Unstreamable is a column that finds films and TV shows you can't watch on major streaming services in the United States.*
USA, 1987, 90 minutes, Dir. Jerry Rees
What about The Brave Little Toaster creeped me out so much as a child that I avoided it for years before rewatching it this week? Is it because it's about inanimate objects and their perilous journey from a countryside cabin to a big brutal city? Or maybe that strange clown sequence? That MURDEROUS junkyard scene that has Toaster throwing his body into the gears of another machine? The fact that these cuties experience extreme existential crises? There's so much in this kid's movie that seems too grave for kids.
Still, it's one of the most successful Disney-owned films not to appear on the corporation's streaming platform, Disney+. Maybe some of that has to do with its history: Lead animator John Lasseter originally pitched Brave Little Toaster as a computer-animated feature to Disney, which upset a studio executive so much that he fired Lasseter within minutes. Lasseter took the concept to Hyperion Pictures, which later released it as an independent production to positive reception. Disney then released two follow-ups: The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue. Both are on Disney+, but the original film—now heavily associated with Pixar—didn't get the streaming treatment. I think it's well past time to expose and traumatize a whole new generation to this freaky movie. JAS KEIMIG
USA, 2000, 101 minutes, Dir. Mark Rosman
Let's stick with the Disney theme and look at another generation-defining Disney hit that hasn't landed on its streaming platform: Life-Size.
For millennials around Lindsay Lohan's age (35) and younger, this story—about a motherless child (Lohan) who successfully performs reincarnation magic but on the wrong target, accidentally bringing her doll (Tyra Banks) to life—is a legit Camp classic. The acting is terrible, the script is soggy, but it has a ridiculous earnestness that's earned Banks a legion of younger fans.
In a characteristically bizarre interview in 2018, Banks told the ladies at The Talk that millennial and Gen Z stars, ranging from Miley Cyrus to Lil Yachty, have confessed to her that they are profoundly obsessed with this movie. Yachty actually appears in Life-Size 2—Lohan does not. ("We found out that [Lil Yachty] was a huge fan of Life-Size 1, and he cried when the Eve doll went back to Sunnyville in the first Life-Size," Banks told The Talk. "Yes. He cried. And he admitted it.")
Bring it out of the vault, Disney! pic.twitter.com/whU9PTtaMs
— Chase Burns (@chaseburnsy) November 11, 2021
Lots of people have Life-Size stories. Mine: Lohan's character's reincarnation magic inspired me to steal an Occult book from my elementary school's library. I followed the book's instructions, secretly sharpening wands and freezing cow tongue, thinking it would turn my Pokémon toys into life-size Pokémon. No dice, but this movie hits. CHASE BURNS
Japan, 1985, 71 minutes, Dir. Mamoru Oshii
Plot really doesn't matter in Mamoru Oshii's Angel's Egg—there are only four minutes of spoken dialogue—but I'll throw you a bone: On a post-apocalyptic Earth, a girl lopes around an abandoned rainy city, fiercely protecting an unhatched egg. One day, she runs into a traveling warrior who's interested in the egg, and he becomes her companion on her journey through the desolate city. They discuss her plan for the egg, Noah's Ark, and the nature of reality and existence, but only verrrrry briefly.
Trying to understand the finer details of the plot isn't the main objective here. Instead, let the mysterious and artful film's environment entrance you; notice how the characters' ghostly white skin and downcast eyes fit perfectly within the gothic ruins they move through. Some people believe this anime, full of symbolism, is how Oshii (of Ghost in the Shell fame) worked through losing his faith after turning his back on Christianity just before going into production. Angel's Egg benefits from multiple viewings, and it's emotionally obscure enough that you can glean whatever interpretation you see fit. JAS KEIMIG
USA, 1976, 103 minutes, Dir. Melvin Frank
Love this clown — 🎥 Goldie Hawn in The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976) pic.twitter.com/ks95VR6ckS
— Chase Burns (@chaseburnsy) November 11, 2021
The second and third acts of this comedic '70s Western rom-com, about a showgirl in 1880s San Francisco who tries to steal her way into upper-class society, are garbage. Very boring. Nothing remarkable, although there is a fancy horse who performs a few fun tricks. But the first act, centered around a colorful 19th-century dance hall, is worth it, particularly for Goldie Hawn fans.
Hawn plays the titular "duchess" Amanda Quaid, a showgirl trying to trick a Mormon millionaire into letting her become a governess. The movie opens with bawdy and bad dance sequences featuring Hawn in ramshackle costumes, singing in a crap British accent. Big Great Britannia Energy, but in San Francisco; Very Slaggish. It's fun to watch the 1970s do the 1880s, with 1970s over-shampooed hair meeting reinterpreted 1880s showgirl costuming. And Hawn is a skilled clown, able to pivot from prickly to bubbly and back again with ease. My grandma used to watch Goldie Hawn movies on repeat, so I'm a Hawn softie, especially when a director gives her free rein. She sort of gets that here, but inconsistently. CHASE BURNS
*Unstreamable means we couldn't find it on Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, 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.