Ayo Edebiri Steps Into the Criterion Closet

Before Ayo Edebiri broke out in “The Bear” and “Bottoms” or even as a voice on “Big Mouth,” she was a huge Letterboxd influencer, offering a mix of hilarious and thoughtful commentary on a wide range of cinema. She has largely tempered her posting, still contributing a brief review from time to time, but is now returning to the film criticism forum with some recent Criterion Closet picks.

“I be on these sales. I’m on these sales. I’m getting 50 percent off these DVDs just like you are, so I’m very excited to be here,” Edebiri said as she scoured shelf upon shelf of classic cinema.

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Edebiri’s first pick was Akira Kurasawa’s pulpy crime drama and the inspiration for Spike Lee and Denzel Washington’s latest collaboration, “High & Low.” Discussing the film, Edebiri said, “I’ve been seeing this popping off Letterboxd, which I think is good cause this is just a truly masterful film to me, and I think Kurasawa is like so amazing. I watched this, it felt like, 50 times. It just all felt like a dance, like the camera is dancing, but also the actors are doing their own sort of choreography and it all just is one beautiful step to the point where I was like, was he a dancer? And he wasn’t. He did Kendo.”

In addition to two very different types of heist films, the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn rom-com “Charade” and Michael Mann’s directorial debut “Thief,” Edebiri also shouted out the debut of Wes Anderson, “Bottle Rocket.”

“I love this movie because it is like the seeds of a director who you know is going to be great, but also it’s just like a movie made by pals, and that to me is heaven,” said Edebiri. “I love when guys be dudes. I love when friends make movies together and it’s not as like polished yet as like ‘Rushmore.’ Like you’re not seeing him totally knowing who he’s going to be, but it’s really wonderful, and the performances are wonderful and the writing’s wonderful. Can we get Owen Wilson back on the keyboard?”

Having already purchased the “ramen-Western” “Tampopo” in the past, Edebiri decided to scoop another of Juzo Itami’s films, “The Funeral,” as well as Charles Burnett’s dark, surrealist comedy, “To Sleep with Anger.” For her final closet pick, Edebiri stayed close to her roots, going with the Nigerian drama “Eyimofe” from the Esiri Brothers.

‘Eyimofe’ is a movie by the Esiri brothers, which I loved. They’re two Nigerian brothers and filmmakers and they made a gorgeous, gorgeous movie about contemporary Nigeria and these intersecting stories, and I saw it three times in theaters,” Edebiri said. “Like once by myself and then with a friend who’s also half-Nigerian and then with my father and my father was like, ‘I liked it’ and that’s a huge huge review from an immigrant father.”

Watch Ayo Edebiri’s entire Criterion Closet video below.

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