Not to alienate friends and fans of Batteries Included, but we're in the one percent: the one percent of people that did not (and most likely will not) see "50 Shades of Grey (FSOG)." Nothing against the cast and crew involved. The fact that a glossy movie was pulled out of the pages of E.L. James's trilogy says a lot about the magic of Hollywood. We'll admit that we read the first book and to give it some kudos, it was a fast read (ok, fine, that was a dig). There were also some basics covered re: consent and safe words should readers try to bring the pages to life at home. But overall we found FSOG rather grey. As in bland. Boring. For starters, we thought Christian Grey was a pretty weak top, unless he likes to bottom-from-the-top (or is it the other way around? We're not fluent in kink...). His contractual arrangement with the reluctant but love-determined Anastasia Steele also raises the philosophical question is pleasure real if it's based on an obligation to be GGG? But perhaps our biggest peeve with FSOG is the idea that love cures kink- that by falling in love with Steele, Grey no longer needs whips and chains to be himself. Grey is who he is and wants what he wants. Sexual compatibility is an essential component of any relationship, and while compromise is a given, having to give up your erotic core usually leads to repressed feelings, resentment and self-destructive binges on what we wanted all along. Grey was fine until Steele told him he wasn't. We say to hell with that floozy, to thine own self be true! Maybe a better story would have been Grey finding the best bottom to this top and them living happily ever after in his multi-million dollar dungeon. And since we're playing fantasy fan-fiction here, the occasional casual dinner with their Pacific Northwest billionaire neighbors Bill and Melinda Gates.
So rather than watch FSOG, consider renting, streaming or borrowing the following movies that have way better sex (and relationship) drama.
In no particular order:
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! - hard-core feminists will unite at the mere mention of this movie, but being a big fan of most things Pedro Almodovar, we have to include the Spanish film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! in a list of kinky movies. Antonio Banderas's Ricky is obsessed with porn-star-turned recovering-addict-and-actress Marina played by Victoria Abril. Taking her hostage in her own home, he's gonna make her, make her, make her want him no matter what. Light bondage and submission of the heart follows.
Splendor in the Grass - ok, there are no actual sex scenes in this movie. In fact, Natalie Wood's Deanie is the good-girl-in-waiting to Warren Beatty's prince-of-the-town Bud. Yet there’s sexual tension all over this film. In one scene in particular, Deanie and Bud try to sneak a few chaste moments alone together after school. Out of nowhere, Bud pushes Deanie to her knees and gets her to confess her desire to do anything for him. Everything about the scene- from Beatty's surprising, arousing authority to the virginal longing in Wood's voice and body as she submits - gives you the chills. Young love is so simple until it's not.
Blue Is the Warmest Color - another foreign film, but this one is French and led by two great actresses, Léa Seydoux (Emma) and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Adèle). As a young woman, Adèle isn't sure what she wants but after a chance encounter with Emma she finds her herself falling into and out of a passionate relationship that leads to lessons in love and heartbreak. The movie got a lot press for the graphic sex scenes (scissoring and more) but to us, the rawest moments were the last few minutes watching Adèle walk away on an uncertain path, weighed down by the feelings of what was instead of what could be.
Showgirls - yes, we said it. We own it. We watch it regularly. Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) and Cristal (Gina Gershon) spar on and off the dance floor of their Las Vegas show. Our favorite little victory was Cristal making Nomi do a lap dance for her date and ski-partner Zack (Kyle MacLachlan). To be honest, we're not sure which of them enjoyed it more. Maybe sometimes you should dance like someone’s watching…
Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf - ok, technically there are no sex scenes in this movie either. But Liz Taylor and Richard Burton bringing meta marriage melodrama to the big screen is enough to get off any emo-voyeur. Their fights border on verbal domestic violence that would make the NFL blush. Besides, the late Mike Nichols directed this superb Oscar-winning black-and-white film and it’s pretty much on all Top 100 "watch-this" lists, so just watch it to say you did.
Y Tu Mamá También – Julio (Gael García Bernal), Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Luis (Ana López Mercado) take a road trip to the beach and discover what happens when you blur the thin line between lust, love and friendship. The film has lots of sex, including an MMF sex scene that leaves everyone changed.
Out of Sight - to get around law and order for a long overdue one-night-stand, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez pretend to be people other than the wanted con man and U.S. Federal Marshall they are. Given how long they had bait and await each other before their sexy tryst, one can only assume it was worth it.
Law of Desire - another Almodovar film, but this time with Banderas as young man eager to be with a writer that's already obsessed with someone else.
Stranger by the Lake - in this sexy French thriller, cruising takes place at a picturesque, secluded lake where Franck meets and falls for the handsome but edgy Michel. This film has full-frontal nudity with MSM sex scenes and while the sex is all over, it's really the desire for intimacy that brings Franck to lake day after day. So much so that he's willing to overlook warning signs pointing to Michel's fatal flaws.
Your Film Here - We've shared ours, now you share yours. What movie would you recommend for a sexy top 10 list?
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