Kinky Pictures to Please and a Turn Off or Two
A List by Leigh Wood
I don’t think it would do much good if I made a list of the horrendous soft-core drivel flooding late night premium channels. (Thanks for nothing Cinemax!) I also don’t normally write these short recommendations-but when talking ‘porn with plot’ or ‘plot with porn’, there’s no need for long-winded hyperbole, is there?
Basic Instinct – Forgot all the infamy of Sharon Stone’s split second bush flash- if you’re looking for a damn fine thriller and plenty of skin, you can’t get much better than this 1992 murder mystery. There’s something for everyone here- rightly or wrongly director Paul Verhoeven (Starship Troopers, Total Recall) gives us killer lesbians, Michael Douglas’ ass, and plenty of explicit sex romps that go the distance. Douglas (Wall Street, Fatal Attraction) and Stone (Casino yes, but we won’t talk about Basic Instinct 2) play a wonderfully kinky game of cat and mouse that has your brain thinking about the crime at hand right up to the final sex scene.
The End of the Affair (1999) – Ralph Fiennes’ other movie The English Patient may get all the attention, but this World War II gem co-starring Julianne Moore (The Hours, Boogie Nights) has more steam, story, and spirituality then that pompous desert flick. (Insert Seinfeld’s ‘Just die already! Die!’ here). The titular affair from director Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) and author Graham Greene is much more realistic and intimate, and the fallout of the sex amid the Blitz is dealt with just as smartly. Fiennes is on form as a cranky writer caught on the absolutely lovely and conflicted
Moore- and her wise husband Stephen Rea (The Crying Game with ) is also perfection. Back to the precious Patient- ‘I can still taste you’, who the heck says that, honestly! Jordan
– I absolutely adore this bizarre 1993 erotic debut from Jennifer Lynch, but understandably others may not. Julian Sands (Warlock, A Room with a View) and Sherilyn Fenn ( Helena Twin Peaks, Rude Awakening) are delightfully disturbed in this twisted examination of obsession, sex, and a whole bunch of other psychological angst. Those who are familiar with this film probably know its big secrets; but if not, I can’t really say anymore than the title. Lynch and her intimate cast play with our minds, desires, and perceptions to wonderful intelligence and sexy stupidity. Magical!
The Blue Lagoon – If you aren’t a teenager and you’re still watching this 1980 tropical yarn purely for the budding Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) and ripped Christopher Atkins (
), you are a sick, sick puppy. When we were younger, this was the type of heavy and forbidden film we snuck a peak to see. Today, of course, the nudity and sex is actually tame- but the story isn’t as insignificant as it once was. Yes, a lot of the film is laughable thanks to its opening Victorian establishment flashing forward to beautiful and beachy eighties teens. Overall, the acting stinks and can even put you to sleep. Director Randal Kleiser’s (Honey, I Blew Up the Kid) adaptation of author Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s novel, however, is an honest examination of innocent, society free love. This frank look at the bloom of sexuality is actually refreshing- but the sequel Return to the Blue Lagoon isn’t. Dallas
Showgirls – I’ve tried to watch this one all the way through countless times, and I think I’ve finally seen this entire 1995 stripper romp over a dozen snippets. Has a film every been so polarizing? Director Paul Verhoeven’s (yes him again) NC-17 raunchfest single handedly ruined former good girl Elizabeth Berkeley (Saved by the
) and the NC-17 classification. Yet, this and roles in Bound elevated Gina Gershon to kinky cult status. I’m not one for all the naked glowing girls, lesbian innuendo, and rape and revenge; yet Showgirls goes where other films dare not and thus has to be attempted for a fun girls’ sleeper or a guys’ poker night. In hindsight, Showgirls may be more ground breaking than bomb. Some serious filmgoers will always despise this one- but there’s an audience for such trashy guilty pleasures, too. Bell
Bad Ass Bad
Body of Evidence – At the time, fans might have thought Madonna’s kinky phase was artistic freedom, pushing the censorship envelope, expressing herself and all that. Unfortunately, looking back at this 1993 sexfest proves how far Truth or Dare took trashy. As always, Willem Dafoe (Platoon) is a-okay as the lawyer defending death by sex murderer Madonna (Dick Tracy, Evita), and the courtroom scenes are as intelligent as the usual law dramas, too. The sex storyline, however, is much too much-and Madonna doesn’t even look that good. She’s young and rounded, sure that’s fine, but the clothes are ugly-complete with matching satin granny panties. The bright lighting of her face just comes off as bad set design, and my goodness the sex scenes here don’t look unsimulated at all! It only makes viewing this movie even weirder. TMI and two hours of my life I’d like to have back.
Embrace of the Vampire – Alyssa Milano (Who’s the Boss, Charmed) kisses women and shows her boobs. If you like that sort of thing, find the clips online and don’t bother with the rest of this 1995 snoozer. If you like vampires, don’t bother with the one in the title here-director Anne Goursaud (Poison Ivy II) didn’t. Allow me another Seinfeld quote then, ‘The story is the foundation of all entertainment. You must have a good story, otherwise it's just masturbation.’