Unstreamable is a weekly column that finds films and TV shows you can't watch on major streaming services in the United States.*
USA, 1984, 100 min, Dir. Garry Marshall
The Cut wrote today that Jessica Walter played a proto-Lucille Bluth in Slums of Beverly Hills (1998). The truth is that Jessica Walter worked on versions of her hit Arrested Development matriarch throughout her career, and she famously did so in the mid-80s blockbuster The Flamingo Kid.
Sadly, the 80-year-old iconic actress died in her sleep on Wednesday in Manhattan. Walter is best known for her TV work, primarily as the cocktail-guzzling Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, but her career spans seven decades and includes over 160 film and TV credits. Highlights include Dinosaurs, 90210, Play Misty for Me, and the show that got her a Daytime Emmy award, Amy Prentiss.
She’s in a few big hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s, notably The Flamingo Kid, which made over $31 million worldwide. The romcom, set in the summer of 1963, stars Matt Dillon as Jeffrey Willis, a driftless kid who takes a job at a private beach resort called the El Flamingo Club. There, he learns how to impress older men, woo younger women, and become a gin rummy card champ. It's the '80s doing the '60s, which is fun, and the costumes help distract from the predictable, masculine plot. Walter stars as Phyllis Brody, an underutilized MILF character whose daughter falls in love with Willis. Ms. Brody has clear comparisons to Ms. Bluth. Watch and be reminded that no one could drink a cocktail and deliver a line like Jessica Walter. She will be missed. CHASE BURNS
USA, 1994, 118 min, Dir. Martin Campbell
For the first 30 minutes, No Escape moves at a breakneck speed. There is no subtlety as the plot rushes to get its main character, Captain J.T. Robbins (Ray Liotta), from a high-security prison to a deserted island, Absolom, with a bunch of other "very bad" convicts called The Outsiders. There, the evil warden hopes the prisoners torture and annihilate each other into oblivion, observing their antics via satellite.
When Robbins enters The Outsiders' territory, led by a psycho named Marek, Robbins shows off his deft ability for kicking ass and his desperation to get the fuck off Absolom. But when he encounters a more peaceful group of linen-clad men in a self-made compound called The Sanctuary, he starts to get smart about plotting their collective escape.
Despite its B-movie limitations, I found No Escape to be an intriguing redemption story with tons of action and bad sound effects. It's also, fundamentally, a movie about men's relationships directed by a man, made mainly for a male audience. Despite all that homosociality, desire plays no role in this film. Sure, the prisoners are marooned on an island with no resources to speak of, but what do they do when they get horny? JASMYNE KEIMIG
USA, 1984, 96 min, Dir. John Korty
USA, 1985, 94 min, Dir. Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Jar Jar Binks was my favorite Star Wars character when I was a kid in the early 2000s (I’m 28). I know this immediately disqualifies me as any sort of Star Wars expert—the problematic Jar Jar should not be anyone’s favorite Star Wars character. But I think, being a clumsy kid, there was something about Jar Jar’s incompetence that I found reassuring. I also loved the Ewoks, who are strange but, unlike Jar Jar, clearly capable of getting shit done. I’m confessing this to you—that my Star Wars awareness only extends to Jar Jar and the little space bears—to say that I am absolutely not an authority on Star Wars. But here we are.
Look, I just love the furry, wobbly Ewoks of Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984) and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985), which aired on ABC. The TV movies were originally pitched as something between Hansel and Gretel and Tarzan but with an orphaned Shirley Temple-looking girl and a bunch of Ewoks. Considering the premise, the quality of these is arguably good (there’s Wilford Brimley! Warwick Davis!) but again, I’m a nasty little boy who grew up liking Jar Jar Binks. Please don't listen to me.
I assume this will go the way of other formerly unstreamable titles like The Muppet Show and Brandy's Cinderella and show up on Disney+ once the channel feels it needs a few news headlines. UPDATE: I was right! CHASE BURNS
Spain, 2002, 114 min, Dir. Emilio Martínez Lázaro
I have to admit this upfront—I generally don't like musicals. There's an optimism and earnestness to communicating emotion onscreen through song and dance that bothers me. While I have exceptions—Hairspray, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Chicago, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen—I usually avoid musicals like the plague. But The Other Side of the Bed is weirdly and half-heartedly committed to being a musical romcom in a way that feels acceptable and even interesting to watch. There are dance sequences and special lighting setups, but it's all done at a casual, lackadaisical pace.
The committed-noncommitment maybe comes from the film's plot, which involves two couples who carry out affairs with each other. Pedro (Guillermo Toledo) is devastated when his girlfriend Paula (Natalia Verbeke) dumps him for another man. He's consoled by his couple-friends Javier and Sonia (Ernesto Alterio and Paz Vega), who are going through a rough patch in their own relationship. But we come to find out that Javier is the one secretly boning Paula!!! And in all that consolation, a sexy spark is set off between Sonia and Pedro. The Other Side of the Bed sorta drags in the last half, but it's a fun romp in the sheets with a little music thrown in. JASMYNE KEIMIG
*Unstreamable means we couldn't find it on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or any of the other 300+ 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.