Love & Other Drugs traces the origin of popular sex drug Viagra. Told through the lense of a love story. After sharing a steamy scene together in Brokeback Mountain, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal bring the same chemistry to Love & Other Drugs. Only with a lot more steamy scenes. In fact, this is easily the most sexual role of Anne Hathaway’s career. Her Disney image has definitely been shed by this point. As both she and Gyllenhaal have several nude scenes together. Although Hathaway was in the movie a lot less than I thought she would be. Most of the focus is actually on Jamie. A smooth talking pharmaceutical salesman who’s seduced many women. Until he meets the woman who might be the one. Maggie is a young woman with early onset Parkinson’s. She doesn’t want to get close because of her condition, but being a romantic comedy, you know things will have to work out. One thing I wasn’t expecting was just how strong of a performance Anne Hathaway would give. The Viagra part of the movie is actually not the driving factor. Although it does lead to many funny scenes. Josh Gad being the funniest character. Love & Other Drugs takes advantage of its adult themes, but it doesn’t always know what to focus on.
[WARNING! EXPLICIT CONTENT] Eyes Wide Shut is the final film by legendary director Stanley Kubrick. Due to his death 5 months before its release. Some would even call it his “unfinished masterpiece,” but it was definitely finished by that point. For the longest time, my only knowledge of the film was that it was Kubrick’s last picture. How much nudity was in it, that it starred real life married couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and that there were (fittingly enough) warning signs from outside sources. All I can say is, it’s important to know what kind of movie you’re getting into. A nearly 3 hour long erotic thriller with Kubrick complexity. The first nude scene is a mere 22 seconds into the movie. As Nicole Kidman disrobes in her first of several nude scenes. Her performance is very raw, but her character is mostly seen in the first act. Tom Cruise plays a doctor and her husband who goes on a night long (Christmas set?) journey after she admits to almost cheating on him. He gets hit on several times, almost sleeps with a hooker, but most importantly, discovers a secret society. This is when things get really weird. The society consists of people in robes and scary masks participating in orgies. Part of it had to be recut just to insure an R rating. However, Eyes Wide Shut doesn’t really get confusing until after that night. Like every other Stanley Kubrick movie I’ve seen up to this point, I was left with mixed emotions and a headache. Until I took a deeper look into the movie. Discovering just how much time (400 consecutive days of shooting!) and meticulous detail was put into it. Eyes Wide Shut is definitely not for everyone, but it is perhaps the best send off for such an iconic director.
Fifty Shades Freed was definitely the final straw. When I first discovered the premise for this book/movie, I knew it had to be a joke. That there was no way a couple that has their entire relationship centered around BDSM would end up happily married. Well that’s exactly how Fifty Shades Darker ended, with a proposal. Fifty Shades Freed focuses on Mr. and Mrs. Grey as a married couple. Still having sex, but in a variety of unsexy ways. Like with ice cream, in a car, or while getting a haircut. In regards to nudity, it’s now almost exclusively bare breast shots. Making the movie barely earn its erotic status. Since a movie about a recently married couple is boring, there way of making it interesting is by filling it with out of place action. Now there’s car chases and hostage negotiations. Leading to perhaps the most unrealistic ending I’ve seen in a long time. Where it flashes forward to Ana and Christian as a happy couple with kids. At this point in the franchise I really took time to reflect on how bad this trilogy is. How unmemorable the supporting characters are. Well at least Rita Ora was finally able to sing in Fifty Shades Freed. With the song “For You” by her and Liam Payne. It also brought up unexplained questions like, what the hell does Christian’s company actually do? Or why can’t the trilogy decide on a tone? Fifty Shades Freed finally freed us from this unsexy sex franchise (if only movies like Book Club would stop making it relevant again).
Preceded by: Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Darker is the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey that nobody asked for. Well the first movie made money. So I guess somebody was asking for it. Even though I was completely unaware of the book’s sequels or if they were even popular. Of course in this day in age, if a book adaptation is even a little successful, the rest of the series is almost guaranteed to get adapted as well. Unlike most franchises at the time, Fifty Shades Darker was released 2 years after the first movie. Leaving room for parodies like Fifty Shades of Black. Although there’s a reason why romances don’t get sequels. It’s because most romances end with the couple getting together by the end. Making a follow up seem kinda pointless. Fifty Shades of Grey ended with Ana leaving Christian after asking to be punished. Leaving the abusive relationship was clearly the best ending, but they kept it going in the most unnatural way possible. Fifty Shades Darker sees Ana return to Christian after they run into each other in another stalkerish way. They resume their relationship and Ana is suddenly fine with all the BDSM stuff again. As if nothing was wrong to begin with. They also explore the even more messed up reason why Christian is the way he is. By roping in respected actress Kim Basinger. As far as sex or nudity is concerned, they scaled it back for some reason. Making for an incredibly forgettable experience. Of course just like before, the song “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by ZAYN & Taylor Swift was the only good thing about it. Fifty Shades Darker is definitely the darkest period in this already unnecessary trilogy.
