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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Netflix Is No Longer Chill

The promise of streaming TV was that you could watch whatever you wanted, when you wanted. And for a while, that was mostly true. But recently, streaming services have started to dial back the nice-guy stuff and reel in the freebies. Companies across the stream-o-sphere are tweaking subscription tiers, raising prices, and canceling unprofitable shows. Netflix has introduced an ad-supported tier to its formerly ad-free service, and even started cracking down on people sharing account credentials. And corporate shake-ups at HBO Max have resulted in gobs of stuff being removed from that platform entirely.

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior editor Angela Watercutter joins us to talk about why the streaming ecosystem has grown so complicated and hostile toward its customers.

Show Notes

Read WIRED’s series about why we hate streaming. Listen to WIRED and 1A’s series about AI, Know It All.

Recommendations

Angela recommends the cinematic masterpiece Cocaine Bear. Lauren recommends Marc Maron’s standup special From Bleak to Dark on HBO. Mike recommends the film EO, which is about a donkey.

Angela Watercutter can be found on Twitter @WaterSlicer. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen

You can always listen to this week's podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here's how:

If you're on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Podcasts app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. And in case you really need it, here's the RSS feed.

Transcript

Michael Calore: Hi everyone. Before we start today's show, we wanted to tell you about a special project between WIRED and the NPR show 1A. It's called Know It All: 1A and WIRED's Guide to AI. It's a four-part series that's all about how our lives and culture are being affected by this sudden shift in generative AI. Each episode is a conversation with 1A and WIRED reporters and the people who have either had a part in creating these AI models or are having their lives directly affected by them. You can hear more at IA's website, the 1A.org/series. That's “1” as is in the numeral one—the 1A.org/series. We'll have a link in the show notes. OK. Now on to this week's episode. Lauren.

Lauren Goode: Mike.

Michael Calore: Lauren, how many streaming services do you subscribe to right now? Do you know?

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Lauren Goode: I thought you were going to ask me what I'm giving up for Lent.

Michael Calore: Are you giving up streaming for Lent?

Lauren Goode: Yes, I'm giving podcasting, streaming, journalism. I'm giving up journalism for Lent.

Michael Calore: Well, good show. Always good to have you.

Lauren Goode: Good show. Streaming services: a lot, but not as many as I used to, because some family members and I share passwords sometimes.

Michael Calore: Oh.

Lauren Goode: I know I'm not supposed to admit that now.

Michael Calore: Well, because you're not allowed to do it anymore.

Lauren Goode: I guess not, depending on the service and where you're located. What about you? How many streaming services do you subscribe to?

Michael Calore: I counted before we started, and right now it's eight, but that changes. I've been cutting back on how many I subscribe to, just because it's all so much. I can't watch everything, so I've been culling some streaming services.

Lauren Goode: What's the one you absolutely cannot live without?

Michael Calore: Criterion Channel.

Lauren Goode: That's old movies?

Michael Calore: Yeah, and foreign films and artsy movies.

Lauren Goode: Nice. That is so on-brand.

Michael Calore: Yes.

Lauren Goode: Well, that's our show this week, folks. Lauren's giving up journalism for Lent. Mike is going to go into a hole and watch a bunch of old movies and foreign films. See you next week.

Michael Calore: Well, we do have a guest.

Lauren Goode: Oh, yes, we do.

Michael Calore: Let's bring her on.

Lauren Goode: Yay, let's do it.

Michael Calore: Hi everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I'm Michael Calore. I'm a senior editor at WIRED.

Lauren Goode: And I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED.

Michael Calore: We are also joined this week by WIRED senior editor Angela Watercutter. Angela, welcome back to the show.

Angela Watercutter: Thank you so much for having me. I am so happy to get into this discussion with you guys.

