849. His Girl Friday

Hi everyone—I’m back! Miss me? Last year my workload forced me to take a long hiatus. But Criterion Affection has always been near and dear to my heart, and there’s still so much more I want to draw. (The completionist disease that makes me obsessive about watching Criterion is the same one that makes me unable to let go of a project.) So I’m determined to bring back the blog for 2018, starting with one of my all-time favorite films. Happy new year!

His Girl Friday is, as far as I’m concerned, the best romantic comedy of all time. You heard me. Set in an unscrupulous news room, Rosalind Russel is iconic as the quintessential fast-talking reporter, who is leaving her ex-husband and editor, Cary Grant, in order to be a “real woman” married to a dopey insurance agent. But her ex is determined to lure her back with a juicy scoop. Now, I have a soft spot to begin with for unrealistically witty dialog, and His Girl Friday is famous for its hilarious, rapid-fire repartee. But what makes this film truly timeless for me is that it doesn’t dip into one of my most-hated topes, the “battle of the sexes.” Instead, Russel and Grant are pitted against each other as equals in a battle of wits. Even though they’re at odds, they are clearly playing and enjoying the same manipulative games, running circles around everyone else. And it’s incredibly refreshing, even today, to watch a woman finding equal satisfaction in her work and receiving equal respect from her colleagues. Smart, delightful, and still hilarious 100 viewings later.


A Winner Is Me

Yeah, this is a few weeks late, but I’m just getting back from a vacation, okay? Anyway, I am so proud to announce that my contribution to the Criterion Blogathon, for CHILDREN OF PARADISE, won Best In Show for Most Original! It feels like cheating, because all I did was the same drawing-instead-of-review that I’ve been doing for years now, but I’ll take it. I’m still catching up on all the other entries to the Blogathon (like I said, I was on vacation). But there’s a lot of good stuff in there, and I encourage everyone to take a look. You can find the final list of contributions here.


Happy Five Years!

Today is Criterion Affection’s birthday, five years from when I first posted an illustration of Wong Kar-wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. And I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has been following, commenting, suggesting, and sharing my little pet project ever since. You are all fantastic! It’s been so much fun being a part of the online Criterion community and having the chance to talk about films. It’s also pretty rewarding for me to look back and see how my illustrations have evolved and improved over the years. There are still three days left to buy prints of everything, so don’t forget to do that.

And finally, to the hardworking folks over at Criterion: this has all secretly been a five year job application. Call me.

Prints for Sale

Today is my birthday, everyone! But there is another important milestone that is fast arriving: the five-year anniversary of Criterion Affection. As of January 5th I will have been sporadically watching and illustrating these films for five years now, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate that fact. And so, for a limited time only, I am selling prints. That means for the next two months you can purchase a print of every single illustration I have ever done on this blog. That’s right. Your favorites, your not-so-favorites, the five-year-old illustrations I’m too embarrassed to look at anymore—they are all available. And any artwork I complete between now and then will automatically be added to the shop. After January 7th, the prints will come down and you probably won’t be able to buy one for the next five years, so keep that in mind.

And thank you to everyone who has been reading, following, sharing, and commenting on this blog since I’ve started. It means so much to me.


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TCM Summer Under The Stars Blogathon

For the month of August, Turner Classic Movies is hosting their annual Summer Under The Stars, and the sites Sittin’ On A Backyard Fence and ScribeHard On Film are hosting a blogathon to coincide. In a spirit of participation, I’ll be contributing my own thoughts (i.e. pictures) to the films RED BEARD on August 9th and BLACK NARCISSUS on August 13th. Usually my updates are sporadic and unplanned at best, but this way I’ll actually have a schedule! Mark your calendars. And follow @tcmSUTSblog to see who else is participating.

Help Me Choose My 100th Criterion Film

Hello friends and fellow Criterion connoisseurs. I have a bit of a milestone coming up—namely, the viewing of my one hundredth Criterion Collection film. (No, I have not yet illustrated one hundred films. Let’s stick to one milestone at a time, here.) I wanted to commemorate this with something special, but I couldn’t choose which unseen masterpiece should receive such a coveted spot. So I’m opening it up to suggestions. Which Criterion title would you consider it a crime for me not to have seen? What do you recommend? I can only choose one film for my hundredth, but I’ll be happy to illustrate anything that’s nominated.

ETA: Here’s a handy link to the complete list of films.