Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sex "Shocker" Movies...

I realized the other night that four of the last big movies out at the moment all employ explicit sex scenes to either attract or shock the audience in someway. Think back to I Heart Huckabees, if you will, and recall the mud fetish scene. At the time, I remember thinking Huckabees took some risks by including such a scene. After all, while it did aid the story and character developement and conveyed a message (my key for determining if a scene should or should not be in a "good literary" movie...the other sort being the commerical thriller like Jay and Silent Bob), it was not an essential scene and might well have (ok, in a few cases I can think of, did) alienate some viewers from truely enjoying the film.
However, both Closer and Kinsey push the line of what audiences will and will not sit for even further. Now with Kinsey, you know to expect this. Anyone walking into an R rated biography on the famed sex researcher should expect some sex. And some rather explicit descriptions thereof. And while some bits may have been gratutious, I personally felt the film did its best to accurately portray the man and didn't engage in needless sexual voyages to attempt to attract people. Kinsey serves as my base example here - a movie with a real need to use sex to push its message. The question I am forced to ask, though, is why is there such a market for this movie? Kinsey hits a niche audience, I assume, as well as appealing to a wider variety of viewer (such as myself). But is it the sex that sells this movie?
Closer would seem to be an arguement that it does. I followed my traditional approach to new movies in that I watched the trailer, asked scotty if I'd like it, then went to see it - without ever reading a review, synopsis, or reasoning behind the R rating. Now, perhaps I should have caught on from scotty's mention that a nude scene of Natalie Portman had been cut from the film that this was not your typical Julia Roberts romantic comedy studying relationships. In many ways, it was...only it focused on how sex changes relationships. Again. one could argue the sex was not gratutious and it aided in the film's purpose. And as I pointed out to a friend after the movie, no one ever actually had sex on screen. The subject of the film was definately sex's impact on relationships, though, and it was heavily discussed.
Another current film, Sideways, also apparently has some explicit sex scenes. Now, I'm going mostly off information from my parents (as I haven't seen the film) but they said it was gratutious and unnessesary. I won't pass judgement until it comes to valley or video, but from their review, it seems to have just thrown the scenes in to attempt to shock, and perhaps attract, the audience.
Perhaps english class has totally destroyed my mind, but I see a pattern in these films. Well, more of a spectrum, I suppose. Filmmakers have decided there is a market for movies containing sex, or at least a tolerance for them. I'm interested in hearing your opinions on the subject.

(OK, that, and I need to get off the computer now...I'll edit this with more later, when I have time.)

7 comments:

Doug said...

I usually don't do this, and I am going to apologize in advanced, but I feel the need to pull a Jeff/Cory/Adrianna here. I seriously told you that I wanted to see the movie with you guys. I had an absolutely horrible time last night. On top of the usual crappiness, my mom decided to baby-sit a friend's baby, something that I seriously don't want to deal with right now. And it's kinda worse when you are stuck in the house all day, instead of just a few hours at night. Yeah, yesterday seriously blew, but at least I figured that you didn't go, and Scott didn't know that I wanted to come. It is possible that it wasn't feasible considering that I can't drive, in which case, disregard everything I just said. Oh well, fuck it. On a happier note, I got accepted into mime school.

Scott said...

Sorry you had a crappy day, Doug. I can't speak for John, but speaking from experience, it is really hard to remember everyone who says "oh, yeah, I wanna go to that too!" Not saying it's a good reason, it's just the sad truth of the matter.

That said, getting back to the topic...

I support sex in movies. "Kinsey" (review up in a coupla minutes) was a movie ABOUT sex, and the tagline "Let's Talk About Sex" definitely applies. As for "Closer," I knew going in it was about sex. I didn't know it would be discussed so openly and so explicitly, but I'm glad it didn't back down, because that's what the story's about. It's about how sex CAN just destroy people.

As for "Sideways," there is some needless sex scenes thrown in it, but for the most part they have a comedic purpose (remember, it's a comedy), and the most explicit of them was, in my opinion, definitely necessary.

But I do think there are films that go overboard with the sex. "The Matrix Reloaded," for example. But that was also just a badly done sex scene. But for the most part, I am one who supports sex in film, because there are enough instances out there where it makes sense to the movie.

Katie said...

Alright, looks like Doug, Adrianna and I are having a party and not inviting anyone...even ourselves.

Because when I talked to John on the phone Friday night after you all went to see Ocean's 12, he said that someone would call me on Saturday regarding Kinsey.

No such call.

I realize that I cannot attend most of the things you guys do, but you can still invite me...think about it, why not invite me since I probably can't go?

I do realize, however, that I also could have called someone...I just didn't know when the movie was and didn't want to feel like I was inviting myself to something because that is SO AKWARD.

It turned out okay anyway...hung out with my Mom, which I hadn't really done in a while, watched Saved!, (great movie) it was relaxing, so no worries.

Adrianna said...

Um, like I said before, my previous complaint was not about you guys. It was essentially about these old martial arts "friends" of mine who used me to teach classes and then immediately severed contact with me when I quit training, and thus doing their bidding by teaching classes. And some stuff with my parents. I had no other way to vent, so I vented here and I really feel embarassed about it. So pshaw.

I don't want you guys to feel like you HAVE to include me in everything or I'll be all mopey. Sure, I get pissed sometimes when it happens consistently (as many can attest), but seriously-- go have fun. Don't worry about me or my social life, I'm a big girl and I have to learn how to take care of it myself, because pretty soon I'll be in college and I'll have to start over again from square one without all of you cool folks there to prod me along. I'm just speaking for myself here, I really don't want folks to get pissed off at me today.

Kinsey looks to me like it's something worth watching, but yeah, it's coming close to that line between using sex as a legitimate way to move (or in this case, use it to basically justify the entire movie's existence... Kinsey was, after all, a sex therapist) along a plot or using it just to sell a film/ work of art. Oh, Christian Ethics, you make us all so skeptical about today's media!

Adrianna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adrianna said...

Oh yeah, and this has no correlation to me not going to the movie... I actually would have hitched a ride and showed up, but the ACT and a wicked cool sleepover, not to mention college apps, kept me away.

Boy I am leaving a lot of comments!

John and Karolyn said...

Yeah, so, uh...

I swear I called you doug. I called a great many people, and I woulda sworn you were one of them...maybe all this use of the phone is messing with me. After all, I normally never call people. Also, though, I didn't really plan this one...rach asked if the 4:20 showing was ok and I quickly agreed. Hence the reason I didn't call you, KT...I thought you were down at the cheer thing with her. >_<

In the future, do not hesitate to call me if you remember me mentioning something and want further details...if its a movie, at least. :P If you can't drive yourself (in doug's case, for example) I might say I can't give you a ride, but I can't think of any time I'd mention a movie to someone and then intentionally not call them or otherwise not want them to come. So yeah...sorry bout that...I really was surprised to find you weren't with rachel at the movie, kt, and doug I thought had said he couldn't come when I talked to him...*shrug*

And yeah, as scotty said, it really is difficult to remember who all wanted to come. Hence the reason you should call me if you know/think I'm going somewhere and want to stay informed. Worst that can happen is I tell ya I'm not going/unable to give you a ride...and then you're no worse off than you started.

-JB