Michael Calore: It's always great to have you, especially this week. As we mentioned in the opening, it is getting harder and more expensive to watch TV. When streaming services like Netflix and Hulu first emerged, they brought a whole new kind of freedom with them. All of a sudden, you didn't have to pay crazy-high cable bills for hundreds of channels you never watched. You could just pick and choose, watching what you want, when you want. Fast-forward to now, streaming services have gotten bigger and more powerful and more numerous. Your streaming bill might now be higher than your old cable bill. And the super cool streaming service that you signed up for years ago might be flexing its muscles in uncomfortable ways. Netflix has started cracking down on account sharing, something it freely allowed users to do for nearly two decades. Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu have all recently shuffled their payment tiers, either adding ads or charging more for the same content. And some services, like HBO Max, are just removing content from their platforms without warning, making it harder to find certain shows you may love. Now, Angela, you cover all things culture here at WIRED, and your team goes deep on streaming services nearly every day. You also are our TV guru here at WIRED, so we had to ask, are you also feeling this pressure?

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Angela Watercutter: Yes, I have definitely felt this pressure. I just went through the process of bundling, which in my case was, I wanted to bundle Disney Plus and Hulu, because I was paying more for them separately than I would together. But instead of actually dialing back and doing fewer services, I ended up with more, because I had to get ESPN+ with it. So now I have that, which is good because I like live sports, but I think I'm paying more money because one weekend I was like, “I can do ad-supported. No, I can't.” And I immediately went for the premium tier because to watch Marvel movies with ads just started to blow my mind. I've gotten so used to watching movies all the way through without them. So while I didn't mind it watching Abbott Elementary on Hulu, it definitely got in my head when I was trying to watch a full-length movie on Disney Plus.

Michael Calore: I do think that the introduction of ads into tiers that previously did not have ads is especially insidious. Like you were saying, the psychological association with ads is that you're getting the thing for free, so you can sit through the ads. And then asking you to pay for something and still showing you ads, it just, like you said, it breaks your brain.

Lauren Goode: I had that experience with Amazon Prime Video a little while ago. I don't know if it still works this way. I'm also no longer an Amazon Prime subscriber. But maybe a year or two ago I went into Amazon Prime, I found a movie that I wanted to watch, I started watching it, and there were ads. And I was like, “What is happening?” And it turned out that it had gone to the IMDb.com streaming service, which is owned by Amazon and has its own separate streaming service, and no matter what you're paying for, they just insert ads. And I was like, “This just feels broken.”

Angela Watercutter: Yeah. Was that Freevee?

Lauren Goode: I saw that it's called Now.

Angela Watercutter: I think it might be Now. Freevee is also one of their offerings, but I don't know if that's the one associated with IMDbPro.

Lauren Goode: Yeah, who can make sense of any of this?

Angela Watercutter: Yeah.

Lauren Goode: Angela, what would you say are the top three examples, if you had to name three, of streaming services either cutting back, cracking down, or adding ads in a really egregious way?

Angela Watercutter: I mean, I would say definitely Netflix cutting down on password sharing, which as Mike mentioned in the beginning, was something they just looked the other way on for a long time. Because as long as they were showing that people were streaming these things for hours, they justified it and they were still making plenty of money, so they just went with it. I think the other one is services that didn't have ads all of a sudden now having ads. I get it on something like Hulu, which is showing regular network programming from ABC, because you would be watching those with ads if you were watching them on television or cable anyway. But yeah, when you're trying to watch a two-hour movie and you have an ad break every 20 or 30 minutes, it feels like you're watching it on TV or something, which was antithetical to the point of streaming. The other one is … It hasn't really happened yet, but my personal favorite streaming service this whole time has been HBO Max,  at least for the last two years, and they just merged with Discovery. Warner Brothers merged with Discovery. And next summer, I believe, or this upcoming summer, they're going to merge HBO Max with Discovery—which is like, look, I love some HGTV. I like Discovery programming, but when I'm trying to sit around and watch The Wire, I don't want to watch House Hunters. There's a weird un-siloing that's happening as all these companies merge or bundle their services that feels really off. And my personal sad moment with this whole thing was that there was this great HBO show, it was a miniseries. It was called Mrs. Fletcher, it starred Katheryn Hahn.

