Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gratuitously Tasteful

I am a heterosexual, alpha-male, sports loving male pig.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way...

Nudity has maintained a disturbingly prominent influence in my relatively young life. At five, I was exposed to my first "porn" film vise-en-vise my uncle's subscription to the Playboy Channel. (V-chips were invented because of curious kids like me)

At six I happened upon my father masturbating to an issue of Playboy in the bathroom, my unexpected intrusion with the intent of alerting him to a phone call, met with shame but also a disturbing sense of detachment.

"Dad...Dad, the phone's..." (door open, head tilted to the side in not so much shock, but maybe wonderment?)

"Close the door! Close the door! (Relatively takes his time covering himself and placing the magazine on the adjacent bathroom counter) Leave the phone outside, I'll pick it up when I'm finished! (Once again staking his claim for Father of the Year)

Uncertain of what was the aforementioned act, I trudged on into age seven, experiencing what I would only later learn to be the closest thing to personal happiness a young man would ever experience before actual coitus or the sight of seeing one's beloved sports franchise win it all. (Sadly I believe the latter would supplant the former any day.)

Orgasm. Whoa. Orgasm. Did it again.

Michelle Pfeiffer in "Batman Returns"? Pure orgasmic evil. And at age seven, an age when many of my contemporaries were too preoccupied with getting the new Batmobile, or dressing up as said character for Halloween, I was stricken with confusion.

Orgasm? Really? At age seven? Even the "Joy of Sex" and the "Guide to Getting It On" failed to mention such a euphoric experience at such an age.

Anyway, by age ten, I was well versed in the ways of sex, knowing the geographical location of my favorite Marvel superheroes as well as the location of the clitoris, labia, and other lady parts I would only later disseminate to later contemporaries.

Literary intellectualism aside, boobies were awesome. In all their shapes, forms, and regions of cultural origin (this is debatable; age has a way of skewing one's physiological optimism)

Gratuitous nudity, accidental nudity, nudity for the sake of nudity; coming at the advent of the internet age, nudity equaled awesomeness and at any age, male magnetism towards all things 'boobie' oriented meant that there is no such thing as unnecessary female nudity, right?

Outside the unwelcome advances of a Kathy Bates in "About Schmidt" (sorry feminists), every godfaring, young, vibrant, fit woman, should flaunt it, yes? Or is it possible to actually...gasp...make nudity meaningless?! (the added exclamation point wasn't needed, I know, but I had to go there)

Which finally (sorry longwinded true believers) to Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, a crime drama from Sidney Lumet that's beautifully executed, powerfully acted, and...uh, uses "tastefully artistic nudity" as a means of furthering the cinematic narrative?

Okay it doesn't. But (I like Marisa Tomei) the storyline is well-crafted, the manipulation of time elements (I love Marisa Tomei) is perfectly orchestrated, and the casting was (I wanna sleep with Marisa Tomei, but God damn it was excellent, but did it really need all that nudity?

I am not a prude. I am a New York born-bred Catholic which makes me just as sexually abhorrent as the next guy. And don't get me wrong, at 42, Tomei is straight banging.

But opening with Philly Hoffman hitting it from the back and then interspersing unnecessary T & A shots throughout the film kind of detracted from the main plot line. Unlike Halle Berry's "Monster's Ball" (which even perverts agree made some artistic, thematically symbolic attempt), Tomei's scenes have very little to do with the surprisingly engrossing storyline of Hoffman and Hawke.

Which brings me back to my initial point...(which at this point must be lost on most of you, as it is on me) can it be possible for a completely sexist male perverted porn purveyor like myself to actually be turned off by a beautiful naked woman because she's essentially wasting valuable screen time that could be better served by more engaging dialogue?

Is my art/film/music geek over powering my inherent sexist tendencies?

Am I just a victim of a wanton souless society bent on merely capitalist gains all in the pursuit of further widening the gap between the sexes, thus destroying any hope for true gender equality?

Oh wait, no.

But "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is thus far my favorite film of the year, outdistancing itself from "Great World of Music" by a bit.

Go see it, not cause of the boobies, but cause of the great acting, directing, and all that overhyped hub-bub.

And cause of boobies.

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