Fifty Shades of Grey is the phenomenon that took the whole world by storm (whether we wanted it to or not). Unlike most book adaptations, I knew about Fifty Shades of Grey long before a movie was even announced. Back in 2012 when the book was at its peak of popularity. All I knew was that the book was written by a female author (E. L. James) and very popular with older women who saw it as some kind of sexual fantasy. It was also popular for how ridiculous the dialogue and internal monologues are. From the excerpts I read (or celebrity readings I’ve heard), I had no idea how a movie that isn’t NC-17 or higher would even be possible. Since the book is practically porn. Well they somehow found a way and that’s how we ended up with the crappy Fifty Shades trilogy. As it turns out, Fifty Shades of Grey is also the most successful fan fiction ever written. Fan fiction being something fans and/or weirdos use to write their own original stories involving characters in pop culture. Under the username Snowqueen’s Icedragon, E. L. James originally wrote “Master of the Universe” as Twilight fan fiction…
Fifty Shades of Grey actually shares many similarities with Twilight. Both in quality and characters. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are a lot like Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Only without the vampires. Like Bella, Ana is a meek everywoman and like Edward, Christian is powerful and mysterious. Fifty Shades of Grey starts with English major Ana Steele interviewing billionaire Christian Grey for her college newspaper. What some people might call sparks fly between the two. Leading Christian to stalk Ana until they eventually end up together. Going on trips to fancy places and riding in his private helicopter. You’re probably wondering, what about the sex? Well Fifty Shades of Grey certainly has some of that. With Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan both being naked for a majority of the film. However, despite being R rated, I felt like they might have been holding back. Half the time, the movie is more concerned with boring contract discussions about Ana’s sexual preferences. Which brings up my biggest problem with Fifty Shades of Grey as a whole. I hate anything involving BDSM or bondage. Mixing pain with pleasure is just uncomfortable to watch. Even though the movie doesn’t go nearly as far as it could have. Christian’s interest in nothing more than a dominant/submissive sex relationship with Ana takes up most of the movie. Leaving plenty of room for cheesy dialogue and emotionless performances from both leads. Leads that most fans felt were miscast. Like the book’s author, Fifty Shades of Grey is directed by a woman. Based on the underline abuse of the relationship, I’m still not sure why anyone (especially women) would find this sexy. The only positive thing I can say about the movie is its music. “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding is an awesome award worthy song (even though “Earned it” by The Weeknd is the one with the Oscar nomination). Aside from that, the movie was a huge critical failure and even won the Razzie award for Worst Picture (tied with Fant4stic). Fifty Shades of Grey should have remained a guilty pleasure book, instead of a thrill-less movie.
Followed by: Fifty Shades Darker
Basic Instinct 2 is a sequel nobody asked for, but got anyway. After the ending that indicated Catherine Tramell was the killer, what could you possibly do to continue it? Paul Verhoeven, director of the first Basic Instinct, doesn’t return and it definitely shows. The excessive sexuality and nudity that the original became famous for, is almost non-existent. Save for four brief scenes of it. Because of that, Basic Instinct 2 is just boring. Basic Instinct 2 takes place 14 years after the original and has something to do with Catherine Tramell being some kind of risk addict. That has almost nothing to do with the original, but get used to that. Sharon Stone is also pushing 50 in this sequel. She comes across more as a desperate cougar rather than the young seductress she was in her former glory. It’s bad enough that the movie was forgettable and predictable. It actually won Worst Picture at the Razzie Awards. Which is the ultimate insult for a movie I didn’t even know existed. Basically it stinks too.
Preceded by: Basic Instinct
Basic Instinct is an aggressively sexual murder mystery from the mind of director Paul Verhoeven. Before this point, Paul Verhoeven was known for excess films. Basic Instinct was his first American film to be excessively sexual, rather than excessively violent. This was 3 years before Showgirls (see review here) upped it’s excessive sexuality, but Basic Instinct is still teetering on the edge of NC-17 (it’s also much better than that dreck). There’s loads of nudity, lengthy sex scenes, and sexual violence. Which was considered groundbreaking for a mainstream movie. In other words, don’t bring the kids! Basic Instinct follows a murder which bares a strong resemblance to a book written by a woman named Catherine Tramell. One of the sexiest female villains of all time. Sharon Stone plays her as both seductive and psychotic. She becomes the top suspect even though she claims the book is a clever alibi. Michael Douglas plays the detective that she seduces and uses as a pawn in her new book. Of course I can’t talk Basic Instinct without bringing up the famous “interrogation scene.” You know which one I mean. It’s a scene that’s been parodied many times and is easily the most famous scene in the movie. Basic Instinct isn’t without controversy though (surprisingly) it’s not for the level of sexuality. It was actually boycotted by gay rights activists who didn’t like that the killer was a bisexual. Well despite that, Basic Instinct still holds a place in erotic movie history.
