deserves praise too. His nearly 5-hour look at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, 16 Days of Glory (1986), is absolutely riveting.
Short Film: The Beaning (2017)
This horror-flavored documentary recalls the 1920 death of Cleveland baseball player Raymond Chapman. Chapman was hit in the head by a ball thrown by New York Yankees pitcher Carl Mays and died within twelve hours. Using footage from old films, arty recreations, and animation, director Sean McCoy explores an occult conspiracy theory floating around the death. It’s moody and strange, with tongue possibly resting lightly in cheek.
A Classic to Catch Up With: I Will Buy You (1956)
Masaki Kobayashi has directed two of the best samurai flicks I’ve ever seen: Harakiri (1962), with Tatsuya Nakadai, and Samurai Rebellion (1967), with Japanese cinema god Toshiro Mifune. He also did the ghost story epic Kwaidan (1965), which… a lot of people like much better than I do. Looking for baseball on Criterion, I came across I Will Buy You, which is described as an unflinching takedown of the corrupt Japanese baseball industry that focuses on a scout driven to sign a promising player by any means necessary. Sounds intense. I’m on board.
More Pop Culture Beast – Movies:
*Criterion Channel Picks – July 16, 2020: Last House on the Left & More
*Criterion Channel Picks – July 9, 2020: Contemporary Color & More
*Criterion Channel Picks – July 2, 2020: But I’m a Cheerleader & More
*The Truth, starring Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve
*Now on Blu-ray and Hulu: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Justin Remer makes movies, directs music videos, and plays in the bands Duck the Piano Wire and Elastic No-No Band when he is not writing movie reviews. His folk-rock documentary MAKING LOVERS & DOLLARS is currently streaming on Amazon.