While the topic of women’s rights doesn’t have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the war on women (either directly or metaphorically)—workplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s birthday last month, we’ve collected the top 10 classic birthday-suit scenes from American movies with American themes — everything from “American Beauty” to “The Graduate.”
Isabella Rossellini came to fame as David Lynch’s muse in cult favorites like Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart. More recently, she’s become an auteur of the internet with her SundanceTV web series GREEN PORNO, SEDUCE ME and MAMMAS. But putting aside her online shorts on insect sex and animal lust, what’s your favorite movie in her career?
One of the most enjoyable things about movie-watching is that moment when a beloved character loses his/her crackers, even if just for a moment, showing us a whole other shade of person. And as enjoyable as it is for the audience, it’s probably lots of fun for the actors, too. A compendium of raging, comic, emotional and/or heartbreaking meltdowns follows…
1. Entire Cast, Blue Velvet (1986)
As for the best meltdown in this film, take your pick! In the surreal world of David Lynch, every single character seems to be at a different point in his/her own personal undoing, as everyone’s hold on reality becomes increasingly looser. Blue Velvet is the epitome of “on the edge.” As with most of Lynch’s work, this can be considered an exploration of what happens post-meltdown.
2. Hayley Stark (Ellen Page), Hard Candy (2005)
Hayley gives us one long, brutal but very talky meltdown in Hard Candy, a pressure cooker of a flick that never lets up and always keeps you guessing. After a relentless torture scene (not spoiled here), Hayley continues her ravings and revenge fantasy on the roof, literally driving a bland and listless Patrick Wilson to jump clear off it. Can you blame him?
Spring may seem an unlikely time to crave a messed-up movie marathon, but the trippy films on this list are worth a screening any time of the year. Full of iconic (read: extremely bizarre) scenes and surprising performances from many now “mainstream” actors, these are movies that will get under your skin and stay there. Of course, it’s hard to get too bummed out by a well-told story or a stylishly made film (then again: Dancer in the Dark), but here’s a final warning: these are 10 seriously messed-up stories.
1. Grizzly Man (2005)
Like much of Werner Herzog’s work, Grizzly Man has moments of poetry as well as dark humor. But Timothy Treadwell, the central figure of this documentary, suffers a fate so horrific that it’s shown in the film only via Herzog himself listening to audio of the incident and advising that it be destroyed and never played for anyone ever again. The audio exists because Treadwell documented his life among the bears in Alaskan wilderness; some of the astonishing footage appears in the movie, as Herzog ruminates on the “chaos and murder” he sees in the natural world Treadwell so adores. You may want to chase this experience — or this entire list — with Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, another nature-related doc with less grisly results.
2. Hard Candy (2005)
Before she was Juno or fulfilling her Woody Allen movie destiny, Ellen Page played a cunning teenager in Hard Candy, which manages to toy with its viewers so much that it appears to tell about five different totally messed up stories before it’s over. It begins queasily enough with Patrick Wilson meeting Page in a public place and bonding over the band Goldfrapp, then gets queasier as he invites her back to her place. But Page, playing on her mini-person physicality as well as her natural ability to seem smarter than her young-looking years, is not who she appears to be. This isn’t a gory horror movie, but your stomach will probably still churn with each plot twist.
Just in time for Halloween, the ten most terrifying movies on the Sundance Channel run a gauntlet of horrific styles. For traditional slasher-movie thrills, we’ve got the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (and, inevitably, a slasher sequel with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II). Others are horror classics too distinctive to be called traditional; David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski rarely seem more at home than when they channel their own personal obsessions into the horror genre with movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE FLY, and SPIDER. Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST fits into this pattern, too; it bears little resemblance to its genre brethren and is unmistakably the work of Von Trier, yet it is a horror picture, of sorts, filtered through the director’s bracing, often lyrical misery. Of course, there are other ways to get scared without even going into horror; Danny Boyle’s THE BEACH offers a scary vision of paradise corrupted, and, come to think of it, so does David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET, in its own way. If you want to freak out, there’s no shortage of options.
We’ve got a sizzling selection of summer thrills and summer lovin’ for you this week, including the action-packed UNCERTAINTY, the creepy CADAVER, the sexy satire BOOGIE WOOGIE and the charmingly boozy SIDEWAYS.
David Lynch is having a bit of a moment. Yes, it’s outside of the film world, but of course it still has all of Hollywood (and us) intrigued. The surrealist director — whose credits include BLUE VELVET, LOST HIGHWAY, ERASERHEAD and MULHOLLAND DRIVE — has a naughty love for women, organic coffee, quinoa and, not surprisingly, champagne, which led to his collaboration with Dom Pérignon.
This week you’ve got a choice. Do you want your sex served up David Lynch style, erotic shaman style or Michael Fassbender style? And because we love you, you can pick one or take them all. Plus, Claire Danes rocks some Thai prison chic for the 90s fans out there.
Never let it be said that David Lynch takes sex lightly. To quote the man himself: “Certain aspects of sex are troubling — the way it’s used as power, for instance, or the way it takes the form of perversions that exploit other people.” And those “certain aspects” seem to be the only ones that interest Lynch. In his world, no one ever cracks up in bed after an inopportune fart ruins the moment. But no one has glamorized, Hollywood-ized, unrealistic sex either. “Sex is a doorway to something so powerful and mystical,” Lynch said once, “but movies usually depict it in a completely flat way.” And by “flat” he either means “more fake than a declaration of true love on THE BACHELOR” or else “specializing in female subjugation, exploitation and masochism.” Whatever the case may be, the kind of sex his characters have — and the kind of sex his movies deal with — are best described as simply Lynchian, a term which has been defined as “having the same balance between the macabre and the mundane.” This top 10 list, in chronological order, should help further explain:
Daylight savings time starts this weekend, so don’t forget to spring forward on Saturday night. Or is it Sunday morning? All I know is that whenever the powers that be mess with my external clock, my internal one ends up paying the price. So we here at Sundance Channel have decided to throw caution to the wind and mess with your perception a bit further by featuring a few films that will warp the time-space continuum.
We’ve got a great line up on Sundance Channel this month, but one film that we’re really excited to be showing is EYES WIDE SHUT – so excited, in fact, that we’re airing it three times (which, if you’re like me, means you’ll be watching it three times, too). But thinking about EYES WIDE SHUT – Kubrick’s final, posthumously released film – got me thinking about what other movies can possibly compare to Kubrick’s surreal vision of bottled up fantasies that drive the men that obsess over them to the fringes of society’s underground? The story is based on Arthur Snitzler’s 1926 novella, Traumnovelle or “Dream Story,” about a doctor who goes on a two-day psychological bender of mind-alteration that culminates in a masquerade ball, which, like Kubrick’s film, involves that old fashioned combination of masked men and orgies…