UK | France | Italy | United States, 2003, 115 min, Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci
I saw the R-rated version of The Dreamers in ninth or tenth grade, but the NC-17 cut that I watched this week is way more intense. I’m talking virgin blood smeared on faces intense. And while the conversations Matthew, Isabelle, and Théo have about Maoism, cinema, and the universe are typical of what you'd expect of this Very European film, the performances—particularly by Green—are what to watch for. They all seem completely at ease with one another, making the surreal intimacy between the characters that much more believable (and weirdly hot) and the question of their sexuality and intention with one another harder to suss out. This was the film of Tumblr in the early 2010s, with tons of photo sets and GIFs dedicated to capturing the beautiful mise-en-scène of the film as well as the pouty-ness of Pitt's lips. Thanks Bertolucci! This movie made me bi. JASMYNE KEIMIG
UK | United States, 1977, 137 min, Dir. Sidney Lumet
If you know anything about Equus then you'll clutch your pearls at this next line: At 15, I was very excited when I was cast in my first leading role in a play, in an experimental theater company's production of Equus. It was to be performed in the theatrical hotspot of Boise, Idaho. Thankfully, the company never got its shit together in time to produce the play.
Equus is a very dark, strange, and—I guess—beautiful thing. Written by famed British playwright Peter Shaffer, the play is about a tormented young man who has "a pathological religious fascination with horses." Understanding what exactly that means takes up the entire play, but the crux of it is he's horny for horses and—out of shame, or mania, or terror—he blinds a bunch of them by stabbing out their eyes. Hot, right? The film adaptation, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Richard Burton and Joan Plowright, is quite good, but the general consensus is that this play shouldn't be a film. Who wants to see a bunch of horses get stabbed in the eyeballs? Not me.
And, yes, Equus infamously features a very awkward extended nude scene where the main character tries to fuck a woman but can't get hard. Daniel Radcliffe, AKA Harry Potter, revived interest in the play when he showed his flaccid wiener in a production of Equus on Broadway. Had I ended up performing in the play, I'm sure I would have also gotten a lot of attention, especially from Idaho's child protective services. CHASE BURNS
Australia, 1991, 99 min, Dir. John Duigan
United States, 1968, 88 min, Dir. Brian De Palma
I grabbed this oldie for two reasons: Robert De Niro is severely hot in it and it's the first film to receive an X rating from the MPAA, apparently. It's De Niro's first feature film, and one of director Brian De Palma's first features. The DIY production is also a good snapshot of white dudebro anti-Vietnam activism in the late '60s. All of those things should be enough to stir interest in Greetings, or its sequel, the better Hi, Mom!, which I think you can find on Tubi.
Sadly, this is hardly X-rated. Maybe I had Equus on my mind, but I was really hoping to see De Niro's dick. Instead, there are just boobs. Some naked rolling around. But it's mostly three dudes chatting endlessly about hookups. They also freely and confusingly throw around n-bombs and exploit women without consequences. It's hard to reckon with those aspects, but I guess I'm supposed to throw my hands up and be like, That was the '60s! Ultimately, it's hard to think of this film as scintillating. In a few years, Divine would be eating shit off a sidewalk. CHASE BURNS