Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Banned Music Videos From the 90s - Lilith Likes to Watch


Title:N/A
Year: The 90s
Starring: Madonna, Mitsou
Director: Fabien Baron (Erotica), Alain Desrochers (Dis-moi, Dis-moi)
Synopsis: We're doing something a little different this time, looking at sexy banned music videos!
Why it is Notable: Educational purposes.

"Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?"

As I write this, there's a meme going around. At least, I think, I hope it's a meme, that Post Malone "put some guy named Ozzy Osborne on the map". I actually remember hearing something similar with Paul McCartny and ...was it Kanye West? But that was all tongue-in-cheek and that's why I'm hoping this Ozzy thing is, too.

However, it got me thinking: people in this day and age may not know the sexier music videos that existed once upon a time. They may only know Madonna as "That Old Woman Who Sang American Pie.", or maybe "Didn't she kiss Britney Spears?" or something. These same people are now a few years into being able to watch some of the spicier music videos without having to scream "Get out of my room, mom!"

Madonna had always courted controversy. From her video for Like a Prayer, which had burning crosses and a black Jesus, to Express Yourself, which featured people being treated like pets. Also, she wore a suit in that video, which both was the most clothes we'd seen Madonna in for a while and also shocking, because, A woman in a suit?! Most unorthodox!

And then Madonna released a video for her song Justify My Love. Which got banned from television, along with a song called Dis-Moi, Dis-Moi by a singer named Mitsou.

So, of course, Madonna, being the provocateur she is, released the album entitled Erotica and the companion book Sex. The video for the title song from television, and the song itself was not played until after 9pm.

In response, Madonna wrote the song Human Nature, an anthem about being who you are, liking what you like, and not being shamed for your kinks and sexuality. She released it on the following album. Out of all the songs and videos I've mentioned so far, Human Nature has always been my favourite.

All those videos caused the Canadian version of MTV, Much Music to create a show called Too Much for Much, where they showed various videos in their unedited glory, then people would ask, "Is this porn?"

And you know I watched the premier episode. Over and over and over.

The first episode consisted of the videos for Justify My Love, Erotica, and Des-Moi, Des-Moi.

So, let's watch them, shall we?









And here's the Mitsou video. Along with another one that features nudity.





These videos seem pretty tame by today's standards. Even though they show more skin than Madonna's videos, Mitsou's videos aren't not porn, they're just French. But it does go to show that sex sells. Controversy sells. I would have never known Mitsou's name if not for this debacle and Madonna sold the Justify My Love video on VHS and made a bundle.

Even so, these videos made this blog what it is today.

LILITH'S SCORE: 3.5/5

NEXT TIME: We follow Sasha Grey down the rabbit hole for another surreal look into the world of Alice In Wonderland porn with Malice in Lalaland.




Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Bram Stoker's Dracula


Title: Bram Stoker's Dracula
Year: 1992
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Synopsis: The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: This movie explains a lot of things about me...

"Take me away from all this death."

We've all had that event. The moment when, looking back, you realize that a movie, or a character, or a scene awakens something in you. For me? I was 11 or 12. And I saw Bram Stoker's Dracula in theatres.

I'm going to try to talk about this movie with more nuance than simply typing "AAAA! AAAA!  FUCK YOU GO WATCH THIS MOVIE AAAAA FUCK!", I'll do my best.

As I said, I was 12-ish when I saw this movie in theatres. I wanted to see it because I was going through a Winona Ryder faze like every young girl in the late 80's and early 90's. It was Ryder in a bunch of pretty dresses, so, yeah, I wanted to see it. I even clipped out newspaper ads for the film. I just thought it looked really cool and Ryder looked really pretty. I didn't yet know the word aesthetic.

First of all, this movie is beautiful. It is a marvel of practical effects. Most of them still hold up quite well, with one or two fairly green-screen-y shots. The set design and costumes are bizarre, especially the armor and the make-up for old Dracula, but also the asylum is quite the sight to behold. Those head-cages, man...

