Ben Stiller Defends Netflix at Cannes Film Festival

Netflix is doing what major studios haven’t done in a long time. Being a newer studio, originally being a streaming service, they have to prove themselves. So they are taking any business they can. They have funded “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho on his newest film “Okja”. They have fronted Martin Scorcese a $100 million budget for him to finally bring his long-awaited project “The Irishman” to the big screen in 2018. Their most despised choice has been a six film contract with comedian Adam Sandler. Basically, he’s been doing the same thing  However, get ready for a plot twist, because Sandler’s recent collaboration with Netflix is co-starring in the drama “The Meyerowitz Stories” has led to rave reviews…for Adam Sandler’s performance! That’s right, that one great film that Sandler does every decade has come in the form of “The Meyerowitz Stories”, a comedy-drama directed by Noah Baumbach. People forget the guy does fFirst of all, here is the synopsis for the film:

An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.

The film combines the off-beat comedy talents of Sandler and Ben Stiller with acclaimed actors Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Distributed by streaming service with no noted theatrical release announced, Netflix has caused a stir at the Cannes Film Festival this year (Where the film had it’s world premiere yesterday, May 21, 2017). Netflix offering full blown quality films on their streaming service which clashes with the traditional studio concept of theatrically releasing films. Stiller came out about it today, during a conference where the cast was being interviewed. While starting by saying the studios are facing this issue because of their own actions, he evaluated with the following:

I don’t know why the studios have become so adverse to making interesting films and taking chances. I guess it’s about money. These studios are owned by big conglomerates and they’re not independent studios making films. They have a huge profit margin, so they make movies that can make a lot of money. Unfortunately, that means the really good interesting movies aren’t getting made…Now, studios are not headed by people who have that appreciation for creativity

Now you can have your own personal thoughts on Stiller’s work…but all agree with what he’s saying. Sandler, who was present during this, added that working with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos creates, as he puts it, a “cool feeling”, saying that Sarandos acts like a film fan rather than a businessman. Stiller agreed and added that, being Stiller has been raised in the industry under his comedian parents, that Sarandos reminds him of the types of people who ran studios in the old days.

Let’s be honest people. These guys are right. No one wants to do character-driven tales or try new story ideas that offer a taste of the unknown where you don’t see the ending coming a mile away. If Netflix takes that stand, so be it. Perhaps if Netflix makes a big enough wave, the return of creative-driven films can return. Netflix isn’t a nail in the coffin of theater releases. Co-star Emma Thompson, being part of the interview, said it the best:

People will make art, and we’ll watch in different ways, that’s for sure. But it’s not going to kill going to the cinema.

Stay tuned!