Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.
Streaming movies and television are all the rage. You’ve heard me discuss Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime on Culture Crash before…and you’ve almost definitely gotten caught up in a binge-watch yourself. For countless Americans these platforms are their go-tos for entertainment.
Netflix recently announced their first 33 original films of the year amassed 300 million streams by 80 million accounts. Clearly, it’s a popular way to watch a movie. But you also may have noticed streaming platform’s backlogs have grown scarcer. Netflix and Amazon have less interest in buying the rights to stream, say, The Shawshank Redemption or Singin’ in the Rain and more interest in getting you to watch their original movies, like Mudbound or The Big Sick.
And that can become a problem. If these companies are where people go to watch movies and they are carrying fewer of the old classics of the medium, then where will people learn to appreciate older cinema? How can we watch Lauren Bacall or Gene Kelly? Well, luckily there are options made to fulfill just this need.
The most perfect solution is to get a subscription to FilmStruck. At $6.99 per month, Film Struck allows users to watch classics like The Maltese Falcon, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Lawrence of Arabia. Of course, this option has its obvious downfall: another monthly fee to go with your Netflix and Hulu accounts? Yikes.
For those inclined to watch some of these hallmarks of cinema but are unwilling to go so far as to pay another monthly bill, there is always the local library. Most libraries offer DVD for no charge with your library card and their catalogs are typically full of classics.
Streaming video is here to stay, but there’s no reason that should mean we feel obligated to watch Netflix’s Mute before we ever check out what all the fuss is about with Ben-Hur even if that means shelling out an extra $7 per month or having to figure out where that old library card is hiding.
I’m Evan Rook.