The Future Sucks, Actually: All These Streaming Services and Somehow Not Every Movie is Available
My quest to watch Loverboy has hit a serious snag
I suspect there’s only a small number of people who realize this—perhaps only the so-called Xennial micro-generation—but long before Dempsey was Dr. McDreamy, he specialized in playing gangly, dorky kids who nonetheless have a surprising amount of success with beautiful women. Forget Batman and Han Solo—this guy was my hero. I, too, had too much limb and not enough charm. I had game, it just involved roleplaying, a controller, or a ball.3
Maybe it’s because Dempsey was in the news after People magazine belatedly named him their Sexiest Man Alive, but I recently found myself thinking about the first part of his career, which is the only part I actually care about.4 Young Dempsey taught me a lot about sex. You would probably go to jail for attempting anything his characters did in the 80s. But as the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
On the edge of puberty, Dempsey came into my life. He was the Yoda to my Luke.
I thought this was an interesting angle to explore while also making fun of myself in the process—as we say in the biz, win-win—but Loverboy isn’t on any streaming service known to man. I’ve checked them all, including some sketch-looking ones that are probably fronts for Chechen hackers. For all practical purposes, the film has ceased to exist. You can’t even rent it anywhere.
My only recourse: Buy the DVD for $10. Amazon also carries the VHS, so I guess I could literally dust off my VCR and truly recreate the 80s experience. I’m curious to rewatch the film, but not $10 curious. For that price, I might just watch some random snippets on YouTube and reconstruct the story via plot summaries and my own faulty memory.
Loverboy is far from the only film unavailable online. Earlier this year, Lifehacker published a list of 22 notable films you can’t watch. In some cases, maybe that’s a public service; I don’t think anyone needs to see Kids again. But it really strains my brain that we have all these dumb streaming services—far too many, in my opinion—and there are still movies you can’t watch even if you subscribe to them all.
There are economic reasons for all of this, of course. There’s little incentive for the streaming services to pay for obscure back-catalogue titles. I mean, I doubt anyone else is googling Loverboy. But it isn’t necessarily just about the money. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine who the rights belong to.
Sorting through who controls which rights, and where they might be today (especially if a company has vanished), can get... complicated. A movie or show may not have licensed music for home video; a home video license may not cover streaming. Perhaps the most famous example of the latter issue is Beavis and Butt-head, which … has never had a proper digital release complete with all the music videos (plus accompanying wonderfully idiotic commentary) because MTV never secured the clips past broadcast.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never own a flying car or a real-life lightsaber. But the fact that I can’t just fire up Netflix and watch young Patrick Dempsey woo a bunch of affection-starved women is just a real big disappointment. The internet was supposed to make everything better. But thanks to the internet, I don’t even have a video store where I can rent Loverboy for $1.
The future is shaping up to be a major buzzkill.
That’s right—the metal bikini is actually not peak Carrie Fisher. That came in 1989 thanks to the double whammy of Loverboy and The Burbs.
I just realized both Kristie Allie and Carrie Fisher are dead. I mean, I knew they’d passed away, but it just sorta hit me as I was recalling their former hotness. RIP.
I’m talking about Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and basketball. C’mon, man—my mom reads this. What did you think I meant?
I’m a straight dude but I can probably think of a dozen men more deserving just off the top of my head; I guess the Sexiest Man award is transitioning into a lifetime achievement sort of thing. When can we expect Wilford Brimley to nab his posthumous trophy? I’m still not over his performance in Cocoon, nor his second career pimping for the American Diabetes Association.