I had planned my string of meditations on the movies to stop with
three. But, having succumbed to the mischievous blandishments of my
beloved wife Cathy, here’s a fourth. Today I shall consider hotness in
Hollywood — some movies that at least partly sold me with
sex, and how they did it.
So, without further ado, my personal tribute to the most
incandescent lovelies in recent movies.
First, Kelly Ann Hu in The Scorpion King (2002). No
swashbuckling sword-and-sorcery movie would be complete without a
scantily-clad sorceress in it. Kelly Ann Hu fills her chainmail
bikini in a way guaranteed to make any red-blooded geek fall to his
knees and howl at the moon. This is your most traditional sort of
starlet role, as a sexy arm decoration for the male lead. You
feminist killjoys out there can grump all you want about all that
exposed flesh, but oh…my…Goddess…she
was fine. And I didn’t hear any of you gals complaining
about The Rock running around in nothing but a loincloth, did I,
Next, Liv Tyler as Arwen in the Lord Of The Rings movies
(2001-2004). Another fantasy, another fetching wench. This one,
however, displays much less skin and gets to kick butt occasionally
— one of Jackson’s better plot changes was having her replace
Gildor Inglorion Glorfindel in the rescue of the hobbits from Weathertop. Most
erotic moments for me: the close-ups on Liv’s face and lips as
she was speaking Elvish. This is surely the most beautiful woman
on the planet.
No discussion of recent screen hotness can possibly be complete
without a nod towards Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Raider movies
(2001, 2003). Given Ms. Jolie’s luscious natural abundance of curves, I
thought it silly and unnecessary that they padded her for this role.
I admired her game efforts to perform something resembling acting in
the first movie; I feel she she might even have succeeded but for the
horrible dog of a script. In the second movie she gave up, but no
blame attaches. My favorite moments were the homages to Diana Rigg
playing Emma Peel back in the sixties.
Now we come to Kate Beckinsale in Van Helsing (2004).
Much more active butt-kicking here, albeit conducted in an improbable
leather corset vaguely recalling Frank’n'furter in the old Rocky
Horror Picture Show. There is no question about Kate’s gender,
however, and her sexiness is only enhanced by the array of exotic
weapons and martial-arts moves she wields. Made me want to spar with her,
then bed her, then spar with her again…
Halle Berry in Die Another Day (2002) gets plenty of
alpha-female things to do and ought to have been more convincing at
them than Kate Beckinsale or Angelina Jolie, if only because she isn’t
trapped in as absurd a setting. But Halle has a problem, which is that
she’s as dumb as a box of hammers and it shows. Even Kelly Ann Hu
playing an arm decoration looked more involved and alert.
Still…still…Berry was so exotically gorgeous and graceful
that I forgave her for sleepwalking through her role. On some women,
still photography just works better. Hollywood, take the hint!
In Troy (2004) Rose Byrne managed to out-hottie the
lead. The way she did it is instructive — where Diane Kruger
settled for playing Helen as the lacquered blonde bombshell to end all
lacquered blonde bombshells, Rose’s Briseis seems warm and human and
touchable. Sometimes, personality matters even when all you’re really
supposed to be is an object of desire.
Reaching back a little, Sigourney Weaver re-confirmed the proposition
that smart can be sexy in Galaxy Quest (1999). Her comic
turn as a bright woman pretending to be a dumb blonde and chafing at it
was wonderful — now there’s a female lead you could talk
with the next morning. I heard a rumor that Weaver was equipped with an
inflatable device that gradually pushed up her breasts to make them
appear larger even as her costume disintegrated during the course
of the movie. If so, this was funny but just as superflous as
padding Angelina Jolie — some women have the knack
of being delicious without a centerfold figure, and our Sigourney
is one of them.
And here’s one I’ve added for gender balance:
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). I have it on good authority that the sight of young master Radcliffe with his shirt off can make a woman weak in the
knees. I’d solicit some more detailed analysis of this phenomenon, but Cathy tends to drool and mumble incoherently when the subject comes up. I’d rather look at Cho Chang, myself.