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Watch This, Not That: 5 MORE Netflix Date Movies to Watch (& 5 Not To)

June 14, 2013

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Last week we reviewed some great love stories available on Netflix Instant — along with our opinions on which were best for date night and which were probably best saved for quiet moments alone with a pint of ice cream and your favorite sweatpants. And with so many good options to choose from, we’re back with more recommendations!


1. Awkward Love
Watch Lars and the Real Girl, NOT Dark Horse

Dark Horse is the gentlest of the Todd Solondz movies, but considering he’s made such feel-goods as Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, and Storytelling (aargh), that’s not saying much. For a cringeworthy movie that’s much sweeter and more positively hopeful, go with Lars, with the bonus of golden-boy star Ryan Gosling.


2. Iconic Horror
Watch Nosferatu, NOT Rosemary’s Baby

The classic ’60s flick starring Mia Farrow’s Vidal Sassoon haircut is basically a movie about date rape and a metaphor for anti-choice zealotry. Not exactly a fun Saturday night. Plus, there’s an orgy scene with lots of naked old people. ’Nuff said. Better to go with the one of the first-ever of the genre: Nosferatu. Sure, it’s silent, and it’s almost 100 years old, and it’s German Expressionist, but don’t let that scare you. It’s one of those films everyone should watch — so why not watch it together? The tragic ending is way more romantic than almost any other horror available on Netflix Instant (except maybe Let the Right One In, which is great if you prefer your scary stories from this century). And since it’s a mere 81 minutes long, have yourself a bloodcurdling double feature with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari!


3. Italian Costume Drama
Watch A Room With a View, NOT Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet

You might think, How could we go wrong with the quintessential Shakespearean romance in the hands of an Italian master? Well, it’s long, and there’s a lot of complaining. Stick with a witty Edwardian period piece by Merchant and Ivory that’s based on the E.M. Forster novel, shot beautifully all over Italy and just oozing romance. No double suicide or annoying whining to contend with!


4. May-December Relationship
Watch Manhattan, NOT Lost in Translation

If we have to watch some relatively unattractive older man win the heart of an incredibly good-looking much younger girl, we’ll take Woody Allen’s neurotic over Bill Murray’s depressive any day — and so should you.


5. TV Series
Watch The L Word, NOT House of Cards

Don’t get us wrong: House of Cards is a great show — and the first original series on Netflix. But the sex in it is way more about power than love, or even lust. There’s prostitution, pedophilic-ish relationships, and hand-job rapes on dying cancer patients (no joke!). If you like the sex on your shows to actually be sexy — at least when you’re watching with someone you hope to have sex with later — you can’t do much better than Showtime’s ode to modern Sapphic love, The L Word.

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Watch This, Not That: 5 Netflix Instant Date Movies to Watch (& 5 Not To)

June 7, 2013

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There are some gems on Netflix that you can watch instantly, and many of them are especially good for a date night. But choose wisely: some are perfect for cuddling up on the couch together, while others just seem that way.

 


1.Recent Indie RomCom:
Watch Safety Not Guaranteed, NOT No Strings Attached

The huge star power of No Strings Attached (starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher) doesn’t hold a candle to the adorable power of Safety Not Guaranteed (starring…we couldn’t even tell you). It’s sweet, smart and funny — everything you want in a date movie (and in a date!). Meanwhile, NSA is totally forgettable (just like you wish all your bad dates could be).

 


2. Tested Love: 
Watch 2 Days in Paris, NOT Like Crazy

They both are about the harsh realities of real relationships, but one is frenetically funny and the other just fizzles out.

 


3. Homoeroticism:
Watch Brokeback Mountain, NOT Heavenly Creatures

Well before his Lord of the Rings empire, Peter Jackson directed Heavenly Creatures, a small, stylish indie starring then-unknown Kate Winslet and featuring a lot art, fantasy, and gothic romance between two kindred spirits in undies and ankle socks. One prob for date night, though: it ends in bloody murder. For a gay love story that also ends in murder but much less graphically, try Brokeback Mountain – it can teach you and your date a thing or two about passion, forbidden or not.

