Yes, YouTube has been slow on getting premium content, and what they do have in TV and movies is mostly crap. But I was surprised after visiting YouTube’s movie section for the first time in a long while how many little gems they have. Sure there are some recent not-so-horrible films like The Mod Squad (Claire Danes version) and Cliffhanger, but YouTube also has bona fide classics, quality stuff. With the help of distributors like Crackle.com, Cinetic and MGM, YouTube is getting some nice content, even some with limited commercials. Here, with links, is what’s popular and worth watching.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (dir. George Romero) – Every streaming site has this one (IMDB.com has it) because it’s in the public domain! Back when corporations had to actually put in the effort to register their films, Night‘s producers made a mistake on the copyright application, sending this one into free culture. It’s one of the few classics you can use and remix without compunction.
THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK (dir. Rob Epstein) – I don’t agree with critics who compare Gus Van Sant’s feature Milk with the documentary (they’re two separate genres!), but I do think everyone should watch both. Both are compelling, in their own ways.
AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD (dir. Werner Herzog); LITTLE DIETER LEARNS TO FLY (dir. Werner Herzog); FITZCARRALDO (dir. Werner Herzog) – I don’t know why there’s so much Herzog on YouTube, but c’mon folks, it’s Herzog. ‘Nuff said.
HIS GIRL FRIDAY (dir. Howard Hawks) – For anyone who likes romantic comedies, this is the cream of the crop. Compare this film to similar ones made today and you suddenly feel like we’ve taken several steps back. I wish there were more rom-coms this spirited and witty — and fast! — today. I’m so happy this is on the ‘Tube!
SLACKER (dir. Richard Linklater) – Linklater’s early day-in-the-life film, nominated for ISA and Sundance awards.
CASINO ROYALE (multiple) – One of the few films in which Woody Allen acts but does not direct!
SUPER SIZE ME (dir. Morgan Spurlock) – I’m still scared to see this movie, but now I can watch it for free!
BLUE LAGOON (dir. Randal Kleiser) – No secret why this is one of YouTube’s most popular movies.
CARRIE (dir. Brian De Palma) – Brian De Palma has his critics, but the man knows how to craft a solid film.