As a society, we don’t appreciate Albert Brooks enough. The man is a comic genius, and I don’t use that term lightly. He’s among the most gifted comedians at our disposal today, and while most kids today perhaps know him best as the voice of Marlin in Finding Nemo and, now, Finding Dory, or as the villain in Drive, he has a whole career filled with other treasures, many of which are worth exploring. And now, those said kids can see those said treasures for themselves, whenever they please! That’s right, starting tomorrow, July 1, every film Brooks ever wrote and directed will be made available on stream on Netflix, just in time for the holiday weekend. I think I know what I might be doing during that time.
As announced earlier today, through the video “A Message to Netflix From Albert Brooks,” featuring a sliver of Brooks’ signature dry wit, the actor-writer-director announced all seven of his self-made features will be made available on the site at the top of the month. Those would include Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America, Defending Your Life, Mother, The Muse and Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World. The quality of each might vary (I would perhaps suggest watching Looking For Comedy last….) but they all are worth watching in their own little ways. As seen by the limited selection, Brooks doesn’t always get behind-the-camera, but when he does, it usually results in something only he could create.
If you truly only know the man for his voice or his occasional acting gig, I would definitely make a point to check out one or two. Notably, Modern Romance, which is probably his best to date, and Defending Your Life, which is a high-concept romantic comedy with Meryl Streep that actually delivers, and then some. Real Life, additionally, is worth a watch, particularly as the directorial debut was a little ahead of its time in relation to its commentary on reality television/filmmaking. Mother and The Muse aren’t quite as strong, but they’re still good in their own rights. I still haven’t seen Lost in America, admittedly, and Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World is perhaps best left forgotten, but it’s available if you need a fix!
This news didn’t quite come out of nowhere, per se. Brooks suggested just earlier this month that it might happen during an interview with Collider, but it’s surprising to know it’s true, it’s finally true. Especially considering how hard it can be to find some of these comedies (I’ve only seen Real Life because it was available on DVD at my college library, somehow), it’s great that the streaming site is stepping up and exposing these movies to a wider audience. It’s unclear if they’ll respond, but that’s why I’m here, at least! Make a point to check out one-or-two, and learn why Brooks is the respected, accomplished celebrity he is today. You won’t regret it. Probably.
Check out the video announcement below!