A lot has been said about the acting of Winona Ryder and especially Keanu Reeves. I have absolutely no problem with Ryder's acting, but yes, The Internet's Boyfriend is very distracting. Apparently he felt he had to act because he was performing alongside Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman.

And then there's Gary Oldman who is my absolute favourite actor on the planet and is a fucking chameleon. The only reason I realized Oldman was Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films was because Sirius Black's death face is extremely similar to Dracula's O-face. He is the perfect Vlad Dracula this side of Christopher Lee.

Hopkins is a picture perfect Van Helsing. He's clever and quick-witted and so sardonic that he brings much needed levity to the situation. When Benicio Del Toro's Wolfman came out, I was excited, hoping it could be a spiritual companion peice to this movie, thanks to Hopkins' presence. It wasn't.

But, let's not forget poor Lucy. Mina's wealthy best friend and an embodiment of the virgin-whore complex. Lucy is a huge flirt, dreams of sex, and owns erotic literature with full coloured illustrations. She has three suitors and toys with them sweetly, and, strangest fact of all: all three men basically get along.

Can we just talk about Lucy and Mina's friendship for a moment? Lucy is a little selfish and self-centered but she is a genuine friend to Mina. She doesn't abandon Mina at the party, and instead tries to include her in socializing innocently with men. It's Mina who remains a wall-flower of her own accord, only for Dracula to lurk in the shadows.

When Lucy is attacked by Dracula, Mina rescues her, and Lucy finds comfort in her. When Lucy is ill, she tells Mina to go to her love, Jonathan Harker, and not worry about her, though she is dying. Even when Lucy decides who to marry, she senses that Mina seems distracted, and Mina points out how oddly written the letter from Harker is Lucy take the time to read the letter.

They have a true, healthy female friendship, one that isn't tainted by competition or jealousy or cattiness. More films should take note on the relationship dynamics of these two characters. Yes, all they talk about is men and marriage but I don't care. Their friendship is pure.

Also there's a deleted scene where Lucy is wearing a corset and is washing Mina's hair. It should have stayed in the film.

Speaking of Lucy, little 12 year old me really loved the hedge maze scene. The way her gauzy red cape fluttered in the storm winds. Yep. That explains some things. That entire scene explains a lot of things...

This entire movie explains practically everything about me, from my love of top-hats, to Victorian gowns, to other more esoteric things like: blasphemy is hot and so are straight razors.

But, on the subject of erotic scenes in this movie, there is one single shot in particular I adore. When Mina is being turned by Dracula, he embraces her in his arms. He practically envelops her and she looks so small and precious and dear to him and I fucking love that shot. It's my second favourite part of the entire film.

The hedge maze scene is the first.

I adore this movie. I watch it at least once every year and always notice something new. Last time, I watched it while drinking absinthe which is an experience I highly recommend. This movie made me who I am, I wouldn't be the writer I am today without this film and it's arresting visuals. It's inspired at least three of my erotica books, including Sanguinerotica which is coming out in mere days. If you've never seen Bram Stoker's Dracula, please, I implore you to give it a chance.

LILITH'S SCORE: 10/10. Fuck you, my site, my rules.

NEXT TIME: I haven't decided yet. What an exciting mystery for us to share!


*

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Wild Things - Lilith Likes to Watch


Title: Wild Things
Year: 1998
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Matt Dillon
Director: John McNaughton
Synopsis: A police detective uncovers a conspiracy behind a case involving a high-school guidance counselor when accusations of rape are made against him by two female students. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: Kevin Bacon's penis.

"After tonight, the three of us are not to be seen together ever again."

A handful of reviews ago, I declared that I am putting a halt to erotic thrillers. No more erotic thrillers. And, look where we are now. How did we get here? What did I go and do this for?

I don't know. Wild Things had the same thing going for it that Threesome did. It came out in a time where I wasn't allowed to see it and so I build it up in my head as this big scandalous thing. Julia Salinger from Party of Five was going to get naked and kiss another girl. Kevin Bacon was also going to get naked. There was a threesome! Holy motherfucking shit!

