Please Subscribe

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Please Subscribe Movie Poster Image
Documentary promotes YouTube stars' non-glam life.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 79 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Being an online celebrity isn't such a bad life, but becoming one might not be as easy as some Internet viewers might think. The YouTube stars in the film show that it takes a winning, authentic personality to appeal online, and genuine people will be rewarded with genuine, devoted fans.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The YouTube personalities all explain how they're ordinary people who stumbled into Internet celebrity. And while they enjoy the fact that they can make a decent living making YouTube videos, they also make it clear that it's not easy money. It takes plenty of time and real work.

Violence
Sex
Language

Language includes "s--t" and various permutations of "f--k."

Consumerism

The film's entire purpose is to promote YouTube as an entirely new form of entertainment, as told through interviews with ordinary people who have, mostly accidentally, become breakout video stars. They all have their own online brands to plug, and they all talk about the growing power of YouTube as a media form. Several well-known products also appear or are mentioned, including Apple computers, iMovie and FinalCut Pro software, and XBox and PlayStation game consoles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the segments features a woman who gets sloppy drunk while cooking; in some clips, she's quite obviously wasted.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Please Subscribe is a documentary that examines the growing impact of YouTube as a media platform and how ordinary people have become Internet celebrities simply by making videos for the popular site. The film features in-depth interviews with eight of these Internet stars, who explain how they stumbled into their unusual career and what it takes to produce a steady stream of content. The entire film promotes the YouTube brand, as well as the interviewees' own online brands. Expect some swearing, including "s--t" and "f--k," and a segment in which a woman is sloppily drunk.

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What's the story?

People across the globe watch more than 3 billion hours of YouTube online content a month, and some of the ordinary people who produce and star in the website's videos have become Internet-era celebrities. PLEASE SUBCRIBE features in-depth interviews with eight of these stars, who explain how they got started (usually by accident), what it takes to produce a never-ending stream of entertainment (more work than you might think), and why they enjoy it -- one says he's never had another job and can hardly comprehend what it's like to look for work or spend the day in an office. It's a modern commentary on a career that didn't exist before the digital age.

Is it any good?

Please Subscribe, produced and directed by Dan Dobi, is a good idea, if not one that makes for a groundbreaking film. YouTube has become a global phenomenon, and Dobi is right to describe it as an entirely new form of media with growing influence. And the eight interviewees -- breakout YouTube celebrities with legions of fans who subscribe to their online "channels" -- have indisputably become Internet stars.

But their stories about how they stumbled into this unusual career have a lot in common: Typically, they post a video for a friend or three and are surprised to learn that many more people are watching. So they make another video, and another, and suddenly they've become YouTube sensations. Daily Grace, MysteryGuitarMan, SeaNanners, Mitchell Davis, and others explain their newfound careers and show how they make their videos -- often by simply being likeable, everyday folks. It's an interesting behind-the-scenes look at a lifestyle that (surprisingly) isn't always that interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about YouTube. Do you think YouTube and other forms of online content are the future of media? What do parents (and kids) need to know about navigating them?

  • What do you think about the YouTube stars' online channels? Would you watch their Web shows? Can you think of other people who've become famous via YouTube?

  • What do you think the film's intent is? Who is it meant to reach, and why?

Movie details

  • In theaters: February 5, 2013
  • On DVD or streaming: January 14, 2014
  • Director: Dan Dobi
  • Studio: Dobi Media LLC
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 79 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR

For kids who love true stories and YouTube

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