 


4. Lost Love:
Watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, NOT Blue Valentine

Most of the promo materials for Blue Valentine tried to trick us into believing it was a hot, passionate, romance about crazy love. Nope! If you’re up for a movie about love dying, make it one that is simultaneously about love (and hope) triumphing over experience. It also doesn’t hurt that ESotSM is visually stunning, incredibly clever, and totally innovative.

 


5. Older Foreign Love Story:
Watch Cinema Paradiso, NOT Like Water for Chocolate

They’re both classics from the late 80s/early 90s, but for date night, we’d suggest the one that focuses on love, kisses and movies, rather than the one that focuses on love, digestion and bodily functions.

 

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The Great Movie Kiss Off: The Notebook vs. Brokeback Mountain

February 5, 2013

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All those kisses during the Superbowl commercial breaks on Sunday night got us in the mood to talk about macking. To summarize: loved the Audi John-Hughes-style prom night kiss (though it only really works if we assume she did give him her consent to kiss her at some earlier point — maybe a note passed in math class? — otherwise it’s a bit sexual assault-y); really loved Will Ferrell’s mysterious bus ride smooch that you might have missed; really wished GoDaddy had had the balls to make that sexy + smart kiss actually hot and not awkward mouth-noisy icky (and we kind of hate the implication that a person can’t be both sexy AND smart).

Anyway, if you ask a room of people about the best movie kiss ever, chances are that rainy scene from The Notebook starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling will get more than a handful of votes.

But if you ask us, the kiss that wins is the one between Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. Don’t get us wrong, that Notebook kiss is good smooching, too — we just think the Brokeback one is even better. It’s rougher and more dangerous — not out in the hills or by a lake, but at home where one of their wives could show up at any moment! Everything is on the line, everything, but they just can’t deny their love! See? (Apologies for the unfortunate music overlay):

So, in honor of all the V-Day smooching soon to be upon us, we’d like you to vote on your favorite kiss. Watch the Notebook scene here and the Brokeback scene here and then pick your favorite (or suggest your own, even hotter alternative).


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LAST CHANCE to Win a Valentine’s Day Dinner & a Movie from Fandango!

February 1, 2013

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****THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED****

Our friends over at FANDANGO want to make your Valentine’s Movie Date Night a hit! And we want you to help us get the word out about our new book, 150 Shades of Play. Fandango wins, we win, and hopefully YOU win too! Here’s how to play:

Between now and Sunday February 10th, include the title 150 Shades of Play along with this link — http://say.ly/pEj4J7E –  in a Tweet or a Facebook Post, let us know you’ve done so, and you’ll be automatically entered to win Fandango’s awesome Date-Night prize:

  • a $100 Visa Gift Card
  • a $30 Fandango Gift Card

Post that link as many times as you like, because the more you post, the more chances you’ll have to win! (Mentioning the book as an excellent Valentine’s Day gift may not help you win the contest, but it will endear you to us for always and ever!) Let us know whenever you Tweet or FB post by immediately emailing a screenshot of the post to us here, including your name and US mailing address (no PO Boxes), which we promise to keep private;  on a Mac, Command+Shiftshift+4 lets you drag and capture an area of the screen; click here for instructions on taking screenshots on either a PC or a Mac. <Don’t skip this part or your post won’t count! The deadline for entry is EOD EST on Sunday, February 10th, 2013. One lucky winner will be drawn at random and announced on our site the next day, with the prize arriving before Valentine’s Day.

While you’re waiting to win the Fandango Movie Date Night prize, check out their VALENTINE’S DAY MOVIE GUIDE for tips on the perfect movie to see together. Supplement your prize (or have a backup if you don’t win) with a cute VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT CARD FROM FANDANGO for your sweetie (see below). And don’t forget to order a copy of 150 SHADES OF PLAY for after the movie!



What’s Your Favorite Incest Plot-Line?

January 17, 2013

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Flowers in the Attic

Our Bodies, Ourselves. Judy Blume. Flowers in the Attic. If you grew up in the ’80s, chances are these books had a pretty big impact on your sexual development. In other words, as far as V.C. Andrews’ book goes, you probably have a bit of a thing for incest plot-lines. Forbidden love, up in the attic, with your hot sibling! Swoon. But it’s not the only story to explore the erotic potential of fictional incest. Think Angels and Insects, for example, or all those daytime soaps where two lovers find out they’re actually siblings separated at birth. Bummer for them! Hot for the rest of us!

