Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Peter T Chattaway

virginity redux

30 posts in this topic

Some of you may recall the virginity thread that we had two message boards ago; in that thread, I said I had been contacted by a couple of documentary producers who wanted to use me as a "pop culture expert" in a film on adult virgins. That was over a year and a half ago, but it looks like they're finally gonna make that film -- and they're planning to interview me this Tuesday. Yikes.

So, I need to refresh my memory, and I'm thinking I should also look up some classic films on the subject (and on the related subject of sexual abstinence, whether the character in question is a virgin or not) that I have somehow still never seen.

In the old thread, we mentioned films that I have already seen, such as Almost Famous, Amateur, American Beauty, American Pie, Antwone Fisher, Circle of Friends, Clueless, Crossroads, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Cruel Intentions, Dangerous Liaisons, Dead Man Walking, 40 Days and 40 Nights, The Guru, Hail Mary, The Hot Chick, Just Married, Reality Bites, Roger Dodger, Scream, Talk to Her and A Walk to Remember, as well as TV shows like Family Ties, Friends and Valerie.

We also mentioned a handful of films -- all from the '80s, apparently -- that I have NOT seen, including Fast Times at Ridgmont High, The Last American Virgin, Pretty in Pink, Risky Business, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science; there is also The Breakfast Club, which I saw once on video back then (over half a lifetime ago), but barely remember now.

Since that thread, we have seen this theme come up again in, e.g., Chasing Liberty.

Anything else I should be aware of?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seen The Notebook?

Brighton Beach Memoirs also deals with the subject--a bit more pointedly.

------------------------

Edited by Jason Bortz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might be wrong (and someone can correct me), but I think both John Cusack's and Ione Skye's characters are virgins in Say Anything until they finally do the deed.

Another Niel Simon reference is Biloxi Blues, perhaps the funniest and in a way most honest depiction of someone losing it. Usually we are shown a woman's reaction to this, and it was refreshing to see a guys discomfort at not knowing what to do, or what was expected of him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think that's actually the one I meant. smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another Niel Simon reference is Biloxi Blues, perhaps the funniest and in a way most honest depiction of someone losing it. Usually we are shown a woman's reaction to this, and it was refreshing to see a guys discomfort at not knowing what to do, or what was expected of him.

I'm not trying to derail the thread, but is Biloxi Blues worth watching? I bought a handful of LDs on Ebay once that had that in it, and I've been unable to sell it. dry.gif The reviews I found were far from complimentary. So should I watch it after all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, Peter, I *love* the thread title. wink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as well as TV shows like Family Ties, Friends and Valerie.

Doogie Howser - there was a "very special" episode

My So-Called Life

Back to film:

Cold Mountain - Nicole Kidman's character

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

The Ice Storm

Forrest Gump

Elizabeth

Porky's (*cough*)

Blast From The Past

Edited by TexasWill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Better Off Dead has a scene that deals with it - albeit in a comical way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TexasWill wrote:

: Porky's (*cough*)

Heh. Someone else was recommending that today. Doesn't seem right that I, a Canadian film critic, have still not seen the top-grossing Canadian film of all time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It might be a long shot, but how about Leon?

Especially the longer version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely Blast From The Past if we are looking for sympathetic or positive protrayals. The Apartment hints at C. C. Baxter's abstinence even though he is blamed by neighbors and girls' families for being almost a two at a time playboy. 10 Things I Hate About You deals with high school romance exactly the opposite of American Pie. Sex is only a tease to get the delinquent new kid locked into a setup. While a psycho dad is played for laughs over concern for his daughters' purity. Possible consumation is only the plan of the bad guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I rather liked 10 Things I Hate About You -- it was my favorite of the teensploitation films at the time it came out.

SPOILERS

Doesn't it turn out that the reason the Julia Stiles character is so prickly has something to do with the fact that she DID have sex with a certain boy, and this is why she has basically been supporting her father's efforts to keep the other sister out of the dating pool?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, I rather liked 10 Things I Hate About You -- it was my favorite of the teensploitation films at the time it came out.

