For those of you who were not blessed to be a 90s kid, these are pogs.I love unexpected discoveries. Like finding a 20 dollar bill in my old Buzz Lightyear wallet, or stumbling upon an old set of pogs deep in the closet, along with a metal slammer. But the height of excitement for me is when I make an unexpected movie discovery. Once, I found a copy of Ozu’s Floating Weeds in the $1.99 section at Rasputin and I “literally couldn’t even.”
But a short while ago, I made an even more exciting find. While searching for movie stills on Google, I ended up on a sight called MUBI. Well, I got the still I wanted but the aesthetic of the site caught my eye, so I looked around a bit. Turns out MUBI is an alternative video on demand service, and they’re awesome.
Here’s a short background: MUBI started out as a group called The Auteurs, which was basically a social network aimed at film nerds. But in 2012, they developed a new model for video on demand (VOD) and it’s wonderful. Let me tell you how it works. Well, let me first tell you how it doesn’t work. It doesn’t function like the more popular Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video, which have massive movie libraries with a wide range of quality. I’d say about 70-80% of movies on those services are not worth watching at all (although this blog is supposed to help you sift through them, so have no fear). It also doesn’t let you build watchlists/queues/favorites.
Instead, MUBI offers a continuous rotation of 30 movies at a time. Each is available for 30 days after which time it expires (but may be resurrected at a later date). So every day there is a new movie available and one that expires. But here’s the thing–instead of having the rare diamond in the rough like most services, MUBI has carefully curated, thoughtful, and award-winning films. Sure there’s the occasional dud, but chances are that if you pick a film at random from their selection, you’re going to pick a winner.
MUBI has partnered with film powerhouses such as The Criterion Collection and Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, as well as a variety of other distributors across the globe. This allows them access to movies we would never be able to see otherwise, no matter how hard we search at the video store.
And this is perfect for me. I get to discover things I have never even heard of before. Better yet, it allows me to get my fix of Jacques Rivette’s masterpieces, Agnes Varda’s brilliant short films, and glimpses into the madness of Lars von Trier’s mind.
So, here are 4 reasons you should subscribe to MUBI:
1. You don’t know one or more of the names I mentioned above, in which case you have been deprived of no small joy.
2. You know the names of all three people I mentioned above, and they make you smile just thinking of them.
3. It’s cheap. At $5/month, you can hardly resist the chance to catch a handful of classics and hidden treasures.
4. You can download the movies and watch them offline. This is a huge one for me, and a major advantage over other services.
On the flip-side, here are 4 reasons you shouldn’t subscribe:
1. You prefer spending unnecessary time searching through piles of refuse to find a decent movie on Netflix. Note: This is not an assault on Netflix or any other service. I still use them regularly.
2. You don’t like to expand your horizons and would prefer to watch Hollywood sequels for the rest of your life.
3. You actually can’t afford an extra $5/month. Legitimate excuse. I’ve been there.
4. You prefer to binge-watch the seemingly endless supply of TV shows available for streaming. Also understandable. I have those days.