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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BASIC INSTINCT, dir. paul verhoeven, 1992



no, really. that's the fucking summary.


negative portrayals of lesbianism, offensive violence, initial x-rating, and voyeuristic, sensational, gratuitous sex (from filmsite.org). also, there were numerous protests about the film re: misogyny and homophobia.


controversy rating: 4/10
overall rating: 8/10

here’s what you cannot understand until you see this for yourself and what i won’t be able to fully explain to you: basic instinct is, without a doubt, the sexiest thing that has happened in my life. and i’ve had sex with ladies. every single thing sharon stone says and does, every tiny inflection in her voice and slight movement of her body, is just dripping with sexual fluids. i had never even imagined that this level of seduction and eroticism was possible and the fact that it occurred in a mainstream movie floors me. while there are innumerable “sexy” films out there (including many of the ones CMC has watched e.g. in the realm of the senses), there’s nothing that comes close to this.

there is a downside: michael douglas and his bootface.


controversy rating: 3/10
overall rating: 7/10

uh, basically it goes like this: i thought i was gay and then i saw basic instinct.

really. what else do you want me to say? did you SEE sharon stone in this movie? okay, i'm not going to talk about this too much because jason already gushed. this is politically incorrect of me, no? i'm falling into the trap of sexploitation? oh, damn.

it's kind of hard to say "basic instinct" out loud. fucking seriously. try this shit out. basic instichkt? that's what always seems to come out. PAUL VERHOEVEN, why did you name your movie BASIC INSTINCT? come on, dude.

okay. seriously, though. the controversy about this film being too sexy, too violent? okay, maybe, yes, it's fucking sexy and pretty violent. so if you're afraid of those things, run. is it basically just a trashy pulp novel except on a screen? yes, of course it is! but we all want something trashy sometimes, right?

okay. okay. i'll get political here for a moment. bear with me. so, the film was protested by gay rights groups. this is something that intrigued me (because i'm a total queer). yes, it does have completely negative portrayals of gay people in it, but i don't feel like the film is trying to say "lesbians are evil." or "women are evil." and i understand that a lot of gay men and women feel like they need (and especially at the time, i'm sure, needed) positive images of gay life. or even better, as i've heard it said: "real images of gay life," bad or good. this film definitely does not offer that at all. the images here are not realistic: they are the product of pulp, of trash.

but really though: as much as it might've pissed some people off then, time has passed and i can definitely watch it for all that it is: it's a hollywood movie, what were you expecting? if you read the celluloid closet, you'll see that this kind of stereotype has been perpetuated by hollywood over and over again since its inception, and really, hollywood hasn't made much progress. yes, we had brokeback mountain, right? but didn't you notice that the queer had to die at the end of that movie too?

i think basic instinct doesn't piss me off because the film is at least completely aware that it's a trashy movie and it plays with it; it doesn't portray itself to be a beautiful, oscar-winning movie that still has a little bit of fag-bashing in it (maybe i should make it clear here that i don't hate brokeback mountain, by the way, but i also don't think it's the "saviour of gay cinema" that many others do, because it does still follow a very ingrained trend). and also, if you look at the time period it was made, it's interesting because queer film was really hitting a stride then: gregg araki, todd haynes, bruce labruce, rose troche, derek jarman, tom kalin, cheryl dunye, jennie livingston... the list goes on. all of this, of course, was happening outside of hollywood. i suppose that might be all the more reason why this film did piss people off; finally they were seeing images that they did relate to and then hollywood had to go and make this movie.

regardless, i had a lot of fun watching this film and i think i just knew not to take it very seriously (we are talking about the guy who made starship troopers here), and i think if you go into it with that frame of mind (and of course, if you enjoy trashy movies), you'll probably dig it.

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