April 13, 2007

Top 5 Most Memorable Sex Scenes

Ah, cinematic sex scenes. Usually they're totally sensationalist and unnecessary, and for a while led me to believe that perfectly timed mood music would pump out of the sky during sex. (Not so, it turns out.) But every once in a while, a sex scene comes along that not only enhances the movie, but stands on its own as a legitimate scene. Here are my top 5 (again, I feel it is only fair to just address movies I have actually seen).

In no particular order:

1. American Pie - the sex scene between Vicky (Tara Reid) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas). Now I saw this movie a long time ago, and not even in its entirety. Amid all its teen sex romp hijinks, though, is a brutal and rare piece of cinematic truth. Vicky and Kevin are the nice guy and girl, respectively. They are losing their virginity to each other at an after-prom party. The remarkable thing about this scene is, it's AWKWARD. Vicky keeps eliciting little moans of discomfort, and at one point reprimands Kevin for squishing her hair. There's no mood music. It's beautifully awkward.
2. Annie Hall - when Annie and Alvy are having sex and Annie is emotionally absent from the experience, as represented by her translucent ghostlike conscious sitting in the corner. Clever and poignant.
3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin - Andy's (Steve Carrell's) triumphant first time. He has married his true love, Trish, and they go into a hotel room to seal the deal. After violently screaming at the cleaning guy to get out, they begin, and Trish declares "you're officially not a virgin anymore." Then a black screen flashes the words "1 minute later," with Andy looking wide-eyed and ecstatic. They do it again, and again, and then the whole cast bursts into a glorious rendition of "Aquarius." Hilarious.
4. Titanic - Jack and Rose doin it in the car of the sinking ship. Hey, I said memorable, not good, and this one is pretty cheesy. Although fucking on a sinking boat is pretty sexy in an apocalyptic kinda way. And admit it, the image of the hand sliding down the steamed-up window of the car stuck with you.
5. Atame (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) Of course there's an Almodovar movie in here. His approach to cinematic sex is always fresh and innovative, but I chose to include this particular film. It's the infamous sex scene between Ricky and Marina, which helped bring about the NC-17 rating (the film was previously slapped with an X rating). There's nothing perverse or weird here, it's just two people having sex in a bed. According to IMDB, the scene took nine takes and nine hours to get right, and Almodovar used the last take because the actors had by then worked themselves up into a realistic sweat. Veteran director Elia Kazan called it "one of the best sex scenes he had ever witnessed." I agree.


The Graduate - the first intimate encounter of Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson. I didn't include it on the list because technically they are not shown doing the actual deed, but the interaction directly beforehand is just brilliant and delicious. He admits he's a virgin, and there's an eerily Oedipal dynamic between the motherly and the naive. The dialogue is great - Mrs. Robinson announces that she is going to get undressed, and Benjamin asks what he should do. "Why don't you watch?" she says. "Oh - sure," he says, "Thank you."

Thank You For Smoking - Heather (Katie Holmes) and Nick (Aaron Eckhart) are starting to fool around on his bed, and media coverage of him comes on the tube. Heather declares lustily, "I want to fuck you while I watch you on TV."

Factory Girl - Okay, I haven't seen this movie. But I am including it because apparently the sex scene is mind-bogglingly realistic. (I tried to find the scene on YouTube - no luck).


Scott Nye said...

I'm totally down with the 40 Year Old Virgin pick (one of my favorite endings ever), and that Factory Girl sex scene is indeed...something else, but that part in Annie Hall just makes me angry. I always thought it was such an obvious, yet slightly pretentious way to show that. And it barely fits in with the style of the film.

Scott Nye said...

Yeah, bet you were all hyped that you had two comments all of a sudden...turns out it's just me again.

Ones I would've included...

A Clockwork Orange (the one set to William Tell...ridiculous!)

A History of Violence (probably go with the scene on the stairs...if you've ever thought sex scenes can't further the narrative, look no further)

Domino (in the desert on mescaline...TRIPPY)

Conversations With Other Women (a work of art...this is where the split-screen thing really makes the scene, and goes beyond just a device)

Crank (you'd have to see it to believe it)

Pearl Harbor (sorta in competition with Titanic as far as ridiculous, but you can't beat the parachute with music by Faith Hill)

Vanilla Sky (the one where Tom Cruise is having sex with Cameron Diaz and tries to kill her but she becomes Penelope Cruz...out of control, and with this awesome musical compilation)

Brook said...

Here are other excellent choices:

-The scene in Crash where James Spader fucks Rosanna Arquette's open wound

-James Woods + Debbie Harry in Videodrome (Cronenberg is the bizarre sex scene master, see?)

-The 20-minute-long Monica Belluci rape scene in Irreversible.

-Super awkward anal sex scene towards the end of Edge of Seventeen that perfectly captures adolescent sexual nervousness.

-Y Tu Mama Tambien 3-way.

-American Psycho 3-way.

-The final shot of North By Northwest (yeah, it totally counts)

Brook said...

Fuck, how could I neglect to mention THE SINGLE GREATEST SEX SCENE OF ALL TIME:

Kyle MacLachlan and Elizabeth Berkley in SHOWGIRLS. God, the whole thing is gold, but really, the best part is the neon palm trees that surround the pool.

Brook said...

Speaking of Verhoven sex scenes, the scene in Basic Instinct where Michael Douglas angrily tosses Jeanne Tripplehorn over the side of a couch and fucks her from behind is beyond classic, too.