Sex (& Gore) In the City?

Oscar time!  

Okay, a couple of things, first off:

1.  I haven’t seen as many Oscar noms this year as I usually do so I feel a little out of the loop.   I want to see them all except for “Slumdog.”  Based on what I’m hearing, I’m just not feeling it.

2. Since I was a wee tot, I have loved the Joker, loved him like a favorite Uncle.  Seriously.  Favorite villain of all-time, bar none.  Therefore, I want Heath Ledger to win Best Supporting because he WAS the Joker, the way I’d always imagined he would really be.  I walk the former “Dark Knight” location sets every day on my way to work, and it excites me madly.  (The truck flip?  Yep.  Right there.  Monroe and LaSalle.  Evvvvvery day.)  I’m not well.  🙂 

However, my having not seen most of this year’s nominees doesn’t much affect the fact that I’m excited as hell to watch the Oscars, and, in my experience, more women like the Oscars than men.  I don’t know why.  God knows, I love movies more than anyone I’ve ever known.  I’ll watch solid gold and I’ll watch total crap with the same boundless joy.  I love movies.   But I know lots of guys who love movies, and they wouldn’t watch the Oscars if Angelina Jolie hosted naked from a pudding pit.  Maybe it’s just an issue of taste.  Do I like different movies than most guys?  No again.  I like ’em all.  But  maybe that’s it.  Since I’ve always felt that I can watch nearly any movie and enjoy it for its own sake, it makes me wonder: how many differences are there between genres?  Let me explain what I mean.

I am a horror film junkie and have been since the moment I could communicate.  I was barely out of diapers before I was lovin’ the monsters.   And since we’ve been together, Catherine has enjoyed a renewed interest in horror films as well.   Maybe it’s a defense mechanism.  Regardless, to illustrate my point, there we sat, one recent evening.

“Is it me,” Catherine said, “or are these getting better with each sequel?”

Saw IV
is wrapping up on Pay-Per-View as we’re finishing off a gigantic pizza that we made some poor bastard bring us through a blizzard. When I delivered pizzas, I cursed people like us. Cursed them to hell and wherever else might be painful. But I’m a good tipper and thus a good Captalist, so through money my conscience is clear.

“It’s not you.  They’re running out of ideas, so they’re forced to get more detailed and complicated,” I mutter around a wad of dough and sauce. “It completely goes against the standard principles of The Sequel. Most of them lose weight as they go. This one’s getting fatter.”

And admitting this makes a part of me very angry. Because I hated Saw.

No, actually.  ‘Hate’ isn’t really a strong enough word. As someone who loves and tirelessly defends horror films, even vapid, shitty horror films, I was betrayed by Saw in ways that no other film has ever betrayed me. Because Saw is so bad as to be below even the most shallow defense. In this opinion, I know that I am in a vast, vast minority, and this pains me. I hear horror fans speak favorably of it, and I wonder if they’ve ever seen any other horror films.

I’m not going to dwell on the multi-million dollar follies of Saw‘s creators, the movie’s swiss-cheese plot, Cary Elwes’ godawfully bad acting (I should not be laughing myself into an asthma attack over someone cutting off their own foot, but Cary, you took me to new and embarrassing places), or the instant gratification, bullshit-bottom-line that is the ending.


So I’m making this statement about Saw as a way of working toward a confession, because Saw is the most quintessentially “guy” horror movie I know of.

I love Sex & the City.

Fucking love it.

And I happily saw the movie in the theater. So you see, by way of my sweet ramblings, we’ve reached a potentially contentious point in my analysis of the modern marriage: why are guys are so down on chick flicks, chick lit, chicklets, whatever?

I wish I had more theories. I can only assume it’s for the same reasons they hate accompanying their wives to makeup superstores: some sort of freakish hetero-anxiety-guilt-by-association thing; relating to what, I don’t know. Sex & the City is primarily a show about relationships, between friends as much or more as between couples. As are most westerns. And buddy cop movies. But here’s the guy appeal that seems to be lost on most males: hardly an episode of Sex & the City goes by where some explicit, often vulgar exploration of sexual practices goes undiscussed, thereby fulfilling most testosterone-driven food groups and keeping everyone happy.  That’s enough for me – why are others so hard to please?

And fuck you, guys, if every single one of you doesn’t or wouldn’t secretly want to be Mr. Big. If I was a superhero, I’d be Mr. Big. Let’s look at the facts:

  • He has a driver. Who drives for him. A driver.

  • He smokes cigars.

