Coming Soon

The Most Memorable Sex Scenes in Film

Coming Soon

My Own Private Idaho

"... clouds unraveling over a mountain, families of fish leaping high out of their rapids, the memories of Mike's mother holding his head in her lap ..."

With its shameless attempts at metaphor -- at lyricism, even -- the scene that plays during the opening credits of Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho can still keep me awake for hours at night, simply thinking. Even this restlessness, though, brought on by Van Sant's beginner-level surrealism, is a sweet match to some form of dreaming. And what could be sexier than that? The movie scenario is simple enough: Mike Waters, a young male prostitute portrayed by River Phoenix, sits in a chair and receives oral sex from a client. Sweat slips over his face to the cooing and crooning of some forgotten old cowboy on the soundtrack. Strangely, the viewer cannot see Phoenix's body or the man who is kneeling before him. What Van Sant chooses to show instead is astounding: clouds unraveling over a mountain, families of fish leaping high out of their rapids, the memories of Mike's mother holding his head in her lap. A scene that could so easily have been executed as a trite and tired montage builds into a lucid, buoyant representation of an isolated mind involved in the least isolated of all possible acts. Soon, a wooden house falls from out of the sky, crashes to earth, and the young man's ejaculation is complete. Now we are shown the prostitute's white body, still swelling beyond its own shape. Now we are shown the repulsive client as he walks to the toilet. The dreamer is awakened, and what is around is quite ugly. Phoenix sucks the drool back into his mouth. The money is tossed on his chest. And numberless questions are begging for answers.

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