Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Road House'

Jake Gyllenhaal Makes an Extremely Important Point About Streaming Releases

Road House, the Doug Liman remake of the Patrick Swayze-led 1989 action film, is due out on Prime Video in less than a month, and perhaps appropriately enough, it looks like everyone wants to throw hands over this movie.

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From Liman’s boycotting of the upcoming SXSW premiere to protest the film’s straight-to-streaming release to the recent lawsuit filed against MGM Studios and Amazon by the original film’s scribe, Road House has lit many a fuse in the months leading up to its release.

It’s poetic, then, that one Jake Gyllenhaal—who portrays the film’s scrappy protagonist—of all people is the who’s stepping up as a unique voice of reason that we’d all be wise to take after going forward. Speaking recently to Total Film, Gyllenhaal, in addition to tipping his hat to Liman for what he calls “advocating for filmmakers and theatrical releases,” shared his thoughts on how streaming has changed the landscape of how we access movies, pointing out that a streaming release means many more people will be able to watch it.

I just want as many people to see it as possible. And I think we’re living in a world that’s changing in how we see and watch movies, and how they’re made. I’ve also sat watching a film on my computer, or in different places, and been so profoundly moved. If the job of a story is to move people, I have been moved in both forms. I’m a deep lover of cinema and the theatrical release—but I also do really embrace the streaming world.

There’s a wealth of criticisms to be made against the sum of the current streaming model’s parts, but Gyllenhaal makes a fantastic point here. For many, things like the very much still ongoing presence of COVID-19 are major obstacles to theatrical accessibility. Also, not everyone is lucky enough to live near a movie theater, and even if they do, there’s no guarantee that the theater will get the big new releases you want to see. I myself missed out on the theatrical runs of Poor Things, American Fiction, The Book of Clarence, Past Lives), and Drive-Away Dolls for this reason, just to name a few.

Streaming releases provide unprecedented accessibility for audiences that may not have gotten the chance to see these movies otherwise. And while it may be true that streaming encourages passive, unengaged viewing habits, it always has been and always will be the responsibility of the viewer to engage with movies sincerely, as Gyllenhaal exemplified in his quote). The theater is only a band-aid solution for those who don’t, as evidenced by all the cell phones I regularly see on my weekly excursion to the cinema.

We’ve got a long, potentially impossible way to go before we come across a truly nutritious streaming model, but step one is identifying the positives already in place. So thank you, Gyllenhaal; see you on Prime Video next month.

(featured image: MGM Studios)


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