Monday, January 24, 2011

America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

In the late 1960s, Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner, creators of the pop group The Monkees, surveyed the Hollywood scene and decided the time was right to form a company. BBS Productions took advantage of the raging counterculture to create several idiosyncratic films that were not only produced by major studios, but also popular ones that actually made money.

It seems almost impossible that American cinemas were once dominated by thoughtful movies like FIVE EASY PIECES rather than TRANSFORMERS. The time period would arguably be the last golden era of Tinseltown, before JAWS and STAR WARS forever changed the game. Rafelson directed PIECES, HEAD, and THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS, three of the seven films featured in Criterion's recent box set: "America Lost and Found: The BBS Story". I used my Christmas gift cards to purchase this collection; not since the deluxe BLADE RUNNER set have I been so excited for a DVD package.

I'd previously seen 3 of the featured films: PIECES, EASY RIDER, and THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. The remaining: HEAD; THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS; DRIVE, HE SAID; and A SAFE PLACE had long been on my to-see list, but some of them are only now getting their first homevideo releases. The only BBS film missing from "Lost and Found" is the final one, the controversial 1974 Vietnam doc HEARTS AND MINDS, a previously released Criterion disc. I greatly anticipate exploring what promises to be another masterful package by Criterion. I will be posting reviews for each movie (and its extras) in the coming weeks. First up, director Jack Nicholson's DRIVE, HE SAID....
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