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Introducing Kanopy, the streaming service that lets you watch thousands of titles for free

Promotional art for the 2013 short film, The Phone Call
Promotional art for the 2013 short film, The Phone Call

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Every month we take a look at what movies or TV shows are deserving of your time. Writer and film buff Mark Jordan Legan is our guide, and usually he highlights great stuff that you should binge watch on the most common platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, but this time we're doing something a little different.

This week we're highlighting content on a relatively new streaming service called Kanopy. It's an on-demand video service that's unique in that it works with many public libraries around the country, providing a large collection of films and documentaries to students and library patrons for free!

The Los Angeles Public Library is part of this system, so if you have a valid library card, you can access Kanopy. It's sort of like having an art house cinema right in your viewing device. It specializes in indie films, foreign films and for true cinephiles - the Criterion Collection. 

Here are three titles he recommends.


Written and directed by Taika Waititi, it's the highest-grossing film ever in New Zealand. Based on a very popular New Zealand novel, it's the story of a troubled kid who has bounced from foster home to foster home, before being placed with a hard-working farmer and his wife. 

As you can see, it's incredibly entertaining, funny and moving without ever being sappy. 


Besides movies, the service also has tons of choices for fans of documentaries, and from 2015  there's "Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon." The film tells the story of the groundbreaking humor magazine, National Lampoon, which ran from 1970 to 1998. 

It focuses on the roots of the magazine - which was started by two Harvard graduates, Doug Kenney and Henry Beard. 

For years the magazine was considered the cornerstone of American satire and raunchy humor. Much of the staff went on to create or help write such comedy classics as Animal House, Caddyshack, and of course, the Vacation series staring Chevy Chase.

It’s a lively and engrossing film about one of the most important pop culture and comedy influences in modern America.


Finally, Kanopy has a lot of genres that are hard to find on traditional streaming services. They have a World Cinema section, a LGBTQ Film section and award winning short films like, "The Phone Call."

It stars Sally Hawkins as a counselor at a suicide hotline crisis center. Oscar winner Jim Broadbent plays the voice on the other end of the call.

The film is only 20 minutes long, but the two performances from Hawkins and Broadbent are top notch and it really packs an emotional punch.

Mark Jordan Legan is a writer, living in Los Angeles. If you're interested in seeing past Binge segments, click here.