Wednesday, November 12, 2008

[Insert Overused Sex Joke Here]

I saw an amazing concert in Atlanta not too long ago that was all about sex sex sex. The band was Of Montreal so that shouldn't be any surprise. (Their new CD Skeletal Lamping is fantastic; check it out.) But it got me thinking about sex in pop culture. More specifically sex scenes in movies. So I decided to do my favorite thing pretty much ever, make a list!

Some of these are fun, some of these are disturbing and some are just plain hot. All they really have in common is good old fashioned sins of the flesh.

So here we go my Top Seven Favorite Movie Sex Scences...

6 and 7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

There are a couple of sex scenes I wish to discuss in this, one of the greatest and most fun movies of all time. The first is just absolutely hilarious, as is much of the movie. Brad Majors (a**hole) and Janet Weiss (slut) are in their separate bedrooms when Dr. Frankenfurter comes to each of them and pretends to be the other in order to seduce them. I love this scene. It's not the sexiest thing on earth but it's still one of my favorite sex scenes, if only for the line "Coming!" It's just so ridiculous. My very first exposure to this movie was being told about this scene from a friend while listening to the soundtrack (thanks Kristen). I was absolutely shocked. Men and women have sex?! With people of the same gender?! Holy mackerel! That one threw my worldview for a loop. That same afternoon I was introduced to "Ta-ta-touch Me!" which is not so much a sex scene as a sex song. Susan Sarandon doesn't do too much with Rocky during the scene but she sure does sing about it. So, I'm cheating a little bit already but what the heck. My list, my rules.

5. Unfaithful (2002)

Not particularly original I realize but Diane Lane's flashbacks to her tryst with Olivier Martinez (has there been a sexier man since Cary Grant?) on the bus are just too good to ignore. As a completely heterosexual woman I cannot help but be mesmerized by Lane's face during her flashback. She is at once remorseful, delighted, giddy, guilty and of course sexy. But Martinez. Oh Olivier, what a lovely bit of eye candy he is in this movie. I do so love it when the traditional roles are flipped and the woman becomes more interesting than her seducer. Richard Gere's loss is the audience's gain.

4. Atonement (2007)

Two words. The Library. Dear God, the library. Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy are only really together for this one scene and what a scene it is. The whole beginningof the film is so stiflingly hot with sweat beading on everyone within frame that this scene feels like the only release. There is something so terribly sexy about being taken against a bookshelf like a naughty librarian. This scene reflects the immediacy of their passion. They can't wait for a time when they can be together alone. They need each other NOW. This is would be fine if it weren't for the conclusions drawn by Knightly's interrupting little sister which set up the tragedy of the story. The immediacy and the subsequent finality of this scene really stuck with me and made me anxious to get a job in a library with very sturdy walls.

2 and 3. Secretary (2002)

This movie is absolutely filled with sexuality, as any movie about love and sado-masochism should be. It would be difficult to pick just one scene in a movie which is bleeding sexual chemistry between Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. Can I really choose this as one of my favorite sex scenes if there are only two actual sex (by sex I mean intercourse) scenes? It's my list and I say yes. There are two stand-outs in this one for me. The first is when Gyllenhaal and Spader have their first sexual encounter at his desk. The look of shock and curiousity on her face when he first spanks her is something to marvel at. What is so telling about the scene and the characters themselves is the moment after he's finished and they are both just panting and dripping with sweat and she reaches for his finger with her pinkie. It's a bit of foreshadowing for how their relationship is going to develop. The second scene is the only one in which our two main characters actually have sex. It's not a long scene, just a part of a montage really, but when they are having sex against the tree their is something so primal and, for lack of a better word, hot about it. I love this movie. Please don't be frightened off by it's decidely unique content. I think it's really a love story about how two people who need each other so badly can actually end up together.

1. Quills (2000)

I didn't choose scene because it's particularly sexy but rather because of the power that it has in it. This is a fantastic movie which doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves. Geoffrey Rush blew me away as the Marquis de Sade, Kate Winslet, always a favorite of mine, was absolutely charming as the curious laundress who befriends the famous sexual deviant and Michael Caine takes a disturbing turn as the true villain of the piece. Joaquin Pheonix makes the movie for me, though. His tortured turn as the abbe was perfect for the intensity he brings to every performance. And he is never more tortured than during his vivid fantasy involving him and Ms. Winslet's corpse. She has just been killed and is laying out in the chapel, naked save a silk shroud. He approaches her body weeping for the loss of not only her but what they could have been together. He kisses her chastely at first and then begins to remove the shroud. Your mind completely rebels against what you think he's doing and he's weeping afresh his pain now mixed with revulsion and disgust with himself but it's the only way he can have any part of her now. As he moves from kissing her to climbing on top of her there's a sharp intake of breath and she becomes animated and they begin to have sex. All she says is the last words he heard her say and the pain you feel as you realize that this scene is a fantasy is palpable. I burst into tears. It's such a painful moment when he wakes up and realizes that he never had her and never will.

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