Unstreamable is a column where Jas Keimig and Chase Burns recommend movies and TV shows you can’t watch on major streaming services in the United States. We publish on Wednesdays.
CHASE: Happy winter solstice! It’s only getting lighter from here on out. To help us survive the Big Dark, I’m suggesting one of my comfort watches this week, the silly and vampy Connie and Carla.
JAS: And I’m suggesting the literal opposite of a comfort watch, Walter Hill’s The Driver. Unless car chases are comforting to you in which case…
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USA, 2004, 98 min, Dir. Michael Lembeck
What do you like to watch when outside looks like *~*gestures to the window*~* ? Another winter of 4:20 PM sunsets requires creative ways to boost serotonin levels, and this week John Moe, the host of the Depresh Mode podcast, pitched a few suggestions to KUOW. One tip was to revisit comfort watches—something easy, quotable, familiar. Connie and Carla always lands on that list for me (probably because Muriel’s Wedding is my top comfort watch, and this feels kinda-sorta like that).
The gist of Connie and Carla is Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette play two musical theater-loving showgirls (Connie and Carla) who witness a mob murder and flee to LA. There, they get their wishes fulfilled by becoming big-city showgirls—by pretending to be drag queens. It’s dated and dumb but funny and written by Vardalos, and, as Slate’s original reviewer put it, it’s less of a movie and more “a blatant girls’ night out vehicle.” A woo girl romp, if u will. Ft. David Duchovny.
I frequently dig through Toni Collette’s filmography when looking for unstreamable films; this one didn’t pop up on my radar until recently, so it must be floating in between platforms. It’s not even showing up on Crackle or Freevee or one of the other “free ad-supported television (FAST) channels.” Disrespectful! CHASE BURNS
Find it in the Comedy room.
USA, 1978, 91 min, Dir. Walter Hill
2022 was really the year of the unstreamable car movie for me—first Two Lane Blacktop and now The Driver. I know, I know, it’s only two, but that’s a lot for someone who doesn’t own a car! Anyway, the film centers on a stoic, hot, unnamed getaway driver (Ryan O’Neal) who’s the best in the business. The only hitch is that an obsessive detective played by Bruce Dern becomes obsessed with this “cowboy who could not be caught,” and aims to bring him down however possible. Plus, a young Isabelle Adjani gets caught up in the mix. The film is spare and stylish, and all the characters speak in a pared-down neo-noirish bravado. The car sequences really deliver, particularly one where The Driver proves his driving ability by methodically destroying a car in a parking garage. Upon release, however, The Driver was a commercial and critical bomb. But its arty, economical vibe has influenced a lot of more popular films over the decades, like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill Vol. 2, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, and—of course—Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Buckle in—it’s a fun ride. JAS KEIMIG
Find it in the Directors section under Hill, Walter.
Looking for more? Browse our big list of 350+ hard-to-find movies over on The Stranger.
*The fine print: Unstreamable means we couldn’t find it on Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, Disney+, or any of the other hundreds of streaming services available in the United States. We also couldn’t find it available for rent or purchase through platforms like Prime Video or iTunes. Yes, we know you can find many things online illegally, but we don’t consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.