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Lauren Goode: Oh, yeah. Awesome.

Angela Watercutter: It was brilliant. I watched the entire thing. It was only a few episodes. I watched the entire thing probably two or three times all the way through. And it's one of those that recently it just wasn't worth it to HBO Max to have it anymore, and now you can't watch it anywhere. You can't even buy it, I don't think. It's just gone. And I feel like that's going to happen more and more with a lot of beloved shows.

Lauren Goode: So you're describing a scenario in which that content was originally created, developed, and produced by HBO. There isn't much of an incentive for them necessarily to distribute it somewhere else. They're just taking it off their platform, and that's it.

Angela Watercutter: Yeah.

Lauren Goode: Which brings me to a question about original content versus licensed programming. So several years ago, companies like Netflix were being given kudos for producing high-quality original content, starting with things like, you might remember, Lilyhammer or House of Cards, and then that put pressure on the other streaming services to also develop their own original content. But of course, doing that is really expensive. So I'm wondering, have you seen any shifts in that area?

Angela Watercutter: I think they're still putting a lot into original programming, but you get this effect where they realized it's only worth doing for two seasons, so people don't have … They don't get invested in a show for very long, because they don't really think it's going to stick around much. Everything has become fast and loose in that way. And with something like HBO Max, where they had original programming, I think when they announced the merger and they were going through all the books or whatever, they were just not even releasing things they'd made, like the Batgirl movie, because it's a tax write-off. It's cheaper to just not release it. So there's a lot of stuff that they end up either shelving or only running for a certain amount of time and then taking off, because it's cheaper on some balance sheet to not offer it. And so that's just a really … I think for people who love television and film, it's a really, really base way to think about creativity and filmmaking.

Michael Calore: And it feels backwards. You feel like if the company has already invested all this money into it, then what is the downside financially of just putting this show into your catalog and making it available for people to watch? Something like Mrs. Fletcher, why not just leave it there? I'm sure there's some accounting magic happening in the background that we don't know about, but to the average television watcher, it just feels like a no-brainer to just be available.

Angela Watercutter: I think some of it comes down to the contracts that were made with the people who worked on the show, like whether or not they get residuals. Whether or not the people in the unions who do sound and grips and things like that, whether or not they have it in their contracts that they get residuals for every single time that it runs, because then maybe it doesn't actually hit the bottom line the same way. But still it's like, then why did all these things … Why weren't they properly invested in? Or properly promoted? Or calculated in a way that seems to benefit everyone?

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Michael Calore: Before we take a break, I do want to come back to the topic of Netflix, because for a very long time the company allowed password sharing. So you could share your account with multiple people in your family or in your home. And they have started rolling out a system where that is not allowed anymore in different countries. It's a couple places in Europe, I think in Canada. It will come to the US eventually. And it's at the front of everybody's minds because of that sort of impending doom. So I'm wondering whether or not this was inevitable? Whether this was something that we should have been prepared for? Because growing up we used to trade CDs with each other. We would trade records with each other, VHS tapes, DVDs. It was sort of this freewheeling, “Hey, I'm into this thing, check it out.” And that's the spirit that emerged with Netflix, where you could pass the thing around so that everybody could get the same experience, and then you had something to talk about with your friends. And we should have been maybe more aware that this was coming, but it's still taking us by surprise, and it's still upsetting. And I wonder if you can help us figure out why.

Angela Watercutter: I mean, I think that we came to that level of comfort with where things were, because when Netflix launched a streaming service, and then when others came along following in its footsteps, we all thought, “Surely they have learned the lessons of Napster.” Surely they have learned that if you try to create a walled garden of content, people are going to find ways around it. And that's why they're looking the other way on password sharing or trying to be a little more freewheeling about these things. But low and behold, they're not anymore. And as I saw on Twitter the other day, somebody was saying an entirely new generation is probably going to discover torrenting. So all those things that disappear from streaming services will still live on, just in somewhere maybe slightly more illicit.

