It’s Unstreamable! Where Jas Keimig and Chase Burns recommend movies and TV shows you can’t watch on major streaming services in the United States. We post on Wednesdays 😊
CHASE: This week, we’re returning to unstreamable king Harmony Korine, who’s got a lot of unstreamable movies in his oeuvre. I don’t really like his movies, but I keep thinking about them, so I don’t know, what do I know, maybe I do like them.
JAS: And I love dipping my toes into a bit of countercultural malaise during these gray months. It really helps my S.A.D.!
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USA, 1999, 94 minutes, Dir. Harmony Korine
After the first five minutes of Julien Donkey-Boy, I was ready to turn it off. I thought it was snotty and tough to watch, like its predecessor Gummo which is also unstreamable. But then I thought, “I got through Skinamarink; I can get through this.” We live in a post-Skinamarink world. Today’s teens go to IRL movie theaters to watch a full-length experimental movie made up of grainy shots of the most uninteresting parts of bedrooms. As if someone gave the girl who climbed out of TVs in The Ring a camera and told her to shoot a movie and it turned out she was obsessed with crown molding. In contrast, Julien Donkey-Boy has lots of locations and lots of visual poetry. Werner Herzog sprays down a dude with a hose in it.
Films, of course, are allowed to be boring. There’s that Abbas Kiarostami quote (“I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater”), and that’s something Korine is doing here—being “artsy-fartsy,” as Herzog’s character says. But with patience and a willingness to take a nap, you’ll discover JDB’s striking, burning sequences. Like when Chloë Sevigny’s character walks through amber waves of grain while singing a creepy Jesus song. Or when a magician gives a blowjob to a fistful of lit cigarettes. It’s art. And it’s allegedly a certified Dogme 95 movie—which is very artsy-fartsy—though it doesn’t seem to follow the movement’s rules. Actually, the more I think about it, there’s a lot to say about this movie, although there’s nothing to say about its plot, so I won’t. And actually, there’s a lot to say about Skinamarink, too. Next time I watch that one, I’ll take a nap. Maybe the dreams are the point. CHASE BURNS
Find it in the Drama section. Harmony Korine isn’t in the Directors section. Lol.
USA, 1970, 113 min, Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
If you’ve never seen Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, you’re honestly not missing that much. The Italian auteur’s only movie filmed in America is clearly the work of a leftist European clamoring to say something about American counterculture in the late 1960s as it struggled to reconcile (white) hippie carefreeness with (Black) revolutionary ideals. At its center is protester Mark and anthropology student Daria who have probably one of the weirdest meet cutes in the high desert of Death Valley (Mark tries to hit Daria with a plane). They then fuck in the dust of Zabriskie Point which leads to a giant orgy of hippies in all that sand. Scratchy!
Zabriskie Point has a reputation of being one of the worst films of all time, but not in a The Room kind of way. It’s an assessment, I believe, that’s purely based on comparison to the genius of Antonioni’s previous work. The movie has, of course, gained more appreciation and become a sort of cult classic in the years since it was made. Especially of note is its soundtrack which includes cuts from Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and Kaleidoscope (also, probably contributing to this film’s unstreamability). I will say, the cinematography is gorgeous with all those bodies twisting and fucking among the craggy, dusty surface of the earth. Also, incredibly, Kathleen Cleaver has a cameo appearance at the beginning of the film. And it is sort of refreshing to see American politics and existence through another’s gaze. We’re a freaky lot. JAS KEIMIG
Find it in the Directors section under Antonioni, Michelangelo.
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.