Full frontal dickage, it’s something you just don’t see in mainstream cinema. Oh sure, you could start a drinking game and take a shot for every time some hot, young starlet shows her boobs. But male nudity . . . it rarely happens.
Lets go through a few of the more famous ones.
Boogie Nights was pretty unforgettable, as was Harvey Keitel and the pork steeple no one wanted to see in Bad Lieutenant. He again whipped it out in The Piano. It’s safe to say Keitel is a movie star version of the neighbourhood flasher. There was a painful inch of Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary – cringe – and the very blue, very glowing Dr Manhattan in Watchmen.
No split screens about it, Sex and the City: The Movie probably has the best full frontal moment.
I’ll never forget the jarring moment when I saw my first penis on the big screen. I choked into my popcorn when Kevin Bacon and his disco stick jumped out of the shower in Wild Things. The fact that I was ten and thought I was seeing the new Neve Campbell film may have also had something to do with my surprise. Jason Segel bared it all for two scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That move was considered shocking, risqué, and a borderline reason for US censors to try and ban the film.
When Sharon Stone uncrossed her legs in Basic Instinct critics hailed it as a liberating moment for female sexuality on screen. If that’s the case, why haven’t we seen it happen to the guys? It’s practically a pre-requisite of mainstream Hollywood films to have some form of female nudity in them, especially if it can be teased at in the trailer. Tease.
The audience went ballistic worldwide in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen when Megan Fox popped up on the screen in denim cutoff shorts straddling a motorcycle. We’ve all seen a semi-nude Scar-Jo here and there, Amanda Seyfried showed what she was made of in Chloe, while Rachel McAdams and bare bottom appeared in The Time Travellers Wife and we’ve seen both of Anne’s Hathway’s a bunch of times in Havoc, Brokeback Mountain, Love and Other Drugs.
And those are just the classy examples. When an established actress is quoted as saying she really had to “give her all” to a role what she’s really saying is “I had to get my tits out for the boys”. Why is it that we as a mass audience are more comfortable with seeing female jiggly bits then a fully exposed John Howard? In sex scenes the penis is eluded to like the Loch Ness monster. The audience is supposed to be satisfied with lingering overhead shots of a muscley back or smooth abs.
Here’s hoping Magic Mike changes that.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion) and based on the early career of Channing Tatum, it follows a young upstart as he navigates his way working as a male stripper.
Not to be confused as a sequel to Like Mike, the kids basketball film starring a young Lil Bow Wow, Magic Mike should be the ideal opportunity for filmmakers to show an occasional dude piston. But no, showing nudity in a film about male strippers would be Jack Torrance-level crazy. Instead we have a silhouette of a penis and more air humping than a New Kids On The Block video clip. I wonder if the same modesty will be shown when the two films on Linda Lovelace are released this year? To be clear, I’m not talking about graphic and aggressive close-ups of male reproductive organs. If I wanted to see unrealistic and threatening penis I could go and rent porn.
It can be done classy.
Take the film Shame, for example, one of the more blatant omissions from this year’s Academy Awards. Considering it’s about a man suffering from sex addiction, star Michael Fassbender’s nether rod features prominently throughout the film. Tactfully, mind you. He’s not swirling it in front of him and making helicopter noises. No, ‘the’ scene where you see him in all his glory is an understated trip from the bedroom to the bathroom where he’s completely naked. It’s not shocking. It’s not exploitative. It’s not likely to destroy all that is pure and wholesome *cough* about the movie making industry.Rather, it’s an accurate depiction of how many men live their lives: nude, for the most part. Especially at home.
It’s backwards that outside of experimental indie films, like Shame or John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, there isn’t a place for wieners in modern Hollywood.
I’m definitely not the first person to ask why Hollywood is afraid of penis, and I won’t be the last. Yet if there can be three films about cars that turn into robots and save the world, what is so wrong about seeing a peen on the big screen?
Warning: Don’t try and Google examples of male full frontal nudity in movies. No matter how specific you make your search terms, the result will never be relevant. Just upsetting.
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz