Unstreamable is a weekly column that finds films and TV shows you can't watch on major streaming services in the United States. This week we're going back to school with: the rare libertarian college comedy, PCU; a bunch of horned-up teens cause trouble in Porky's Revenge; tender European Union propaganda in The Spanish Apartment; and a teacher gets wet over morals in The Emperor's Club.
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USA, 1994, 79 minutes, Dir. Hart Bochner
PCU hits different nowadays. The college comedy is a libertarian send-up of a "Politically Correct University" (modeled after Wesleyan University) and it's full of the tired jokes contrarians have been making for thirty years. People have pronouns! Ha! Feminists are mean! Ha! Liberals are hypocrites! Ha! These are the jokes. They lack curiosity.
Still, the film has developed a cult following, with many conservatives panting that it predicted the type of progressive hanky panky that goes down at colleges like Evergreen. The film's lead, played by Jeremy Piven, was recently tweeting about how it still holds up "maybe now more than ever." There's a daily campaign to get it streaming. Today:
Hey there! We don't have the rights to stream PCU at this time, but we'll let our team know you'd like to see this movie join our streaming library in the future. Thanks for sharing your request with us!
— Hulu Support (@hulu_support) September 3, 2020
Defining what the film stands for is harder than defining what it stands against. It's anti-vegan, anti-feminist, anti-Black, anti-queer, and also—here's the overlooked part—pointedly anti-fascist. By the end of the film, the enemy that unites PCU's entire student body isn't the leftists, but a group of men who look like Richard Spencer. They've got fascist haircuts and prefer their membership to be direct descendants of the Mayflower. Everyone hates them because they're anti-partying narks. Today's fascists have undergone a rebrand.
The PCU of 2020 would certainly include antifa. 1994's PCU has no antifa because it doesn't need to. All of the characters are anti-fascist. Times have changed. CHASE BURNS
USA | Canada, 1985, 92 minutes, Dir. James Komack
Admittedly, I have not seen the first two films in the Porky's trilogy, but I don't think either film is a prerequisite to enjoying this dumb-as-fuck teen sex comedy. Despite the film's name, there's very little revenge to speak of—just tons of boners, boobs, hot foreign exchange students, pervy teachers, practical jokes, lecherous men on steamboats, and blackmail. All in the tropical and swampy backdrop of south Florida.
While the sexual politics of the film are exhausting, it's a fun escape into a time when "kids" (all of the actors in this film look like they are in their 30s) apparently didn't care about AP exams or getting into a good college. It's clearly not Booksmart. (That film gave me war flashbacks.) Also of note is the soundtrack which features new and re-recorded classic rock songs from the likes of Willie Nelson and George Harrison. My guess is that Porky's Revenge hasn't made its way onto a streaming service because of the fees associated with the music copyrights.
But rent the DVD—this is a trash film worth watching at home, even if just for the epic boat crash scene at the end. JASMYNE KEIMIG
France | Spain , 2002, 122 minutes, Dir. Cédric Klapisch
Jasmyne tells me this movie is often taught in Spanish classes and it's easy to see why. It's got Big EU Energy. Essentially the plot is this: A group of exchange students live together in a dingy Spanish apartment. They have to confront their country's stereotypes. The German is stern and timely. The Brit is polite but comes with racist baggage. The French guy is befuddled and fucks another man's wife. They all smoke a lot. There are bad gaucho pants. It presents a version of the world that is peaceful and enlightened because of its multiculturalism. This is a continent that couldn't imagine Brexit.
I will admit, the ending is corny. A lot of it is corny, but it's inventive and ultimately self-aware. In one sequence, the group all sits in a town square and sings "No Woman, No Cry." I wanted to barf. And then, one of the characters, drunk, does barf! Like, really retches. Thick puke. It's juxtaposed against their undying, cheesy singing. This scene is what won me over.
Regardless of all the corn, it's a sweet reminder of the promise of a united Europe. Our dreams have changed! CHASE BURNS
USA, 2002, 109 minutes, Dir. Michael Hoffman
The key difference between the two films is that Classics teacher Mr. Hudert (Kevin Kline) doesn't encourage thinking outside the establishment, but rather strict adherence to the structures created by the white men before him. This movie is wet for vALuEs and mORals; truth-telling, hard work, and—a big one—regurgitation. Fuck beauty and poetry! Can you name all the Roman emperors?!
The arrival of a trouble-making but intelligent student named Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch) throws a wrench into Hudert's moral certitude. The young Sedgewick knows that one must be at least a little deceitful to win in this world. And while the film ultimately sides with the Classics teacher, what the real world has taught us, especially in the last several years, is that the morally "correct" thing doesn't really matter. Unhinged people can rise to our nation's highest office without a lick of coherent values or regard for others. It makes me think Sedgwick was right after all. JASMYNE KEIMIG