  • He has something to do with wine – growing grapes, hiring stompers, whatever. He makes alcohol, is what we can infer from what little we know of his potentially shady living. (Note: Catherine has since informed me that this is not true.  He once owned vineyards.  I believe in season six.  That might be the extent of his wineification.  It doesn’t matter, really.  The point is, he had the money to buy those vineyards.)

  • He’s always eating out in restaurants. That’s enough for me by itself. (Which I guess sort of suggests that I’d be just as impressed with Batman if he simply went to a lot of restaurants but…well, I’m impressed with anyone who goes to more restaurants than I do.)

  • He’s carnally acquainted with Carrie Bradshaw, who is not my ideal woman, because Sarah Jessica Parker is so skinny she’s tendon-y, but still – enviable, my friend.

  • Conceivably, living in New York and having so much money, he could be somehow tied to the Mob. Which would mean that he’s in enough to be like, I’m in the Mob, and therefore you don’t fuck with me, but not enough to be like, getting shot at on any kind of regular basis, which is the best place to be if you’re going to be tied to the Mob.

(Okay, side note. Upon review of this list of attributes, Catherine stated the following:

“Don’t fuck with me. You would totally do Carrie Bradshaw and look past the tendons because she’s hot and because you’d meet her and she’d be hilarious, dressed well, and have good hair. And pretty eyes.  (Editor’s note: some of the characteristics that attracted me to Catherine.  Hmm.  This makes some sense.)  And you wouldn’t even think she was that skinny, once you got down to the crunch. She’s got bigger boobs than her toddler legs suggest. You’d totally do her.”

She thinks she knows me soooooo well.  And…she’s totally right.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was lying to myself and everyone else.  I totally would.)

So, even though Big jacked Carrie around for six seasons and half a movie, he’s still a badass, and still worthy of admiration, because they’ve always ended up together, and not like by force or anything. (We’ve never heard “never ask me about my business, Carrie” or anything like that, though we can’t know what the inevitable sequel holds.)

So maybe Sex & the City is an anamoly in my life.  But while I don’t have the same level of genuine affection for other “chick” media, I also don’t have the kind of seething revulsion that most men seem to have.  I’ll watch any chick flick and enjoy parts if not the whole.  But movie critics will write about “girl movies” with such disgust that one almost wonders if, instead of a movie, they were really watching some sort of sewer creature devour people alive in a bathtub full of shit. It’s as though they’re personally insulted by the movies, which is something I don’t get.

And here’s the rub: critics say the same things about horror movies.  Almost universally.   So there is an inherent kinship between the chick flick and the horror film that I’m absolutely willing to accept.  The other irony is that a lot of guys I know won’t think twice about dragging their girl off to some piece of crap car or action movie that really isn’t any different than the chick flicks they so despise. In fact, they’re identical – they’re being marketed toward a gender with a reliance on stereotypes to carry their weight.

As a means of experimentation, let’s try something.  One of my favorite horror movies, versus one of Catherine’s favorite chick flicks.  Different?  Not so much:

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1983)

Upshot: Halloween mask company run by a crazy old, druidic madman with child murder in his heart sells masks that kill their wearer and everyone around them. Tom Atkins tries valiantly to stop it.  As an impressionable nine-year-old, I wanted one of those masks so much that I could almost taste the latex. God, the POWER!  Sil-VER Sham-rock!

Same as: “Sex & the City.”

Analysis: Carrie Bradshaw lusts after Manolo Blahnik and like twenty wedding dresses until finally landing Big, the ultimate man’s man, on her arm.  In Halloween III,  thousands of greedy children lust after those three, generic masks that make snakes and prehistoric insects crawl out of your shriveled head. Entire plot centered around what?  Accessories.

See?  I’ll bet there are literally tens of movies you can do this with.  Try it yourself.  Post them.  Send them to me.  I’ll see if I can come up with more in the coming days, and we’ll see where we end up.   Maybe soon, we’ll see horror fan mags like Fangoria and Rue Morgue alongside Glamour and Marie Claire in the checkout line, and both my wife and I can indulge our not-guilty-at-all pleasures together.  

Now make a date with your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, and watch the Oscars, for God’s sake.   It won’t kill you.   If nothing else, do it for the Joker.


~ by thismarriedguy on February 16, 2009.

2 Responses to “Sex (& Gore) In the City?”

  1. HEY.

    You didn’t tell the rest of the story, as far as the doing-Carrie-Bradshaw-thing goes.

    Did you cut it out?
    Don’t cut it.

  2. I want to watch the Oscars! It’s been a tradition in my life for many, many years. Watching with friends, yelling at predictions gone wrong or another Weinstein steal. I will probably have withdrawal symptoms this year. Time differences suck…

    Also, I can’t wait to read your novel when it’s published. Sounds amazing!

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