SPOILERS

Doesn't it turn out that the reason the Julia Stiles character is so prickly has something to do with the fact that she DID have sex with a certain boy, and this is why she has basically been supporting her father's efforts to keep the other sister out of the dating pool?

Affirmative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I just watched Fast Times at Ridgmont High (1982). What an interesting little time capsule -- the first-generation video-arcade games, the Rubik's Cube cameo, the one character's complaint that they can't even get cable TV where they live (and this, despite living in a community with a huge shopping mall that has one of those newfangled four-screen multiplex theatres...), etc.

And then there are the future stars of tomorrow, looking so young and happy-to-have-passed-the-audition in this, one of their earliest films -- the list includes Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, Forest Whitaker and future Oscar winners Sean Penn (oh, to see him appear in an actual COMEDY again some day!) and Nicolas Coppola (who is now known as Nicolas Cage, and who appears in only two shots).

Interesting to see that a film directed by a woman (Amy Heckerling) plays by the same rules as all other films when it comes to nudity -- no male nudity whatsoever on display, but three scenes in which two women disrobe (one of which is supposed to be a guy's masturbatory fantasy, but of course we in the audience know that Phoebe Cates really DID expose her breasts for the camera).

Then again, in one of those scenes, we actually get a full-body-lying-down-with-one-leg-propped-up-to-cover-the-groin shots of Jennifer Jason Leigh, kinda like the way John Huston's The Bible (1966) has Adam pose when he is first created, so that we can tell the character is naked but without seeing, like, everything. Something about that shot, it seems to me, goes further than the typical teen sex comedies of the past half-decade (AKA the American Pie era), though it seems to me that the shot goes further in the name of 'honesty' rather than 'exploitativeness' -- Leigh's character is being abandoned by a guy after a really, really brief and unsatisfying sexual encounter, and she lies there exposed and embarrassed, and we share her discomfort at her exposure and embarrassment; then again, perhaps it is easier for me to take the scene on this level because Leigh has gone on to do numerous nude scenes since (unlike other actresses who do nude scenes ONLY when they are new to the job and desperate for roles), and thus I suspect that she, at least, did not feel exploited when she appeared in this film. (Cates, on the other hand...?)

In addition, I would say the subplot in which the Leigh character seeks an abortion ALSO goes further than the films of the past few years -- just TRY to imagine a modern film exploring such territory, while keeping most of the other scenes fairly light and humorous (a pizza delivery being made to a surfer dude while he's in class, etc.).

Regarding the virginity/abstinence angle per se, it is interesting that the Leigh character has sex with two different men in a quest for empowerment, though both encounters prove to be disappointments -- she spends one of them looking up at the graffiti on the ceiling, and the other is practically over before it's begun (trying to feel 'empowered' after her first encounter, she goes to some lengths to lure a guy home and to persuade him to undress with her, but he climaxes almost as soon as they are on the couch together, and then he bolts). Ultimately, Leigh complains to Cates that ANYbody can have sex, but SHE wants a relationship and some romance (and Cates, who has been lording it over Leigh as the sexually experienced know-it-all, kinda like how Kate Beckinsale lords it over Chloe Sevigny in The Last Days of Disco, ends the film in tears because her older boyfriend -- indeed, I think she calls him a fianc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, I just watched Fast Times at Ridgmont High (1982).
Edited by TexasWill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TexasWill wrote:

: I was in high school when Fast Times came out and unfortunately it was dead-on

: regarding teen culture, trends and attitudes.

Interesting -- and thanks for the comments. I didn't start high school until 1983 (when I skipped grades in February), and I didn't start Grade 9 (which I think you Americans call "freshman year") until September of that year, so I would still have been in elementary school when this film came out. I actually don't really remember anybody talking about it at the time -- though I do remember quite a lot of talk about the Molly Ringwald movies just a few years later.

Speaking of which, I just finished watching Sixteen Candles (1983), the first of the Molly Ringwald / John Hughes teen flicks. (There is something about Anthony Michael Hall's face, and the attitude displayed by Molly's character's kid brother, that, for me, are like an uncomfortably eerie foreshadowing of the Macaulay Culkin phase of Hughes' career -- but never mind that.)

There's not a whole lot to say about this film, in conjunction with this thread, except that Hall's character, the freshman geek, reveals that he has never "bagged a babe" -- so of course, by the end of the film, he has not only bagged a babe, but he has gotten it on with the high school's prom queen ... and she actually LIKES him! (Shades of the improbable relationship between that guy from American Pie and Stifler's Mom, maybe?) Like Darren H said on the old novogate thread, Hall's character follows a punchline trajectory that is very typical of virginal characters in film (but in fairness, I actually found his character both amusing and endearing).

Ringwald's character never flat-out says that she's a virgin, but when Hall asks if they can have sex, she replies that she is "saving" herself for a guy at school who she believes doesn't even know she exists -- so I'll take that as a sign that she IS a virgin. The guy in question is dating the prom queen, but he makes it pretty clear to Hall that he and the prom queen have had sex, and that he doesn't find sex by itself all that satisfying any more (in addition, we know that the prom queen is on "the pill"). The film's happy ending comes when the guy takes Ringwald home, and they sit on opposite sides of her birthday cake, and he says "Make a wish," and she says "It already came true," and then they kiss. Freeze frame, roll credits. Whether they go ahead and conjugate is not all that relevant, just that she has got the boy's attention and affection and has finally celebrated her birthday.

It is interesting, though, that one of the film's main subplots concerns the wedding of Ringwald's older sister -- which is portrayed in a very negative or dysfunctional light (the dad explicitly tells Ringwald something to the effect that "we ALL" don't approve of the marriage), and thus might be set up as a sort of contrast to Ringwald's (and Hall's?) desire for a fling with less traditional attachment. On the other hand, it is also strongly hinted that both sides of that relationship have had their share of lovers, so who knows, that fact itself might reflect some deeper problem that surfaces in all the other dysfunctions. And perhaps the positive (but backgrounded) depiction of Ringwald's parents' marriage represents some sort of positive affirmation as well.

Side note: The ratings on these films, both of which were released in the era BEFORE the PG-13 rating, are kind of fascinating. Fast Times was apparently originally rated X but was then re-edited for an R (which might also explain why there is no male nudity in the film). Sixteen Candles, meanwhile, was apparently originally rated R but was re-rated PG on appeal, apparently without any edits. I was wondering about that, because there is a bit of nudity in the girls' shower (including a lingering close-up on the prom queen's breast) and there are at least two f-words as well, either of which would almost automatically get an R rating these days.

Also interesting is the fact that Fast Times is rated R in Ontario (and thus on Canadian home video), which is the Canadian equivalent of an NC-17; I wonder if the stricter rating is due to the fact that it depicts sex between teenaged characters (Ontario is the province that banned Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl for a while). Sixteen Candles was rated AA, but Ontario doesn't have that rating any more -- I think it's the equivalent of the modern 14-A, though, which is kinda like the PG-13, except that the age restriction is actually enforced and is not purely advisory.

Last random note: Loved the way Ringwald uses the word "major" (as in, "I thought this birthday would be so major..."). Did we really talk like that back then?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, another interesting feature of these two films is the way the characters casually toss off the insulting terms "fag" or "faggot", though there are no characters in these films who appear to be actually gay. (In Sean Penn's dream sequence in Fast Times, he calls certain surfing competitors "fags"; and in Sixteen Candles, Ringwald calls Hall a "fag" when he comes on to her on the bus, and then later on Hall calls his two buddies, one of whom is played by John Cusack, "faggots" for making him look bad.) This element reminded me of a sequence in The Celluloid Closet that highlights the apparently acceptable use of this term in a range of films, most of which IIRC came from the '80s (e.g. 1985's Teen Wolf, in which Michael J. Fox assures his friend that the secret he's got to share is not that he's a "fag", but that he's a werewolf). Maybe teens still talk that way, maybe not, but I highly doubt that a mainstream FILM about teens would incorporate such dialogue nowadays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe teens still talk that way, maybe not, but I highly doubt that a mainstream FILM about teens would incorporate such dialogue nowadays.

