Netflix is throwing a film festival for Albert Brooks: The service is making seven movies written and directed by the comedian available for the first time on a subscription-streaming service, starting Friday, July 1.
The films are: “Defending Your Life,” “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” “Lost in America,” “Modern Romance,” “Mother,” “The Muse” and Brooks’ directorial debut “Real Life.” The titles will be available only to Netflix’s U.S. subscribers.
“Albert Brooks and his films have been a huge influence on American comedy,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “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.”
Brooks currently can be heard as the voice of Marlin in Pixar’s smash hit “Finding Dory,” reprising his role from 2003’s “Finding Nemo,” and appeared in Will Smith-starrer “Concussion” last year. He’s repped by WME.
Netflix’s septet of Brooks movies doesn’t include “Broadcast News,” which featured one of his most memorable film roles and snagged him his only Oscar nomination. The 1987 dramedy, which also starred Holly Hunter and William Hurt, was written and directed by James L. Brooks.
The titles from Brooks’ oeuvre that Netflix is launching are:
- “Defending Your Life” (1991): Brooks plays a man who 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; co-starring Meryl Streep and Rip Torn.
- “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” (2006): To improve its relations with Muslim countries, the U.S. government sends Brooks to South Asia to write a report on what makes followers of Islam laugh; co-starring Sheetal Sheth and John Carroll Lynch.
- “Lost in America” (1985): A 30-something married couple, played by Brooks and Julie Hagerty, are inspired by the film “Easy Rider” to quit their jobs, sell their home and travel across America in a Winnebago.
- “Modern Romance” (1981): Brooks plays a successful film editor with far too many issues affects the relationship between him and his remarkably patient girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold). Also stars Bruno Kirby and George Kennedy.
- “Mother” (1996): A neurotic, successful sci-fi writer who is finalizing his second divorce (Brooks), decides to initiate a project that will help him understand what went wrong in his relationships: He moves back in with his mother (Debbie Reynolds).
- “The Muse” (1999): A Hollywood screenwriter (Brooks) has hit an artistic slump, he turns to the services of a woman (Sharon Stone) touted as a veritable muse — but he soon gets more than he bargained for. Also starring Jeff Bridges and Andie MacDowell.
- “Real Life” (1979): Brooks, in a parody of 1973 reality TV program “An American Family,” portrays a documentary filmmaker who attempts to live with and film a dysfunctional family for one full year. Also starring Charles Grodin, Frances Lee McCain, J.A. Preston and Matthew Tobin.
Watch Brooks’ video message announcing the Netflix pickups: