Bill Hader’s Top 10 Criterion Double-Features

     March 18, 2011

Bill Hader isn’t just a great comedian—he’s also a film buff.  In June, he’ll be hosting The Essentials Jr. on Turner Classic Movies with a great line-up of The Adventures of Robin Hood, The General, Stagecoach, and Singin’ in the Rain.  He also recently stopped by Criterion Collection headquarters, dug through their magic DVD closet, and gave them a top 10 list of double-features from their library.  Usually, when people give Criterion a Top 10, it’s only ten films, but Hader explains, “I couldn’t pick ten . . . sorry. So I programmed Criterion double features, which is what I tend to do on Sunday nights anyway.”

Hit the jump for some of his double-feature pairings and comments on some of the films he picked.

Click over to Criterion’s official website for the full list.

HIGH AND LOW and STRAY DOG


On High and Low:

I love Kurosawa’s crime movies. The first half of High and Low is so well told, paced, acted, and shot—and it’s all in one room! Then you get into this fascinating police procedural where Toshiro Mifune and his family vanish and the cops take over. I mean, this movie has the “guy unloading crates while being questioned by the cops” scene that is in every Law and Order episode. Kurosawa’s influence is always being felt!

THE HIT and MONA LISA


On Mona Lisa:

When I first saw Mona Lisa, I had no idea who Bob Hoskins was (I was eight). I honestly thought they paid some low-rent criminal money to be in this movie. He was so believable that when I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I was like “Hey, that guy really turned his life around. This movie is huge. Good for him.”

ACE IN THE HOLE and SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS


On Ace in the Hole:

I like Billy Wilder best when he’s nasty. Five Graves to Cairo (especially that ending), Double Indemnity, but nothing, nothing, beats Ace in the Hole. Kirk Douglas is so despicable, but you understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. You oddly feel for him at times. I love that Wilder takes us there.

MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN and THIS IS SPINAL TAP


On This Is Spinal Tap:

I first saw This Is Spinal Tap when I was seven or eight, and it totally changed my life. This was comedy. This was how you performed comedy. It gave me a leg up at an early age. The Criterion disc is a must because they do commentary out of character. Listening to those three guys talking about how they created and related to these characters, how they approached scenes, and where the inspiration for each scene came from taught me a lot. Thanks, Criterion!

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