When I was about twelve I would stay up late and watch “dirty movies”, like the kind that would be on Cinemax’s Friday After Dark programing. Those unfamiliar with these movies will be better served if they know that these movies are the reason Cinemax is known as SKinemax. They would play movies like Cinderella, Malibu Express, and Warrior Queen.
I would stay up while my Mom was working one of her jobs (she usually had 3). If she would come home suddenly, I would have the flashback button set to Nickelodeon or something equally harmless, then pretend I was asleep. I don’t know if she ever caught on, but one of her boyfriends outed me because I recorded a couple of them and he found the tapes. Burned in my mind are images of the when he made me watch one of my video tapes with my little brother and Mom in the room.
One of the movies I watched has stuck with me, partially due to the fact that I knew nothing about it. I could only remember one scene and some scattered details about the plot. For five years (at least) I have, off and on, looked for this movie. My only recourse, posting on message boards in hopes that someone would recognize the details and give me anything, a title, actor, director. Yesterday my ship came in. I guy on the message board of a site that I’m a member to, responded with what he thought was the movie. He was right! I couldn’t contain my excitement, which is weird because I knew what type of movie this was, I knew it would be bad, but put yourself in my shoes… I was excited.
The movie is called Love Scenes, and it’s directed by Bud Townsend (who?). What I originally thought was a movie made in the late 60’s or 70’s, was actually made in 1984. After a bit of research I uncovered that this was made for Playboy TV, while it was in it’s infancy. The movie is about a director and his actress wife, played by Tiffany Bolling, who agree to do an erotic movie written by a former actress about her sexual awakening. The turmoil springs from the fact that the director doesn’t satisfy his wife and in the first sex scene she has with her womanizing lead actor she has sex with him though the script calls for her to reject him. The director, instead of being jealous, starts rewriting the script to accommodate the scene, much to the dismay of the screenwriter, played by Julie Newmarr in all her drag-queen-glory. Their relationship spirals down and the movie finishes with the inevitable reconciliation.
The scene that I couldn’t forget was the one mentioned above, where the actress has sex with the actor in front of the entire crew, and nobody does anything even though the script is different. For a twelve year old this was a hot scene, and it remained warm upon viewing in at 30. The rest of the movie was a nightmarish parade of the wooden acting, gratuitous sex scenes, and plot contrivances that one would expect of a soft-core porn flick. Even nostalgia couldn’t make this film watchable to me. After the aforementioned scene I was so uninterested that it was difficult to finish the movie. Add to that a score that included the same refrain being repeated by tenor sax and keyboard ad nausea, and I was nearly asleep by the end, in fact fast forwarding the make-up sex scene.
I’m tempted not to give this movie a rating because me watching it was more about confronting my youth and my sense of nostalgia than it was critically observing a film. But I will give it the 1 star that it deserves. I’m of the opinion that ones tastes change and you shouldn’t say that a movie you saw when you were a kid is a great movie because you thought it was great then. If that were true then Explorers would be a 5 star movie to me, and it’s not. I know many people who do this, they revere something from their youth that doesn’t stand up but they will refuse to acknowledge that their memory is better than the actual movie. This phenomenon is one that I’m aware of and that I reject. Movies that I liked when I was a kid, if they are bad movies, then I will say they are and rank them with others of their like.
It’s one of the reasons that I don’t watch the Star Wars movies anymore. I’m afraid that I won’t like them and I would rather that they stay great in my mind because they were so much a part of my youth, my life, and how I think about the world. So I avoid them at this point, but perhaps they will still be good to me. Maybe I’ll revisit them someday.