Why are some movies free? An Analysis (sic)

Ok, so if you’re not a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriber, then you’re stuck with the free movies from Vudu.com, Hulu, Cracklecrap, and/or other legal sites in the USA or globally, which usually means you’re stuck with crap.  I’m not endorsing downloading movies.  In fact, I hate that trend, and I have a subscription to Amazon Prime just so I’m not tempted myself, but I guess the selection leaves me disappointed, for the most part.  They’ve got some interesting TV selections and TV content, but there’s a few awesome movies and after you’ve seen those, there’s not much more after that.  As for free content, I’ve hunted up a few recently in my quest not to be bored.

But why are some movies free?  Is it just because these places like Vudu.com get a deal from the studio?  If so, there must be a price structure for these movies.  Star Wars must be at the top of the food chain, right?  And something like Dumb and Dumberer is at the bottom?  Back in the day, there used to be something called the “bargain bin” at retail stores and your local Blockbuster.  That’s where you could find all the deals, the cheap stuff and the overstock items nobody wanted.  I guess that’s what “Free” movies are.  They’re just cheaper than other movies, for whatever reason, but mostly it comes down to popularity or age.  Sometimes there’s a gem in there though, right?  And that’s why flea markets are popular.  Do these belong at a flea market?

Ronin (1998) – This is your typical 90s thriller, like Patriot Games.  It’s written by John Frankenheimer, and when I say “written”, I mean cobbled together like the so-called “paved” highway I take to work every day.  Anyway, if you can ignore the nonsensical plot, the characters are good.  Stellan Skarsgard and Jean Reno are especially good, although they’re better in Mission Impossible, in Reno’s case. Why is this movie free?  I guess thrillers like this are a dime a dozen.

Flash Gordon (1980) – Also free at Vudu is Flash Gordon, a true cult classic if there ever was one.  Why is this one free?  It has Queen for God’s sake, it’s not exactly Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Terrible acting aside, this movie is a lot of fun, with the laughable dialogue and colorful set pieces.  It’s just like the comic strip, except it’s maybe a little MORE wacky and out there.  I don’t get why this one is free.  Vudu must be getting tons of traffic.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) – Okay so I guess this one, it’s Easter Time right?  It’s free on Vudu because it’s Easter.  This is one story flubbed up by the studio, I have no doubt about that.  Scenes drag on and on for ages, and it’s 100 times worse than Ben-Hur, which is the best movie ever compared to this snooze-fest.  Still, it was nominated for some academy awards, so it has that “just above average” vibe going for it.  Nothing against Ben-Hur by the way, because I like that movie.

True Grit (2010) – This crappy remake is free on Vudu.  Honestly, this movie is a second thought to the original, which is a classic, although John Wayne reportedly doesn’t really like it.  I saw the remake but I can’t remember much about it, that’s how forgettable it is.  It’s not a bad movie, it’s just probably not making any top ten lists.

Return of the Pink Panther (1975) – This is not a good Peter Sellers movie.  I mean, it’s better than the other sequels, but I can see this one is in the “bargain bin” of free online movies.

Carrie (2002) – This is another remake in the bargain bin for obvious reasons.  Moving on.

Soul Survivors (2001) – This movie represents the early 2000s quota for horror movies with really, really good-looking young people.  It’s actually the second string in that genre, and that’s pretty sad.  I guess the first stringers would be Final Destination or Scream 1 to 15.  Or any movie starring Neve Campbell.  Sorry that was inappropriate.

Joe Dirt 2, Paul Blart, Sgt. Bilko – Over at Cracklecrap, there’s a host of low budget comedies for free.  They even have the mediocre Green Hornet remake comedy action movie.  Yay?

Flatliners (1990) – This is a decent movie over at Cracklecrap, unless you like comedies.  Comedies are cheaper I guess because they’re shorter.  This one has some great young actors and Kevin Bacon too.  It made money and has an original plot.  What more could you want?  I guess the poster or advertising for this movie isn’t the best, because it’s certainly not another teenie-bopper Final Destination rip-off.  

A Knight’s Tale (2001) – Most people I know hate this movie, but I like it.  I like that it’s original, has good characters, and tries to be different.  I like how the actors give it a go with the dialogue, although Shannyn Sossamon mostly overdoes it as Rosalyn.  Of course, Paul Bettany steals the show with his performance, and it seems like he’s really having fun.  It’s the best part too.  Bettany hams it up as a charismatic showman and storyteller.

Lost in Translation, 12 Monkeys, Street Fight the crappy movie with Kristin Kreuk, or TIMECOP – All of these are available for free at Cracklecrap, which is a pretty good selection.  I think anybody might be tempted with crap of this level, especially Lost in Translation, which is a good movie, albeit not for everybody.  Hey, even Cracklecrap has to fill their cultured-movie quota.  They’ve got 20 other Van Damme movies to make up for it though.