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Unstreamable, The Scarecrow Wire


Posted May 15th 2024
Some say love…

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 😊

Got a recommendation for Unstreamable? Give us the scoop at


USA, 1979, 125 min, Dir. Mark Rydell

She gave and gave and gave…

Bette Midler's breakout performance actually happened in NYC's gay bathhouses sometime in the early 1970s (earning her the nickname "Bathhouse Betty"), but I guess it officially happened in her film debut, The Rose, when she played Janis Joplin—or, technically, a "self-destructive rock star in the late 1960s" who seemed a lot like Janis Joplin. The Academy Award-nominated film is worth its runtime mostly because of Midler's career-defining rock scenes, and also, of course, her rendition of the song "The Rose," which won her a Grammy and lives on as a karaoke anthem.

But newbies be warned: The Rose's melodrama is famously thick. Midler's character is constantly misused and abused by her male companions, whether they be her manager or boyfriend or dealer. There are barely any female characters in the film. Midler’s essentially the only lady, minus an underdeveloped queer woman whose purpose is to tempt Midler. There are more drag queens than women in this. (Notably, Sylvester plays one of those queens.)

One part I always love is the script's inverted nod to Midler's bathhouse roots, a sequence where Midler bolts through a jade-colored bathhouse full of straight men, pushing past their pudgy bodies and cackling at their dicks. The whole movie is too sappy for me, but that scene hits. CHASE BURNS

Find it in the Musical section under Rock Musicals or rent it by mail.


USA | Mexico, 1974, 112 min, Dir. Sam Peckinpah

Warren Oates is great in this.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is pulpy as hell. Blood, sweat, dirt, grime cover every surface. You can smell the alcohol stank on Benny (Warren Oates), a scuzzy white piano player living in Mexico City. He’s contracted to find and kill Alfredo Garcia, an associate of a powerful Mexican drug lord who's been on the lam for betraying the mob. The men demand Alfredo’s head in exchange for cash. Benny enlists his girlfriend, Elita (Isela Vega), to help him find Alfredo so that they can get the proof they need.

I love a good story of bad people trying to find a way to “get out” of their current situation through violence. As if killing for cash will bring them anything other than more misfortune or death. According to Sam Peckinpah, this was the only film of his that was released the way he intended. It was made on a tiny budget and bombed at the box office, but has since enjoyed a "comeback" as a cult classic. I think part of it must have to do with the surprising moments of tenderness between Benny and Elita. In her role, Vega is both playful and sad, her eyes oozing emotion. (There are obviously a lot of intense scenes of violence, just FYI.) JAS KEIMIG

Find it in the Directors section under Peckinpah, Sam 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.