Pillow Book

I can still remember the first time I watched a sexy movie with my mother as an adult. She made one of those comments that stay with you forever: “Only the English let their fat old men walk around naked.” I looked over at her, shocked by her observation. Until that moment I hadn’t even thought my mother knew what a fat, old man looked like naked and, two, that she had a breadth of English movie knowledge large enough to make that remark. Well, before I could recover she followed that statement up with “I mean, you look at him laying there, all limp and unexcited, and you say to yourself ‘I never want to have sex. That doesn’t look fun at all.’” And with that, I died on the spot. The film in question was The Governess, starring Mini Driver as a, you guessed it, governess and Tom Wilikison as her employer and man she eventually begins an affair with. A movie so bland and forgettable I had to ask my mother before writing this if she could even remember that story or even what movie. Without missing a beat, she jumped right back on her soap box and reiterated her original statement, which still makes me both laugh and cringe. It also brings up an interesting point. Why is it so common for European films to feature realistic situations with full-frontal male nudity, whereas that remains one of the few light taboos in American cinema? And when […]

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