This is actually less a movie review than just some scattered thoughts. Probably with spoilers.
Anyway. I just watched Magic Mike on NetFlix – a movie about a dude who kinda accidentally falls into stripping for money and gets caught in a web of partying and sex and blah blah blah. Pretty boring. I only watched it for the T&A, and I didn’t even end up liking that aspect much.
Just to preface this: I have been to a strip club exactly once. There was a “no nudity” rule – the guys would go onstage individually and strip naked, but always kept their junk concealed behind a towel. They did not go out into the audience during performances – lap dances were a separate thing that women had to specifically request. I think later in the night they started inviting women to come up onstage and be gyrated at, though.
I’m aware that not every strip club does the towel thing, but I was under the impression that everything else about the performances was pretty standard. But then again how would I know?
So anyhoo, in Magic Mike there were sometimes multiple strippers doing choreographed routines, which looked pretty neat but I do wonder if that’s a thing that ever really happens. Also, the strippers roamed off the stage during their performance and humped audience members, or brought audience members on-stage with them for humping. There was a lot of simulated sex, is what I’m saying.
And can I just say, even though I’m a hugely visual person, I could barely get into most of this. My personal taste runs toward men displaying themselves for me; looking pretty and hoping to be chosen. This thing where the dancers would undulate in random women’s faces – women who were not beckoning them over in any way – left a bad taste in my mouth. It was a very aggressive “GRRRR I AM MAN WITH BIG COCK” kind of sexy, and although I know some chicks dig that, I emphatically do not.
The actual way the guys would grind up on women was fairly arousing to look at, mind you. But I kept putting myself in the place of those women, and thinking how being singled out would make my anxiety go berserk, plus I can’t properly ogle a guy when he’s literally got his balls in my face, plus I would not have wanted their clammy skin all up on me. Being danced up on, for me, would not improve the experience of seeing a strippers. It would actually negate everything I was there for.
Other random thoughts:
-Alex Pettyfer looks like a hybrid of Ben Affleck and Ashton Kutcher.
-I am surprised that Matthew McConaughey is in this movie. He’s well-known enough that he doesn’t need to be shaking his bare ass just to get a role. It’s not like the film is a gritty Oscar-bait expose of stripping – it’s just a trashy little titillation flick.
-OMG Channing Tatum’s character is totally a Whore with a Heart of Gold.
-That one chick has one of the worst cases of Bitchy Resting Face I’ve ever seen. Which wouldn’t matter if she could actually act, but she can’t, so her resting face is pretty much all we see.
-I feel like this movie almost showed non-monogamy in a positive light, but not quite. Channing Tatum’s character has a woman he’s seeing (and has threesomes with) whom he seems to care about beyond just fucking, but he clearly has an interest in Bitchy Resting Face Girl, too. And that seems to be portrayed as okay; I don’t get a “YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE OR YOU’RE A BAD PERSON” vibe. But he ostensibly hangs out with Bitchy Resting Face Girl only as a friend, and romance doesn’t happen until the other chick happens to be out of the picture. Also, BRFG seems completely closed off to dating him until literally the second he says he’s quit stripping, and that bit of whore-shaming kind of negates the previous bit of sex positivity for me.
-In addition to the whorephobia, this movie has a very strong sense that he “won” sex with BRFG at the end by spending $10,000 to get her brother out of debt. It’s like “Oh, you’re not a dirty disgusting stripper anymore and you sacrificed a bunch of money to help my brother? You have passed my tests. Here’s some pussy.” So that’s…not great.
-Also, the way Channing’s character and his quasi-girlfriend talked about their occasional threesome-mates was objectifying and gross. I get sick of the false dichotomy in movies between monogamy and completely casual “you’re just a warm wet hole” sex. It is possible to have casual sex or even a one-nighter with someone and still treat them like a person. I’d like to see that more often.