Criterion on Hulu
May 28, 2015 8:39 AM - Subscribe

So I just created a new club based around watching the Criterion films that are streamed on Hulu Plus. I know that Fanfare clubs are anarchist collectives with no gods or kings, but here's the FAQ I would have written if I were the leader of the club. Which I'm not.

Why Criterion on Hulu?
I've been wanting to start some sort of classic film club for a while now, but I didn't want to have it just be an open-ended "Old Movies We've Heard Are Good" club...I felt like it needed some level of curation and some guarantee that the movies we want to talk about are reasonably accessible. This felt like a decent compromise.

Wait, doesn't Hulu put commercials in their movies?
I don't know about non-Criterion movies, but there are zero commercials in the Criterion films.

Do I need to have Hulu Plus to watch the movies?
Yeah, free Hulu doesn't give you access to the Criterion Collection. You need to have Hulu Plus to watch the films on Hulu, but obviously you can watch them on Netflix or iTunes or Amazon Prime if they're available on those services.

When do you want to schedule films?
Oh, whenever, as long as there's a long enough lead time for people to watch them. Personally, I'll be posting my films on Mondays, because I feel like a lot of these movies are perfect Sunday evening wind-down-the-weekend films.

Is there a list of all the films?
There is! You can find it here, though stuff gets added all the time and I'm not sure how up-to-date the list is.

What if a movie is in the Criterion Collection but not on Hulu? What if a movie is on Hulu but not in the Criterion Collection?
Well, I'm not the leader of the group, but my gut feeling is that non-Hulu Criterion films are a gray area but mostly okay as long as they're available to rent or stream somewhere, whereas movies that are just on Hulu are probably not within the purview of this club.

I guess that covers everything I can think of. I hope nobody thinks the club description is denigrating American Ninja Warrior, because that show is seriously fascinating and addictive and nearly perfect television-to-fold-laundry-to.
posted by Ian A.T. (51 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you're going to start something, start it right: my first post will be Tokyo Story, to be discussed June 8th, a week from next Monday.

In the future, I'll probably only schedule things a week in advance. In this case, though, I felt like only giving a four-day heads up wasn't enough, especially since this was a new club.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:53 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am totally in and totally into this. Really excited to watch and discuss Tokyo Story: I've never seen it but I love Ozu.

Thanks for getting this rolling! Long live the anarchist Criterion Collection Hulu Plus Club! Plus remember you can often get these movies at the library if you don't have Hulu Plus!
posted by latkes at 10:14 AM on May 28, 2015

Not a Huluist, but I'll try to keep up (I own a few, from the olden days).

posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on May 28, 2015

I just joined EXTREMELY HARD. I've kind of been tearing through the Criterion Collection lately, and I can almost never get anyone to watch with me.

In fact, I watched Tokyo Story about a month or two ago, so I may not rewatch it this time, but I'm in either way.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:16 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yay! All of you should feel free to add stuff to the schedule. I don't think this will ever become a club with a huge membership where we'll have to be formal about when stuff gets scheduled or risk burnout. Just be sure to schedule it with enough time for others to watch it and we'll be fine. Trust me, I have capacity for way more than one movie a week...
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:50 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I might join in every now and then!
I've seen quite a few Criterion movies already but I'd be nice to discuss them with you good people, so I'll try to be on board whenever I can.
posted by bigendian at 6:27 PM on May 30, 2015

They have Daisies! Though I think that one's also findable on YouTube. And they also have House.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:04 AM on June 1, 2015

I added Daises to the schedule, to be discussed June 15!

I've written on Fanfare before about my love of the bizonkers House: link.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:24 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know about non-Criterion movies, but there are zero commercials in the Criterion films.

