LIQUID SKY and MATEWAN are Unstreamable

This is queer history.

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 unless we’re tired or busy (or Chase has been on vacation, like the past three weeks) 😊

Next week, we’re kicking off Pride month with a rare screening of LIQUID SKY at Northwest Film Forum. We’re extremely excited to share this freaky, queer movie, so come through and watch it with us at one of LIQUID SKY’s five screenings from June 2-4. Jas also watched Matewan this week, and, yes, they cried. 

Got a recommendation? Give us the scoop at


USA, 1982, 112 min, Dir. Slava Tsukerman

Anne Carlisle playing both Jimmy and Margaret. 

New York has never looked trippier than in Liquid Sky.

The film centers around two cocaine-addicted models in Manhattan, Margaret and Jimmy, who are both played by the gender-bending Anne Carlisle. Jimmy is suave with slicked-back hair and sleek suits, while Margaret—a bisexual with a drug dealer girlfriend—is often decked out in vibrant colors with bold geometric shapes painted across her face. In fact, the whole movie is soaked in neon colors and moody lighting as it moves from bedroom to club dance floor, trippy like the inside of a kaleidoscope. When a UFO lands on the roof of Margaret and her girlfriend’s apartment building, the alien inside feeds on the orgasms of people Margaret bangs. The feeding then kills them in a process depicted with a filter resembling a psychedelic heat sensor. It’s wild.

Liquid Sky is one of the highest-grossing indie movies of its time and eventually had a lasting influence over early 2000s culture. In particular, the movie deeply informed the electroclash/Berliniamsburg scene in New York City at the turn of the millennium. You can see bits of Jimmy and Margaret in the way artists like Peaches, Chicks on Speed, and even Lady Gaga at the end of the decade styled themselves. Neon and Liquid Sky live on forever…

CW: Rape, sexual assault, drug use

Find in the Psychotronic section, under Sci-Fi. 



USA, 1987, 135 min, Dir. John Sayles

What a picture!

Matewan should be required viewing in schools. John Sayles’ moving social realist film about the true story of West Virginian coal miners rising up against their exploitative bosses in the 1920s not only uncovers a little told era of American history, but speaks to the power of collective action.

The movie opens with Black and Italian miners being brought into the tiny mountain town of Matewan as scabs after the white workers of Stone Mountain Coal Company go on strike to protest unsafe conditions and poor pay. Also on the train with them is Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper in probably the best debut performance ever) of the United Mine Workers who’s come to organize the fed-up miners. As he works to bridge the racial divide between the Black and white miners (“Any union keeps this man out ain’t a union, it’s a goddamn club!”) and get them organized, Stone Mountain Coal sends out their goons to undermine the workers’ efforts using whatever means necessary. It eventually culminates in a bloody confrontation that Joe had worked hard to avoid. 

Cooper is the heart and soul in the movie, but James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham, and David Strathairn turn in some excellent performances. After nearly a decade of making under-the-radar indie films, Matewan was Sayles’ first to garner him significant mainstream recognition with cinematographer Haskell Wexler getting an Oscar nomination. Workers of the world, unite! JAS KEIMIG

Find it in the Directors section under Sayles, John.


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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