So, tell us… what other titles belong in this incest genre? It could be a book, movie, TV show, highbrow, lowbrow, whatever. We’ll compile a list and publish it on our site soon. You’re welcome.

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Top 10 WTF Sex Scenes

January 15, 2013

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All top ten lists are, by their nature, subjective, but this one is especially so — because one person’s “WTF” sex scene is another person’s monkey spanking material. (Exhibit A: we’d qualify a lot of porn as WTF.)

A few qualifications: David Lynch probably deserves a place in this list (okay, David Lynch definitely deserves a place in this list!), but because we’ve already written an entire post dedicated to his effed up sex scenes, we left him off this time. And LAST TANGO IN PARIS should probably be on here, but we are just so damn sick of talking about that freakin’ butter scene. The SHOWGIRLS pool scene is hilarious and weird and WTF hall of fame-worthy, but we already covered that one, too.

Also, we tried to steer clear of most cinematic depictions of rape, because it didn’t seem right to include those scenes alongside crushed-chicken sex and apple-pie onanism. “WTF” just seems a little too jokey of a response to the graphic violent sexual assault in a movie like IRREVERSIBLE. Oh, and we mostly stayed away from horror movies, too, even though it’s kind of a rule of thumb that the scarier the movie, the more messed up the sex is — we just didn’t have the stomach to go there (if you do, you’ll probably enjoy this list).

Which is not to say that some of the sex in the list below isn’t kill-me-now bleak. In fact, you’ll probably want to rent MARY POPPINS after making it to number one. But just in case you actually want more, check out our earlier post, The 20 Most Disturbing Sex-Themed Movies.

10. CRASH (1996)
James Spader plays a TV commercial producer who enjoys lots of vanilla sex with his wife until he’s involved in a car crash and overnight finds himself aroused by three-car pile-ups and the injuries they cause. Turns out there’s a whole community of people who feel the same way (we suppose this notion was more shocking back in 1996, when there wasn’t an internet chat room for every fetish under the sun). The entire movie is pretty WTF, but the, er, climactic moment occurs when Spader’s character has sex with Rosanna Arquette’s open leg wound. Yep, he did. Please don’t make us type that again.

 

9. PINK FLAMINGOS (1972)
Does it count as a WTF if it’s a John Waters film? Isn’t his name on the billboard kind of a heads-up? You say, “WTF, I want my money back” and the ticket guy says, “WTF, it’s a John Waters movie, what did you expect?” But even for Waters, the scene where a couple has sex with a live chicken between their bodies is out there. And that’s no rubber chicken. It’s an actual, freshly dead chicken from the butcher shop that gets crushed between them while they do it. We’re pretty sure that chicken didn’t consent to be in a three-way chicken snuff film. (Apparently, the crew ate it afterwards.)

 

8. THE DOOM GENERATION (1995)
How to pick just one fucked up sex scene from this fucked up road movie that makes FREEWAY look like THE LITTLE MERMAID? Could it be when a teen boy eats his own semen? Or how about when another teen boy is castrated by a pair of garden shears, shortly after a MMF threeway? No, we think the winner is when Rose McGowan’s character is raped with a statue of the virgin Mary. Yep, that’ll do it.

 

7. AMERICAN PIE (1999)
Masturbation is as American as apple pie! The “feel-good” movie of the year. We’re annoyed at ourselves for including this in the list, but how could we not? That would be like compiling a list of the Top 10 Movie Sex Scenes Involving Dairy Products and leaving out Marlon Brando and the butter.

 

6. HOWARD THE DUCK (1986)
We will forgive Lea Thompson anything — even her TV show CAROLINE IN THE CITY — because she starred in SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. But we wonder whether she can forgive herself for starring in HOWARD THE DUCK. In this movie, her character strips down to her underwear and attempts to seduce a talking duck, who is on Earth to stop some kind of alien invader. Check out their flirty banter as they lie in bed together (in other words, Thompson read this script and then agreed to star in this movie):

Howard the Duck (checking out Thompson’s butt in her skimpy undies): “I have developed a greater appreciation for the female version of the human anatomy.”
Thompson: “I can’t seem to find the right man.”
Duck: “Maybe it’s not a MAN you should be looking for.”
Thompson (coy): “Do you think I might find happiness in the animal kingdom, Duckie?”
Duck: “Like they say, doll, love’s strange. We could always give it a try.”

