Richard Gere is extremely chaotic in Breathless. Courtesy of MGM
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: Richard Gere serves dick in Breathless, Jim Carrey serves spon-con in Copper Mountain, Soderbergh’s horny 4 digital in Full Frontal, and toes fuck in Abnormal Family.
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USA, 1983, 100 minutes, Dir. Jim McBride
Richard Gere flashes his peen a couple of times in this remake. Jasmyne Keimig
OK, OK, this is not THAT Breathless, the iconic French New Wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. This is the American REMAKE of Breathless, set in Los Angeles instead of Paris, with Richard Gere as a criminal hottie and Valerie Kaprisky as a doe-eyed French student. Who asked for this? Not sure! Is it good? That depends!
It’s “good” in the sense that it’s assuredly more erotic than its French predecessor. Gere is really hot in his over-the-top “bad boy” role, a marked contrast from his more cunning, even-handed performances later on in his career. His chemistry with Kaprisky is through the roof. It’s also “good” in its sense of place—Los Angeles is wonderfully pink-toned and sultry, from the underground punk clubs to the windy drives the couple take in a stolen car.
But Jim McBride’s Breathless gets so hard for the original film that it almost stifles the fun, overstuffed with so many “winks” to the earlier version that it borders on exhausting. While it’s fun to watch Gere gnaw on the scenery, Kaprisky’s wooden performance makes their dynamic feel lopsided—but still HOT!! Despite these misgivings, I can acknowledge that all of the above is what makes it a perfect B-movie—one that would probably make Godard proud. Probably. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Look at that goober. Chase Burns
This movie is trash—let’s not pretend otherwise. While it’s unstreamable, it’s not hard to find. Copies on eBay sell for like a buck. I only rented it because it features prolific Alpine skier Jean-Claude Killy and I’m on an Olympic kick. It also, as you can see above, features a very early career Jim Carrey. That’s the appeal for most people, but, as one eBay reviewer wrote, “i thought the movie was the dumbest movie i ever seen they shouldnt of been able to release this movie.”
Doesn’t that make you kind of want to see it?
What you will see if you decide to voyage into this crap is thinly veiled spon-con pretending to be a TV movie. Copper Mountain bills itself as “A Club Med Experience,” which is in reference to a Chinese-owned French tourism company called Club Med. The company used to operate “Club Med village” at a ski resort at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and this movie is sincerely just an advertisement for the club. Jim Carrey does a few weirdo impressions, Jean-Claude Killy skis, Rita Coolidge and Ronnie Hawkins sing for like 30 minutes, but it’s all an ad. Truly, Club Med “shouldnt of been able to release this movie.”
That said, if I was able to interview Jim Carrey and only ask him about one thing, it would be this thing. I want to know what type of parties they had at the Club Med. CHASE BURNS
Another Big Time™ director trying to get his bearings in the dawning digital age. JK
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 2020 perspective 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? JASMYNE KEIMIG
Another horny gem from my favorite distribution company. CB
I’m navigating my way through a sea of pussy as I tick more Japanese pink films off my list of unstreamable movies. I already wrote about the very fun contemporary pink film Underwater Love for Unstreamable a few months ago. That one features horny kappas and magical stones going up people’s asses. As I said, it’s contemporary.
But in terms of traditional pink films—if there’s even such a thing as a traditional pink film—a good place to start could be Masayuki Suo’s first feature, Abnormal Family: Older Brother’s Bride. Suo is known for his comedic ballroom dance film Shall We Dance?, which went on to become the top-grossing Asian film ever released in the US until it was beaten by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. (And, yes, Shall We Dance? was honored with a terrible Hollywood remake in 2004 starring Richard Gere and J.Lo. The SECOND Richard Gere remake to be mentioned in this column today!!!)
Suo’s shrewd and funny talents come through in his debut (and only pink) film, which mocks and mimics Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu’s famous films, including Tokyo Story. It’d be like if someone made an ’80s porno inspired by Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and included a scene where a dominatrix drips candle wax on a guy’s thigh, and then he fucks her with his toe, and then she gives him a BJ through his boxers, and then he eats her pussy, and then she pisses on his face. Cuz that’s what happens in Abnormal Family: Older Brother’s Bride! CHASE BURNS