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10 Criterion Collection Movies I Disliked

08 September 2012 | CC Lists, Features | by David Zou

Every time when we defend for a film we liked,we always say that it is not a film for everyone,so it’s also unavoidable for Criterion Collection movies.It’s almost impossible for me to pick out my top 10 titles in Criterion Collection,but it’s just so easy to choose the ones I disliked,I counted,it’s less than 10,10 out of 300 plus spines,the portion is still bearable for a die-hard Criterion fan.


band of outsiders

Band of Outsiders

Gordard is not for everyone,we all know that.It’s interesting that I love his Breathless,Contempt,Pierre le Fou and Alphaville,but hate this film so much that I haven’t seen another Gordard film ever since.This film is supposed to be some kind of response to Francois Truffaut’s classic triangle romance film Jules and Jim,but I didn’t get any fun out of it,I nearly stopped half way,because the robbery seems so uninteresting to me.

under the valcano

Under the Volcano

To be honest,I did not finish this film,I couldn’t find anything worthwhile other than Albert Finney’s solid performance.I tried the second time,but still failed to continue.I couldn’t enjoy any John Huston movie without Bogie in it.




Do they think the mafia films shot in Sicily can always sell? No,not for me,I couldn’t watch a mafia film in comedy style,the plot is quite flat,and only brought me very few laughs.This is such an average film that I couldn’t understand why it’s Criterion-worthy.


The Small Back Room

The Small Back Room

I love all those Powell&Pressbuger technicolor films in the collection,but this B&W film just left me cold,it’s more like a patriotic propaganda film to me rather than a romantic thriller,the bomb disposal scene at the end is especially a failure,it should be the climax scene but the director did not create enough tense atmosphere.


Black Moon

Black Moon

If we say Luis Malles is a versatile filmmaker,then his weakest spot is surrealism/fantasy film.I had absolutely no idea what the hell this film is talking about,and it’s such a painful experience from start to finish,I always expected something to happen but nothing really happened here,I think Malles just went too far.




I love Polanski’s Knife in the Water,but I did not know why I disliked a film which has similar plot and character relationships and only different settings.I hate Donald Pleasence’s performance throughout the film,I just thought it’s disgusting.To tell you the truth,I finished this movie because of  Françoise Dorléac.




This is my first Nicholas Roeg film and it left me with such terrible impression.It was totally blind buy for its gorgeous Criterion cover,but even the cinematography did not hold on as I had expected.Now I felt I have never seen this movie and don’t have much to say here.


Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Yeah,it was said to be one of the greatest adaptations ever and the most successful film adapted from a Dickens book,it’s not a bad movie at all,I listed it here only because I had high expectations for it,maybe too high expectations.The art direction and cinematography were actually great in this film,but it fell in the trap of most literature-adapted-films,it’s not long enough to fully develop the whole story and character,I felt something missing in the later half of the film.

Time Bandits

Time Bandits

One of the best fantasies ever made? Come on,it was such a stupid film and those special effects just look hilarious,it’s Ok in his Monty Python films but certainly not here! I couldn’t believe this is the same director who made the brilliant film Brazil.




I know a lot of people love this film but I couldn’t enjoy it a bit,I got the idea it’s one of the most celebrated free-form experimental films in cinema history,but those fast-changing-fast-cutting images just annoyed me.Maybe it’s because I was too serious and do not have a young heart anymore?


OK,defense time,any of the above Criterion movies you liked? What are the Criterion movies you were left underwhelmed after watching?


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  • There’s only one film in the Criterion Collection that I don’t like. Actually, I hate the film. Armageddon.

    • And not The Rock? I used to like them when I started as an action movie buff,but now I certainly wouldn’t give Michael Bay’s MTV movies a second chance.

      • The Rock is probably Michael Bay’s best film in terms of its action and story with Bad Boys being a close second. It’s just everything else is just a shit film after shit film.

  • I LOVE Band of Outsiders, one of Godard’s hippest and funniest movies. I’ve only seen two others on this list, Cul-de-Sac and Time Bandits, both of which I like but don’t feel are worth owning.

    I don’t own a single Criterion title that I regret buying. I try not to blind buy anything unless I feel confident that I’m going to love it.

    • The high culture reference is just not for someone like me from the Orient,it’s tough when you hear something you can’t understand a bit.

      I think I made a lot of blind buys of Criterion titles,only because I have too much confidence in them,sometimes the cover or the introduction just seem so alluring.

  • Interesting list David. I myself would consider Band of Outsiders, Black Moon, Walkabout, and Daisies all among my favorite films of all time. 🙂

    A few that I didn’t like are El Norte, The Mikado, and Rules of the Game

    • Thanks,Bonjour.It’s perfectly normal that you loved the films I disliked,I think those four can be all called “cult” films,which means they would receive extreme love-or-hate acceptance.
      Interesting to know you disliked El Norte and Rules of the Game,I love these two movies.

  • Tjaša Šajn

    Loved band of outsiders, Daisies, Under the volcano, Walkabout. The criterion ones i dont care about are the Michael Bay ones, the B-Hollywood monster ones and some musicals 😉