Michael Calore: Nice.

Lauren Goode: I don't know about you guys, but I'm just going to spend all my time on TikTok from now on. Just kidding.

Michael Calore: All right, let's take a break and we'll come right back.

[Break]

Michael Calore: All right, so in the first half of the show, we talked about all the ways your favorite streaming services are becoming onerous and all of the bad things that are happening in the streaming world. Now for the second half, we would like to talk about why it's happening and what happens next. So Angela, I keep thinking about this package that you and your fellow culture writers on WIRED ran last summer. It was called “Why We Hate Streaming,” and it was a whole bunch of stories about the algorithmic glut, about exhaustion, about their just being way too much in your queue to watch. That was nine months ago, and I feel like not a whole lot has improved since then. Do you think that this fatigue on the viewer side, on the user end, is something that's maybe driving some of these changes in the streaming industry?

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Angela Watercutter: Yeah, I mean, I think that because so many streaming services have launched, and all those things that used to be on Netflix, like Lauren was saying earlier, when the streaming services used to license things, it used to be where you watched The Office, et cetera, et cetera. But then the original studios that made those, or the original networks that ran them, started their own streaming services, so everything got parsed out again, and now we need to subscribe to eight different services just to watch the things that we used to be able to watch on three channels. And so, you create this problem where I think streaming services are starting to see the writing on the wall that this can't just keep getting bigger forever. And so there's a lot of batten-down-the hatches or saying, “OK, we'll do ad-supported so that we can keep a certain number of people or allow a certain number of people onto the service.” But at a certain point, I think people are just going to give up, pick three, and move on—or pick two and move on—and just accept the fact that they can't watch everything.

Michael Calore: Only three?

Angela Watercutter: I mean, I'm saying for people who aren't us, Mike, who don't stream the new Criterion Channel for 20 hours a week.

Lauren Goode: I keep thinking about how we as human beings, we have limits. There are only so many things that we can watch or consume in any given day. We have, if we're lucky, two eyes and enough senses to watch maybe a couple programs per week. A lot of us have jobs, we have to take care of our families, we have to sleep at some point. I think there was one streaming executive who was asked about competition once, and he said his competition was sleep. Was that Reed Hastings, Angela?

Angela Watercutter: That might have been, yeah.

Lauren Goode: I think it was. Yeah. So we have these limits as human beings, and yet the streaming media companies seem absolutely determined to squeeze every last drop of attention and every last penny out of us at this moment in time. Angela, what's the end game here?

Angela Watercutter: I think we're going to see a lot more consolidation. What we saw with Warner Brothers discovery, taking HBO Max and their other streaming service, which was Discovery+, and those will get merged. Other things will get merged. I mean, we forget sometimes that Hulu started as a combined effort between … Was it NBC, Fox, and ABC? And so eventually, I think, the companies themselves realizing that people will only subscribe to so many services are going to … There's going to be what I used to call R&D through M&D. Instead of developing another streaming service or launching more programming, they're just either going to merge with another company that already is offering that service or they're going to acquire their catalog. I remember somebody saying something months ago, they were just, how soon before Apple acquires A24 or some other sort of boutique movie studio or whatever. And just so that Apple TV+ can have this wide and varied criteria and catalog of films. And so I think that we're going to see more and more of that. Some of them will just drop off and die, but some of them, like Peacock or something, are backed by multinational media conglomerates. So either that conglomerate is going to sell Peacock somewhere else or buy another company to merge with it to make their thing the dominant thing. I mean, that kind of happened with Disney and Hulu. Disney finally acquired Fox and eventually got the majority stake in Hulu, and that's why I now have to face this major bundle crisis that I was facing weeks ago.

