The necklace in Titanic. The food in 9 1/2 Weeks. That stupid flower petal in 40 Days and 40 Nights. There are plenty of movies with memorable love scenes in which an ordinary object is imbued with sensual powers. But what about the movies that aren’t necessarily supposed to be titillating? As a kid, I somehow managed to put my dirty little mind to use and obsess over what I saw to be the “sexy” moments of even the most innocent of movies. Here are some that still haunt/embarrass me to this day:
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Object: Gigantic roast turkey
Sure, I could have talked about the giant cookie or that awesome Lego they all slept in, but the most romantic part of the whole movie comes right at the end. The two families are gathered together, harmonious at last, about to carve an enormous turkey, when it’s revealed that our two teen stars, Russ and Amy, are playing footsie under the table. Footsie! She’s wearing white pumps which you can’t see in the picture but were totally part of the allure to me. To this day, I’ve been waiting for someone to play footsie with me while our oblivious parents serve us Thanksgiving dinner, but it hasn’t happened yet.
The Princess Bride
Is there anything in the world as beautiful as Robin Wright’s Buttercup in this movie? In this scene, she and Westley are about to have their first kiss. There was something so lusty about the way she said “Fetch me that pitcher.” I watched this scene so many times I knew Westley’s exact hand movements as he lifts the pitcher from its hook. Was anyone else super pissed at annoying little Fred Savage for interrupting right there and saying he didn’t want to hear about any kissing parts? That felt like a total rip-off.
Object: Water fountain
This wasn’t even one of my favorite movies growing up but for some reason I was obsessed with the water fountain of it all. If you’ll recall, young Estella offers Finn a drink of water. When he bends to take it, she leans in and kisses him. Of course, when she reappears later in his life (in all her inimitable Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998 glory) she kisses him in the same way. SWOON! Seriously. For some reason the kid version of the kiss was what got to me – probably because my middle school was full of water fountains so theoretically there were opportunities all around me to recreate the effect. Little did I know, my own first kiss was still years away. But maybe we should be reincorporating this trick into our daily adult lives? It would probably make the workplace a lot more interesting.
No, not because they killed Thomas J! Heaven forbid; that was probably one of the worst moments of my entire childhood and it didn’t even happen in real life! No, the reason I liked the bees in this movie was because knocking down the beehive to begin with is what led Vada and Thomas J to run through the woods like a couple of adorable maniacs until they reached the water, ran down the pier, and jumped right in. I loved the image of the two of them floating under the surface, and of course they return to the spot later to share their first kiss. There was something so innocent and pure about their relationship. I never had friends who were boys when I was growing up so I was extremely jealous. Also, is this list how we find out that I have some kind of latent water fetish?
Now and Then
How come all these girls in movies have boys just appearing at their houses wanting to kiss them? Sure, I had a boy-next-door (or more specifically, a boy-two-houses-down) but the furthest we went was a protracted IM conversation about which of my friends he’d want to date. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t on the list. In this favorite flick, Roberta, played by Christina Ricci, is playing basketball alone in her yard when neighborhood hottie Scott Wormer appears. They play for a few minutes, sit down on a bench, and eventually kiss. They made it look sooooo easy. And the image totally stuck with me to the point where I can see how even the rubbery smell of a basketball could be kind of sexy in the right circumstances.
I guess even if my parents had deprived me of ever seeing a PG-13 or R-rated movie, I would have found ways to think about sex no matter what I was watching. But more than that, there’s a clear pattern here of young girls taking the initiative to get what they want: in most of these cases, that highly elusive first kiss. While I was never actually brave enough to imitate any of these heroines, I did use a pack of Sodalicious gummy candies to bribe Michael Sugrue into telling me his crush in 2nd grade. He paused only a second, shouted “You!”, grabbed the gummies, and sprinted away. I’ve had a candy addiction ever since.