Monday, March 27, 2006

When I Answer the Door Wearing Saran Wrap, Will You Say "Leftovers!?!"?

Basic Instinct: Risk Addiction
Opens March 31.

Will You Still Respect
Sharon Stone in the Morning?

It's a money shot that lives in celluloid infamy: Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs in 1992's Basic Instinct. A woman using her sexuality as power over men -- if it wasn't exactly a new notion, at least it was a riveting interpretation of a familiar theme. The moment instantly became a touchstone in U.S. film depiction of women's sexuality. It's what everyone remembers about Basic Instinct.

It's easy to forget, however, that this wasn't why the film was considered so controversial when it opened 14 years ago. No, initially it was nationwide headline-making protests by Queer Nation and ACT UP -- both then in their heyday -- that compelled moviegoers to line up in droves to see Basic Instinct. Hot evil lesbo action, that's what the fuss was about -- the film's allegedly negative portrayal of lesbians -- and that was its draw. Another aspect of the original apparently forgotten as years have gone by is how visually sumptuous the film was; the dresses Sharon Stone wore throughout the movie, for example, were designed to match the dresses Kim Novak wore in Hitchcock's Vertigo. To judge by the promotional photos for Basic Instinct: Risk Addiction, moviegoers won't be treated to such wardrobe finery this time around. Instead, Sharon Stone is clad in too-tight button-busting shirts and tacky oversized plastic hoop earrings -- when she's wearing anything at all. Without the built-in controversy that fueled initial public interest in the original, Sharon Stone has had to create and market her own controversy to promote the sequel: Appearing naked in the sequel is a way of empowering older actresses who have been typecast as being too old to be sexy, she argues.

She chose to announce that she will appear naked in the second Basic Instinct at a March 8 joint press conference in Tel Aviv with former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. Sharon Stone and the Nobel laureate ostensibly were promoting peace in the Middle East when the 48-year-old actress launched into the following manic babbling:

"People just are sitting there going, like, 'I don't care what she's saying, I don't care what she's saying, I just want to know, does she get naked in the movie? Is she naked? Nude nude nude naked Do I see her boobies? I don't care what she's saying, I don't care, I don't care, is she naked?' So let's just get through to that... YES!"

Maybe you saw it on CNN, or maybe it was Comedy Central. In any case, it has been reported that Stone, upset that some of her sex scenes had been cut from the movie, demanded they be put back in -- especially those featuring full frontal shots. "I wanted a lot of sex in the sequel. I was coming from a really kinky place. I wanted more nudity," she told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper. "When I saw a rough cut of the film they had taken a lot of stuff out and I asked, 'Where's all the crazy stuff I did? What are we toning it down for?' I said, Let's go crazy!' So we took some things out of the film and a lot of the kinky stuff and sex went back in. You'll see it." The actress added that she wanted to make sure that the sex scenes were just plain strange. "I felt the nude scenes should have a disturbing quality that is provocative but also bizarrely threatening and weird. I thought it would be intriguing to do it in a way that is just quite brazen."

The first time around her arguments that she was depicting an empowering form of sexuality for women at least were believable. This time I'm not buying it. Her preoccupation with her aging nude self trumps talk of Middle East peace -- it's self-absorbtion and vanity taken to an extreme, masquerading as a political statement. And it's an embarrassment.

The sequel, meanwhile, has received poor reviews from critics in London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, and Berlin. Things don't look much more promising on the home front. The liberal Newsweek magazine has already weighed in with this comment: "If you expect an erotic thriller, you may be sorely disappointed. But if you expect soft-core camp, you will be rewarded with a showstopper nearly in the league of the weirdly mesmerizing Showgirls." Go, Sharon.


Blogger Sofiya said...

Um, when you say "When I Answer the Door Wearing Saran Wrap, Will You Say "Leftovers!?!", are you implying that Sharon Stone is an old bag past her prime? That only twentysomethings should appear naked on film? Is this really feminist?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Laylalola said...

No, it was more about the tired old reheat of Basic Instinct and Sharon Ston'es "I'm all about sexsexsex weird sex nude nude nude boobies" thing. Obviously her bod rocks, she's worked hard to see that it does, told Newsweek she had an image of her nude self from Basic Instinct projected on her wall and had a friend compare her then-and-now bodies and give her the thumb's up. Since I wrote this entry she's said Hillary Clinton is too sexy to run for president and should wait until she's past her sexual prime (desexed or whatever it was she said), and that she advocates oral sex for young teens, etc. etc. If you want to be known as a tacky hose beast your entire life, hey, go for it, go Sharon. But don't pretend you're insisting on weird sex scenes being re-inserted into a movie after they've been cut because Hollywood doesn't think women of a certain age are "sexy," obviously Hollywood will put women of any age who want to get naked on the screen. This is more in line with Demi Moore in her early 30s and that silly stripper movie and yes Showgirls, which had stars in their early 20s. You don't have to be Sharon Stone's age to make your naked self look like an ass.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Sofiya said...

"tacky hose beast"

That is a very unkind thing to say abut a woman. If you don't like her movie, how about just not watching it? We have enough sexists and misogynists hurtfully abusing women -- why should a feminist feel the need to join in?

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Bitch | Lab said...

we scored a copy of it and I had to fight to stay awake. it was just awful. as someone else said, "Went to see Basic Instinct 2. Emphasis on 'stinct." :)

I should really try to watch and give it some kind of brilliant analysis but man, it was torture. Stone's face is so botoxed out or something I was distracted the entire time. I liked the way she looked last time I saw here, with some character and wrinkles. She should have kept them. Oh, and leading man? How dreadfully boring that guy is.

Plus, i don't recall a lot of nudity, really. The sex scenes are not strange, though perhaps we got the rough? Naw. it was the real thing. Whatever she's talking about, I don't know. They are strange in that the music and lighting try to make you feel as if you're in a strange psychic space, but the film fails to achieve that.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Bitch | Lab said...

Re: the saran wrap thing. It reminded me of an old 70s piece of advice about how to spice up your sex life: greet hubby at the door in saran wrap. Sad, but true, not a few of my parents cohort did this or something like it.

5:11 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home