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 post on Wednesdays 😊
CHASE: First of all… It’s your LAST WEEKEND to catch our Unstreamable series at Northwest Film Forum! We’re screening Poison Ivy at the theater this Saturday and Sunday. It stars Drew Barrymore as Ivy, a teenage girl with a taste for seduction, shitty tattoos, and pushing people off beautiful marble balconies. All she wants is love… So come on, spread some love this weekend.
JAS: And some of us are still recovering from our New Year’s Eve hangover….perfect time to watch Love Actually for indie rock lovers a.k.a. 200 Cigarettes.
Got a recommendation? Give us the scoop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USA, 1992, 93 min, Dir. Katt Shea
New Line Cinema initially conscripted Katt Shea to direct a “Fatal Attraction with teenagers,” she told Dazed. Instead, Shea threw the big studio execs a big middle finger and made a sexed up and weirdly earnest movie about probably the worst friend breakup ever.
This pulpy erotic thriller stars a fresh-out-of-rehab Drew Barrymore as the titular Ivy, an opportunistic teen homewrecker who strikes up a lesbian-esque friendship with the cranky, wealthy Sylvie (Roseanne’s Sara Gilbert). Quickly, Ivy moves into Sylvie’s mansion, where the young temptress starts to wreak havoc. She raids Sylvie’s dying (and hot) mother’s closet and graphically seduces Sylvie’s weak-willed conservative father, played by a nervous-looking Tom Skerritt. As Ivy’s thirst for love and attention grows stronger, this moneyed family starts to break.
Incensed by the film, New Line Cinema demanded Shea make Ivy pay for her horny crimes. Shea vehemently disagreed and refused to shoot an ending until months after production ended. We won’t spoil what happens to the teen seductress, but the studio worked hard to ensure the film tanked at the box office. The studio eventually harvested the IP to make three direct-to-video spinoffs without Shea. But the 1992 film persisted, finding an audience on the home video market. It’s since become a cult favorite. True taste reigns supreme.
Find it in the Murder/Mystery/Suspense section. And at Northwest Film Forum this weekend.
USA, 1999, 101 min, Dir. Risa Bramon Garcia
Before there was Love, Actually, there was 200 Cigarettes. There are easy parallels here: Both cast a cornucopia of celebrities, both are controversially cloying, and both rank high on people’s “guilty pleasure” lists. The obvious differences between the two are their settings (Love, Actually is a Christmas movie, 200 Cigs is a New Year’s Eve movie), their box office totals (Love, Actually‘s box office is close to $250 million, 200 Cigs barely beat its budget), and their streaming statuses. 200 Cigs, an early movie from MTV Films, is totally, woefully unstreamable.
We can’t say we disagree with the film’s original reviews. It is, as Variety wrote, “dismally unfunny.” But we’d argue that its costumes, designed by Susan Lyall with a heavy Betsey Johnson vibe, are enough to save the movie. The coats that Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffmann wear should be in a museum. Martha Plimpton is so perfectly bad and distressed, and her gowns match her mood. We frequently look past a subpar movie’s terrible script or acting as long as it contains good special effects or cinematography, but we rarely extend the same courtesy to good costuming. Boo! Boring!
Like many unstreamable artifacts, 200 Cigarettes‘ unstreamability is probably due to its bloated soundtrack. The movie contains 49 songs, featuring everyone from Blondie to Elvis Costello to—checks notes—Harvey Danger singing a cover of English Beat’s “Save It for Later.” And recently, the film went viral on TikTok after user Lusci0us Garbage posted about this underseen gem, agreeing that the cast and costuming were stellar, but the plot and acting were shit. If we believe in the 20-year fashion cycle theory, 200 Cigarettes is prime for a comeback with Gen Z.
Find it in the Comedy section.
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.