Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
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The National Society of Film Critics dares to go where few mainstream critics have gone before—to the heart of what gets the colored lights going, as they say in A Streetcar Named Desire. Here is the critics' take on the films that quicken their (and our) pulses, an enterprise both risky and risque: an entertaining overview of the most arousing films Hollywood has every produced. The Society is a world-renowned, marquee-name organization embracing some of America's most distinguished critics, more than forty writers who have followings nationally as well as devoted local constituencies in such major cities as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. The X List will have something for every lover of film—and for every lover. But make no mistake about it: This isn't a collection of esoteric "critic's choice" movies. This group of essays edited by New York Daily News critic Jami Bernard reflects individual taste, rubbing against the grain of popular wisdom. Because of the personal nature of the erotic forces at play, these essays will reveal more about the individual critics than perhaps they have revealed thus far to their readers.
Best Picture Oscar winners (Rebecca), European classics (Belle du Jour), lightweight musicals (Bye Bye Birdie), thrillers (Klute) and love stories (The Long Hot Summer) are spotlighted here, and many fine film writers—Joe Morgenstern, Richard Schickel, Peter Travers, and Michael Wilmington—tackle them with aplomb. Jay Carr brings the soft, sensual vividness of The Fabulous Baker Boys to life, noting, "It's an after-hours nocturne of dead-solid serendipity"; Bernard characterizes Gilda as a "coyly sadistic exercise where sex is a weapon that's constantly being unsheathed." There's loose, tongue-in-cheek humor from Rob Nelson in his review of Eyes Wide Shut (he describes Stanley Kubrick as "one seriously perverse dude"). Matt Zoller Seitz writes on the primal eroticism of The Last of the Mohicans. J. Hoberman's witty pan of Basic Instinct is delightful, and Liza Schwarzbaum's enthusiasm for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid will create new excitement for the classic buddy western.
All copies are used and in acceptable to good condition. Some may be library or university copies and may have shelf wear, underlining/margin notes, and possibly card catalog/circulation stickers.
SIGNED BY MATT ZOLLER SEITZ (author of the essay on "The Last of the Mohicans," p. 169).
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Since MZS is the brains behind the brand and concept, I guess that makes me the brawn. Even though my 'gun show' looks more like a water pistol exhibit in a toy store window...”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets such as Texas Highways and AARP. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently launching a Dallas extension of his MZS Film Series at the historic Texas Theater.
Judith is quoted as saying "his hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. Oh and he has the attention span of a gnat." MZS agreed to it all except the moonwalking.