With the exception that this threesome was a little hotter than the threesome in Threesome, this didn't live up anywhere near the hype. Apparently Neve Campbell has a "No boobs on screen" clause in her contract. All we see of her is her back. Don't misunderstand me, a well filmed semi-clothed scene can be just as beautiful and erotic as complete nudity, but this was pretty flat. I even went to the trouble of watching the extended version. Not a single shot or frame stood out and made me take notice.

I watched this movie two weeks ago and I'm hard-pressed to say anything about it. The mystery sucks and is just twisty for the sake of being twisty. A good mystery leaves clues so the audience can try and solve it before or along with the cop or detective before the big reveal. It wasn't as out of fucking nowhere like Exotica, but it reads like Film School Student's First Screenplay. Not a huge amount of substance, and very little style.

There's a really dumb plot point that involves teeth that raises more questions than it answers.

The one positive I can say, I suppose, is that everyone's performances were good, especially Neve Campbell. I liked her character and I felt a degree of sympathy for her. I just wish that character was in a better, sexier film.

A hotter threesome than Threesome's threesome, but that's not saying much.

LILITH'S SCORE: 2/5

NEXT TIME: A movie that explains a lot about me, we deep dive into Bram Stoker's Dracula.






Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Threesome


Title: Threesome
Year: 1994
Starring: Lara Flynn Boyle, Josh Charles, Stephen Baldwin
Director: Andrew Flemming
Synopsis: A girl named Alex is by mistake housed with 2 guys, Stuart and Eddy, in a college dorm suite. After initial problems they become friends. Stuart has the hots for Alex, Alex for Eddy and Eddy for Stuart. Can it work? - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: I tried to watch this film through squiggly lines. Yes, really.

"I just don't understand why anyone would do a lesbian version of Oedipus Rex."

In the time before The Internet, sneaking a peek at naughty stuff was a rite of passage for young boys and girls. I've only heard legends of finding a mythical nudie magazine in the woods. One time, my neighbour found a stash of Playboy magazines and we giggled at the naked girls on display. We were both girls. I usually got by on nature shows, but once I found a knock-off Heavy Metal comic book abandoned in the hallways of my school. It had boobs so it was good enough for me. And, of course, who hasn't squinted and tilted their head at the scrambled channels in hopes of some clarity, just for a second.

That is how I first watched Threesome. Threesome is the movie behind which I cultivated the Lilith Likes to Watch aesthetic.

Now, I am an adult and I can watch whatever I want, squiggle free!

This movie is fine. I built it up in my mind as some transgressive, edgy film that walked the line between mainstream movie and filth. In truth, there's nothing especially out there in this film, except for the titular threesome, of course. The threesome last for less than a minute, I'm pretty sure. I don't feel like timing it.

The characters all work well off each other. They have good chemistry and come across as friends who care about one another. The dialogue is something that I would hate in other movies. It's all very snooty and pretentious, but they're in college, at the right age for it, and also the pretension breaks every now and again and they become regular people. They are occasionally encountered by people as precious as the Threesome think they are and see it for the ridiculousness it is, and they mock it. The lack of self-awareness works. They're young. They're smart but dumb.

The performances were good, I laughed a few times, it was an enjoyable little bit of '90s era edge.

Over all, it felt like a more naked version of a Kevin Smith film. If this movie was made today, I think it would receive a lot of sneering. I think the character of Alex, who keeps insisting Eddy isn't gay, would go down like a lead balloon. One does not push one's sexual ideals and identity onto another person. We didn't really feel that way in the '90s. We know better now.

I give it a 3 because anything else just seems wrong. This movie is begging for a 3 and I will oblige.

LILITH'S SCORE: 3/5

NEXT TIME: Let's continue our 1990's sexiness with Wild Things.



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - The Loin King (AKA The Lion King XXX)


Title: The Loin King AKA The Lion King XXX
Year: 2019
Starring:  Will Tile, Kira Noir, Leya Falcon, Daisy Ducati,
Director: Lee Roy Myers
Synopsis: Sinba and Na-Na are ready to mate, but his evil uncle Screw sends his daddy to his death via a Wildebreast stampede. Now with the help of his two friends, Tibone and Poonbaa, will Sinba get back to feeling the love tonight? Find out in The Loin King. - Via Youtube
Why it is Notable: One of those rare musical pornos and it's a parody of a 25 year old family movie.

