Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)
This week’s question: In dubious honor of “Fifty Shades Darker,” what is the most ridiculous sex scene from a movie?
Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC), Vulture/Film Comment
I’m sure others will easily top this, but I always think of Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone in the terrible 1994 action film “The Specialist,” having laboriously glossy, oiled, carefully pube-concealing, solemn, positionally exhausting intercourse while mouthing tedious expository dialogue in a shower that appears to be the size of a studio apartment. The 90s were a boom time for bad movie sex, and this is Hall of Fame level in that so much money, time and effort has gone into having two movie stars do their best to replicate the poses, attitudes, and moods of two people on Cinemax who are probably thinking, “At least I’m not doing hardcore in someone’s leased house in the Valley.” Poor Sharon Stone. She has to look non-disgusted while lying on her back in a communal shower and getting pounded by Stallone. For that alone she should have gotten an Oscar nomination.
Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse) Freelance for Rolling Stone, Vulture, Vox
I still get angry when I think about the part in “Watchmen” where Silk Spectre and Nite Owl do it while “Hallelujah” plays. Zack Snyder should’ve been taken to court. The less said about it, the better.
Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly), Film School Rejects, Film Journal International
I guess the answer depends on how we define “the most utterly ridiculous sex scene.” Are we talking about something completely goofy and outrageous that plays solely for laughs? Or a sex scene that is supposed to be believable, but is painfully inauthentic and implausible? The second group is a long list in mainstream American film (especially recently), which usually ignores sex but when it doesn’t, laughably misrepresents female sexuality (surprise: we are a lot more complex than the way male directors portray us.) So let’s stick with the first group. I’ll have to go with an episode of “Sex & The City.” Have you seen “Great Sexpectations” in Season 6? That’s when Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis) have sex for the first time. At one point, there somehow was an armchair on top of the bed and laughing in hysterics, I spilt my wine all over my couch. Oh, and I must give a shout out to “The Bronze” in the same group. Who can forget that uproarious sex scene that opened Sundance a couple of years ago?
Neil Miller (@rejects), Film School Rejects
The “most utterly ridiculous movie sex scene” conversation almost has to begin with the puppet love in Trey Parker’s seminal marionette masterpiece “Team America: World Police.” The 2004 film very directly satirized the way America’s foreign policy changed in the wake of 9/11, but it was also just over-the-top ridiculous. Its sex scene, in which two puppets engage in all sorts of depravity — including some acts usually reserved for the fringes of the German pornography — is remarkable not simply because it’s plastic puppets or because of the many innovative positions explored, but because it goes on much longer than anyone would have expected. Just when you think it’s ready for a big finish, it finds new energy in a new… erm, position. It is said that Parker and his “South Park” co-creator Matt Stone intentionally made the sex scene so over the top that it would distract the MPAA from the film’s other depravity so as to avoid an NC-17 rating. It took nine edits to this particular scene, but eventually they slipped the rest of the movie by the MPAA with an R. It is, however, the uncut version (later released on the DVD), that earns every word of “most utterly ridiculous movie sex scene.”
Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker
Perhaps no director of note has less interest in sex (I mean, in its cinematic manifestations) than does Steven Spielberg; when he attempts to pretend that he has any, he still manages to prove that he’s a serious man with more serious things on his mind, as he does in “Munich,” resulting in a howler of a flashback that he couldn’t have done better if he’d meant it as a joke.
Erik Davis (@ErikDavis), Fandango
When it comes to the most ridiculous sex scenes, it really is hard to top the puppet sex in “Team America: World Police.” Just the inventiveness in terms of how many positions they bring you in one puppet-on-puppet montage is, in a word, titillating. As for ridiculous live action sex scenes, there is one I love from “The Bronze,” which isn’t a very good movie, but I appreciate the creativity that went into staging a wacky sex scene between two gymnasts, not to mention the sheer athleticism involved in pulling off cartwheels and the like while being completely naked. That takes guts AND stamina!
David Ehrlich (@davidehrlich), IndieWire
There are way too many good answers to this question, so I’ll go with the first thing that popped into mind. Everyone knows that Adam Rifkin’s 1994’s Charlie Sheen vehicle “The Chase” — about a wrongly accused dude who steals a car and takes its sexy owner (Kristy Swanson) hostage for his race to the border — is one of the greatest films ever made, but something that’s strangely lost amidst the constant chatter around the movie is the ridiculous scene where, after hours of yelling, Swanson straddles Sheen and enjoys a getaway ride of her own, all while he’s bombing down the highway at 100mph. Winning.
Kate Erbland (@katerbland), IndieWire
Literally this GIF:
Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic), Nonfics / Film School Rejects
The first thing I thought of was the geyser ejaculation in “Scary Movie,” but that’s supposed to be ridiculous. Then I thought of the pool sex in Showgirls, but is that really supposed to be serious? I’m going to actually pick something where the sex isn’t ridiculous but its presentation was: Todd Solondz’s “Storytelling.” Nowadays people probably aren’t aware or they don’t remember because you can see the movie uncensored, but when released in theaters, to get an R rating an anal sex scene featured a red box covering most of what was going on. That was ridiculous, mainly on the part of the MPAA to cause that to happen. And of course with that pick I get to fit a documentary into my answer by recommending “This Film is Not Yet Rated,” which includes the shot uncut, as well as a number of other sex scenes that were ridiculously considered too gratuitous for an R rating.