Michael Shannon shares his Criterion Closet picks

Originally published at: Michael Shannon shares his Criterion Closet picks | Boing Boing


Excellent choices all!

Maybe it was just the time it came out, but 5 Easy Pieces really hit me hard. It seemed not like any acting I had ever seen before. It seemed more like real people expressing how real people think and are inside. It didn’t offer simple answers and certainly offered no resolution. It was sad and slightly hopeful at the same time. Can’t even imagine it being made today.


AFAIK, the film Bug isn’t even in the collection.

Monkey Reaction GIF by Justin


Getting to visit that closet is on my bucket list. What I love about this is I would feel self conscious as fuck about my selections, worrying they’d be too mainstream but Shannon just goes for it, picking brilliant and well known bangers without any hesitation or pretention. Love it.

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He can’t pick that Frankenheimer film because he’s never seen it.

OK. But correct me if I’m wrong-- they’re giving him DVDs from the closet, he’s putting them into the Criterion tote bag.

I understand the promotional aspect of the video, but let the man pick stuff he hasn’t seen yet instead of films he probably knows so well he can play them in his mind.

That’s understandable, but then all he’d be doing is picking films that he – not having seen the films --would have nothing substantive to say about them. The video is for the viewers who have not yet seen the picks and – learning a bit about them from the picker – may (per Criterion’s desire) decide to watch them. (I have a feeling that once the camera is off, Criterion lets their guests grab whatever they want.)

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With one exception (HEAD being one; just a matter of taste and mood), that Criterion set with Five Easy Pieces, King of Marvin Gardens, etc, seven films in all) is the way to go for late 60s/early 70s independent films. Re the set making up for all the Christmas’s when Shannon didn’t get pretty much of anything… I received the set last Christmas; bless you, my love!

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Certain guys just have that look. No matter how hard they try to conceal it with smiles and positive energy, some guys have an inherently menacing appearance.

I recall reading an interview with Donald Sutherland, who said that one of his first auditions resulted in rejection, but the director took the time to call him afterward and said something to the effect of “You did great acting, but role calls for a ‘guy next door’ look, and you don’t look like you’ve ever lived next door to anybody.”


I later realized I’d seen Shannon in some things already but the first time I really got to know him was a radio interview on Studio 360. He was so funny and charming, even silly, and afterward Kurt Anderson said it was one of the nicest and most enjoyable interviews he’d ever done.

Which made me wonder if they’d been in the same room. Or maybe Shannon’s niceness in person is so disarming because he looks intimidating.

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