"Rowr."

We all know why we're here. Let's not even pretend like we're not. We're all here to watch evil uncle "Screw" fuck "Na-Na".

Spoilers, he doesn't. In fact, the Scar surrogate doesn't get any lines. He stand there, wrings his hands evilly, then is never seen again. That is such a wasted opportunity.

Well, what about the fact that, technically, Sinba and Na-Na are half siblings? Because that's how lions do?

Nope. None of that is mentioned either.

Now that's out of the way, what about the rest of the film?

Well, it's a really weird viewing experience. It has an Elton John parody character singing a Circle of Life parody, where all the animals gather to watch their prince fuck. Screw has the king killed in 3 seconds and really terrible green-screen, then Tibone and Poonba invite Sinba to jizz on their tits. Then Na-Na finds him and they fuck for 25 minutes.

So, how many characters fuck in this porno?

Two. Sinba and Na-Na. Sinba never cums all over Tibone and Poonba, despite repeated invitations to do so. Screw never seduces or coercers Na-Na, or anyone else to fuck. No one offers to make Sinba feel better with their pussy to help him get over his mourning. Everything felt "I dunno, good enough I guess."

Obviously the costumes are pathetic, which, fine, we're laughing with them, not at them. There are cursory bones thrown out to furries in this, acknowledging that the furry crowd should and would love this, but really, no self-respecting furry would enjoy these bargain bin costumes.

And, they'd all be wankin' it to Uncle Screw anyway.

The songs are pretty creative, but everything is dubbed and it's really weird. They gave Sinba a young voice that doesn't match his age or his speaking voice. It's unsettling.

But it's not all bad. Na-Na and Sinba have pretty good chemistry. Na-Na is all smiles and giggles and seems to be really enjoying herself. There's a lot of gagging when she deep throats, which isn't my sort of thing but she's enthusiastic, moving from one position to the next, and moaning praise and encouragements to her partner. Also, there was no anal, which I really appreciated.

Tibone is very cute, with bright eyes and a big smile. Sinba should have cum on her ta-tas. She was asking for it.

Finally, there's one joke that made me lose my shit. There's a character named Jeff the Bush Snake. It's Na-Na's ex, he is a snake. The costume is a man in a black t-shirt that says "Look at Me, I'm a Snake".

I love it.

All in all, what I liked, I really liked, but there's way too much missed opportunity.

You can watch the entire film below.

LILITH'S SCORE: 3/5

NEXT TIME: Next time, as I promised, Threesome.



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Q AKA Desire


Title: Q AKA Desire
Year: 2011
Starring: Déborah Révy, Hélène Zimmer, Gowan Didi
Director: Laurent Bouhnik
Synopsis: In a social context deteriorated by a countrywide economic crisis, the life of several people will be turned upside down after they meet Cecile, a character who symbolizes desire. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: Its one of the few mainstream films with unsimulated sex, and was one of the first French language erotic films I had seen.

"I don't feel anything."

I first watched this film years ago, and save for one really exceptional scene, I remember it just sort of existing. So, I decided to revisit it.

Q aka Desire is about a group of people who live in town that's seeing a good helping of poverty. Our cast of characters include Matt, a mechanic with a frigid girlfriend named Alice. Chance, a petty car thief, and of course, Cecile, a sad little nympho who fucks whoever she wants in an attempt to escape her own grief over the passing of her father.

Everyone in this film is annoying. They all like to toy with one another. Alice is mousy and unlikable. She comes across as pathetic. She's used by Matt, then used by Cecile and barely seems like a character at all. Chance is brash and just wanders around and has better chemistry with his stoner friend. Matt is simply an asshole.

This movie has a slow build up that makes it feel like it is going to end in a killing spree or someone's death. So, in a way I guess that's a good thing as it lends a sense of tension to the film.