Followed by: Basic Instinct 2
[WARNING! EXPLICIT CONTENT] Boogie Nights is perhaps the greatest pornographic movie ever made. Or at least the best movie made about the porn industry. I mean it was nominated for three Oscars. So why is a movie about bad actors who get paid to have sex so acclaimed. Well it just supports my theory that any movie can be great. As long as you have the following: good actors, good writing, and an understanding of the subject matter. Boogie Nights focuses on the golden age of porn in the 70’s. Followed by a darker more serious time in the 80’s. Each character is flawed in some way. Having their own individual problems that stem from their involvement in porn. Some have drug problems, some have marital problems, and some have confidence problems. The most notable characters being Dirk Diggler, a young “well endowed” pornstar who ran away from home. And Roller Girl, a young pornstar who never takes her skates off. This is also Burt Reynolds Oscar nominated comeback role. From what I know, Boogie Nights very accurately portrays what it’s like to work in one of the most controversial professions there is. I’m not even sure I’d say Boogie Nights has a happy ending. However, I will say that I don’t think pornstars are bad people. If they can get out of it, then I wish them luck, because nobody is beyond redemption. Making Boogie Nights the most high quality porno you could possibly watch.
Striptease is the second worst stripper movie that I’ve seen. Showgirls will always be the worst. By comparison though, Striptease probably didn’t deserve to win Worst Picture. Don’t get me wrong, it’s bad (like really bad). I just think the main reason it won was because Showgirls literally won the year before. They even have the same actress in both movies (Rena Riffel). The only difference is the tone. Showgirls is a drama that feels like a comedy. While Striptease is a comedy that wants to be a drama. I wish these stripper movies would just make up their minds. It’s not totally horrible. Some of the actors actually seem like they’re at least trying. Demi Moore is the only one trying to be dramatic. Which ruins the whole mood of the movie. Burt Reynolds on the other hand is so bad that I can’t believe Boogie Nights was his next performance. The most out of place thing though is the stripping scenes. All of the scenes feel like filler. Seriously, they’ll have an important scene in the story intercut with a nameless strippers performance. Sure they look good, but at what cost. A movie about a mother who becomes a stripper could have been done much better. Striptease just wastes it on cringy comedy and in your face nudity (not that I’m complaining about that).
Showgirls is sick, offensive, insulting, crude, demoralizing, disgusting, cringeworthy, tacky, and trashy. I think that about says it all, but I’ll say a bit more. Showgirls is easily one of the worst movies ever made. There’s literally nothing genuinely good about it. Almost like director Paul Verhoeven became a parody of himself. In regards to his use of excessive adult content. Showgirls tells the story of a woman named Nomi Malone. A drifter who hitchhikes to Las Vegas. What’s her dream, you may ask? Why to become a stripper of course, but that’s not enough for her. She wants to be taken seriously as an exotic dancer. Dancing in a flashy topless volcano show. Which is confusing, considering she could just be a regular dancer and not have to worry about everyone trying to sleep with her. Maybe in some alternate reality this premise works, but it doesn’t here…
I never watched Saved by the Bell, but I can tell that star Elizabeth Berkley was trying way too hard to shed her good girl image. I mean she is naked way more than she’s clothed. Stripping completely naked, showing every inch of her body, giving lap dances, making out with Gina Gershon, and having awkward spastic pool sex. I’m not sure what kind of actress she was before, but here her acting is unbelievably bad. In Showgirls, every character, especially Nomi, is unlikeable. Trust me, nobody has any redeeming qualities. Nomi overreacts to everything, is always aggressive, and gets away with multiple violent crimes. The only character with any kind of likeability is Nomi’s best friend/ seamstress. And what’s her reward, being brutally beaten and raped. Yeah, screw you Paul Verhoeven! Showgirls takes itself way too seriously at times. The dialogue is all kinds of stupid and delivered very badly. It was also the first NC-17 movie I saw. I discovered its existence when I was about 13. I was curious, but obviously I didn’t watch it until I was older. It’s a good thing it’s NC-17, because it would sicken me if there was even a small possibility that kids went to see it. Luckily though, Showgirls ruined the chance of NC-17 movies being widely released in theaters. It literally swept the Razzie Awards. That’s how bad it is. Winning Worst Picture, Worst Actress & Worst New Star Elizabeth Berkley, Worst Screen Couple for “Any combination of two people (or two body parts!),” Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Original Song. Don’t even get me started on the VH1 version of the movie. With its digital bras & panties, entire scenes missing, and bad overdubbing that doesn’t sound at all like the lead actress. So, if it wasn’t for the plethora of naked women in the movie (Yeah, I can’t turn down naked women, even in a movie this awful), I probably would have never seen Showgirls. I just can’t see it as campy stupidity, there’s just too much about it that makes me angry. Which is why I’ll never understand why some people are trying to call it in any way brilliant or deep. Showgirls is just one big hot mess.