Friday, November 18, 2005

Top Ten Lesbian Movie Kisses

(Link) With the internet clogged up by men's versions of what constitutes hot grrl-grrl smooch scenes, it's refreshing to read a list by and for the lesbian audience. No sense in limiting it to 10, though. If they missed any, do add your suggestions to our comments here.


LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
by Karman Kregloe

As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to offer something to make your holiday DVD gift buying process a little easier: the Top 10 Lesbian Movie Kisses. Or at least, my Top 10, which should get you started.

One can never have too much of a good thing, which is why it’s hard to limit the list to ten when ranking cinematic lesbian kisses. And there are so many sub-categories to consider, such as the goodbye kiss, the kiss on a dare, even the kiss of death (see Elektra). But if I had to drag a box full of well-worn DVD’s with me to a deserted island, these are the ones that would keep me warm. Unless Kate from Lost shows up. Then she can keep me warm.

10) Eulogy (2004) - Debra Winger and Glenn Headly
Ever since Debra Winger shit-kicked her way into our hearts as Sissy in Urban Cowboy, lesbians everywhere have hoped to see her in some actual Sapphic lip-lock. (And, no, the CPR “kiss” with Theresa Russell in Black Widow does not count.) In Eulogy, Winger plays the bitchy older sister Alice to Lucy (Kelly Preston) who brings her lesbian lover (Famke Janssen) home for their father’s funeral. Winger thinks gay marriage is a joke and that Lucy’s “sex toy” shouldn’t be in attendance at the family event. Later, when alone in a car on a rainy night with her old friend Samantha (Glenne Headly), the reason for Alice’s bitterness comes to the surface. Samantha asks Alice if she remembers their teenaged years and “that time in the basement.” Winger asks in her trademark husky growl, “Were we doing something like this?” then climbs on top of Headly and plants a long lusty one right on her lips.

9) Desert Hearts (1985) – Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau
It’s the classic that has preceded the packing up of many a U-Haul. Desert Hearts was the lone lesbian romance on the big screen before the lesbian “chic” trend of the 1990’s, so it should be regarded as required viewing. Set in Reno in the 1950’s, prim scholar Vivian (Shaver) seeks a quickie divorce in the small gambling town. At a dude ranch for divorcees, she meets the impetuous, unapologetically lesbian Cay. Vivian tries but can’t resist Cay’s charms. After being booted off the ranch by Cay’s jealous mother, Vivian checks into a cheap hotel and tries to drink away her desires. Cay is soon banging down her door, and when Vivian tells her to go away she whimpers, “I can’t!” with a defiant stomp of her cowboy boot. Of course, Vivian lets her in and the kiss we’ve been waiting for is incredibly realistic – it’s long, sweaty and without a musical soundtrack. It feels just like the “real deal” that Cay has been looking for.

8) If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) - Michelle Williams and Chloe Sevigny
Old-school butch Amy (Sevigny) meets young feminist Linda (Williams) in a bar in 1972, and their distant lesbian galaxies collide. Suave and chivalrous Amy is discounted as a relic by the gender role-smashing lesbian feminist coeds in Linda’s circle. Mocked, derided, and chided into a peasant blouse (for God’s sake!) at a potluck hosted by Linda’s friends, Amy leaves feeling just as misunderstood by them as all the straights.

Luckily, Linda’s thinking is at least two decades ahead of her “sisters” and she declares her love of Amy and her rebellious spirit right there on her suburban front porch. She plants a sexy, defiant kiss on the lips of her butch lover in front of one of the nasty, homophobic neighbors. Activism is sexy!

7) The Hunger (1983) - Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve
You know that inexplicable desire you have to be seduced by a gorgeous French vampire? You can probably trace it back to The Hunger. In this queer classic, Deneuve is Miriam, a sexy bloodsucker on the prowl for a new mate. She meets scientist Sarah (Sarandon) at a book signing and puts a spell on her—literally. Sarandon finds herself sipping brandy while Deneuve plays Delibes’ Lakmé on the piano. Her description of the opera becomes a classic pickup line (try it!) that has Sarandon out of her skimpy white t-shirt within the beat of a thudding human heart. As the score reaches a crescendo and gauzy white curtains whip around them, they share an immortal kiss that will change Sarandon’s life. Yes, from that moment forward, Sarandon will be the standard answer to the question, “Which woman on the planet do you most wish were a lesbian?”

