C. Robert Cargill February 8, 2010
Well, after several years of speculation and the loss of its founding fathers, the Weinsteins, Miramax has finally been shuttered for good and its library put up on the auction block. While this was truly sad news from a house that brought us so much joy over the years, it looks like it could be one heck of a bargain to a company looking to create a sizable (and bankable) DVD/Blu-ray catalog. What are the best bets sitting in the vaults? How about these titles?
The best of Quentin Tarantino
While Q’s last two films were with The Weinstein Company, it was the Weinsteins’ patronage of his work at Miramax up until then that gave us everything: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn (from his script), Jackie Brown, and finally Kill Bill. These early works in his career form a body of art all their own; even if he never makes another film, these films will be regarded with awe, examined and re-examined by film students and lovers for years to come.
The best of Kevin Smith
While many feel that his work devolved into a parody of itself as the years wore on and that he ultimately had nothing to say, his self-produced first film, Clerks, and his third film, Chasing Amy, stand as defining films of their generation that transcend mere statement and embody everything that era had to say. Admittedly, the ’90s as a decade had little to say at all, but its spirit is alive and well in these quirky, lovable tales.
Shakespeare in Love
When it was released, it was an Oscar favorite that many critics felt was over-awarded in a thin year with little competition. But over time this gem has proven its timelessness while its contemporaries have lost their luster. This was one of those rare times in which the Oscars picked a film that really would survive the years as the best film of its day. A truly wonderful film, this romantic comic masterpiece is one of the very best things in the vault.
Crude, vulgar, and funny as a rubber crutch, this disturbing 1996 drug film detailed the nihilistic life of Scottish smack addicts and their wild, crazy adventures. As gross and nasty as it could be, it was also a profound statement on the lives of drug users and the attempt to drag oneself out of the spiral before finally crashing and burning. A brutally brilliant film by now-famous Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when Jon Favreau wasn’t a well-known director and Vince Vaughn was not an above-the-title name, but there was. And this was the film that introduced us to them both. While the movement it chronicled was a short-lived fad that barely survived long enough for this film to see video release, what it had to say about Los Angeles and the lives of posers is eternal and still relevant today.
The reigning king of musical adaptations, it has become the bar by which every other musical is measured. It is, in fact, All. That. Jazz.
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