A list of all films associated with the Criterion Collection, including laserdiscs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Essential Arthouse, Eclipse Series, Hulu Plus,…
Don't Rock the boat… Sink it.
Swope is the only black man on the executive board of an advertising firm, and is accidentally put in charge after the death of the chairman of the board.
Absurdist satire of the highest order, Putney Swope is painfully funny, ludicrous, and jarringly incongruous. Among the subjects that find themselves under its scathing gaze are commercialism, ideological extremism, and racial and gender rights. Nothing is sacred, nothing is safe. From today's viewpoint, it's easy for the viewer to distance themselves from the issues thanks to the film's dated language and delivery, but Swope's power lies in the increasingly prescient presentation of those issues. Advertising that relies on sex and crudity, the government's role in corporate dealings, and the cult-of-personality applied to nearly anyone in show business; to think that we were warned of these things in 1969 makes their reality today all the more sadly hilarious.
It's a bit…
Putney Swope is an adventure in, "What can we get away with?"
This is a film from Robert Downey Sr. the man who gave us such treasures as Robert Downey Jr. The latter has obviously garnered more fame than the former, but who was given more to the world of film? Sr. has influenced such filmmakers as Paul Thomas Anderson and Louis C.K., making some of the most controversial films of the 1960s and 70s. Putney Swope is his most well known and most borrowed from. It's a movie that puts laughter first, with style following closely behind. A movie that simultaneous makes you a better and a worse person for having watched it.
Putney Swope is about a black…
"Rockin' the boat's a drag. You gotta sink the boat!"
Paul Thomas Anderson always talks about Putney Swope and the Influence Robert Downey Sr. had on him. He spends a lot of the time on his Boogie Nights commentary talking about it and working with RDS on the film (he played the record label guy who wouldn't let Dirk take his album). I was listening to an incredible two hour interview with him and Marc Maron on the WTF podcast (I would really reccomend listening to it, he goes into depth about all of his movies. It even shaped where I want to go for college), and again this movie came up. It seems to come up in many interviews…
Putney Swope is one of the most offensive comedies I've ever seen. It's jokes consist mainly of racist, sexist, and ableist humour, but since the movie is such an obvious satire it's content doesn't become problematic. The supporting characters are little more than stereotypes, and this helps the films interpretation of 1960s America and its many cultural problems.
Downey Sr. is being critical of both the radicals and the reactionaries, taking no side of his own and pointing towards a type of anarchism. None of Putney's behaviour makes any logical sense; he fires employees on a whim, protests against marketing certain items while using obscene methods of advertising his products, and he attempts to keep a code of ethics despite…
In terms of humor and satire, it's like Blazing Saddles on steroids.
If it could only have kept up the quality of the introductory scene. That is one hilarious way to open a film.
The film as a whole feels like a bunch of guys sat in a room and came up with one-liners and they just threw them haphazardly into the script.
It is perhaps unfair to judge this harshly in 2014, as it is very much set in its' time, and probably was a way more raunchy experience in 1969.
I still managed a few laughs throughout, but it's too disjointed to be categorized as a success.
Now I know where Double Dee and Steinski got that "got to have soul" sample from.
This has some funny and great stuff in it but I found it hard to watch. The commercials were the most enjoyable part.
How many syllables, Mario? How many syllables, Mario? How many syllables, Mario?
A glass of beer is pee pee dickey
A bold and brash counterculture satire of the advertising industry that is a lot of fun. Some pointed commentary about advertising and Madison Avenue shot in black and white with the blunt and honest commercials appearing in colour. Neat to see the work of Robert Downey Sr.
"It's the most fantastic thing I ever heard... Who's your shrink? I dig it. I dig it. I dig it."
This has to be one of the top 10 films that I've seen the most.
A film of total and utter chaos. Both in the plot and in the filmmaking. This film ranges from sloppy as hell to hysterically funny to profound, occasionally at the same time. The fact that the poster is a giant middle finger says everything you need to know. It's totally a fuck you to everyone watching. I know there's a lot of brilliant social commentary in this but honestly the film's biggest point seems to be that it even exists at all. My biggest complaint would have to be the dubbing of the Swope's voice which some claim is an added layer of satire, as it's a white man coming out of a black man's mouth, but honestly this took away from the satire for me quite a bit. That being said this is a lot of fun to watch and I can see why it was so influential. It's totally mad.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Louis C.K. and P.T. Anderson for introducing me to this absurd film that brilliantly satirizes the strange realm of advertising and racism. It's just a perfect blend of surreal humour and clever satire. Loved it.
It took 40 years, but the ad business has finally caught up with Putney Swope. Which is why we have Captain Obvious & the Most Interesting Man in the World.
Hilarious. Love that it plays with form factor and color. Genuinely great editing for some scene transitions and sequences. Love the main character.
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
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