On movie sex and movie love...

Category: 1990s (Page 1 of 2)

Crash

  • YEAR: 1996
  • DIRECTOR: David Cronenberg
  • KEY ACTORS: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Deborah Kara Unger, Rosanna Arquette, Elias Koteas
  • CERTIFICATE: 18
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.4
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 63%

SEX SCORE: 2.5/5

❌ Not only does Crash not pass the Bechdel test, it fails it spectacularly. While there are named women in the film at no point in the entire film do any of them talk to each other. There’s not a huge amount of dialogue in Crash, so when I rewatched it with the Bechdel test in mind, I was kind of imagining there might at least be a passing conversation about Ballard between his wife and Doctor Helen that I’d forgotten, but no; not a dicky bird.

But it is rewatchable? I’ve now seen Crash three times; once in 1997 when it (finally) came out in the UK, once when it was re-released on 4K in 2020, and once for this review. I think it’s an astonishing, bewildering film and I can see myself rewatching it again in future. However, it is very strong stuff, and while I can imagine watching it multiple times, there are many people out there who might not be able to stomach an entire first viewing. That’s entirely understandable – it’s creepy, the characters are on the surface unsympathetic and often repellent, and it’s all-round just very fucking weird. However, if you are a weirdo who likes weird things it may be entirely up your alley. 

✔️ I did want to fuck the cast! Okay, have you seen the cast of Crash? Firstly, James Spader. If you are at all into pervy men in real life then you are in all likelihood into James Spader: I don’t make the rules. However, those of us perverts who also fancy women are extremely well- catered to by this film, which features Holly Hunter with a sleek brown bob glacially smoking cigarettes, Deborah Kara Unger bending over a railing to show off her bare arse, stockings and suspenders and, famously, Rosanna Arquette in leg braces and black leather. I am not even into women smoking or wearing leg braces except for the duration of this film! But for those 100 minutes I absolutely am. And actually, even Elias Koteas performs the role of Vaughan – easily the creepiest character in the movie – with a degree of ‘strange, perverse sensuality’ (Cronenberg’s own words) that I’m… kinda into. I’m not proud of it!

But it did not inspire fantasies. Nooooo. Or… not on this viewing.

✔️ Yes, it is sex positive, almost to a fault. If we take as our definition of sex positivity as being anything that ‘affirm(s) the choices others make regarding sex, even if those choices are different from the ones we would make (as long as those choices are consensual)’ Although that said, some of the sex in Crash is a bit dodgy consent- wise: there’s one scene of open public fucking without regard for whether others on the roads have consented to seeing, and another where Vaughan and the Ballards are wandering around the scene of a multi- car pileup taking photos, posing next to injured bodies and generally being grossly intrusive. The scene is as disturbing as it sounds but the film and its director do not see fit to moralise and trust the audience to make their own decisions about that. 

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Beauty and the Beast

  • YEAR: 1991
  • DIRECTOR: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
  • KEY ACTORS: Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara, Richard White, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach
  • CERTIFICATE: U
  • IMDB SCORE: 8.0
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 94%

SEX SCORE: 3/5

✔️ As a film I’ve easily watched in advance of 40 times, it would be hypocritical of me to say it is not rewatchable.
❓ I want to fuck the cast in fantasy more than reality. Angry men in a scene, yes. Angry men in reality, no. However, Belle is an absolute babe. 
✔️ It did inspire fantasies. So very many. ‘If she doesn’t eat with me, she doesn’t eat at all!’ – do I have to say any more…?
❓ In some senses it is sex positive, mostly in the way it approaches consent, but love and sexual relationships are treated as something for adults, to be understood by adults- as Chip’s questions get brushed aside.
❌ A film with few female conversations leaves little opportunity to ascertain whether it passes the Bechdel Test. Belle is the only human female ‘character’ and only named woman in the film’s dialogue except Mrs Potts. Belle, Mrs Potts and the wardrobe (unnamed) have a conversation about Belle’s bravery for switching places with a man as a result of the actions of a man. Wardrobe also converses with Belle, but this time solely about how good she’ll look for a man.