Thanks for answering that. I haven't tried Hulu Plus yet and that's one of the things I wondered about. I guess it's time I subscribed, already.
posted by dnash at 12:04 PM on June 1, 2015

I'm definitely in. (And I usually watch American Ninja Warrior live anyway.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:37 PM on June 1, 2015

I'm definitely in. There's so many amazing films in that collection that this could go on for years.
posted by octothorpe at 9:20 AM on June 2, 2015

Anyone interested in checking out Hobson's Choice? I watched it a couple weeks ago and would be interested to talk about it.
posted by latkes at 8:47 AM on June 3, 2015

Yeah, add it to the schedule! I've seen Lean's other comedy, Blithe Spirit, and liked it enough to want to see his other take on the genre.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2015

So at 900 films, if we do one a week we can finish in a mere 17.3 years!
posted by octothorpe at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I added The Devil and Daniel Webster, which I've been meaning to see since it was recommended on The Flop House.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:50 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

17.3 years assumes that 900 is static, but they actually add movies pretty steadily, so at a rate of one a week, we may never catch up. Maybe we should just switch to daily.

Would anyone be down for Au Hasard Balthazar at some point? I don't know if anyone else would be into that, though, so I don't want to just add it without gauging interest first.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:55 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks for adding The Devil And Daniel Webster!

I'm definitely interested in Au Hasard Balthazar. I love Bresson and I haven't seen it despite wanting to for years.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:31 PM on June 3, 2015

I'd love an excuse to watch any Max Ophuls especially The Earrings of Madame de...
posted by octothorpe at 3:38 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been wanting to try some Bresson!
posted by latkes at 3:47 PM on June 3, 2015

Uh, can someone remind me how to "add something to the schedule"?
posted by latkes at 3:48 PM on June 3, 2015

Yay! I just added Balthazar on the 29th. (Go to the Club page, select Add an Event from Upcoming Club Events in the sidebar.)

I was a bit worried that it might be a little strange for people's tastes, but then I remembered that we're watching Daisies, so I probably didn't need to ask. Oh, well. I'm a little less nervous knowing there's some interest.

Dang, I'm really liking this whole schedule so far.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:23 PM on June 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Holy cats!

I was updating my queue right now, and for the next four days, Hulu is offering a selection of Sight and Sound Poll Picks for free for non-subscribers, INCLUDING TOKYO STORY! So you don't even have to subscribe yet to participate in the inaugural week.*

The fates are smiling on the Criterion club.

* I just started it in a private browser to make sure it really works, and it made me watch a short ad first, but the movie did start.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:50 PM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Man, that Sight and Sound Poll Picks list is like a greatest hits version of "movies I've always meant to see and also probably have lied and said I have seen when I used to try to be 'that guy'"; awesome.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:03 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've seen all of those in the S&S list except for Late Spring and Seven Samurai and they're all pretty amazing.
posted by octothorpe at 1:47 PM on June 4, 2015

I just wanted to say that though I will probably watch movies the weekend before, I'm glad to have a schedule like this.

(Also, I have a lot of feelings about Tokyo Story.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:13 PM on June 6, 2015

I tried to stay awake until 12:01 AM, but I couldn't make it. So, twenty minutes early, here's the Tokyo Story thread. Everyone call their parents and tell them you love them.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:40 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've watched 23 of the Criterion Collection movies from Japan in the last month. Don't judge.

My plan is to eventually watch everything that's not a samurai movie or other period piece released between 1947 and 1964 or 1965. I want to study the evolution of the depiction of Japan and the people who live there during the period between the end of the war and the opening of the Shinkansen and the Tokyo Olympics.

I had thought about making a movie club out of it, but since I've gotten no action at all from my cineaste friends on Facebook, I figured nobody would care but me. Point being, I have some more or less ready-to-go posts about post-war Japanese Criterion Collection movies if we need or want them.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:46 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed reading your comments on Tokyo Story, so if you have more where that came from, bring it on!

By all means, feel free to add more Japanese films to the club. Having watched Tokyo Story last night, I'm all about seeing more films like that. (I'd suggest keeping a few non-Japanese films in-between each one, but you already knew that.) However, if you did start a "Contemporary Japanese Cinema 1947-1965" film club, I would imagine you'd have more than a few takers, including myself.

