Where can I rent (or possibly buy, if necessary) movies that aren't on Netflix?
November 17, 2010 3:09 PM   Subscribe

My Netflix queue has a looooong list of movies that are currently unavailable. Netflix doesn't know when they'll become available, so I need a Plan B. Are there any internet sources I can check out? I'd prefer not to hunt around video stores near me, or contact each individual movie's production company.

If you're wondering what kind of movies these are, I've got...

-some are indie or festival films that didn't or haven't yet gotten a wide release, i.e. True Adolescents

-some are foreign, i.e. Dogtooth, Animal Kingdom, The Red Chapel

-some are older, i.e. The Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street or Tunnel Vision

-some are even films you'd think would be widely available, like Bronx Tale, but seem to be available only cyclically

-lots are documentaries, too

I'm guessing there won't be a silver bullet for this question, but any ideas would be great
posted by world b free to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you already tried Green Cine? It's not a solve-all, but I find while they ship slower, they have a lot more indie/cult/foreign stuff than NetFlix.
posted by Gucky at 3:15 PM on November 17, 2010


Bittorrent.
posted by jrockway at 3:15 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hadn't, Gucky, but it looks right up my alley. Thanks!
posted by world b free at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2010


I had Green Cine a few years ago, for the same reason- more available cult titles, including DVD-Rs like the Turkish Star Wars. Anyway.... they are MUCH SLOWER than Netflix, and certainly I was paying a little more for GC then than I am Netflix now, and with the slow delivery, it really was less value for money. It's possible they've expanded their shipping centers since then, not sure.
posted by tremspeed at 3:22 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You might also check out EZTakes. They seem to have a lot of odd, difficult to find movies.
posted by hippybear at 3:23 PM on November 17, 2010


Your local public library probably has movies. When you've exhausted their offerings, you can get a card at the library in the next town over, and then the next town after that. Some of these libraries probably purchase items in response to patron requests. When you've exhausted those possibilities, it'll be time to check out interlibrary loan ('check out,' get it?).

Inter-library borrowing agreements, and union catalogs like Worldcat, will make these steps much easier.
posted by box at 3:27 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


btjunkie Cough, cough cough.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of top notch brick and mortar video stores will rent you movies by mail. Chicago's Facets Videotheque has a good selection of rarities.
posted by bubukaba at 4:18 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I had to buy Turkish Star Wars on eBay a while back. If only I'd asked this question sooner.
posted by world b free at 4:42 PM on November 17, 2010


some are indie or festival films that didn't or haven't yet gotten a wide release, i.e. True Adolescents

-some are foreign, i.e. Dogtooth, Animal Kingdom, The Red Chapel

-some are older, i.e. The Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street or Tunnel Vision

-some are even films you'd think would be widely available, like Bronx Tale, but seem to be available only cyclically

-lots are documentaries, too


Except for #4, the reason Netflix probably doesn't have them is because they are not available on DVD in the US.

I remember back in the day when DVD was new and I was a super film geek - I used to go to Kim's Video in the east village for this sort of thing, often on horrible-quality VHS. Turkish Star Wars. Battle Royale. That alternate cut of Spinal Tap. But places to do that are really few and far between now.

For the things that have been released in other countries but not the US, you could look into buying a multi-region DVD player if this is a big deal for you. For the rest, try torrent, but if my experience with torrenting is typical it can be difficult to get really obscure stuff.

I feel your pain. For instance WHY DON'T THEY HAVE The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover?? WHY? IT IS TOTALLY OUT ON DVD! WTF IS WITH THAT?
posted by Sara C. at 9:40 PM on November 17, 2010


WHY DON'T THEY HAVE The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover?? WHY? IT IS TOTALLY OUT ON DVD! WTF IS WITH THAT?

The 2001 Anchor Bay release of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (which is the only Region 1 release) is out of print, with even used copies selling for upwards of $70. Netflix can't purchase copies of the disc in the quantities necessary to rent it out, and won't be able to unless it is rereleased.

posted by maqsarian at 11:11 PM on November 17, 2010


boo.
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 PM on November 17, 2010


@ Sara C., hadn't heard of that one but it looks great. Looks like it's going on the Saved queue!
posted by world b free at 12:05 AM on November 18, 2010


Definitely check out your library and in particular inter-library loan systems, when available. For example, Colorado has Prospector and the metro-west Boston area has Minuteman. You can request most anything in the system, and for free. I'm a huge fan of both, and when I was watching a lot of art/foreign/forgotten classics/etc I was nearly always able to find what I was looking for. Hopefully your local library has a similar system in place.

Pro-tip: it really helps to have a VCR if you're looking for older and relatively obscure movies. The aforementioned The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover is available on Prospector, but only on VHS. Yeah, the VHS copy is sometimes in pretty poor shape, but I'd rather see a poor copy of a movie than not see it at all, or have to spend $70 on an out of print DVD. YMMV
posted by 6550 at 7:52 AM on November 18, 2010


Sara C, places that do that are few and far between because it incurs a legal risk.
posted by tremspeed at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2010


I'm quite well aware of that. But while once you could have a somewhat sketchy casual video store, and there were so many videos coming in and out, and who could really say what they did or didn't have and how they got it, companies like Netflix can't really do that. Which is why I'm a bit surprised that GreenCine really has a lot of things Netflix doesn't.
posted by Sara C. at 9:44 AM on November 18, 2010


Independent video stores and libraries look like great ideas, too.

To answer my own question, now that I remember it, my college had a film school, and that had a great library of stuff. Doubt members of the public could access it, though.
posted by world b free at 10:21 AM on November 18, 2010


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