Unstreamable is a weekly column that finds films and TV shows you can't watch on major streaming services in the United States.*
USA, 1972, 106 min, Dir. Elaine May
It's this breathtaking entrance that makes me understand why the sporting goods salesman feels an overwhelming urge to ditch his bride, Lila (played by May's daughter Jeannie Berlin), for this new Midwestern queen. The newly betrothed couple drove down from New York City to get to Miami Beach, which has been less than marital bliss. Having a short courtship, it's only on their honeymoon that Lenny realizes his messy, egg salad-loving, sunburnt wife may not be The One for him. So, as het-dude discourse goes, Lenny has to jump ship. And what better place to land than a young blonde with a disposition as hot as the sun?
Based on a Bruce Jay Friedman short story with a screenplay by Neil Simon, The Heartbreak Kid is a gleefully comedic look at male logical fallacies and white ridiculousness as Lenny tries to extricate himself out of a situation he put himself in. Try as he might, women cannot be returned or exchanged or substituted in for one another. But there's a sort of perverse delight in watching Lenny grovel his way through the situation, right into another heartbreak. JASMYNE KEIMIG
USA, 1998, 80 min, Dir. Michael Simon
They said there would be live divas, and they delivered live divas. This blockbuster late-90s event featured five leading divas—Celine Dion! Mariah Carey! Aretha Franklin! Gloria Estefan! Shania Twain!—along with other guest divas and presenters—Carole King! Jennifer Aniston! Susan Sarandon!—in a live charity concert focused on raising money for VH1's Save The Music Foundation. Hillary and Bill Clinton show up in the first act, to give you a sense of how mainstream this thing was. It launched annual spin-offs, and the following year's event was crawling with starfuckers—notably, Donald Trump, fresh off a divorce and grasping his new girlfriend, Melania. (He's never far behind a trend, always ready to bite.)
The concert's performances have made their way around YouTube for years, but it's worth watching in its entirety because if "diva" is a genre, this was a genre-defining event. It opens with Mariah Carey singing "Make It Happen" backed by a gospel choir. The first time I watched, I think I got knocked out during an electric entrance from Gloria Estefan and woke up to Celine Dion singing a tribute to the Titanic with a slamming rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" ft. live flute. Divas, indeed. CHASE BURNS
USA, 1997, 86 min, Dir. Alex Sichel
The 15-year-old girls live in Hell's Kitchen with relatively absent parents. Claude (Alison Folland) is harboring romantic feelings for her best friend and bandmate Ellen (Tara Subkoff), who is obsessed with her shitty boyfriend Mark (Cole Hauser). Typical. As Ellen gets wound up in drugs and criminal activities with Mark, Claude starts to explore her sexuality at lesbian bars stuffed with riot grrrl types. A murder of an acquaintance throws all their lives and relationships in a loop, as Claude gets involved with lesbian pink-haired guitarist Lucy (theeeeee Leisha Hailey).
The movie documents the nuances in girl friendship at a fragile age that sometimes revels in syrupy, afterschool special type drama. But it's a gay, riot grrrl-light teen flick that captures a bit of the contemporaneous culture and is well worth a watch. If not just for the scene of Claude losing it to Patti Smith's "Pissing in a River"—poetry shit. JASMYNE KEIMIG
USA, 1953, 90 min, Dir. Lewis R. Foster
I first met Those Redheads from Seattle a long ways away from Seattle, in a thrift shop in New Orleans. At the back of the shop was an original promotional display for the film, the same image as above. It took up an entire wall. I had half a mind to buy it, but there was no way the giant cardboard women would fit in a suitcase back to Seattle, the city where the redheads and their film first debuted.
Those Redheads from Seattle premiered at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle in 1953. It's believed to be the first 3D musical, included in the first brief "Golden Age of 3D movies," although most people have only seen Those Redheads in 2D. It's a curious hodgepodge, co-written by men who specialized in westerns and B sci-fi movies, so it's a little tonally uneven. It follows a woman who brings her four unmarried daughters (three of them redheads) to Alaska during the Gold Rush, hoping to find the family's father, a newspaper publisher who's missing. The girls fall on hard times and pivot to a life in burlesque, which is where the musical part comes in. The musical numbers are robust and fun, although there aren't enough of them.
Those Redheads had a resurgence in Seattle in 2017, when the film premiered at SIFF after the 3D Film Archive accomplished an extensive restoration of it. The oddball gem is now available again on DVD and Blu-ray via Kino Lorber. Someone book a 3D screening of it and invite me, please and thanks. CHASE BURNS
*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.