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: One of my fav parts of this project is learning about a movie I can’t seem to find anywhere—not streaming, not at Scarecrow, not on eBay. Mary Bronstein’s Yeast fits that category, and I’m loving the three Unstreamable readers who managed to get me copies after I asked for help finding it. Bless u all.
JAS: And this week, I did a deep dive into the gutter with Freaked, probably one of the most heinous (lovingly) films I’ve watched recently.
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United States, 2008, 78 min, Dir. Mary Bronstein
“AAAAAAAH!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH HAAAAAA!!!!” is Greta Gerwig’s first line as the character Gen in director Mary Bronstein’s only feature film, Yeast. This long, funny yell-scream is a good symbol for the film, which is getting some attention after last weekend’s screening at NYC’s Roxy Cinema. Along with that screening came a nice spotlight from the New Yorker’s Richard Brody, who called Yeast “a modern mumblecore classic.” He’s been an advocate for it since it came out in the late 2000s, writing that it does what a mumblecore movie should do—and that is: “If classic Hollywood melodrama exalts the daily problems of traditional adulthood… mumblecore does the same for the minor conflicts of young adulthood.”
That’s all to say… this “hardcore mumblecore” movie is pretty meandering. It follows Rachel, played by Bronstein, as she prepares to go camping with her friends—friends who fight with each other over dumb things, like if a gifted education program should include singing. It rambles, going on to show roommates having dramatic arguments over dirty dishes. Lots of unstable close-up shots. Scenes that feel like non-sequiturs. Surprise appearances from the Safdie brothers. While not always fun to watch, it’s got strong intention.
Our friend Claire went to the screening in New York on Friday, and I think her Letterboxd review wraps it up nicely. Let’s end with that:
At first I was like this is the most annoying movie ever, and then during the Q&A Mary Bronstein was like “I wanted to write the most impossibly annoying characters based on my friends’ most annoying traits” and I was like ok that’s kind of tight. CHASE BURNS
U.S., 1993, 80 min, Dir. Tom Stern and Alex Winter
Just as I was finishing Freaked, I texted Chase that I thought the movie “might be worse than Garbage Pail Kids.” While GPK has a certain charm to it, Freaked is genuinely one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever watched. And I say that with a lot of love!
Very loosely, the film follows former sellout child star, Ricky (Alex Winter, Bill from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and his best friend who both travel to South America to promote an extremely poisonous fertilizer. But upon their arrival, both men and an environmentalist get kidnapped by unhinged carnival owner Elijah (Randy Quaid!), pumped with the fertilizer, and turned into freaks for Elijah’s freak show. Their fellow freak comrades are wormy, hairy, and drippy (played by a heavily disguised Keanu Reeves and John Hawkes!!!), and they all hatch a plan to escape.
Freaked is extremely ‘90s in its “politically incorrect”-ness. And, like many beloved unstreamable films, it had a deeply chaotic production. Originally conceived as a mainstream picture, directing newbies Winter and Tom Stern got the go-ahead to shoot the movie for $12 million as the studio made action figures and comics around the story. But when Fox CEO Joe Roth left in the middle of production, Freaked had no internal support and was basically canned. In 1994, it got a VHS release and slowly became a cult hit, though it was basically unavailable until Anchor Bay released it on DVD in 2005 (now out of print). We love a freaky origin story! 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.