Movie Mettle is a weekly column for moviegoers with weak constitutions. Wish you had the balls to sit through the goriest of horror movies? Want to build up your resistance to weepy rom-coms? Each week we’ll give you a range of five movies that will test your limits, you cinematic thrillseeker, you.
Warning: contains spoilers
Props to Movie Mezzanine’s Christopher Runyon for coming up with this week’s theme: Sex scenes with food. I have to say, I had to put on my big-girl pants for this one. No longer was I playing around with gore — which I can handle in most cases — or cheesy musical numbers. No, I had to confront movies that use food to a sinfully sensual extent.
Look: I like food, and I like sex. But watching the clips that made up this column was an incredibly uncomfortable experience. We can romanticize feeding your lover strawberries dipped in whipped cream, but seeing the extent that various movies have gone to to sexualize food will probably turn your stomach. In most cases, it’s not the straightforward, cutesy, feeding-each-other sequence, but food redefined as a stand-in for genitals or, worse, a sex aid.
Probably best to watch these on an empty stomach. Oh, and NSFW, obviously.
Warm-Up: American Pie[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCAOKR1jpp0&hl=en_US&version=3]
Like The Notebook in the weepy film roundup, I couldn’t not include this one since it’s basically the poster child for nutritious sexytimes. Poor, hormone-addled Jim (Jason Biggs) just wants to lose his virginity, but he’s struck out with the hot foreign exchange student. But after being told that third base “feels like warm apple pie” and his mom just happens to make his favorite sweet and set it out on the counter, it almost seems like fate has brought Jim and the pie together for the most scandalous of experiments.
Who do we blame for this desecration of our most patriotic dessert? Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) for having no better metaphor for sex? Jim for being so horny and curious he couldn’t stick with a sock and some lube? Or the American Pie writers for knowing they had hit that sweet spot in the late ’90s where they could shock with this?
Novice: 9 1/2 Weeks[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vLBMEWexoI&hl=en_US&version=3]
This seems like a logical progression from American Pie, since both are about the sweet impulses that drive us to bring food into the bedroom. Although 9 1/2 Weeks maps the sexual downward spiral that Mickey Rourke’s and Kim Basinger’s characters succumb to, it’s not always that volatile. Take this scene early in their courtship, when John grabs anything and everything from the fridge to seduce Elizabeth. It’s messy and downright cute how she (forced to keep her eyes closed) giggles through the various mystery foods, including a jalapeño!
Intermediate: Tampopo[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqA-mP0MhZg&version=3&hl=en_US]
It may seem as if I’m downgrading from an entire refrigerator’s worth of food to just one — but trust me, this is where things start to get a lot less appetizing. This gangster isn’t even the main character of Tampopo, but he has the most memorable scene. In saying goodbye to one of his many ladyloves, he makes some erotic statement by breaking an egg and then passing the yolk from his mouth to hers. It’s supposed to be a metaphor for the buildup of sexual tension, especially when the yolk breaks in her mouth and dribbles down her chin. But I found myself squirming just thinking about the raw yolk. Good luck.
Expert: Last Tango in Paris[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMtAer6B6TU&version=3&hl=en_US]
You know, I was going to put this infamous sequence as the BAMF entry, because why wouldn’t I? Lovers use butter as lubricant — it’s exactly the kind of thing that probably seems sexy in the moment but when you think about it, kills your hunger. Maybe it’s because this is one of those cinematic touchstones that everyone knows. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t find a video that didn’t make a joke out of it. Or maybe it’s because what I did end up using (again, thanks to Christopher Runyon) just took the cake, as it were.
BAMF: Killer Joe[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwQ0IL2_UIQ&hl=en_US&version=3]
Important life lesson: Do not piss off Matthew McConaughey. Well, for starters, don’t conspire with your boyfriend’s ex-wife’s boyfriend to kill her and split the insurance policy. Because if you do, McConaughey is gonna beat you up and then force you to simulate oral sex on a chicken drumstick. This is the only truly violent entry, but it’s so damn difficult to watch because of all the mind games involved.
I wish I understood what prompted McConaughey to take on this role after reading this script. And yet, it so fits his weird brand of character. I don’t know about you, but I will never look at fried chicken the same way again.
Have a genre of movie that you wish you could sit through? Leave your request in the comments and I might take it on in a future column!