There's one scene where Cecile and Chance are fucking, and she demands it harder, and that he hit her. Finally she breaks down and admits she doesn't feel anything. It's a small moment of vulnerability for her and it works. It shows why she does what she does. Unfortunately for me, it's not enough to endear me to either Cecile nor Chance.

Near the middle of the film, Cecile meets a married man. She gives him her panties. The man goes home with his wife and mentions Cecile. He tries to initiate sex but she says she's not ready. She suffered some undefined tragedy and from the way her husband touches her I think it was a miscarriage. The couple begin fantasizing about using Cecile as he caresses his wife intimately. She climaxes, then cries.

This scene was what stuck out to me when I first saw the film. This scene is one of the best erotic scenes I had ever watched. This scene carries the movie for me.

Cecile and the married man meet on screen once more and actually fuck. His wife finds Cecile and they have a conversation. She says her husband talks about Cecile and Cecile says the same about her. Only, there's no scene of that. There needs to be a second meet up with the husband, showing that they actually talk and not just fuck. It would provide some growth to Cecile and clarify some plot points.

Cecile manipulates Alice into helping her get the husband and wife back together, then Cecile helps Alice fuck Matt. Then, randomly, Cecile is hosting a brothel but Chance pulls her out of the place and Cecile releases her father's ashes.

It is utterly amazing how one scene can elevate a movie. If not for that scene with the husband and wife fantasizing together, this movie would easily be a 2, but that scene stuck with me for years, extremely clearly in my mind. It remained one of my favourite scenes of film erotica to this day.

LILITH'S SCORE: 3/5

NEXT TIME: We venture into the subversive '90s with Threesome.





Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - A Patriotic Double Feature! Exotica and Spirit of Seventy-Sex

It's Canada's birthday! It's America's birthday! Let's do a patriotic double feature!



Title: Exotica
Year: 1994
Starring: Mia Krishner, Elias Koteas, Bruce Greenwood
Director: Atom Egoyan
Synopsis: A man plagued by neuroses frequents the club, Exotica, trying to find solace - but even there his past hides among him. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: Mainstream Canadian erotic thriller that won AVN awards.

"Exotica is here to entertain, to offer amusement, not to heal. There are other places for that."

I'm putting a moratorium on the term "Erotic Thriller" until further notice. Basic Instinct, this is not. I'm not even a fan of Basic Instinct but at least that movie had an actual erotic scene with genuine tension.

So apparently this movie received mounds of accolades back in the day. It even won some AVNs.

Why?

There's nothing here. Francis suffered a tragic loss and is obsessed with 18 year old Christina, a dancer at the night club Exotica. Elias Koteas is also obsessed with Christina. I do not know why. Christina does the worst, least-sexy strip teas ever to Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" because my country has Canadian Content laws.

Everyone is one note, wooden, or talks older than their age. Nothing is sexy.

Nothing is pretty. Nothing is visually interesting even in a sleezy, neon way. It all looks cheap, but not in a dirty way, in a "Shit we spent all our money on craft services. How are we going to dress the set?" sort of way.

The plot is chopped up just for the sake of seeming mysterious, but instead it just makes the plot seem all over the place. It's like an extremely boring episode of Twin Peaks.

The ending is a go-nowhere dead end.

For fuck's sake, it made me want to rewatch Dancing at the Blue Iguana and Flashdance. Both of these movies have way more going for them.

The only reason to even watch this movie is for Elias Koteas, but even he isn't enough to keep things interesting.

Canada, we can do better than this.

LILITH'S SCORE: 1.5/5





Title: Spirit of Seventy-Sex
Year: 1976
Starring: Annette Haven, John Holms
Director: Stu Segall
Synopsis:  it is a tongue-in-cheek look at the sex lives of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Captain John Smith. - Via Wikipedia
Why it is Notable: Released during the Golden Age of Porn on America's Bicentential.

"Oh my, such a pretty beaver, I think we'll make that of Oregon some day."

I'm Canadian. I expect a lot of this movie went over my head.

