In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Focus Features, the studio will be throwing itself a trio of weird, sad birthday parties on Facebook Live.
The first will be tonight at 9 PM ET, at which time you can log on to Facebook and go to the Focus Feature page and enjoy a free screening of the 2004 film The Motorcycle Diaries. Gael García Bernal stars in this coming-of-age film / Che Guevara biopic set in the early 1950s, and the film ends with a brief mention of the fact that Guevara was executed by the Bolivian government with the full support of the CIA.
The second party will be on Friday, September 1st, at 9 PM ET, at which time you can stream — free of charge! — the 2005 film The Constant Gardener, which stars Ralph Fiennes as a British diplomat and plant enthusiast whose wife is murdered as part of a pharmaceutical conspiracy. The third party will be on Friday, September 8th, at 9 PM ET, at which time you will be asked to celebrate the birth of Focus Features with a complimentary Facebook Live stream of the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is about the temptation to erase people you have loved from your memory in order to avoid feeling any pain at any time.
Though Facebook Live was once notorious for hosting illegal movie streams, it added a new Rights Manager last April that could pull them down in real time.
In June, Domino’s announced a one-time promotion in which pizza fans could watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for free on their page and thereby acquire discount codes. But so far, this is the first film studio to experiment with Live, and it is certainly the first entity that has thrown itself three streaming parties, all of movies that are at least 10 years old and universally bummers.
It’s an interesting choice, given that it sets up the screening of an old, sad movie as if it is traditional appointment television: You can’t rewind the stream, and it’s not available after the movie ends. The event description encourages you to RSVP so that Facebook will send you push notification reminders about your plan to watch Jim Carrey cry. This is just like when your parents had to mark the calendar for whenever West Side Story was going to air! Maybe that’s enough to make the whole thing seem fun. Maybe now you’re just in the mood to watch West Side Story, which is available for a mere $2.99 on most on-demand streaming sites. It too, is a bummer.