LEONARD BERNSTEIN’S YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERTS and CHOPPER Are Unstreamable

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 every Wednesday. 

This week… 

JAS: I’m dealing with a post-Halloween hangover and wanted to watch something to match the pain I’m suffering through currently. Andrew Dominik’s Chopper brutally fits the bill. 

CHASE: My post-Halloween pick is a lot lighter, though I got to it by watching Tár and that movie is pretty spooky. I’m running with Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, one of my favorite things to play during a chill Sunday afternoon.

Got a recommendation? Give us the scoop at unstreamablemovies@gmail.com.

LEONARD BERNSTEIN’S YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERTS

USA, premiered 1958, 60 min episodes

Considering all the drama in the new movie Tár, it’s surprising that—semi-sorta spoiler alert—the whole thing’s emotional climax involves a clip from Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts. Those concerts are light, wholesome, even life-affirming, not exactly Tár’s vibe. But the legendary Bernstein was the mentor to the legendary and eponymous and fictional Lydia Tár, and she invokes him throughout the film. The recent Netflix series Pretend It’s a City also invokes him, when Fran Lebowitz raves about Bernstein’s concerts and their impact on her childhood. It’s like Schoolhouse Rock! for orchestras.

Bernstein began televising the show with the New York Philharmonic in 1958, and it ran for fourteen years, totaling fifty-three concerts all aimed at breaking down complex musical ideas for the youths. Throughout the concerts, he teaches how music is movement, how music can describe how we feel better than words, and how to make music as impressionistic as a painting. CBS initially aired the live broadcasts on Saturday mornings, but they soon became so popular they were presented at prime time, 7:30 PM, for three years. 

If you need a wind-down watch after Tár, maybe try throwing on an episode of Young People’s Concerts. It’s a comfort watch for me, and Lydia Tár, lol. CHASE BURNS

There are scattered episodes and clips available online, but, as far as I’m aware, the best way to watch is through DVD compilations. Find it in the Music section under Classical Performance.

 

CHOPPER

Australia, 2000, 94 min, Dir. Andrew Dominik

Genuinely frightening.

Andrew Dominik’s Chopper is less a by-the-books biopic of one of Australia’s most notorious celebrity criminals and more a violent exploration of one man’s quest for infamy. The subject at its center is the extremely brutal, totally unhinged Mark “Chopper” Read, a famed Australian criminal, personality, and best-selling author. 

A storyteller to his core, Chopper (played by a young Eric Bana in a breakout role) narrates his murderous impulses and encounters with good ol’ boy ease to anyone that’ll listen, mishmashing fact and fiction when recounting who had what gun and when. “I’m just a bloody normal bloke,” says Chopper while watching one of his interviews on the telly. “A normal bloke who likes a bit of torture.” As we follow him through his stint in prison (where he cut off both his ears to serve his sentence in the mental health wing) and his post-prison life (where he’s deeply paranoid about getting whacked), we quickly understand that there’s nothing normal about Chopper. He’s full-on off his rocker. He beats up his girlfriend, shoots a coke dealer in the leg, calmly hugged his attacker after being shanked in prison. 

Throughout, Bana plays Chopper with unrelenting intensity, alternating between blind murderous rage and softer seeming moments of vulnerability. The real life Chopper actually picked Bana for the role after seeing him in a comedy sketch show (which perhaps clues you in on how Chopper viewed himself). What’s more, Dominik centers Chopper’s point of view at the center, giving the whole film this demented, twisted feel. JAS KEIMIG

Find it in the Foreign section under Australia. 

 

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.

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