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Indecent Proposal

  • YEAR: 1993
  • DIRECTOR: Adrian Lyne
  • KEY ACTORS: Demi Moore, Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson
  • CERTIFICATE: 15
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.0
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 35%

SEX SCORE: 2/5

❌ This fails the Bechdel Test – I believe that Diana is the only named female character, which isn’t really good enough…
❌ And I don’t think it is rewatchable. It simply wasn’t good enough and my fantasies of the premise are better than the film!
✔️ Despite their flaws, I do want to fuck the cast…except Woody Harrelson…
✔️ And it did inspire fantasies. Of being bought and being sold and CONSENSUALLY treated as an object!
❌ Finally, it isn’t sex positive. There was too much ambiguous consent and odd sexual dynamics to get a mark for positivity!

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The American President

  • YEAR: 1995
  • DIRECTOR: Rob Reiner
  • KEY ACTORS: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening
  • CERTIFICATE: 15
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.8
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 91%

SEX SCORE: 2/5

✔️ This does pass the Bechdel Test, but it’s one of those passes where the exact conversations that qualify can be listed so it’s not a strong pass!
❌ But I don’t think it’s rewatchable. I don’t mean that it’s not good – I enjoyed it a lot – but I don’t think you could pick it up halfway through and watch from there, and I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to see it again
❌ And I don’t want to fuck the cast. Sorry Michael Douglas, you’re still not for me, although this is much closer than any other movie you’ve done!
✔️ It is sex positive! The plot essentially revolves around whether it is appropriate for the President to have a girlfriend, but any opposition to the relationship is appropriately judged!
❌ It didn’t inspire fantasies so is only getting 2/5, which feels low for a movie I enjoyed. But I simply don’t want to fuck the American President – either in real life (MY EYES!), in the movie or in fantasy.

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The Craft

  • YEAR: 1996
  • DIRECTOR: Andrew Fleming
  • KEY ACTORS: Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, Rachel True
  • CERTIFICATE: 15
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.4
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 55%

SEX SCORE: 2.5/5

✔️ Of course, this passes the Bechdel Test!

✔️ And as much as I was scared of it as a teenager, this really is rewatchable.

❌ But I don’t want to fuck the cast. In many ways, I wanted to be the cast, but I didn’t want to fuck them.

❓ Did it inspire fantasies? I think I will give it a half a mark as there is so much that I wanted, but I didn’t want it for sexual reasons. Well, not directly anyway!

❌ And it isn’t sex positive. Sex is a source of trauma and conflict for all of the girls, and I don’t get the impression that any of them have had a positive sexual experience.

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Contact

  • YEAR: 1997
  • DIRECTOR: Robert Zemeckis
  • KEY ACTORS: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt
  • CERTIFICATE: PG
  • IMDB SCORE: 7.4
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 65%

Today’s guest post is written by Charlie X (they/he), a blogger I have only recently started reading and who shares the most incredible photos! Follow them on Twitter @CharlieXblog. They have chosen to look at Contact through a Freudian psychoanalytical lens and it is fascinating…

SEX SCORE: 2.5/5

✔️ Contact passes the Bechdel Test.

❌ But Charlie did not want to fuck the cast. (I probably would…)

❌ And we both agree that it didn’t inspire fantasies. It’s not really a movie about sex!

❓ Which is why it’s difficult to say whether it’s sex positive or not. There are no red flags but no are there positive attributes either…

✔️ But is is definitely rewatchable! If only because there are a lot of strands to pick at and lots to think about.

As always, this contains spoilers so watch the film before you read on…

STREAMING: Amazon Prime (free with subscription), BFI Player, YouTube (from £3.99). For a full list of streaming options, check out JustWatch.com

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Clueless

  • YEAR: 1995
  • DIRECTOR: Amy Heckerling
  • KEY ACTORS: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash
  • CERTIFICATE: 12
  • IMDB SCORE: 6.8
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 80%

SEX SCORE: 4/5

✔️ Of course this is rewatchable! It may be 25 years old but I could still watch it again and again.

