tip off

Lights, camera, smut: the year Hollywood got its rocks off

It’s hardly a secret that in the movie business, sex sells. But this year Hollywood got its pants off — and took crazy kink to another level.

One memorably awkward scene in writer/director Ben Lewin’s acclaimed Oscar-ready drama The Sessions depicts a full-body-naked Helen Hunt, who plays a “sex therapist”, perched with her genital area positioned directly above the mouth of John Hawkes, who plays a paralytic polio-afflicted poet incapable of moving his arms or legs or spending more than four hours away from a gigantic metal box that helps him breathe.

Muffled sounds emerge from Hawkes’ mouth. Hunt, who was once paid a million dollars per episode of Mad About You and is now clearly under the sheets of an “artistic” film with a “vision,” asks “are you OK down there?”

“You’re choking me,” he responds, and with that line whatever vague traces of romance the scene had disappear faster than Hawke’s character climaxes, which is about the same time it takes to snap your fingers.

Despite its heart-on-sleeve sentimentality The Sessions handles its subject with restraint and a lightness of touch, but this is nevertheless an indisputably strange sequence, a rare moment of kooky Hollywood kink. Particularly for a film so widely associated with “Oscar bait.”

It’s not the only time this year American movies got freaky in the bedroom; not by a long shot. Representations of carnal encounters are a dime in a dozen in an industry populated by people who have long understood the holy significance of the mantra “sex sells” but 2012 has been different. Memorable. A special splotch on the bedsheets of American filmmaking.

A hero of hyper-powered heterosexuality got homoerotic. A Hasbro toy did the dirty. Fried poultry became obscenely sexualised. All manner of strange things transpired involving teachers, students, fish, aliens, vampires and pool tables with Tom Cruise. Even the usually reserved – at least so far as these things go – Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep hopped on the hot love highway.

In Hope Springs, Jones and Streep play a pair of 60-somethings whose 30-year-old marriage has been drained of sexual activity. Jones finds himself  spitting lines of dialogue through gritted teeth about his non-existent love life with a sex counsellor played by Steve Carell, who grins smugly throughout the film with the look of a man who understands he has a plum gig: sitting on one seat looking empathetic for two days of filming while watching Tommy Lee umm and ahh over questions about erectile dysfunction.

Carell assigns the two fading lovers a homework assignment. Streep must go down on him, in a cinema, while watching a French movie. Cut to the cinema; Jones shovels down popcorn; he beams with anticipation as Francois Pignon flaps about in The Dinner Game. Streep crams herself between his legs, goes for the zipper, fumbles about for one horrifying micro-eternity and, in one of several moments in which she hurries off in a huff then returns the very next sequence, says “I can’t do this” and scurries away. It’s an uncomfortable, borderline unwatchable moment made only marginally better by the knowledge that it’s supposed to feel awkward.

Weirder still, at least for change-averse appreciators of Hollywood’s longest-running macho macho man franchise, is a steamy sequence in Skyfall between James Bond and his latest nemesis. Gone are the days in which 007′s saucy one-liners are reserved for the likes of women with names such as Honey Rider, Mary Goodnight, Pussy Galore and Christmas Jones.

Strapped to a chair, Bond, played by Daniel Craig, is forced to endure a rant about cannibalistic rats from a beautifully dressed Javier Bardem, who sashays onto the scene like a bisexual prince from some remote Spanish kingdom. Bardem seductively runs his hands down Craig’s legs and his fingers under his shirt. When he mentions how Bond has never experienced this kind of sensual delight, Craig shoots back: “What makes you think this is my first time?”

Such silky smooth comebacks were not deployed by an unlucky-but-he-thought-he-got-lucky teenager in schlock-fest Piranha 3DD, from the director of such esteemed classics as Feast II: Sloppy Seconds and Feast III: The Happy Finish. After a familiar scene for horror enthusiasts — the ol’ ‘young couple skinning dipping’ chestnut — a couple of frisky young lovers get rudely interrupted mid-copulation when a mutant piranha swims out of the woman’s nether regions and clamps its jaws on the head of the guy’s you-know-what. The scene concludes with a large knife and a dismembered body organ.

