Thursday, September 10, 2009

Best and worst sex scenes in a movie . . .

So, based on my previous posts, we all know what the worst sex scene in movie history is (based on what I've seen so far.) I repeat: Beth and Harold getting it on . . . no love involved, just Sarah sharing her husband with Beth, who wants to get pregnant. Truly beyond weird. I swear, I'm scarred for life. There are certain images I will never get of my head: damn you Harold and Beth! (Who's named Harold, anyway?! . . . Oops! Almost forgot. My grandpa is.)

Best sex scene?

Lucy and George in A Room With a View. It happens at the very end on their honeymoon and it just worked. It was sweet. I'm not one who typically advocates for showing these things on film, but I thought it was tasteful.

I'm watching so many movies now and most do have the characters taking a roll in the hay or two. I used to always look away but I don't anymore (I'm taking notes, if you know what I mean, lol). It's been interesting to compare them and I've discovered that not all sex scenes are made equal. In the English Patient, the lovers were practically mauling each other. It wasn't too good for Brittney Murphy in 8 Mile, either. She was slammed against a wall both times and had some guy's hand's all over her in both cases, no romance, just a good, violent up-and-down tossing. As if she were some worthless rag doll.

I think it all goes to show that sex has a spiritual dimension to it we sometimes overlook. People invest their emotions and personality into it and, when the chemistry is right, it comes out the way it did for Lucy and George. And when it's bad, it comes out like it did for Beth and Harold, or maybe Eminem and Brittany Murphy. Funny how sex can be the best or worst thing in the world, depending on the people involved and the context.

The Big Chill Reconsidered: why it may now be a favorite

The Big Chill has been stuck in my head, for better or for worse. It is a strange, somewhat unsettling film. Here are a few points about it that make it quite excellent in spite of all that.

In a previous post, I criticized the screenplay and thought that the dialogue did not do enough to explain why the characters mattered to each other so much. And then I realized . . . that is the beauty of it. Sometimes you really can't put into words why you love someone, why you have to have certain people in your life. You just do. It's spiritual. You feel comfortable around them. And that's what I noticed about these characters. They felt very comfortable just talking, shooting the crap with each other, being themselves around each other. On a certain level the connection was mundane, but at the same time it was profound.

Second, and I can't take credit for this observation, that last disturbing sex scene between Harold and Beth showed how perverted sex becomes when it's used exclusively for procreation. My family's church is always harping on them about sexuality and this church, along with most others, laments how sex is abused for pleasure and how it's ultimate purpose is procreation. But Harold and Beth's tryst shows how, without passion and love, sex is just a bodily function again. In my mind, there's no difference between a prostitute and her client and Harold and Beth. Know what I mean? Next time I see a steamy sex scene between two characters who are really crazy about each other, I'm gonna holler for joy. That's how it should be.

The Big Chill: I need therapy!

The more I think about that movie, the more depressing I find its characters to be. Their problem was that they got bored with life. Glad I don't have a problem. Someone needed to come along in that film and give them all a good kick in the pants. Go! Do! Have fun! These people need hobbies. That would have been the answer to their problems. No amount of fancy philosophizing or whatever can define happiness or spread it better than a good hobby. So, to lift my spirits, I'm going to remind myself of everything I love to do. Please dear God, may I never turn into one of those depressing characters from The Big Chill.

Okay, here we go. This is the stuff that gets me up in the morning.

Hip-hop, rock, pop, classical, jazz, playing guitar, playing piano, singing, ear-training, writing songs, going to the library, reading Beowulf, watching Rick Steves, making pancakes, walking my dog, ballet, M&Ms, San Francisco, LA, my beautiful white Apple computer, my jewelery (I wearing a gorgeous garnet ring and crystal, white-gold bracelet right now), picnics, going to concerts, BBQs (vegetables only, of course), graffiti (I don't do it, just like lookin' at it!), my autographed Eminem poster, hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains, road trips, laughing at mindless Youtube videos, the four seasons, my doll collection, my guitar collection, late gothic Italian art, illuminated manuscripts, Tchaikovsky, Corot, my daydreams . . .