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Lauren Goode: So it's a giant land grab. The idea is, if your eyeballs aren't on our primary service, we're going to acquire one of the smaller ones. So in the event that you're watching that instead, it's all contributing to our bottom line.

Angela Watercutter: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Calore: That's troubling to me because I think that some of the biggest successes in the streaming world are the hyper-focused services. We've talked about Criterion, which is art films, foreign movies, historically important movies, and there's millions of hours on there. Maybe not millions, but you understand what I'm saying. Also, Shudder for horror. If you're a horror fan, you have Shudder, right? If you're a BBC hound, you have Brit Box. There are these services that just do one thing extremely well. And I think those are great, and I would love it if those stayed independent so I could pick and choose from those, instead of having to buy into a giant streaming service with a bunch of garbage that I'll never watch, just to get that slim sliver of the thing that I'm interested in.

Angela Watercutter: Which gets back to what you were saying before about, is it all just cable again? You used to have to buy cable if you wanted to have HBO and maybe Showtime or something, but then you got 3,000 other channels that you never tuned in to.

Lauren Goode: Mike used to be a huge fan of Cinemax, but late at night.

Michael Calore: You've been reading my mail. I mean, Cinemax had some really great stuff on it that was not soft-core pornography, like The Knick.

Angela Watercutter: I was going to say, they had The Knick, which for a long time was also one of those shows that disappeared, but then, when they brought all of their Cinemax content onto HBO, then it finally came back to HBO Max. But it probably will disappear again, sadly.

Michael Calore: Yeah. At some point it'll just go away.

Lauren Goode: Where does YouTube fit into all of this?

Angela Watercutter: I mean, the fact that YouTube TV does seem to have almost everything that cable used to have is slowly becoming a bigger selling point for me. I still have regular cable, but if I ever got rid of it, I would probably do YouTube TV, and my bill would probably be the same, which is the only reason that I don't.

Michael Calore: I have a belief, a hard-earned belief, that I would like to share, which is that YouTube Premium, which gives you YouTube ad-free and YouTube Music ad-free for $12 a month is the best deal in the streaming world, because you get a music streaming service and you get YouTube without ads all for 12 bucks. That's awesome. I watch a ton of YouTube. I probably watch an hour of YouTube a day, I would guess. And to have that experience without ads is just wonderful. It's amazing.

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Lauren Goode: What do you most often watch on YouTube?

Michael Calore: This is going to surprise you, but I watch cooking shows and live music performances, because there's so many good ones on there. Particularly there are live on-the-air shows on radio stations around the world where the radio stations have a television studio in conjunction with their audio studio. So there's cameras running while the bands are playing, and then the radio stations will put these 30 minute performances on a feed. So there's a bunch of those. I watch a few of those. I watch cooking shows. I do love Hot Ones from First We Feast, Complex Media. The Hot Wings chat show. Yeah, I watch a lot of YouTube.

Lauren Goode: I find that I watch a lot of yoga on YouTube. Yoga and meditation. Those get-ready-with-me videos I love.

Michael Calore: Oh yeah.

Lauren Goode: This idea of someone who wakes up in Paris and is like, “Oh, I'm so disheveled. I must get ready for my day out riding my cruiser bicycle to get to the baguettes.” And then they do this thing with their hair, or they put a little bit of lipstick on, or they give themselves a face massage, and then they're like, “Look, I look so glamorous.” I'm just totally addicted to those morning routine videos. And then I've mentioned this in the show before, but  every so often you can go really deep into history on YouTube too. Yeah, the CNN Cold War, the 24-part Cold War series that I've been working through, which is not supposed to be on YouTube, I don't think.

Michael Calore: Probably not.

Lauren Goode: But I've been watching it and it's great. Please don't take it down.

Michael Calore: And what we're both saying is that YouTube is cutting into the time that we're spending watching television from the streaming services.

Lauren Goode: And I could be watching something else. And I'm currently not paying for YouTube.

