The Criterion Inception

In 1984, The Criterion Collection hit the nascent video market with a perfect film for spine number one: Citizen Kane. In the 31 years since, we have seen well over 1000 titles presented to us in various formats and sub-labels. Right from day one, someone took a look at the very name of the label and those ever-present sequential spine numbers and an obsession was born. What would it take for someone to collect all of those discs and digital files? Why would they do that?

As a self-described Criterion Completionist (this is now a word), I want to be able to answer those questions and many more that our friends, spouses, partners, and roommates (and even ourselves) may have. Thus this website. This is a natural outgrowth of a related Facebook page that I started about a year ago with the same name. It’s a small but engaged group that really loves this company and what they do.

There are a lot of great sites, blogs, and podcasts out there that delve into individual films and their inherent worth as an addition to the canon.

Except for random exceptions, this is not one of them. Please see the plethora of links at the bottom of the site for quick access to many of them. If you know of others (especially if you run them!), please let me know, I’d love to add more over time.

Here at The Criterion Completion you will find a mixture of label history, supplement analysis, deals and trades, cover art discussions, ephemera, opinions, facts, laser disc nostalgia, and my personal experiences as a collector.

So stick around while I figure out what this is going to be. Drop me a line, visit my Facebook page, and collect those discs. It’s the right thing to do.
The Criterion Completion is a web log and corresponding Facebook page concerned with most aspects of The Criterion Collection and its history.

It is not concerned with the content or worthiness of the films themselves. It is safely assumed that all of the films in the canon are there for a reason and I don’t care to discuss their subjective merits on this page. There are plenty of other places to do that, many of which can be found in the links at the bottom of this site. That is not to say there won’t be rare references to movie content, cultural significance, or even a snarky comment or two about Armageddon.

Here you will find plenty of information and opinion on the history of the label, a ton of focus on their laser disc days, discussion regarding cover art and the artists (real only, fake cover art is also a dead end here), plenty of looks at the ephemera over the years, and the perils and rewards of being Criterion Complete.

I purchased my first Criterion laser disc in 1997 (Pink Flamingos) and started actively collecting the DVDs in 2002 (8 1/2). I have been Criterion Complete since 2006 and absolutely love the unveiling of the new discs each and every fifteenth of the month. In late 2014 I actively started collecting the laser discs after having only a few after all these years. My goal is to be “best version” complete by the end of 2016, at which time I will start planning for an addition to the house to store this compulsion.

I encourage all that come here to participate in the comments section and to let your friends know it is here. Collecting Criterion was a lonely habit for a fair amount of years, but the community out there now is active and engaged. This is fun.

Go buy some discs.