Monday, May 05, 2008

Private Lessons

As a young, American boy growing up in the 1980s, cable TV introduced me to the female form and all its glory. HBO and Skinemax allowed access to looking at the opposing sides' form that strange trips to the library could not. If only I had known then that some libraries carried Emmanuelle. These movies were terrible but oftentimes funny for intentional and unintentional reasons. One thing I did notice was that over time, like many genres of the video medium, is that the quality worsened and the effort put into the films, plots, casting, and dialogue approached zero. Those golden years of the 1980s truly were the height of the genre.

Recently, I had tivoed a movie called "Private Lessons". The name rung a bell,a nd once I began to watch it, it came back to me. One thing messed with my mind now that did not register as a kid was that the affair in the movie is between an adult woman approaching 30 and a 15 year old boy. What made it worse was that the actor cast as the 15 year old truly was 15. Had the director gone the cast a 20 year old as a 15 year old route, it might not have been so creepy. Sylvia Kristel's head dwarfs this child actor's head. Still, this is a story about a 30 year old seducing a minor. It's not just about seduction, the couple develops a true love connection. This wouldn't be made now, and this definitely wouldn't be made if the genders were reversed. Don't people threaten to burn copies of "Lolita" every few years? Even if this were greenlighted by a studio, how do they not just say to the director, "Change the boy's age to 17 or 18"?


One thing I will tip my hat to is the soundtrack. I hate Rod Stewart, but the soundtrack is solid. This was before artists and studios bled movie companies for $$ to lend songs to a soundtrack. Back when record companies sold music. Look at the movie poster. The tagline actually encourages the fantasy of statutory rape. There are times where our society has become too prudish about the wrong things (issues between consenting adults) and not careful enough about other things (12 year old girls in heels and 'juicy' sweatpant bottoms). This is one movie that shows that even in the good old days, we did not have a great feel for that.

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