She proceeds to fondle him and his duckie plume gets a hard-on, which he embarrassedly apologizes for like he’s just come all over her thigh. She climbs on top of him and Duckie freaks out and says he can’t do it. “I was just kidding,” she says (riiiight), and then the movie goes on like we weren’t just about to witness Lea Thompson having alien duck sex. For the record, this was a Spielberg and Lucas production. WTF?

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Our Golden Globies

January 14, 2013

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In honor of the Golden Globes last night, we — the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of the sex writing world — decided to give out our own awards for the evening:

Most Sensual Congratulatory Kiss
Sally Field to Daniel Day Lewis (Best Actor for Lincoln). Her hands cradling his face and their slow gentle lip-on-lip action put his wife’s lifeless kiss two seconds before to shame.

Best Feminist Moment
A tie between:
In her acceptance speech for Best Actress for Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain thanked director Kathryn Bigelow, saying “You’ve said that filmmaking for you is not about breaking gender roles, but when you make a film that allows your character to disobey the conventions of Hollywood, you’ve done more for women in cinema than you take credit for.”
AND
After President Bill Clinton introduced Lincoln, Amy Poehler said, “What an exciting special guest! That was just Hillary Clinton’s husband! Oh my god!”

Most Awkward Moment
Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement recipient Jodie Foster, in a speech trying desperately to be funny and profound about singledom, sexual orientation and privacy, but just coming across as painfully weird

Worst Fashion Theme
Plunging neckline (almost) down to the belly button, revealing underboob cleavage and making everyone nervous (hopeful?) for a nip slip. Worst offenders: Jessica Chastain & Amy Poehler.

Cutest Couple
Ben Affleck (winner, Best Director & Best Movie for Argo) & Jennifer Garner (presenter of Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical to Hugh Jackman for Les Miz)

Oddest Couple
Jodie Foster & Mel Gibson, there together as BFFs

Worst Shoes
Lena Dunham, winner of both Best Actress in a TV Comedy and Best TV Comedy for Girls. If you cannot walk in your shoes without them making you look like you have polio, either wear some bedazzled Chuck Taylors or go barefoot. Otherwise, it ironically cramps your famous unorthodox, do-it-my-way style. No one can see your shoes in these floor-length ball gowns anyway.

Best Romantic Dis
Tina Fey: “You know what, Taylor Swift? You stay away from Michael J Fox’s son [the Mr. Golden Globe of the evening].”
Amy Poehler: “Or go for it.”
Fey: “No, she needs some me time to learn about herself.”

Best Sexual Dis
Tina Fey: “Quentin Tarantino [who was nominated as Best Director for Django Unchained] is here — the star of all my sexual nightmares.”

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Top 10 Worst Lines in Rom Com History

January 8, 2013

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Maybe you think that nominating specific lines in romantic comedy as bad is kind of superfluous. But that’s probably because you’re thinking only of Kate Hudson’s oeuvre — and forgetting about, say, ANNIE HALL or MOONSTRUCK. Remember when Nicolas Cage told Cher:

“Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice — it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed.”

Man, those lines are as perfect as a snowflake.

And then there’s Nora Ephron (R.I.P.), who single-handedly revolutionized the romantic comedy. The genius of her movies is that there’s something in them for everyone — maybe you swoon over Harry declaring his love for Sally in the middle of a New Year’s Eve party (“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”), or maybe you prefer the oddball humor of the “baby fish mouth” Pictionary scene, or Harry exclaiming in horror, “That’s it? Some faceless guy rips off all your clothes, and THAT’S the sex fantasy you’ve been having since you were twelve?” And do you remember hearing the line “I’ll have what she’s having” for the very first time?

This is what romantic comedy can be, at its best. Below is what it can be at its worst. (By the way, we limited ourselves to romantic comedies, which is why you won’t find such corkers as “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” from 1970’s LOVE STORY or “Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo,” from 2005’s STAR WARS: EPISODE III.)