These kind of mishaps are hardly uncommon in the sticky genre of gross-out horror. Movies that reach for the cinematic sweet tooth with candy-coloured contrivances such as lifelong best friends and magical teddy bears are a safer place to turn. Or they would be in any other year.

In Ted, a surprise mega-hit that ratcheted up over $13 million at the local box office, Mark Wahlberg plays a man whose best friend is a teddy bear that came to life when his character wished upon a star as a child. Ted grows up into a bong-smoking, trash-talking, filthy-mouthed layabout who invites hookers around to play obscene versions of truth or dare. While on duty at a grocery store, Ted’s boss catches him having sex with a cashier in the store room as the cuddly horn bag yells “put your finger in the loop of my tag!” His boss promotes him.

But Ted is the directorial debut of Seth MacFarlane, the creative rabble-rouser behind TV’s The Family Guy, so such toilet boil shenanigans are to be expected. But this year even well-respected old school filmmakers and a male lead renown for appearing in syrupy rom-coms got down in the sexual dirt.

Killer Joe, from 77-year-old director William Friedkin, follows a misogynistic hitman played by Matthew McConaughey, currently enjoying a run of artistic films wags have dubbed the ‘McConaisance’. Never, ever, ever, has a fried chicken drumstick been so repulsively used in cinema. The scene in question involves a character who is bullied into dropping to their knees and, well, even a vague description of this viscerally disturbing barf bag moment is at best NSFW, at worst NSFAEOSKTCM (Not Suitable For Any Environment Or Situation Known To Civilised Man), so let’s just move along.

Writer/director Wes Anderson, king of cinematic quirk and director of cuddly bathtub larks such as Fantastic Mr Fox and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, doesn’t engage in this sort of lewdness. Except this year, in his own arty way, he kind of did. The two love bird protagonists in Moonrise Kingdom French kiss on a beach in their underwear and discuss erections. “It feels hard,” says the girl. “Do you mind?” “I like it.” These characters, by the way, are 12 years old. They look about seven.

Twelve years is the same age as the protagonist in early scenes of the latest cringe-inducing Adam Sandler vehicle That’s My Boy, who is seduced by his school teacher and in adulthood discovers two people having incestuous sex.

The list goes go on and on. There are so many examples of carnal craziness in 2012 American movies, in fact, that otherwise out-there encounters barely registered a blip on the raunch radar.

Kirstin Dunst having bathroom hanky panky (The Bachelorette). Soft vampire porn (Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2). Outdoor touchy touchy terror (Cabin in the Woods). Will Ferrell filming himself bonking a heavy-set woman (The Campaign). Robert Pattinson getting his rocks off in a limousine (Cosmopolis). Kristen Stewart simultaneously masturbating two young men in a car (On the Road). Richard Ayoade, an alien in human disguise, being offered fellatio in a dungeon (The Watch).

One of the standout moments in the scrapbook of silly cinema sex was even re-released on the big screen: Titanic‘s famous hand on-the-glass-in-the-car-on-the-boat moment.

But the scene that exemplifies just how weird sex got this year in Hollywood came (so to speak) courtesy of Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, a pool table and a soapy 80′s anthem.

Rock of Ages is a long, formulaic and exhaustingly cheesy musical about a small town gal in a lone-lee-world. But a scene in which Cruise, playing an Axl Rose-esque rock pig with a bad attitood, sings “I want to know what love is” into the buttocks of his co-star lifts the movie, however briefly, to a level few could have forseen. Summarising the scene perfectly in an interview with MTV earlier this year, Akerman said: “I think I’m the only person who can say that Tom Cruise has sang into my arse.”

Please login below to comment, OR simply register here :



Womens Agenda

loading...

Smart Company

loading...

StartupSmart

loading...

Property Observer

loading...