This is a period piece taking place just after the American Revolution. Annette Haven is stunning, as always, as Martha Washington. She feeds chickens and then has some outdoor sex with George Washington.

Then we cut to two other people who have sex in a cabin.

Then Benjamin Franklin introduces his new invention, The Vibrating Dildo, to a woman.

Then John Smith fucks a black chick in a scene were you can tell it's straining itself not to be problematic.

Then sisters fuck in a barn, then one sister fucks 3 guys at once, then John and Martha fuck again.

I don't know what to say. Not only did a lot of jokes and references likely pass me by, but...yep, that was sex, all right.

It was pretty good sex, with a lot of focus on oral, and a fun lesbian scene. But, with the exception of the foursome, there was nothing especially creative. Then again, the film only ran 65 minutes long so it's not like it dragged on. It got it's point across, had some wit in the dialog, then moved along.

Still, all I really wanted was Martha Washington just going around fucking everybody. Annette Haven almost always steals any movie she's in. I would have been satisfied if it was just her fucking the day away.

Anyway, happy birthday, Canada and America. Try not to blow up or burn away, okay?

LILITH'S SCORE: 2/5

NEXT TIME: We're moving to a fortnightly schedule, meaning there will be a review every second Tuesday now. Next time, we delve into French erotica with the film Q aka Desire.



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Sex Wish


Title: Sex Wish
Year: 1976
Starring: Harry Reems, Zebedy Colt, CJ Laing, Terri Hall
Director: Victor Milt
Synopsis: A man is shaken out of his contented, middle-class existence when his wife is raped and murdered by a crazed serial killer who has been terrorizing New York City. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: Zebedy Colt and Harry Reems in a film together.

"I did it because I love you."

Consider your favourite porn star. Hell, let's be generous and add a second favourite porn star, along with a well known third porn actor. Now, consider a fetish you like. Finally, add something that would be an instant hard-no turn off. Something that would make your genitals turtle back into your body cavity.

Congratulations, you just experienced Sex Wish.

Harry Reems plays Ken, a man who's very much in love with his wife Faye, played by C. J. Laing. One day while Ken is at work, Faye is raped and murdered by the Night Walker, played by Zebedy Colt. Ken then proceeds to hunt down the Night Walker and also soothe his pain through sex.

Now, this has the makings of something great. Unfortunately when the Night Walker rapes, he takes on the persona of a babbling child. It's disturbing and annoying and I think Colt is doing it for the sake of  performance art but I'm 'not certain. I absolutely adore Zebedy Colt. He's my favourite male performer just thanks to sheer charisma and cleverness. And to his credit, if I wasn't told it was Colt, I wouldn't have known. He does disappear into the role during the couple's rape scene, so I guess that's a credit to him.

But the infantile rapist isn't the only role Colt plays. Oh, no. When he rapes, he's child-like, but when he murders, he is filled with hatred and disgust. He's suave and meticulous and full of rage and this is what I wanted the movie to be. He has a walking stick, a cane-sword. That's my fetish!

There's a pretty good scene between Colt and Terri Hall, and frankly, I wanted more of it.

The sex scenes were fine. Reems seems like a very attentive lover, and it looks like he tries to make sure his female partner is enjoying herself. That's nice to see. I like that.

The movie builds to a foot chase and then a final confrontation where The Night Walker shares his baffleing motivations for his crimes.

If this was in the hands of, say, Radley Metzger, Gerard Damiano, or even Colt himself, this might have worked better, ot not have been so incredibly off-putting.

Good for those who like to view an entire body of a performer's work, those who like roughies, or Reems superfans, but nothing worth seeking out otherwise.


LILITH'S SCORE: 2/5

NEXT TIME: Happy Birthday, Canada! In honour of Canada Day, we're going to watch Exotica.





Sunday, June 16, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Beyond the Valley of the Dolls



Title: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Year: 1970
Starring: Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom
Director: Russ Meyer, Written by Roger Ebert
Synopsis: Three girls come to Hollywood to make it big, but find only sex, drugs and sleaze. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: It was written by seminal movie critic Roger Ebert.
"Come into my den, said the spider, etcetera..."

