Albert Brooks lends humor to Netflix U.S.

U.S. subscribers can now stream seven of the comedian's films, including Defending Your Life, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.
July 5, 2016

Albert Brooks, over the course of a lengthy career, has certainly been influential in shaping American comedy. But the writer, director and actor is the first to acknowledge that his influence — and relevance — among young audiences is not where it should be in the age of digital.

That situation is about to change following a deal with Netflix to make seven movies written and directed by the iconic American comedian available to streaming audiences worldwide.

“I’m thrilled that younger viewers, who might only know me as Marlin, the adorable clown fish from Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, can now see that I’ve in fact had a very interesting life out of the water,” said Brooks in a video (see below) released by the SVOD announcing the distribution pact.

The titles were released to U.S. subscribers July 1, with Defending Your Life, with Meryl Streep and Rip Torn, tops the list of films included in the deal. The movie, now 25 years old, takes a comedic look at what happens to a man when he dies and arrives in the afterlife only to find that he must stand trial and justify his lifelong fears in order to advance to the next phase of existence; or be sent back to earth to do it again. 

Also included are:

  • Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (Albert Brooks, Sheetal Sheth and John Carroll Lynch);
  • Lost in America (Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty);
  • Modern Romance (Albert Brooks, Kathryn Harrold, Bruno Kirby and George Kennedy);
  • Mother (Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds);
  • The Muse (Albert Brooks, Sharon Stone, Jeff Bridges and Andie MacDowell); and
  • Real Life (Albert Brooks, Charles Grodin, Frances Lee McCain, J.A. Preston and M.@atthew Tobin).

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, described the strategy behind distribution deal as something akin to preserving American heritage.

“Albert Brooks and his films have been a huge influence on American comedy,” he said in a statement. “His innovative early short films and comedy albums lead to body of film work that thrives in the culture and keeps us laughing today. We are proud to have our U.S. Netflix members revisit these great works and to help introduce Brooks’ comedies to the next generation of fans.”

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