Welcome to Unstreamable, a weekly column that recommends films you can't find on major streaming services.
USA, 1983, 131 min, Dir. Mike Nichols
When we speak of Kurt Russell as a “Golden Globe nominated actor,” Silkwood is the movie we're referring to. While he does little more than look like a conservative American snack (blue jeans, Confederate flag and all), this is the movie that earned him his highest acting accolade. But Silkwood really belongs to Meryl Streep, who plays the real life Karen Silkwood, a whistleblower and labor organizer who worked at a nuclear facility in Oklahoma. In 1974, Silkwood died in a car accident under SuSpIcIoUs CiRcUmStAnCeS while driving to meet a New York Times reporter. Spooky, Big Daddy Capitalist shit. Cher (yes, that Cher) plays Streep’s butch lesbian roommate who dates a super femme funeral parlor beautician. Streep has the most intense—yet chic—mullet imaginable. And while the pacing can feel a bit meandering (this is the debut feature screenplay for Nora Ephron, who co-wrote the film), Streep gives a naturalistic, complex performance. As ever.
Also, shout out to Caitlin Lee of the Art Workers Union who tweeted about not being able to find Silkwood anywhere—this one is for you! JASMYNE KEIMIG
USA, 1997, 96 min, Dir. Jill Sprecher
Here's the elevator pitch for this movie: Parker Posie. Lisa Kudrow. Toni Collette. Alanna Ubach. As unsatisfied temps. In the late '90s. That's it. The fact that all these actresses are in a movie together should be enough for you to buy this DVD and treasure it forever. Frankly, I'm gobsmacked—GOBSMACKED!—that me and everyone I've ever known have never heard about Clockwatchers. (Thanks "Rodel the Great" for the suggestion on Twitter.) Posey plays an absolute office dom. Collette serves her characteristic meekness that's both devastating and understated. These women are royalty. (I'm so obsessed with Lisa Kudrow's character from HBO’s The Comeback that I have her character's name tattooed to my thigh.) I wonder if we'd all know about this film if it featured four leading dudes from the '90s, say Keanu Reeves or River Phoenix or Kevin Costner or Mark Wahlberg. Watch and make amends. CHASE BURNS
Spain, 1992, 95 min, Dir. Bigas Luna
I have always thought that sex and food are linked inextricably from each other. Both involve consumption and shoving stuff into your hole. Both have sticky cultural connotations surrounding how much you do it and whether you enjoy it. Spanish director Bigas Luna furthers this line of thought with his smutty, heavily melodramatic film, Jamón Jamón (“jamón” means ham, and the Spanish are obsessed). A very young Penelope Cruz plays a poor factory worker who makes a Spanish omelette so great that even her tits taste like it. After she becomes impregnated by a rich boy and they plan to marry, his classist mother decides to hire a young and nubile Javier Bardem to seduce Cruz away. Predictably, things go to shit. While Spanish machismo is on full display in the picture, it’s a fun erotic romp that features two early performances from Spain’s leading actors. And did I mention that Bardem’s character eats raw garlic to help with his libido? Hot. JASMYNE KEIMIG
You can rent this one on iTunes for $4.99.
Austria, 1999, 118 min, Dir. Ulrich Seidl
If I'm being honest, I rented this DVD because I was panicking. It's easy to get lost in Scarecrow Video and I needed to make a decision. So when I saw Models in the documentary section, I grabbed it, thinking this would be a hip doc about Austrian bimbos who do a bunch of blow and wear obnoxious clothes. I was wrong, mostly. This is a drama from Ulrich Seidl, an Austrian director known for torturing his audiences. I wanted to jump ship ten minutes into this thing. For a movie about models, it's sure got drab, unflattering lighting. And then ten more minutes went by. And ten more. And an hour! Then two! These women with big lips and fragile egos go on endless benders and I was right there with them. This movie is a bender. I couldn't get out. It also features a song called "Shave That Pussy" that I really think everyone should hear. CHASE BURNS
We couldn't find a trailer with English subtitles. Sorry! To make up for it, here's the music video for "Shave That Pussy."