✔️ It’s incredibly sex positive. Even back in 1995, the women didn’t judge each other for their sexual experience or lack of experience. There is no slut shaming and virgin shaming is clearly shown to be wrong, and it’s awesome!

✔️ And it passes the Bechdel test with flying colours. The three main characters are women and they talk about school, driving tests, make overs…

✔️ I will give it a mark for wanting to fuck the cast. I prefer older Paul Rudd, because he does look different, but he’s cute here and Alicia Silverstone is hot!

❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. It’s not really a sexual film and I don’t really think I can attribute crushes on older unobtainable people on Clueless!

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Four Weddings and a Funeral

  • YEAR: 1994
  • DIRECTOR: Mike Newell
  • KEY ACTORS: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell
  • CERTIFICATE: 15
  • IMBD SCORE: 7.0
  • ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 96%

SEX SCORE: 5/5

✔️ This movie is definitely rewatchable! Sadly, it’s not on TV as often as other Richard Curtis movies as I could watch it every day!

✔️ It’s difficult to know if this movie is the source of wedding dress fantasies or not, but this was certainly my first exposure to the idea of fucking while wearing a wedding dress.

✔️ And it does pass the Bechdel Test, but only just!! Apparently the only qualifying line between two named female characters is this one: Scarlett: Isn’t she beautiful? Fiona: Scarlett, you’re blind, she looks like a big meringue.

✔️ I contemplated this one for quite a long time but I have concluded that the cast are fuckable. None are at their hotness peak but they’re all looking pretty good!

✔️ And it is sex positive. The characters all fuck around and have a lot of sex and, while it may be greeted with humour and hilarity, the characters are never judged for it. And I like that!

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American Beauty

YEAR: 1999
DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes
KEY ACTORS: Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari
CERTIFICATE: 18
IMDB SCORE: 8.3
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 87%

SEX SCORE: 1/5
✔️ It does pass the Bechdel Test. There is a lot of talk of dating and men but there are enough examples for it to easily qualify.
❌ But I don’t want to fuck the cast. Are we supposed to? They’re all flawed and difficult to take seriously. These don’t necessarily make someone unfuckable but here they really do!
❌ And it’s not that rewatchable. It’s not a film I’d watch from halfway through if I found it on TV and it’s kind of intense!!
❌ It also didn’t inspire fantasies. There is something in being totally and utterly desired, as Lester desires Angela, but the power dynamics on display are all wrong for me.
❌ But is it sex positive? I’ve thought a lot about this and I can’t give it the mark. The portrayal of teenage sex was pretty accurate, lies and exaggerations included, and it wasn’t exactly negative about the sexual needs of its characters, but even the slightest hint of sympathy or justification for homophobia and statutory rape is unforgivable.

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10 Things I Hate About You

YEAR: 1999
DIRECTOR: Gil Junger
KEY ACTORS: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik
CERTIFICATE: 12
IMDB SCORE: 7.3
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 66%

SEX SCORE: 4/5
✔️ First off, this film is incredibly rewatchable. And it seems to be on the TV all the time. Yay!
✔️ And it is sex positive. I particularly liked how sex was accurately discussed as something teenagers do, rather than being shocking in itself. Bianca’s surprise that Kat had had sex with Joey sprung from her shock at not being told, rather than the act itself, and Kat’s regret was based on how Joey acted afterwards. She had consented to having sex but changed her mind about doing it again; for once, it wasn’t assault as a plot point.
✔️ It does pass the Bechdel Test, although it did take some thought to remember conversations that weren’t about dating!
✔️ And I definitely, definitely want to fuck the cast. It’s Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles!
❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. It’s not really that kind of movie and I didn’t want to have their ‘outsiders together’ relationship.

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