Em probably shed a tear during each of the scenes below, despite simultaneously rolling her eyes. Lo refuses to admit seeing most of them, but if she did, she rolled her eyes all the way into the back of her head.

10. AUTUMN IN NEW YORK (2000)

Will (Richard Gere): “You don’t want to die! You want to live!
Charlotte (Winona Ryder): “You don’t think I’ve been through this so many times? I don’t want to give people hope when there isn’t any!”
Will: “Why not? Maybe we need hope.”

Oh right, Will — because your need for a little “hope” is more important than Charlotte coming to terms with the fact that she’s fucking dying. And because you’re an aging playboy who finally — at age, what, sixty-something? — fell in love (with someone three decades younger), she’s supposed to pretend she’ll get better just to celebrate the fact that you love her, you really luuuurrrve her? Try picking on someone your own age next time.

9. FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (1994)

Carrie (Andie MacDowell): “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

Oh come on. How about if we punched you in the face for saying that? Do you think you’d notice that? Also, any movie that has Hugh Grant choose Andie MacDowell over Kristin Scott Thomas is just plain wrong.

8. SERENDIPITY (2001)

Sara (Kate Beckinsale): “You don’t have to understand. You just have to have faith.”
Jonathan (John Cusack): “Faith in what?”
Sara: “Destiny.”

First of all, this is the most ridiculous plot line we’ve ever heard of — you meet the guy of your dreams and you decide to intentionally lose his number and hope that fate or faith or destiny or some shmaltzy Hollywood screenwriter will deign to bring you back together. And second: we’re pretty sure that not even Meryl Streep could pull off this line… and yet they hired Kate Beckinsale.

7. NOTTING HILL (1999)

Anna Scott (Julia Roberts): “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

Oh, infantilism, it’s so charming! The only thing that could have made this line worse is if she’d decided to deliver it in baby talk. Oh, and also: you’re a freakin’ movie star! (Anna Scott the character, we mean.) You make millions of dollars. And yet you’re worried that this is a little intimidating to someone of the opposite sex — a little emasculating, even — and so you downplay it all and turn yourself into a giggling schoolgirl. Woman up!

6. HITCH (2005)

Hitch (Will Smith): “Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away.”

in a tie with…

Hitch: “Any man, anytime, has the chance to sweep a woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.”

Did this screenwriter actually go into a Hallmark store and steal lines from fridge magnets and novelty kitchen aprons? Read the rest of this entry »



Top 10 Directors Not Afraid of Nudity

November 26, 2012

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If you spend a lot of time analyzing movie sex scenes like we do, you might find yourself rolling your eyes at how many on-screen couples manage to have sex without ever showing any skin…or who fall asleep with a sheet covering them just so…or who always put on a shirt and underpants when they get out of bed to pee, no matter how raunchy things just got. Where’s the nudity? Where’s the raunch?

And even when there is nudity, it isn’t always what it seems: It’s not uncommon these days for actresses to wear band-aids over their nipples during shooting, and then nipples are added later, in CGI (with the actresses’ full permission). We’re not sure what this accomplishes, exactly — except put a bunch of body doubles out of work.

Fortunately, there are still some directors around who are very, shall we say, comfortable with on-screen nudity. And we mean the real kind — not the CGI kind. Only after we finished this top 10 list did we realize it was entirely male, which we suppose shouldn’t surprise us — after all, most of the nudity is female. But we dug up male nudity — or, at least, equal-opportunity nudity — where we could. You’re welcome!

10. Lars Von Trier
Is there anything Lars Von Trier is afraid of when it comes to movie-making? (Except perhaps slapstick humor — we can’t quite see him going with a banana peel gag.) This Danish filmmaker makes very smart films, which might make you feel like less of a perv about all the nudity if the works weren’t also extremely disturbing. He is one of the founders of the purist avant-garde film movement Dogme 95, which shuns special effects and other Hollywood gimmicks — which is perhaps why he’s known for showing unsimulated sex in his films like THE IDIOTS (1998) and ANTI-CHRIST (2009), as well as full-frontal nudity of both the male and female variety. Oh, and his company, Zentropa, also produces hardcore pornography. Who doesn’t have a hardcore porn-producing hobby these days?

9. Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow was so annoyed at a test audience’s squeamish response to a penis in WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (2007) –which he wrote and produced — that he announced, “I’m gonna get a penis or a vagina in every movie I do from now on. … It really makes me laugh in this day and age, with how psychotic our world is, that anyone is troubled by seeing any part of the human body.” That might explain the closing-credits penis montage in SUPERBAD (2007), which Apatow produced. “America fears the penis,” he said. “And that’s something I’m going to help them get over.” The offending schlong in WALK HARD — which appears behind John C. Reilly’s head in an orgy scene — made the cut, though from a different angle than the original, to reduce the delicate audience’s exposure to too much ballsac. Apatow also produced FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008), which features Jason Segel’s awesome nude breakup scene.

8. Adrian Lyne
Adrian Lyne’s movies are pretty much synonymous with dark sex — think, 9 ½ WEEKS (1986), INDECENT PROPOSAL (1993), FATAL ATTRACTION (1987), LOLITA (1997), and UNFAITHFUL (2002). But on the set, while shooting nude scenes, Lyne claims the atmosphere is much lighter. He says he sets the mood by acting like a “demented cheerleader,” shouting encouragement like, “Good, good, good. Give me a little more of that. Show me your beast. Water, water! Great!” He’ll even pop a bottle of bubbly to help his actors relax, like when shooting that kitchen sink scene between Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in FATAL ATTRACTION. Directing this sort of thing, he says, is like a “bizarre kind of menage a trois” with the actors.

7. John Waters
Like Lars Von Trier, John Waters is a fan of equal-opportunity, full-frontal nudity and unsimulated sex scenes — but only Waters includes real live chickens between his actors’ bodies while they do it (that was 1972’s PINK FLAMINGOS). And while we find it hard to defend his infamous dog poop scene, we will say that most of his nudity makes a point — his life’s work examines sexuality, homosexuality, and gender issues.

PINK FLAMINGOS was part of a trio that Waters labeled the TRASH TRILOGY, along with FEMALE TROUBLE (1974) and DESPERATE LIVING (1977). These early films are the filthiest and starred his personal troupe of actors known as the Dreamlanders, including Divine and Mink Stole (with names like that, you could hardly expect them to keep their clothes on); he’s also a fan of casting pornstars.

Until THE WIRE came along, John Waters was pretty much the only reason most Americans ever thought about Baltimore.

6. Steven Soderbergh
So there’s no dog poop in Soderbergh’s films, and you probably won’t find any snuffed chickens, either. This director manages to be incredibly racy (e.g. SEX, LIES, and VIDEOTAPE, 1989) while maintaining his mainstream Hollywood status with movies likes CONTAGION, ERIN BROCKOVICH, and the OCEAN’S ELEVEN franchise. You’d think that to achieve this, you’d have to focus exclusively on female nudity — but he just proved this theory wrong with MAGIC MIKE (2012). Okay, sure, there was plenty of female nudity in there, too, but we’ll take it.

In 2009’s THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, about a Manhattan call girl, Soderbergh tried — unsuccessfully, in our opinion — to prove that pornstar Sasha Grey could actually act. But with that film he did manage to make one of the raciest R-rated movies we’ve ever seen.

His position on this list was almost rescinded for calling his 2002 movie with Julia Roberts and Blaire Underwood “Full Frontal” when it didn’t contain any nudity, let alone full-frontal nudity.

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Top 10 Films That Represent the War on Women

November 16, 2012

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While the topic of women’s rights doesn’t have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the War on Women (either directly or metaphorically)—workplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff. So when you make a bag of popcorn for one of these movies, not only will you be entertained, you’ll also be spending some quality time thinking about women’s rights. In other words, you can feel virtuous about that time on the couch. You’re welcome!

10. WORKING GIRL (1988)
What was it about the eighties? Sure, we enjoyed ERIN BROCKOVICH kicking ass in a push-up bra in 2000 (especially the “634 sexual favors” scene), and pretty-in-pink Reese Witherspoon certainly put a few sexist lawyers in their place in 2000’s LEGALLY BLONDE. But for a comedy about women not being taken seriously in the workplace—whether it’s due to their looks, their background, their catty and competitive female boss, etc.—you can’t beat WORKING GIRL, with Melanie Griffith riding the Staten Island ferry to the tune of Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run.” The film almost (almost) convinced us that actress Melanie Griffith is just pretending to be a total airhead. Of course, this being the eighties, the kick-ass heroine spends a remarkable amount of time in her skivvies, and says things like, “I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?” Okay, Jessica Rabbit. Still, we are forever indebted to this film for reminding men everywhere that itchy scratchy “sexy” lingerie is not at the top of most women’s birthday wish lists.

