How cool is the Criterion Collection? That's not a rhetorical question, nor is it a question of the company's value, which I've probed from several angles in my Criterion Corner columns and have essentially concluded is profound and inestimable. The matter of worth is settled; I'm asking about cool. I'm asking if the Criterion Collection is stylish, hip and trendy, and I'm asking because a reasonably accomplished filmmaker just took to the Internet and accused it of being all of those terrible things. And it kinda pissed me off.
On March 24, HammertoNail published an editorial by a guy named Noah Buschel. Buschel is the writer and director of four feature films, the most recently released of which was called 'The Missing Person,' starred Michael Shannon and was accepted to Sundance in advance of its limited theatrical run. Buschel's essay, entitled "OBLITERATE THE NEW HIPSTER WITH LOVE," is ostensibly about how today's hipsters are too infatuated with kitsch to get in touch with their true selves and live up to their potential. It's the kind of essay that rails against Tom McCarthy movies for being too tidy (amen), ends with an Allen Ginsberg poem, and includes sentences like "Wildness that can absorb all dull shrillness and help take off the steel of skeleton costumes."