Michael Calore: So for people like us, it's YouTube. For other people, it's TikTok or Instagram stories.

Lauren Goode: For other people you mean young people. People younger than us.

Michael Calore: Sure.

Angela Watercutter: But Lauren, I was just going to ask you, didn't you say that you've been watching a lot of TikTok? Would you pay for ad-free TikTok or unlimited TikTok?

Lauren Goode: To be fair, I was being facetious. I did a little experiment recently that I wrote about in WIRED where I used TikTok for search for a week, trying to avoid Google or Bing, and just using TikTok for search it. I failed spectacularly, but that was not unexpected. So I got a little more into TikTok, but I still don't find those little … Snackable bites don't really fulfill that need I have at the end of the evening to get into something and wind down. But no, so I don't know if I would … No, I probably wouldn't pay for ad-free TikTok. No, I would pay for a version of TikTok that was 100 percent guaranteed that your data is not being used for nefarious reasons.

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Michael Calore: I don't think there's any service in the internet that can give you that guarantee.

Lauren Goode: No, we live in the data revolution. It's like the new industrial revolution. We're in the data revolution.

Michael Calore: Well, we just went from bleak to dark.

Lauren Goode: I'm sorry. But now we're going to give you some recommendations for fun recipes and apps that you can use to improve your life.

Michael Calore: Let's do that, actually. Let's take a break, and when we come back, we'll do our recommendations.

Lauren Goode: OK.

[Break]

Michael Calore: All right. Welcome back. Angela.

Lauren Goode: Yes.

Michael Calore: You are our guest, so you get to go first. What is your recommendation for our audience?

Angela Watercutter: So this week sees the release of a little film called Cocaine Bear, and if you are somebody who thinks that a movie called Cocaine Bear is up your alley, trust me, you are correct. I'll leave it at that.

Lauren Goode: This was directed by Elizabeth Banks?

Angela Watercutter: That's correct. Yeah. Yeah.

Lauren Goode: I just listened to her on the Marc Maron podcast, and I was like, “Got to see Cocaine Bear.”

Angela Watercutter: Yeah. Yeah. No, she is … She's fantastic. And yeah, it's a movie about a bear who eats cocaine.

Michael Calore: And it's based on a true story?

Angela Watercutter: It is, except the bear in the true story, I think, just overdosed and died, which is terribly sad. This one goes on a murderous rampage. That's not spoiling anything that's in the trailer, but yeah.

Lauren Goode: Did you see it in the theaters?

Angela Watercutter: I did.

Lauren Goode: And what was the reaction of people in the theaters?

Angela Watercutter: There was laughter and amused screaming, I would say. And shock. And shock and surprise. But yeah, I mean, again, as I said, if you think that a movie called Cocaine Bear sounds like something you are into, you are probably correct. Nobody's expecting art house. We're expecting midnight movie, future-cult-classic kind of stuff, and that's what you get.

Lauren Goode: What kind of bear is this? Is it a grizzly?

Angela Watercutter: It's a black bear or brown bear. I think black bear.

Michael Calore: It's a cocaine bear.

Lauren Goode: Right, with a little white dusting on it.

Angela Watercutter: It is definitely a cocaine bear.

Lauren Goode: I can't top that.

Michael Calore: Well, Lauren, you have to. What's your recommendation?

Lauren Goode: I don't know. I'm honestly at a little bit of a loss this week. I'm a little tired. I've been keeping some odd hours. So I mentioned the Marc Maron podcast. I do like Marc Maron's podcast, and he recently did a standup, Mike, that you recommended to me offline called From Bleak to Dark.

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Michael Calore: From Bleak to Dark.

Lauren Goode: From Bleak to Dark. It's on HBO Max. HBO Max, please don't just take it off and disappear it. And I actually really enjoyed that. It is dark, but I liked it. So I would recommend that. And here's something I would not recommend, which is watching Ozark before bed.

Michael Calore: Right. You keep going to bed and watching all the Ozark.