6) Henry and June (1990) – Maria de Medeiros and Uma Thurman
“I want to be innocent, like you June” purrs French writer Anais Nin (Maria de Medeiros) to June Miller (Uma Thurman) as they slow dance in a gay nightclub. Henry Miller broke literary taboos, but it was his estranged bisexual wife who took Anais Nin to dizzying new sexual heights. Clothed in velvet dresses, drunk on red wine and their romantic imaginations, Anais and June finally ditch their husbands and whip each other into an erotic frenzy in the back streets of Paris. On the night before she sets sail for America, world-weary June tells Anais, “I’ve done the vilest things, the foulest things. But I’ve done them superbly.” Anais (awed by June’s animal magnetism) and June (in love with Anais’ poetic soul) dissolve into a tormented, languid kiss on the dance floor. If you’ve read Nin’s erotica, you’ll recognize June in all the tall, knowing blondes who seduce petite, demure heroines. And you’ll know what happened after this kiss…
5) High Art (1998) – Ali Sheedy and Radha Mitchell
Before there was Shane on The L Word, there was Ali Sheedy in High Art, scrawny, hipster cool and slouching her way into the cute straight girl’s bed. In director Lisa Cholodenko’s jaded expose of the precious world of art, Lucy (Sheedy) is a photographer whose brilliant career was sidetracked by an addiction to heroin. Rediscovered by art magazine intern Syd (Mitchell), Lucy falls in love as much with Syd’s joie de vivre as her luscious good looks. Their awkward, halting conversations in front of strung-out junkies (including Lucy’s girlfriend) are tortuous foreplay for the moment in which Lucy finally kisses nervous Syd—and Syd is surprised to find herself kissing Lucy back.

4) Wild Side (1995) – Joan Chen and Anne Heche
This movie was made before Anne Heche decided she was bisexual—hell, it was made before she decided she was gay! This pervy little thriller stars Heche as trick-turning sex addict (and banker!) Alex, who meets Virginia (Chen) at a business lunch. She doesn’t know that Chen is the wife of one of her “clients”—a whack job Mafioso (hammily played by Christopher Walken). After a few glasses of wine, Chen follows Heche into the powder room and the resulting kiss is a classic—the impulsive, feral Heche passionately devours the impossibly gorgeous and sophisticated Chen. Needless to say, they end up in bed--having effectively redefined the term “power lunch.”

3) If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) -- Ellen Degeneres and Sharon Stone
This kiss is on the list if for no other reason that Ellen is an out lesbian, and it would just be wrong not to have at least one of us represented here. This installment of the Walls three-part story is set in modern day Los Angeles. In it Degeneres and Stone play…well, they essentially play Degeneres and then-girlfriend Anne Heche (who wrote and directed the film). They are a committed couple trying to have a baby, and they debate parenthood, sperm donors, and why it’s annoying that they need a sperm donor in the first place. It’s not exactly new territory, but Degeneres and Stone have great chemistry and fully commit to the roles. Lying in bed watching TV together, they seem just like a real couple. So when they start to make out, it’s sexy in a very naturalistic way. Finally romantically paired with a woman on screen, Degeneres looks happy, vibrant and studly in her sex scenes with Stone. And let’s face it, after Mr. Wrong, she owes us!

2) Mulholland Dr. (2001) - Naomi Watts and Laura Harring
Who cares that the movie is another one of David Lynch’s protracted surrealistic fantasies? Sure, there are rotting corpses, unexplained parallel universes, and Billy Ray Cyrus sporting his trademark mullet. But what makes this film memorable is the palpable chemistry between Betty Elms/Diane Selwyn (Watts) and Rita/Carmilla Rhodes (played by former Miss USA Harring). Betty is a naïve Canadian actress who comes to Hollywood in search of her big break. Instead, she has a chance encounter with beautiful Rita, an amnesiac bombshell who can’t remember her real name or how large stacks of cash wound up in her purse. As the two unravel Rita’s sordid mystery, good girl Betty falls for the enigmatic brunette. When the moment of truth arrives, Betty breathlessly asks Rita, “Have you ever done this before?” Rita replies, “I don’t know. Have you?” Betty drops the Girl Scout act, gasping “I want to do it with you” as the two plunge into a long, hypnotic kiss.

1) Bound (1996) – Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon
So it’s more than a little vexing that one of the most memorable lesbian movies of all time was written and directed by a couple of straight men (the Wachowski brothers, one of whom is now transgender). But as with George W. Bush’s train wreck of a presidency, one eventually just has to accept it. Bound is a smart neo-noir that would be a great film even if it didn’t include a scorching butch-femme seduction scene. But it does, and that’s probably why you own at least one copy of it.

In the opening scene, Violet (Tilly) openly cruises Corky (Gershon) while riding in an elevator with her oblivious mafia boyfriend. Later, Violet stages a plumbing disaster so that handywoman Corky can come to her rescue. With their cat and mouse game in full swing, Violet tells a long breathy story about the day she got her tattoo while Corky licks her chops in anticipation. Violet finishes her story by guiding Corky’s hand to her nether regions and croaking in trademark baby-doll voice, “See? I’ve been thinking about you all day.” Corky has Violet on her back faster than you can say “bada bing,” and their lusty embrace ends only when the mafia boyfriend comes home from work. It’s a thing of beauty when he cluelessly extends his hand to Corky and she shakes it (even though she’s covered in “evidence”). Then he hands her a wad of cash.

This and many other memorable scenes in Bound beg the question, “Why can’t real life be just like the movies?”

Elaine said...

Wow. I feel dirty. Thank you madam webmistress.

LNewsEditor said...

My pleasure, Elaine! Or rather, "your grrlfriend's pleasure..." ;-)

Hmm, must add "Eulogy" to Netflix list... And one not mentioned: "Tipping the Velvet". Best Lesbian Movie in ages.

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