Although I can only speak from my recent experience of teenagerdom, the gay joke seemed to be pretty widespread till the end of 2000. At boarding school, being called a fag or worse was pretty de rigeur among the boys. It was most intense in our first year, when there were 20 of us 12 year olds in a dorm. Simultaneously, this was also when being called gay actually meant very little because it was so common. Everybody called each other gay to just get a reaction and have a bit of a fun tussle, not in order to insult (I am troubled that it has become a slur though). With male bodies on display all the time and communal showers I guess it was just a way of letting off steam about insecurities and the lack of privacy. There was also the persistent rumour among us that our housemaster was gay, but we didn't seriously think it (unmarried, slightly geeky-looking and with a posh English accent as he was). Still we managed to tease him about it in obtuse ways which would usually involve him reacting in the way we wanted (playing up to it, and grabbing the teaser by his shoulders and squeezing, something he called the treatment. One memorable day we managed to push him down on one of the beds and had an enormous pile-on). We were just boys who were separated from our parents for long periods of time who wanted to muck about with a parental figure, and I think he recognised that quite well. As you went through the school, it happened less and less (as dorms got smaller) and was more likely to actually be a proper expression of hate than just a small joke. Also, it seemd to me when I was growing up in Ireland that its attitude towards slagging people off is a lot more relaxed than other countries. Usually its just part of friendship.

Even in Germany the gay joke was common, though not as common as in school, and it was always innocent, like it had started at school. Then I started hanging around with Christians and haven't really heard it since biggrin.gif

Edited by Indigojones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Elizabeth had some fascinating things to say about virginity...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had been contacted by a couple of documentary producers who wanted to use me as a "pop culture expert" in a film on adult virgins... and they're planning to interview me this Tuesday.

Did it happen? How did it go?

Do you feel different? tongue.giflaugh.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh. It was kind of anti-climactic, actually (har har), after more than two years of being in contact with these people and talking about doing it, etc. It went okay, though. They told me I was the first person they were interviewing, so of course we joked about this being someone's "first time" (har har redux). One of the cameramen turned out to be someone I knew back when he was a sort of producer or promoter working in the local indie Christian music scene a dozen years ago, which was neat. The producers tell me they have to get the finished documentary in to Vision TV by December 12, but they're not sure when the network will actually show it; I'm hoping they sit on it for, oh, a couple of months, at least, because the last thing I'd want is for someone to catch it and tape it off TV and show clips of me gabbing about my girlfriend and me at our wedding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm hoping they sit on it for, oh, a couple of months, at least, because the last thing I'd want is for someone to catch it and tape it off TV and show clips of me gabbing about my girlfriend and me at our wedding.

SHOCKED.gif

Am I misreading this????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SDG wrote:

: Am I misreading this????

smile.gif

Suffice to say that she and I have had a date in mind for at least a month, but have not gotten around to the formality of getting engaged yet -- first she has to take me ring shopping, cuz I absolutely suck at stuff like that on my own.

The joke between us for the past little while has been that, in lieu of a proposal, the day may come where one of us says to the other, "We're engaged, aren't we?" This would fit the pattern of our relationship so far -- e.g., in February or March of last year, after a month or so of hanging out as "friends" without officially calling what we were doing "dating", I said to her, "We're dating, aren't we?" But she does say it would be nice if I popped an actual QUESTION to her, and I've told her not to worry, I do believe a bit of ceremony is called for in situations like this ...

Ack. Nothing to release yet, and already I'm giving away plot details. There should be spoiler warnings in my posts when I talk about D and me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0