Lauren Goode: I'm very late into Ozark, and I've told a couple of people this, but I've just started watching Ozark and their reaction is always, “Oh, I'm so jealous that you get to start that fresh.” Because that's always really fun when you're new to it and everyone else has seen it already, and you're just … The roller-coaster has just begun for you.

Michael Calore: Yeah. Yeah.

Lauren Goode: But yeah, I'm watching it before bed, and then maybe that's why I'm not sleeping so well this week. So don't watch Ozark before bed.

Michael Calore: That is a show that also goes from bleak to dark.

Lauren Goode: Yeah, it's dark. Mike, what's your recommendation this week?

Michael Calore: So I weirdly also am going to recommend a movie starring an animal that goes on an adventure. It's called EO, and it's the letter E and the letter O. And it is a new movie that just came out on streaming. It's been in theaters for a few months. It's an Oscar movie. It's actually the Best Picture International Nominee from Poland. It's a movie about a donkey. So you meet this donkey. It's a happy donkey at a circus. It has a very loving caretaker. And then things start happening to the donkey, and the donkey ends up going to different places, meeting different humans, meeting different animals, having an adventure, walking around Europe and seeing what's going on all over different parts of Europe. I got to say this, this movie is delightful. It is extremely weird. It gets very surreal at certain points, but it is always riveting and entertaining. The donkey, I guess, multiple donkeys that play the title character, EO, are awesome. You spend every frame of the movie, nearly every frame in the movie with the donkey, seeing the things that the donkey sees. So the donkey becomes this stand-in for you as an observant, silent, sentient being who is feeling emotions, but not necessarily having their emotions affect the thing that they're seeing. I can't say enough about it. One of the best movies that I've seen in the last year, for sure. Top three. Really amazing. See it. Right now, you can rent it for six bucks at the big rental warehouses in the cloud and the internet. Or again, if you have Criterion, it's streaming exclusively for subscribers on Criterion. So if you have that already, you don't have to pay for it.

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Angela Watercutter: But what I'm hearing is that it doesn't go from bleak to dark.

Lauren Goode: Does EO die?

Michael Calore: I don't want to give anything away, but it does say a lot about human cruelty toward animals, but it does not do so in an exploitative way. It does so tastefully, but you get the point, and it doesn't really hammer it home. So it's not depressing. It's a very uplifting movie. Although animals lives usually do not end peacefully in this world, right? We mostly kill them and eat them, or we kill them and we take their fur. Or they just die because of neglect. And the movie exposes that, but it doesn't … Like I said, it's not … The movie doesn't hinge on that fact. It's really, it's a celebration of life more than anything.

Lauren Goode: Things just got really dark. I don't treat my animals that way.

Michael Calore: No, most animals though.

Lauren Goode: Not pets, like house pets.

Michael Calore: Right, but think about all the chickens you've eaten in your life. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

Lauren Goode: Trying to find the bright spot here, Mike.

Michael Calore: There isn't one. Except for the fact that it's a joyful hour and 26 minutes, just like I'm sure Cocaine Bear is.

Lauren Goode: Just like Marc Maron standup is. Or Ozark for that matter.

Michael Calore: All right.

Lauren Goode: All right.

Michael Calore: Well, hopefully this week has given everybody who's listening something to think about with regards to what they want to watch tonight and what they want to spend their money on in the future, whether they want to cancel their subscription service or sign up for a new one, like Shudder.

Lauren Goode: I like how you took that last opportunity just to plug the horror movie service. Shudder, it's a good name.

Michael Calore: It's so good. Anyway, that is our show for this week. Angela, thanks for coming on again. It's always great to have you.

Angela Watercutter: Thanks for having me.

Lauren Goode: Thanks so much, Angela.

Michael Calore: And thank you all for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes. Our producer is the excellent Boone Ashworth. We will be back next week with another show. And until then, be well. Goodbye.

[Gadget Lab outro theme music plays]

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