Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pointless Lists: Virginity

On Friday, I revisited a movie from my youth where the protagonist is focused on something many boys long to accomplish: losing their virginity. That makes this as good a time as any to discuss my favorite movies on the subject. It is such a universal one that there have been many. Filmmakers in every era keep returning to the theme. I personally have seen dozens of them. These are my favorites...

10. Superbad
(2007)
We follow the misadventures of high-school seniors Seth  (Jonah Hill), Evan (Michael Cera) and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), AKA McLovin, on their quest to finally get some. Their best chance seems to be supplying alcohol for the party they're going to attend. Our heroes don't necessarily have trouble talking to girls, but often say the wrong thing which provides a good deal of humor. As in the best of teen sex-farces, parents & most adults are rarely seen except as punchlines. The acting of the three main characters carries the movie. Indeed, each of them has parlayed success here into very busy and profitable careers.

9. The Last American Virgin
(1982)
Like lots of guys, the thing most preventing Gary (Lawrence Monoson) from losing his virginity is himself. He gets close often, but he also gets nervous and/or just works too slow. He also turns out to be a romantic. The first two acts of this movie are funny, raunchy, and entirely typical of movies about teenage boys. In the last act, it elevates itself by veering into some dark territory and finishing there. A very underrated film generally dismissed as just another teen sex romp.

8. Teeth
(2007)
This little seen horror flick gives us a female who fully believes in abstinence until marriage. Dawn (Jess Weixler) has not only taken a vow to remain a virgin until marriage, but even to abstain from masturbation. So serious is she about this, she counsels her peers in hopes of getting them to do the same. Of course, she meets a boy that makes her rethink things. Sorta. Unfortunately for him, he finds out she has teeth where she shouldn't. Let's just say he comes up short. Not just a horror flick, this is a wonderfully dark comedy with a girl-power slant.

7. The 40 Year-Old Virgin
(2005)
If you can't tell by the title, our hero Andy (Steve Carell) is a little older than most virgins. He's gotten to the point where he's not really even trying to lose it, happily receding into his own world of action figures, video games and watching "Survivor" with the elderly couple next door. When the guys at work find out, they spring into action in an effort to change his sexual status. It's funny and endlessly quotable. It still stands as some of director Judd Apatow's best work.

6. Kids
(1995)
This one is much less about losing virginity than it is about taking it. Specifically, we follow Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) and Casper (Justin Pierce). Telly has taken it has his mission in life to deflower virgins. This is a dark and unsettling trek through an urban landscape overrun with carefree teenagers. We take unflinching looks at promiscuity, rape, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and sexually transmitted diseases. All of it involves youngsters ranging from possibly pre-pubescent stages to their late teens. Most of the performers are actually as young as they appear. Because of that I can safely say this is the most controversial film on this list. It's also the one you're most likely to hate. By the way, most of the actors are making their film debuts including Chloë Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.

5. Easy A
(2010)
Rather than giving us a protagonist actively trying to lose their virginity, Easy A gives us Olive (Emma Stone), one that pretends to. As news of a tryst she completely makes up gets out, she is suddenly the most notorious girl in school. This is a whip-smart comedy that doesn't just use Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic "The Scarlet Letter" for inspiration, it openly refers to it. Ditto for John Hughes movies. It also deals with the religious aspect and displays just how easily perception becomes reality.

4. American Pie
(1999)
Not satisfied with giving us one guy, pun intended, this teen sex romp gives us four guys in a race to see which one will lose their virginity first. Most of our focus is on Jim (Jason Biggs), who is awkward himself, but has an even more awkward dad (Eugene Levy). The story functions well enough, but what makes it work is that it has given us so many iconic scenes that are hilarious all by themselves. Yes, this includes what happens to an innocent cherry pie. And yes, this is the movie that introduced the acronym MILF to the American lexicon.

3. Porky's
(1982)
Our frustrated virgin is Pee Wee (Dan Monahan). So frustrated is he, he can think of nothing else besides getting into some girl's pants. Believe me, he and his buddies get into all sorts of situations where poor Pee Wee gets close but no cigar. To me, this is the most consistently funny of all the movies listed. Sure it's crass, irreverent and awfully juvenile, but it's downright hilarious. The scene showing why a female gym-teacher is called "Lassie" (played by a young Kim Cattrall) simply puts me in stitches every time I see it. And I would argue that behind the Hitchcock classic Psycho, and only by a very slim margin, this movie has the second best shower scene in cinematic history.



2. The Sessions
(2012)
In what is pretty easily the most unique movie on this list our virgin is not only an adult, but Mark (John Hawkes) was stricken with polio at a very young age and cannot move anything below his neck. We follow him during his time with Cherryl (Helen Hunt), a sex therapist who agrees work with him. The end goal is that the two will have sex. As you might imagine, Mark is filled with anxiety and things don't always go smoothly. This is not merely about getting some, it is about figuring out how the mechanics of it will work. It is wickedly funny and both Hawkes and Hunt are absolutely amazing.

1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
(1982)
There are lots of things going on in Fast Times. Most prominent of all is the story of Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a high school sophomore looking to give someone her most precious gift. Like American Pie it has given us a number of scenes that have become indelible parts of American pop culture history. It also gives us a story that works from every angle. It's also more mature than just about any teen sex movie out there. Every part of it just sizzles. Finally, it gives us by far the best cast of any movie on this list and many others. Many of them, including Leigh, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, and Judge Reinhold, went on to lengthy and successful careers. Three of its players went on to win Oscars for Best Actor: Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker, and Nicolas Cage (billed under his birth name of Nicolas Coppola).

2 comments:

  1. Okay, this is a great list. I wouldn't have even stopped to think that such a list is possible but they really do rack up , don't they? I'll have to check out #9.

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