The Satirical Story of MoviePass, as Told by Comedians

Ben Friedman

 

MoviePass, the subscription service that allowed users to see one movie a day for $10 per month. Supported by 91 percent of all U.S. cinemas, the subscription became a necessity for moviegoers.

 

In 2018, MoviePass had upwards of 3 million subscribers and the average movie ticket price was $9.11. If a user bought two tickets in a month, they would save $8.22. MoviePass was unsustainable. By May 2018, the service saw a loss of $40 million. The question surrounding MoviePass was not why it failed, but rather, how did the company believe it could ever succeed at such a low price point? And who better to examine the ludicrous failure of MoviePass than comedians?

 

Blackout Dates: The True MoviePass Story is a true crime satire podcast that captures the absurdity of MovePass’s demise. Hosted by Zac Gelfand and Spencer Roth-Rose, the show follows true amateur Podcasters investigating the rise and fall of MoviePass. In the search for the truth, they discover a deep-rooted conspiracy theory involving the lakes of CEO Mitch Lowe, mysterious cults, and an ancient deity.

 

 

Gelfand and Roth-Rose have a natural on-air chemistry. Their jokes are quick-witted and the story is well-written. They do a great job of basing the podcast in reality for the first few episodes, allowing audiences an understanding of the history of MoviePass and its founders. In doing so, it allows the ridiculous nature of the story unfolding to feel grounded and based in reality.

 

The show’s humor never lessens the impact of its wildly outrageous story. Admittedly, the last installment becomes a bit far-fetched, and stands juxtaposed with the rest of its episodes. While humorous, all sense of sanity vanishes leading to a bizarre off-the-rails ending.

 

 

Gelfand and Roth-Rose are able to craft something that feels wholly unique within the podcast foreground, while also serving as an ode to podcast’s predecessors, radio. Its breezy dialect, story beats, and sound design are akin to that of a detective noir episodic radio show.

 

While the direction of Blackout Dates became weird, it nevertheless kept me thoroughly entertained. Clocking in at an hour and a half, Blackout Dates is a fun reminder of the lunacy that was MoviePass.

 

Author Bio:

Ben Friedman is a freelance film journalist and a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine. For more of his reviews visit bentothemovies.com, his podcast Ben and Bran See a Movie, or follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube: The Beniverse.

 

For Highbrow Magazine

 

Image Sources:

--Pixabay (Creative Commons)

 

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