Films on Steam

Following yesterdays post, I have something else to talk about, did you know that you can rent and buy digital copies of films on Steam?

What? No?

Well, you can, hell you can even get the first four Leprechaun films, for fans of pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston that’s gotta be something, right?

But hey, if you want to talk Leprechaun, I can direct you to my review about the remake.
Instead I want to talk to you about a random indie flick I found on Steam, in fact I am not even sure where I got it, maybe I bought it because of the title, who knows.

Coffee, Kill Boss (2013)
Lets start off with the plot of the film, just for the sake of reasons I am taking it straight off the IMDB page:
From its humble beginnings as a tannery for hog bellies, the Wood and Wood corporation has evolved into a vast, corrupt modern-day holdings corporation. Lifelong employee and self-described 'company man' Henry Wood should have been handed the reins to the company after his father died three months ago, but he was instead passed over by the board for an interim president, Walt Ford. Today, top management has gathered at headquarters to await an offer of acquisition that will make them each rich beyond their dreams--and divorce Henry once and for all from the business his grandfather started 80 years earlier. The day starts badly when Walt Ford is found hanging from a noose in the boardroom. When management elects to ignore the suicide until their deal has closed, the decision sends the entire office into a death spiral of finger pointing, deal-making, prophetic PowerPoint presentations and gruesome murders. Those left alive must work together to find a killer before the killer finds them.

Despite the oh so realistic premise, the relationships in this film are where the real comedy lie, with Henry continually being undermined and overruled you really begin to feel for him.
But when people who are with each other during murders begin to doubt each other, it just gets farcical.

I love a little black humour, in fact only today I received a “I like black humour but that was dark..” from a friend, but if I gotta be honest this was just obvious, there’s a couple of twists but you could see them coming a mile away and I say that as the guy who generally won’t call out a films plot twists while it’s running, I just sat here thinking “Damn, I know…”
Of course, it becomes even more obvious when you look at any artwork for the film.

I liked the film, but it’s not one I am going to rush out and watch again, it’s not -that- good, even with the obligatory pat-down scene.

But even then, the topic of this discussion isn’t the film itself, but more about Steam being a delivery service for films and video.
The Steam clients video player worked surprisingly well with some great customisation features for captions, hands down that was just several awesomes.
But should Steam be a home for b-movies and indie darlings?

I mean I would completely understand if Steam and Valve started distributing films based on videogames, it would go hand in hand with the stores premise, as much as I did enjoy Coffee, Kill Boss and have seen the Leprechaun films, do they really fit in on Steam as a market place, that just feels like such a weird pairing to me.
Maybe someone over at Valve decided to be lenient with film criteria til they had proven themselves as a distribution platform, maybe they’ll get a little more selective over what they share later, but for now it just seems so strange to me.

Lets look at another feature.

The Quiet Girls Guide to Violence.
A 15 minute short that barely has any footprint on IMDB, in which a Velma-esque girl snaps and takes revenge on childhood bullies.
Described as Comic and Dark, it seems to be neither of these things, we see flashbacks of bullying, we see the snap but we don’t have a sympathetic protagonist so the film just seems like a step into sociopathy than anything else.

But ultimately it just doesn’t fit into the Steam environment and seems out of place just sitting there for sale.

When it comes to films, I think Steam needs to go all or nothing, you can’t just trickle a few flicks in, the system won’t really pick these up instead you need to get a big ticket item, or make some spectacle and it’s just not doing it, you know how they made a big deal about the launch of Steam hardware long before any hardware actually went into production?
They need to do that, they need to have something exciting, that people will talk over.
You can no longer limit yourself to films based on games, that ship has sailed, but everything can be related to some game out there, even by a tenuous thread, so the market has proven itself, the technology works and works well enough for my desires.

All I can really tell you is that here I am, own one documentary, one film and one short and I still don’t really know what the hell Steam is planning to do with films right now.

What about you, any thoughts on Steams foray into film distribution? Anything you want to see there? Any rules think Steam should set for the platform? Give us a shout out and let us know.


I am Silent, part time programmer and full time narcissist, gamer, geek and man on a mission.

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