I'd hate to see you go somewhere else with what sounds like a really fascinating series, but I feel like I should also recommend The Dissolve, Pitchfork's film site staffed mostly by former AV Club long-timers. There are daily features there, and impromptu film clubs have sprung up in the comments. (So, for example "every Monday in the Cable Pick Of The Day I'll be discussing a different David Fincher film, starting with his early music videos and commercials." If you'd like to have in-depth discussions about Japanese film with folks who really know their stuff, you could start a new ongoing series there.
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:40 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

With these clubs, does the person who proposed a given film have to make the post, or is it the club owner/runner?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:27 AM on June 8, 2015

I don't think there's even a club runner as much as a club initiator. Anyone can do anything - free for all!

Having said that, I have some ideas for more films in the future but rather than just calendar them, I'd rather take the temperature of others and see if there's interest first. I wonder if we can do little straw poll at some point where we throw out some movies we're interested in and see what has the most traction?
posted by latkes at 8:40 AM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

On that note, I'd be interested in octothorpe's suggestion of The Earrings of Madame de..., which hasn't been added to the schedule yet.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:37 AM on June 8, 2015

Earrings sounds good to me! Let's watch it.

I'm interested in seeing more African films. Are there any Criterion African films that others are interested in? I was looking at Touki Bouki and Trances, but can hardly find anything else... Suggestions anyone?
posted by latkes at 6:22 AM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Based on Criterion's site, those two films are shockingly the only African entries in The Criterion Collection, never mind Hulu. (Battle Of Algiers is listed as an Italian film.) I would have thought at least Cairo Station would have been there, and at least something from Ousmane Sembene.

I know the Criterion Collection is based on the rights they can get, but this really makes it feel like African film just isn't a priority for them.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:05 AM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Over in the Tokyo Story thread, MCMikeNamara says: "nobody should ever apologize for lengthy thoughtful comments in any Fanfare posts"

And I definitely agree with him...for everybody else. I only brought it up in my case because as the club initiator I really really don't want to come off like I own the club or the film threads. I hate it when a piece of FanFare gets defacto owned by a certain user, and I've stopped following shows because it went from "Hey Metafilter, let's watch this show" to eventually "Let's watch this show WITH ME."

The main way people take ownership of a show or club is by responding to every post and by laying down massive comments in the thread, and I don't want to be that person. Having said that, I've just done both of those things over the last two days, so.

Anyway, my point is if it ever feels like I'm trying to own this space, please know that I'm not and would appreciate a heads up via MeMail that it looks like that.

(It would nice if FanFare eventually offered a second kind of club, one that has an owner who could say "Okay, I want to watch these thematically linked films, who's with me?")
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:07 AM on June 9, 2015

I think it's great that you initiated this club Ian A.T. and if you end up continuing to initiate a lot of the discussions, I have no problem with that!
posted by latkes at 12:54 PM on June 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I didn't get that impression from your posts at all, for what it's worth. You don't sound bossy or domineering, and you are so far either bringing up substantive topics and answering questions. You're initiating discussion because you're saying interesting things that people want to respond to. (Wait. Does that mean the real unspoken culprit is me? I am posting a lot of text, and I keep responding in here too.)
posted by ernielundquist at 2:25 PM on June 9, 2015

The newest thread, Daisies, is now live. If you need to digest what you've just seen, I've added a bunch of reviews to the sidebar from the film's recent revival. Or you can do what the Daisies girls would do and play with paper dolls instead.

Incidentally, the free films offered to non-subscribers seem to be an ongoing series, with the theme this week being "Epics." If participation remains good, perhaps we could consider expanding to a second film that non-subscribers can watch.

We wouldn't be able to plan these threads out very far, as I don't think they're pre-announced, but maybe it would be fun to have one film that subscribers know about weeks in advance and a second "flash" film that shows up on the schedule only a few days before it's posted.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:11 PM on June 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just posted the Devil And Daniel Webster thread!

