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 😊
JAS: I’m feeling nostalgic so I decided to watch Shiloh, a movie based on a book I definitely read in elementary school about a cute-ass—but abused!—beagle.
CHASE: Continuing the puppy theme, I’ve also got a movie with a cute dog in it. This one’s a Doberman named Hamlet, and he’s surrounded by an all-star cast that includes Julia Roberts, Justine Bateman, and Liam Neeson.
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USA, 1996, 93 min, Dir. Dale Rosenbloom
Growing up, books about dogs and kids used to stress me out. So often, it seemed like the cute little puppy that brought the child protagonist so much joy ended up dead. And watching the 1996 film Shiloh, based on Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s 1991 book of the same name, that similar sense of dread twisted my stomach in knots. The movie follows Marty (the late Blake Heron), a young boy who forms a bond with a beagle he names Shiloh after the dog routinely escapes its abusive owner, Judd (Scott Wilson). Judd is insistent about keeping his hunting dog, loudly promising to break Shiloh’s legs if he keeps running away. Obviously, this distresses Marty and he does everything in his power to protect and keep the little pup.
Though intended for children, the film deals pretty clearly with abuse and animal cruelty. It’s corny yet complex with real emotional stakes—very rare for a kid’s movie! I definitely got Shiloh and Where the Red Fern Grows mixed up, so I was pleased to learn that Shiloh (spoiler!!!) doesn’t die in the end. The movie was popular enough to spawn two sequels but still remains unstreamable for reasons unknown. Perhaps it has something to do with the book’s intellectual property rights. Regardless, it’s a cute doggy movie that warmed my cold, black heart. JAS KEIMIG
Find it in the Kids section, under Children’s Live Action.
USA, 1988, 92 min, Dir. Joan Freeman
There are three ways we find movies for this column. 1: People give us recommendations, which, thank you. (That’s how I heard about Sammie and Rosie Get Laid, Jackie’s Back, and other unstreamable favs.) 2: We stumble on something by hand at Scarecrow, which is how we find the wildest trash. (See: The Taking of Beverly Hills.) Or 3: We think of an actor/director/cinematographer we like and then rabidly search their filmography until we find a good movie the streamers still need to gobble up. That last route is how I landed on Satisfaction, a movie I would’ve thought we’d have covered by now, considering its cast.
NBC built Satisfaction for Justine Bateman, famous for acting in the sitcom Family Ties. In this, she plays Jennie Lee, a high school valedictorian caught between going to college or doubling down on her all-girl rock band. (A rock band that includes her friend Daryle, played by Julia Roberts in her first major role.) The movie follows Jennie as she spends a sleepy post-graduation summer bobbing back and forth between wanting higher ed or rock n’ roll. She also ends up in a romance with a boozy nightclub owner played by a stiff Liam Neeson.
Sadly, Satisfaction is exceptionally unsatisfying and totally mid, from its singing to its plotting, and there’s not much to say about it. It flopped at the box office and is probably only of note to Bateman and Roberts diehard fans. But, as promised, the movie has a very cute Doberman named Hamlet. And I mean very cute! CHASE BURNS
Find it in the Music section under Rock Musicals.
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.