Every July and November, Barnes and Noble does a public service in exchange for their decimation of the Mom and Pop bookstore and to stave off the abyss known in some circles as “the internet”: They mark down the entire Criterion Collection by 50 percent (10 percent extra if you’re a member) and film nerds everywhere rejoice.
Criterion releases are among the most expensive DVDs/Blu-ray discs available for purchase on the market, with your average Blu running about $40, but they’re well worth the cost: The transfers are utterly incredible works of film restoration, and the context-providing extras are considerately selected and fascinating. Today, July Eleventh in the Year of Our Lord Twenty Seventeen, the sale begins, and it’ll last through August 7.
We’ve provided you with a handful of choice cuts (Blu-ray emphasized — it’s 2017) for your shopping perusal (we wish we could have included more films from before 1960, but what can you do), and also highlighted some of the best ways you can spend during this sale to maximize the value of your dollar.
America Lost and Found: The BBS Story
Normally running a cool $125, this masterfully composed box set of the essential films from ’60s countercultural studio BBS is a steal at $62.50. For this, you’ll get access to four of the most essential New Hollywood films ever made: Head, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and our personal favorite, Peter Bogdanovich’s perpetually compelling and beautiful Last Picture Show; and three other brilliant but less well-known films: The Jack Nicholson-Bruce Dern drama The King of Marvin Gardens, Nicholson’s directorial effort Drive, He Said, and the Tuesday Weld-starring psychedelic drama A Safe Place. It’s a murderer’s row of essential American cinema, and it’s well worth your time and consideration.