Not Love Streams.

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 every Wednesday unless we’re tired or busy 😊

CHASE: Mama mia, the new Mario movie comes out in a few weeks, so hey, why not, let’s revisit the bad egg that came before it, Super Mario Bros (1993). 

JAS: And this week, I wanted to dwell, once again, on whether or not love is a continuous stream…

CHASE: …pretty sure these movies have never been suggested together before.

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USA, 1993, 104 min, Dir. Annabel Jankel, Rocky Morton

Not the one with the not-Italian plumber.

“Guilty pleasures” are dumb. If you like something, you like something. I like Super Mario Bros, the first one, though I do feel guilty about it because it’s a nightmare. (This Guardian profile on it starts with, “Dennis Hopper was not happy.”) An early-90s live-action adaptation of the popular video game franchise, Super Mario Bros follows John Leguizamo as Luigi and Bob Hoskins as Mario as they plumb their way to saving the world. Cool guy Dennis Hopper plays the main villain. Everything is stylized and weird (its production designer was the art director for Blade Runner [1982]) and also foul and off. Still, this movie was an early gay root for me. It just smells queer. Leguizamo’s Luigi is both trade and twink. Hoskins’ Mario likes muscle women who slap him. Fiona Shaw’s here, too. My eyes were WIDE when I was watching this as a kid. Don’t get me started on Toad. CHASE BURNS

Find it in the Psychotronic Room under Joysticks! (Games & Gamers). 



USA, 1984, 141 min, Dir. John Cassavetes

Do you believe that love is a continuous stream?

Love Streams introduced me to John Cassavetes, and from the first frame I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it out of my brain. The story follows Robert (Cassavetes), a lonely and alcoholic writer of trashy novels who fears being alone and believes—and repeats several times throughout the film—that all beautiful women have a secret that they must offer to a man. Needless to say, he’s deeply unhappy. And in that unhappiness he’s joined by his sister, Sarah (Gena Rowlands), a recent divorcee who’s lost custody of her child, which only deepens her obsession with her own family and the concept of love. She fervently believes and often repeats that “love is a stream—it’s continuous, it doesn’t stop,” an idea that’s rebuked by other characters in the film. 

Over the two-and-a-half-hour runtime, both Robert and Sarah find themselves providing shelter for one another—in their failings, insecurity, and emotions. It’s circuitous, unpredictable and—despite the plot line—it never once falls into melodrama. One of the film’s most tragic scenes is also its funniest, when Sarah tries every clown trick and joke in the book to try to get her ex-husband (Seymour Cassel) and young daughter to laugh. Love Streams is the last time Cassavetes and Rowlands perform together before Cassavetes’ death in 1989 and they are absolutely entrancing onscreen. If you’re a nerd like me, I’m Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes, the Man and His Work is a behind-the-scenes documentary of the film–which you can find on the Criterion edition and, um, other sources–featuring the director wax poetic about the philosophy of what he does. “I’ve got a one-track mind, that’s all I’m interested in is love,” he said. We miss you. JAS KEIMIG


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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