This Tuesday, influential film critic Roger Ebert would have be 77 years old. If I might be so bold, every single one of us internet reviewers, critics, bloggers and hot-takers owe Ebert a debt of thanks. He paved the way for all of us, no matter if we write take downs, rants or think pieces. He, and his compatriots like Gene Siskel and Leonard Maltin proved that critique is a valid form of writing and discussion.

A lot of critique is met with "Well, I'd like to see you make a book/movie/art/clothes.", and yet still many people counter with "You don't have to make a thing to critique it.", which, yes, is true.

But...

Bitch, Roger Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls!

So, does it get a thumbs up, or thumbs down?

We begin with an opening text that tells us that this is not a sequel to Valley of the Dolls. Which is good, because I've never seen Valley of the Dolls.

This movie is about several people who have their own personal issues and adventures. There's the three girls in an all-girl's singing group. We'll call them Singer, Bassist and Drummer. Then there's their manager who has a thing for the Singer.

7 minutes in and we're treated to our second song. Is this a musical? Not exactly, there are break for the band to sing songs and the movie basically becomes a very dry music video, filled with super-imposed images.

Singer finds out from her aunt Sarah that she's owed an inheritance, and some guy named Rocky tries to manipulate her into asking for more, so Singer tried to manipulate Sarah's financial adviser.

Meanwhile, they get more famous and the manager boyfriend gets all pissy. He falls in with a skeevy porn star. Porn Star dumps him, and he fights Rocky, then goes to Bassist's house and they get high. They wake up together in bed, obviously having slept together. She kicks him out.

Bassist catches the eye of another woman, a fashion designer. Bassist tells fashion designer that she's pregnant. Bassist goes for an abortion, takes one look and the stirrups on the bed and screams. We cut to a shot of custard or soup or something and I think she got the abortion but I'm not sure.

Drummer meets a nice law student, cheats on him, and the dude she cheats with is a violent dick who breaks into their house and Drummer has to threaten him with a knife to get him to leave.

Manager boyfriend who doesn't know what a manager's job is, tries to kill himself on live television. He ends up in a wheelchair.

Bassist, Fashion Designer, Rocky go to Z-Man's place, and then they all dress up in Superhero costumes and take peyote while the Sorcerer's Apprentice song plays. I think Z-Man fucks Rocky but it's unclear. Then, Bassist and Fashion Designer go all soft-core. Z-Man, calling himself Superwoman, tries to proposition Rocky. Things escalate and Z-Man goes on a murder spree.

It's fine, though because, with death comes life and Manager Boyfriend can walk again!

The film ends with a voice over full of victim blaming and slut-shaming and pretty gross views on same-sex relations.

Boy, this was a tough one, folks. I’m lost as to what this movie was trying to say or achieve. It has gained a reputation as being sleezy but its so dull. I was expecting a 70's version of Showgirls or something. Something gritty and some sort of wrong but I just got a bunch of rich people at various parties.

I really think something was lost in development. The plot is all over the place, there's no through line, terrible flow, confusing editing and scenes just fucking end.

I won't be so dramatic as to say this throws all of Ebert's reviews into question, he just wrote the screenplay and co-wrote the story. Anyone in Hollywood can tell you the writer has the least say in the final product.

This is one of the worst films I've had to sit through. 1.5 stars because I did go "heh" once or twice. There are a few nice costumes, and one really lovely shot of Fashion Designer in a lace robe, silhouetted against gauzy window dressings.

I want to say I'm not mad at it, I'm just tired, but then I remember the last few minutes of the movie and yeah, I get a little peeved.

LILITH'S SCORE: 1.5/5

NEXT TIME: Save me from the banality, Zebedy Colt! Next week, Sex Wish for real this time.






