Clicking and Streaming (and Humping and Moaning): Three sexy movies to stream

Taxi Zum Klo

Directed by Frank Ripploh

Currently streaming via Netflix

Released around the same time as William Friedkin’s “Cruising” and the first Mad Max—two films about the hetero-nuclear family getting wrecked by the warping homoerotic brutality of daddy dom leatherhood—Frank Ripploh’s autobiographical comedy about West Berlin pick-up culture could be read as an effective counter-troll if it wasn’t so busy trolling society in general. Chronicling the dual, but not closeted, life of an elementary school teacher who grades papers next to a glory hole in a public toilet, Ripploh satirizes the humdrum world of straight squares he mingles with professionally and the gleeful sexual exploits just out of their periphery.

Unabashedly bare, “Taxi Zum Klo” was graphic enough to get banned upon release in the U.K. and seized by U.S. customs. Its depiction of everything from rimming to golden showers is done with such satisfactory mirth (matched only by the hallucinatory abandon of “In the Realm of the Senses”) that its positivity is almost more subversive than its frank sexuality. Made pre-AIDS and the attendant hysteria, its view of STDs is nearly recklessly blasé but sorta refreshingly so in light of the subsequent body horror of David Cronenberg or the reductive dramatics of Hollywood’s eventual “Philadelphia.” Instead of an outsider’s portrayal of the gay body as a locus of disease to be reckoned with by the medical establishment, Ripploh’s approach, which switches from ass play to a warts-and-all colonoscopy as just facts of life, is pragmatically cautionary instead of an existential nightmare.

Be it reading (and wearing) Tom of Finland comics while watching interviews with borderline neo-Nazis, or tutoring a student while his partner watches a PSA about pedophiles in the other room, Ripploh has fun suggesting the straight nightmare of a sexually liberated homosexual is a perfectly functional instructor for Germany’s youth. Remarking at a drag ball toward the end of the film, “so many straights here, used to be nice,” Ripploh daringly implies the real threat is the other way around. (Adam Katzman)

Sex and Death 101

Directed by Daniel Waters

Currently available via Amazon video

Daniel Waters famously wrote “my teen angst bullshit has a body count” for the film “Heathers,” but in this heavily underrated directorial effort, he’s concerned with a different kind of collateral damage.

Literal Human Ken Doll Simon Baker plays Roderick Blank, a trendy fast food magnate who’s about to get married when he’s accidentally emailed a list of every woman he’s had sex with or plans to have sex with. There are 101 names on the list, but his soon-to-be wife is only number 29. This reality-shattering artifact propels him down a sleazy side adventure adjacent to the promising life that previously lay before him. There’s a whole subplot about “Heathers” vet Winona Ryder as a serial killer named Death Nell that pays off in the third act, but it’s Blank’s gluttonous fuck quest that makes the film so special.

Like Baker himself, the film’s portrayal of promiscuity feels comically sterile. Baker is handsome to the point of unbelievability, and every dalliance is shot with the same glossy, aesthetically pleasing but hollow style, really ramming home how empty Blank’s obsession with the list becomes. His reliance on this otherworldly totem feels like “The Twilight Zone” by way of “Taxicab Confessions.” Every bedpost notch is deliberately presented as more ruinous than the pile of lives Death Nell amasses throughout the film, with the sinking certainty that Blank’s pelvic manifest destiny is going to eventually intersect with her growing list of victims. That’s ultimately the gooey, sinning center of the title’s blatant Venn diagram: Blank is no more driven by lust than Nell is by wrath, but rather, all of us are possessed by a greed that perpetually staves off the act of settling down. The list gives Blank empirical evidence of future coupling, but he hardly needed the nudge down the insatiable path before him. (Dominic Griffin)

A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy

Directed by Dennis Dortch

Currently available via Amazon video

This spicy film made up of six vignettes about black people in Los Angeles navigating different sexual scenarios opens on a woman climaxing. We zoom out of her face in ecstasy as she’s experiencing an enviable orgasm—one that her partner hopes to receive in return, but contrary to the title of this vignette (‘Reciprocity’), reciprocity is not an option for him. After a series of attempts at getting her hot and bothered, she makes it known that he’ll be pleasing himself. The story ends with them mutually masturbating and although everything happens under the covers, the opening vignette sets the tone for a series of sexual, sensual stories about people that just so happen to be black.

Closer to a novella or a collection of interrelated short stories than a conventional narrative film, “A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy” provides viewers with small, insightful snapshots exploring the ways we explore sexuality. From a mistress’ attempt at destroying a marriage to the first time a boyfriend finally lets his girlfriend put a finger in his butt (no Kanye) to a young girl losing her virginity to her best friend’s older brother, these are sex stories that could happen to anyone, regardless of race. Well, all excluding the final story,  ‘American Boyfriend,’ a witty indictment on anti-blackness. A young Chinese woman and her young black boyfriend play a flirty game of basketball in her living room when her disapproving parents show up unexpectedly at her home. She ends up hiding him in her room while she eats with her family as he plots an escape. Without giving too much of the film away, it ends with a bold kiss and cheesy ’70s-like theme music.

“A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy” debuted at Sundance in 2008 and was the first major releases from Dennis Dortch, creator of Black&Sexy TV, a film company changing the way black love is seen on the screen through innovative programming available at www.blackandsexy.tv. (Nia Hampton)

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