The Basics on BASIC INSTINCT

BASIC INSTINCT (1992; director: Paul Verhoeven)

This early 90s meisterwerk is so dedicated to being trashy, sleazy, steamy and light on the logic that it’s real easy to love if you have a taste for the tasteless. It’s slick in that Paul Verhoeven way, which means that there’s a faint smirk underneath the perfect Hollywood lighting and the troubled cop/femme fatale cliches. Everything is over the top. Verhoeven lays on the close-ups and the opulent San Francisco views. The Joe Eszterhas script is hard-boiled to the max, all snap and innuendo, with scarcely two lines of dialogue in a row that sound like anything that an actual human would say. Meanwhile, Jerry Goldsmith’s booming orchestral score lays countless exclamation points all over this cinematic purple prose.

You’ll know in the first twenty minutes if you enjoy this movie or if you think that the original film negative ought to be fed to rats. I’ll lay it out for you.

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The Importance of Female Wrestlers for a Growing Boy

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (2012; director: Brett Whitcomb)

The women of GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling will never forget the years from 1986 to 1990 when they grappled with each other every week on syndicated national television while dressed in skimpy showgirl outfits.

I understand completely.

I was a preteen when GLOW was on the air and I can’t forget it, either. Never in my life have I been as big a sports fan as when I sneaked peeks at all-girl wrestling on TV when I was 11 years old. It was a challenge. GLOW was not the kind of thing that you could watch with your family (or at least I couldn’t). No, a boy had to spend time with this alone. It was all girls in skintight costumes flinging each other across a wrestling ring and, for that, a young man needs some privacy in order to properly sort through his feelings. That’s just how this particular path works. In retrospect, I think I only got to watch GLOW twice back then, but both experiences made valuable contributions to my pubescent years. Especially when that blonde in the little denim shorts showed up.
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Pleading Guilty with PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN & JONES, LTD.

The Monkees
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. LP
Colgems, 1967

Guilty pleasures are the best. I love everything about guilty pleasures. That’s why I have about 9,000 of them. Meanwhile, some others outright hate the very expression. “Why should I feel guilty about the things I like?” goes the usual argument. They seem to interpret it as a feeling of shame and ostracism, best avoided. In spirit, I agree, but I still think these people are all mixed up.

Guilt is an exciting emotion and I prefer to savor it.

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