Velvet Goldmine

Reel Sex

As we approach Valentine’s Day (yes, it’s just a few weeks away) I think it’s only fitting that the topic of romance come into play in anticipation of the day meant to celebrate all things feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a loved one not related to me. Instead I spend the day (or week) loading up on conversational hearts, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, and a collection of melodramas so depressing I become skeptical that love can actually end in anything but death. Regardless of my tendency to eat my feelings while crying over the tragic love found in Douglas Sirk films, I do enjoy happy love stories and tend to pair the sadder movies with some of my must-have romances. In honor of the big V-Day, I’d like to share my favorite 14 romantic scenes and also open it up the floor to hear your suggestions. Today is my bottom seven romantic scenes, and next week we’ll post the remainder. I like to keep you all on tenterhooks.

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While nudity is generally regarded as an awesome thing, the fact of the matter is that it’s just not necessary for a lot of movies. Enter the gratuitous nude scene, where an actress strips down to her birthday suit for reasons completely unrelated to the plot. Frequently, these roles are covered by B- and C-list stars who like to add an extra zero to their check in exchange for giving the movie-going audience a thrill. While many big name actresses refuse to do nudity — a totally respectable choice, don’t get me wrong — some change their minds when there’s a chance their career can benefit from it. When those women go for a gratuitous nude scene, it usually takes one of four forms:

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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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