It isn't that hard to be happy about life if you value having fun and you fill your life with fun stuff. I mean, that's what kids do. They play, they have as much fun as they can get away with. Why is that adults completely forget how to have fun?

Not me. I'm a be a kid forever.

Do coming of age movies abuse their soundtracks?

While watching The Big Chill I noticed that the filmmakers relied heavily on their soundtrack to create a sense of chemistry between the characters. The premise of the film is that all these friends from way back are reuniting, seeking the fun and good times of yore. The scenes were punctuated by one big hit after the next. The characters would say something inane to each other and then a monster, feel-good hit would start blasting. It's like they couldn't communicate the magical feel-good vibe of best-friendship to the audience with dialogue or acting alone. So they turned to music to get the job done.

Sometimes the music felt a bit tacked on. Must one conclude that the dialogue or acting was lacking, or is it just that, in certain cases, only music will do?

Tough call.

The acting was excellent in this movie, but the screenplay could have been better. It could have shown how these characters find love and friendship again without turning things into an orgy. And sometimes the dialogue left me scratching my head. I wondered how the characters could stand each other . . . or why they didn't get bored out of their minds.

That said, as my musical theater instructor once explained: "Sometimes emotions get so big, that all you can do is burst out into song."

The Big Chill: great premise, fails to deliver.

I think I get the point The Big Chill was trying to make: without love and friendship, life feels empty. The premise of the movie is a good one. Several friends reunite 15 years out of college after one of their own commits suicide. Having gone their separate ways, they rekindle some of the fabric and magic of earlier days and learn that what they were "missing" in their lives is each other.

. . . missing certain aspects of each other, that is, they they should not have "rediscovered." My problem with the film is that it honestly portrayed the complexity of adult life and pointed to the right answer: love. But not that kind of love, please. The climax of the film was when Glen Close shares her husband with her close friend who desperately wants to get pregnant. (The husband and this desperate woman are long time, strictly platonic friends.)

I'm quite sure that will be the worst, most unsettling sex scene I will ever see depicted on film. It started out with the two looking at each other in the most awkward way possible and the guy fumbles: "I think I forgot how to do it." Whilst they were 'rounding fourth base, they stared at each other with these calm, completely lucid expressions. So bizarre. I used to feel scandalized by super steamy sex scenes, but now it's like, bring back the steam . . . and please, please, please, make the two lovers. The chumminess of it all and the "It's 4:00pm in the afternoon! Time to make a baby!" pragmatism was so bizarre. No, actually it was the way he started kissing her that made me feel real weirded out in a very deep place in my tummy. I'm scarred.

I'm happy to say that I will never ever watch this movie again. Too odd. However, I'm glad I saw it because, until the last 10 minutes of the movie when everyone started having sex en masse, I found the film thought provoking. It makes you ask yourself questions like, "What really matters in life? What is happiness and how does one find it?" The film's answer: love people. (Hehe.)

The Big Chill: Fav lines

William Hurt:
"You're so analytical. Sometimes you just have to let art flow over you."

Don Galloway:
"Nobody said it was going to be fun. At least nobody said it to me."

Glen Close:
"Sometimes I don't believe what I hear myself saying."

William Hurt:
"I could have, I chose not to. I'm not hung up on this completion thing."

(in regards to floating from job to job)
"What are you getting at? I was evolving. I'm still evolving."

"I wouldn't call it fame exactly. I had a small, deeply disturbed following."

"He went out with a bang, not a whimper."

Mary Kay Place:

All the good men in the world are "married or gay."

Jeff Goldblum:
"That's what's great about the outdoors. It's one big toilet."

Mary Kay Place:
"I did not know him in the biblical sense."

Jeff Goldblum:
"Friendship is the bread of life. Money is the honey."

JoBeth Williams:
"Even fortune cookies are getting cynical."

Jeff Goldblum:
"I must tell you I'm picking up vibrations here at the house and I'm almost certain there's sex going on around here. Sarah, have I ever told you how beautiful your eyes are?"