In a recent article in the NYTimes author-professor Linda Williams stated, “We’re stuck in this dichotomy of pornography’s un-nuanced pleasure and simulated sex, which does not allow certain kinds of representations”. Hollywood is usually eager to improve the formula until this year when most of the top prestige films (Assassination of Jesse James, There Will Be Blood, 3:10 to Yuma, Into the Wild) barely even had women in them.
Plenty of bloggers are happy to discuss what constitutes a good sex scene, I'm here today to discuss the inexplicable sex scenes.
Inexplicable Sex Scenes:
Under the Sand (Francois Ozon) - Charlotte Rampling has a threesome with the ghost of her missing husband and new lover. Oh, Francois Ozon! You've done it again!
Shadowboxer (Lee Daniels) - Cuba Gooding Jr and Helen Mirren play a team of hitmen related by marriage who hooked up after his Dad dies. I have no words.
Blue Velvet (David Lynch) - Really technically a rape scene
and therefore doesn't belong on this list. However I can never pass
up an opportunity to discuss and asthmatic Dennis Hopper's "baby likes
to fuck" monologue.
Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven) - Okay, an easy shot to take in a gravely misunderstood film that introduced us all to the concept of water epilepsy.
11:14 (Greg Marcks) - A teenage hellion (Rachel Leigh Cook) bones a guy to death... in a cemetery!
Where the Truth Lies (Atom Egoyan) - The entire films revolves around a foggily-remembered night when a bisexual comedian (Kevin Bacon) spurns his long-time lover (Colin Firth) to have overly voice-overed sex with a journalist (Alison Lohman). Just odd.
Body Double (Brian DePalma) - Cheating girlfriends, naked neighbors, Melanie Griffith as a porno star! And this was DePalma's headier days?
Inexplicably Bad Sex Scenes:
Gigli (Martin Brest) - Okay nothing about Ben Affleck is even approaching sexy but Jennifer Lopez not being able to salvage something about this scene is just tragic. Gobble, gobble.
Taking Lives (D.J. Caruso) - I suppose it's just a matter of playing the odds, Jolie's had many great sex scenes (Gia, Original Sin, Cyborg 2) but Ethan Hawke .
Black Dahlia (Brian DePalma) - Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett are young and hot (and a real life couple) but their improbable seizure sex in this clunker could be bottled as the cure for sin.
9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom) - It's real! Unsimulated! Really! And it still doesn't work at all.
Monster's Ball (Marc Forster) - Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton are just uncomfortable, unbelievable, forever marred by Ocar's terrible choice that year.
Fur: an Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (Steven Shainberg) - Robert Downey Jr. and Nicole Kidman, so attractive and credible... so awkward and unsexy!
Fear (James Foley) - Essentially the abstinence-preaching equivalent of Showgirls (with an alternately laughable and unsettling interplay of possessive ownership of Reese Witherspoon's virtue between bad-boy boyfriend Mark Wahlberg and her father played by William Petersen). Witherspoon and Wahlberg going to second base on the roller coaster = LOLLERSKATES.
Under-rated sex scenes:
History of Violence (David Cronenberg) - Marital bliss and angst are depicted here with memorable economy.
the King (James Marsh) - Gael García Bernal came on the sex scene with Y Tu Mama Tambien in a very different turn here as a delusional, manipulative (and still manically sexy) man rejected by his long-lost father the scenes between Bernal and Pell James provide a sweet reprieve between the shocking and saddening moments in this little-seen film.
Unfaithful (Adrian Lyne) - In an under-rated film, with an under-rated actress by an under-rated director. Unfaithful's visceral sex scenes of infidelity provide a springboard into a third act marital discord spinning into a feverish, frenzied nightmare.
In the Cut (Jane Campion) - Meg Ryan and Marc Ruffalo in a post-feminist fairy tale. Also just Marc Ruffalo handcuffed to a radiator in general..
40 Year old Virgin (Judd Apatow) - Elizabeth Banks' bathtub masturbation scene was playful and sexy. Viva!