Sunday, June 9, 2019

Lilith Likes to Watch - Melody in Love


Title: Melody in Love
Year: 1978
Starring: Britta Glatzeder, Sascha Hehn, Claudine Bird.
Director: Hubert Frank
Synopsis: Melody arrives on Mauritius to visit her glamorous female cousin. Her sexual awakening begins there as she becomes fascinated with the island, the beautiful sexually liberated cousin, the cousin's lover and other characters. - Via IMDB
Why it is Notable: I saw it once with a friend when I was a kid. It burrowed itself into my memory like a forgotten, faded dream.

"Melody in love, you've found your way."

I've made it a well-known fact that, when I was younger, way too young for such movies, I used to sneak and watch them. Melody in Love was one such movie. A friend of mine was sleeping over and it was on tv. We sneakily watched it. All I remembered was the theme song and ...a blood ritual?

This movie became an elusive treasure. Something obscure and a little hard to find. I managed to acquire a VHS copy of it, because I have friends who love me.

I remember it being far more sexual. I don't know if my young mind conjured up myth or if the VHS is hacked to bits. I suspect it's the latter.

The film begins with Melody frolicking in the sea with a horse. Why? Why was the horse in the sea? Is it a sea horse? There's a story here and I want to know what it is. It is never revisited.

Melody is a young girl who goes to an island to stay with her glamorous cousin. We're told her cousin is glamorous but really she comes across more as a try-hard cougar. She looks like the author's photo of a cheesy bargain bin romance novel.

Melody goes skinny dipping in cousin Rachel's pool and is peeped upon by a local boy. Melody is scandalizes but Rachel says it's no big deal. Then they talk about love and Melody opines that she'll never find anyone to love.

The two women go for a walk in the village and Melody is attacked by a man. Another man comes and attacks the man who attacked Melody. One of the men kills the other man and the police come and no one cares.

Then, two women dance naked in front of an Indian statue.

There is one pretty shot of Melody holding a tree with the shadows from palm fronds fluttering over her face, the lighting is all gauzy and very 70's. It is the only lovely shot in the film.

Meanwhile, three female high school students who want to fuck their biology teacher try to figure out where he went for holiday. The main girl, Angela, becomes a tertiary character in the film.
Rachel and Alan, the friend of the vacationing biology teacher frolic in the pool. This sequence is so silly that makes the pool scene in Showgirls look a little less embarrassing than we all remember.

We cut to the least sexy shower ever. Around this time, it looks to me that Melody has changed actresses. I know she hasn't, but she looks different to me and I don't know why.

Up until now there's been nudity, teasing, rolling around, kissing and stroking of thighs. Please show me something!

No one in this movie wears clothes that fit. All the women are wearing things that are falling down their shoulders or are being tugged open by the tropical winds.

Then Melody says she sees the man who attacked her and killed the other man and I completely forgot that happened because, really, this movie is four movies in one and I've only mentioned two of them. The other involves deep sea divers looking for treasure, and the other one something about helicopter pilot? Also, there's a volcano.

Remember Angela? Well, after a sequence of weird bullshit, she meets up with Melody, Rachel and Alan and everyone has a night time beach party with drums around a bonfire and I think this is the scene my pre-teen brain told me was a blood sacrifice. I remember Angela hugging the tree. Knowing me I'm mixing up this movie and another one.

Then the volcano erupts and Melody and Alan make out against a tree. The volcano does not hurt them even then it's just right next to them.

So, what did we learn? Nothing. I don't think anyone learned anything in this movie. It wasn't exceptionally pretty, and it was totally directionless. I'm not kidding when I said it feels like four movies in one. Like I said in Italian Stallion, this is the softest of cores, but even Italian Stallion had a confusing BDSM scene. This movie is pointless, and yet, I'm not mad at it.

It didn't poke me in the nostalgia button, not really. Although I could think back to days where my friends and I would have sleep overs, whispering about being able to catch a glimpse of boobs on the television. I could get that effect from watching a Madonna music video.

No, I'm not mad at this movie because, honestly? I've seen worse.

But, some things are best left in the past.


LILITH'S SCORE: 2/5

NEXT TIME: I know I was supposed to review Sex Wish this week but I am away and Melody in Love just sort of was a surprise so either Sex Wish or Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. We'll see.