9. ANTICHRIST (2009)
In the world of director Lars Von Trier, the battle of the sexes is a literal one—gory, violent, and almost unbearable to watch. ANTICHRIST was a polarizing film: some viewers found it unforgivably misogynistic, while others found it a gorgeous meditation on guilt, grief, and sex—and the intertwining of the three. It’s an arthouse horror film, which means you get smashed testicles (Willem Defoe’s) and a self-butchered clitoris (Charlotte Gainsbourg’s), and yet the violence is meant to serve a higher purpose: demonstrating the meaningless of everything. Or maybe it’s a lesson in just desserts for a man who is obnoxiously sure he knows what’s best for his little wife. Either way, Von Trier’s message is clear: the battle of the sexes will not end well for anyone. In case you need another reminder—less bloody, but emotionally, just as gory—may we suggest IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (1997). ANTICHRIST airs Friday November 16th at 12 am on the Sundance Channel.

8. THE ACCUSED (1988)
THE ACCUSED did more to undermine the “she was asking for it” bullshit rape “defense” than any other movie to date. In it, Jodie Foster (who won the Best Actress Oscar that year) plays Sarah Tobias, a poor, uneducated woman who goes to a bar in a mini skirt, gets high, and then gets gang-raped, while a bunch of other men cheer on the attack. If you came of age around the time this movie was released, as we did, you probably still get chills remembering it. (Which is probably why the 2007 movie THE BRAVE ONE got made. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but how awesome was it watching Jodie Foster grab a gun to avenge her own sexual assault and the murder of her husband? Pretty awesome, if you ask us.) THE ACCUSED is the ne plus ultra of rape movies; other titles lean more toward the rape-and-revenge genre—so satisfying to watch, even if feminist critics are divided on the topic. Some of our favorites in this area are THELMA AND LOUISE (1991), THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011), IRREVERSIBLE (2002), RAPE ME (2000), EXTREMITIES (1986), and SUDDEN IMPACT (1983), the Dirty Harry film that spawned the catchphrase, “Go ahead, make my day.”

7. BLUE VELVET (1986)
Is Isabella Rossellini, as nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens, a femme fatale, a damsel in distress, a symbol of domestic violence, or the Oedipal mother every son secretly wants to fuck? And does Kyle MacLachlan, as college student Jeffrey, want to save Dorothy or fuck her or hit her or be mothered by her—or all of the above? It depends on which critic you ask. Suffice it say, this role conveys the incredibly complicated relationship Hollywood (and beyond) has with female sexuality. In the end, Jeffrey falls for sweet-faced Sandy (Laura Dern), who dreams about robins as a sign of hope. Which certainly didn’t earn David Lynch any Feminist of the Year awards. Still, it’s hard to blame someone for choosing robins after they’ve lived in Lynch’s world for a while.

6. THE BURNING BED (1984)
Sometimes the war on women is perpetrated by an army of one, a person who is supposed to love and honor his wife/girlfriend. Recent statistics suggest that one in four women has experienced domestic violence and that between one and three million women experience abuse by a former or current partner every year. Which makes this 1984 made-for-tv movie — starring Farrah Fawcett and based on a 1980 non-fiction book — still depressingly relevant. It tells the story of the thirteen years of brutal abuse Francine Hughes suffered at the hands of her husband before she set fire to their house, killed him and was ultimately found not guilty for it by reason of temporary insanity. It’s one of the most realistic and therefore chilling portrayals of domestic violence made for the screen, small or big. For better or worse, Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of domestic violence storylines. To list just a few: WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, ONCE WERE WARRIORS, BOYS ON THE SIDE, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, THE COLOR PURPLE, ENOUGH, FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, KINDERGARTEN COP (seriously!), RAGING BULL, THIS BOY’S LIFE, WHERE THE HEART IS… Man, we’re depressed just reciting that list.

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