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Unstreamable, The Scarecrow Wire

FULL FRONTAL and WILD ZERO Are Unstreamable

Posted April 24th 2024
Love to see Julia in a bad wig!

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 on Wednesdays unless we’re tired or busy 😊 

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USA, 2002, 101 minutes, Dir. Steven Soderbergh

Movies used to be fun and cheap!

Full Frontal is a peculiar entry into the Steven Soderbergh universe. Like Spike Lee's Bamboozled and David Lynch's Inland Empire—which we've covered for Unstreamable in the past—this 2002 movie finds Soderbergh primarily experimenting with the relatively new digital video technology that was taking off at the time. Most of the film was shot using the semi-professional Canon XL-1s camcorder, giving scenes an off-the-cuff and neurotic texture to them, even as they star some of the biggest names in Hollywood. At its release, the cinematography was derided as "wretched," but from my 2024 vantage point it's an interesting artifact from an era when digital wasn't the default.

Shot for only $2 million, Full Frontal loosely follows a group of random people in LA's entertainment industry as they prepare to go to the same party. It contains several films-within-films. And you're never quite sure if the actors—which include Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood, David Hyde Pierce, and Catherine Keener—are playing themselves or their characters. There was also a list of rules the cast had to follow to get into character: no makeup, hair, or wardrobe; no craft services; no trailer. Clearly, a low-budget affair and, plotwise, a bit fractal. But I strangely like how navel-gazey Full Frontal ended up being; it feels like Hollywood in a nutshell.

Also of note: this is yet another movie Harvey Weinstein had his grimy little paws on. Miramax distributed the film. There's even a stand-in character who physically resembles the convicted rapist. And, not insignificantly, David Duchovny plays a slick producer who forces his female masseuse to give him a "happy ending"—something Weinstein himself was accused of doing to massage therapists and young actresses alike. People really did know all along, huh? JAS KEIMIG

Find it in the Directors section under Soderbergh, Steven or rent it by mail.


Japan, 1999, 98 min, Dir. Tetsuro Takeuchi

I want to screen this IRL!

Fans of zombie movies or Japanese greaser style will find plenty of things to love in this underrated cult B-movie. It oozes gunfights and exploding heads and aquamarine-colored zombies who look like Gumby. The film was basically created as a vehicle for the Japanese garage band Guitar Wolf, who also stars in the film, but there's one storyline that really sticks with me, the central romance, which happens to be a trans love story. Despite a 1999 release date, the plotline is handled maturely, even progressively. Right after the film's cis str8 dude lead realizes he's fallen madly in love with a trans woman, Guitar Wolf appears as an apparition and yells "LOVE HAS NO BORDERS, NATIONALITY, OR GENDERS." And that's that! The guy overcomes his hesitations, and the two fight off zombies together so they can suck face. I think it was forward-thinking for 1999, and it still feels forward-thinking for 2024. Let’s screen this somewhere! CHASE BURNS

Find it under International Horror in the Japanese Horror section. Or rent it by mail!

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. We don’t consider films on sites that interrupt with commercial breaks, like Tubi, to be streamable. Tubi is like Neu Cable. And 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.