Sorry I still haven't posted my thoughts on Daisies...and sorry as well that, um, I'm going to be MIA this week as well. The crazy week the precluded me from posting in last week's thread spilled out into the weekend and prevented me from watching Daniel Webster. Things are better now, so I'll be on board for Au Hasard Balthazar next week!
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:05 AM on June 22, 2015

Is there a reason that Fanfare threads link to rather than something else?

I've just found that site to be pretty unreliable, and the reason I bring it up now is that it's showing Au Hasard Balthazar as being unavailable anywhere, which isn't true.

I usually use instead, which, in my experience, shows more accurate results. I think it queries more services as well, but I'm too slatternly to go count right now. (I don't know if you can see these if you're not logged on, but here's where you set preferences for queries.)
posted by ernielundquist at 10:40 AM on June 22, 2015

Oh, hey. I also would like to risk my neck here for a PSA that is related to Criterion but not currently Hulu.

Janus Films just restored the entire Apu trilogy, and it's doing the rounds in actual, real live movie theaters this summer. It might be late for some of you guys, but it'll be showing in my area the coming week. I'm right now trying to figure out how to schedule seeing all three while it's there, and it occurred to me that maybe some of you guys would want to know if you don't already.

If I get banished from the Criterion club or Metafilter as a whole for off-topicedness: Bye, everybody!
posted by ernielundquist at 10:56 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Au Hasard Balthazar's thread is up!
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:10 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Hobson's Choice thread is up!
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:08 AM on July 6, 2015

Ian A.T.: "The Hobson's Choice thread is up!"

Two of them, actually.
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aww... Ian A.T. had a better summary.

Anyhow, time to add some more films to our schedule! Who's going to add the next one?
posted by latkes at 8:32 AM on July 6, 2015

I just went and added The Earrings of Madame de... to the schedule, since it came up earlier but wasn't added at the time.

What does anyone think about Fassbinder? Ali: Fear Eats the Soul and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant are my favorites I've seen so far (although you've gotten fair warning about my tastes with Balthazar), but there are tons I haven't seen and would like to.

BTW, I've been visited with a loathsome, surprise infant (actually my adult son) who keeps talking to me and hogging the TV, so I haven't gotten to Hobson's Choice yet, but I am going to ASAP.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:56 PM on July 6, 2015

latkes: “Anyhow, time to add some more films to our schedule! Who's going to add the next one?”
I want to add The Naked Island (1960), but I feel like we need at least three others between Japanese movies. Seven Samurai is up next week. I could add it for August 10th.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I do love living a world where you can just dial up The Seven Samurai on Hulu. The teenage me would have thought that was a dream too wild to even contemplate.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hey, you guys? Hulu just showed me ads before two different Criterion movies.

I also watched one yesterday*and there were still no ads then. Has this happened to any of you guys? Do any of you normally see ads before the Criterion movies?

I sent a complaint ticket but either the CS person doesn't know about it or is playing dumb.

* Please don't tell anyone how I live.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:19 PM on August 5, 2015

A couple weeks ago I logged out of Hulu to confirm that the free films of the week were actually free, and I got an ad at the beginning. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but if ads are showing up at the beginning of films for subscribers? Oof.

That would be such a lunkheaded move on Criterion's part. The number one comment I get when I recommend Hulu to film buffs is along the lines of "yeah, like I want to watch a bunch of commercials during a Bergman film." It's why every week when I post a new movie I specifically say that you can watch the film "commercial-free on Hulu." Hulu already has a terrible public image as "the service you pay for but still have to watch ads," why would they try to sully the one part of their offering that generates goodwill?
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:38 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

No ads for me, at least when watching on the Roku.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:36 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks, you guys. It's looking like it was just a glitch or something. It started with an ad when I went to watch Chafed Elbows (also on Roku), and again when it auto-started the next movie afterward, but since then, I have re-started those movies and a bunch of other ones to check, and it hasn't happened again.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2015

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