Can films irritate us? If so, how do they do it? Although these questions may sound totally absurd on reading them, I think they are quite valid and important if one wishes to understand cinema a little better. Take the case of actor-writer-comedian Dana Carvey and his 2003 misstep of a picture ‘The Master Of Disguise’. I find it to be a good example of a movie that is able to irk most of its audience. Reasons for this can be found in the way the story is executed. The characters are unrealistic, the comedy is painfully unfunny, and the overall plot is just plain stupid. I find this film very easy to cringe to, in fact. Apart from “comedies” like this one, other types, genres or aspects of cinema can also make us squirm in disgust. Horror films with cheesy sub-plots and some melodramatic rom-coms are, in my opinion, capable of doing just that.
When I talk about ‘aspects’, I’m referring to the bits and pieces in certain pictures that find a way to annoy us. This can be in the form of poor acting, direction, dialogue, movement, positioning, etc. A specific type of scene prevalent in a big part of cinema that embodies the aforementioned aspects is the sex scene, which is the topic we have based this article on. The sex scene has a couple of segments that complete it, like the initiation followed by a connection between the characters, after which we are presented with the actual act (though not all scenes work this way, a similar blueprint is frequently followed). It is important to handle these parts of a whole with extreme care, because of the intimacy, character development, and audience connection that they give off.
It’s not always easy to film the perfect sex scene, and therefore, I had many films to choose from while preparing this list. Some of them are funny, and some of them are plain bad, but there are still a remaining few that were so hilariously atrocious that I couldn’t help but watch as my nails seeped into my skin. Here is the list of top worst sex scenes ever.
10. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) – Christian and Anastasia
Let’s start with the most obvious pick on the list. ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is just bad, and on top of that, it’s boring as well. There’s very little that this film offers outside of a good soundtrack and beautiful actors. Although most of it is shot and lit well, the sex scenes which play a prominent role are lazily presented. Take, for instance, a scene in the elevator when Christian makes a move on Ana. This had potential, but the film-makers decided to include a joke in there that us viewers were all too familiar with, thereby ruining any chance it had of being interesting in the slightest possible way.
Another reason none of it works is because the dialogues are terrible and the scenarios unrealistic, along with the chemistry between the two leads being completely unfelt. The strange delivery of awkward lines like “take off your panties” don’t help one bit either. Let’s not forget the bit in the Red Room where Ana is hit by Christian (in a sexual way). Once again, this would’ve gone places, but the terrible acting and script (“I’m gonna hit you six times, and you’re going to count with me”) utilized by uncharismatic actors make for one of the cringiest cinematic experiences you’ll ever have.
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9. And God Created Women (1988) – Robin and Billy
Take a moment to imagine this scenario: a female prison inmate (who happens to be an ex-escapee) is given all the privacy in the world to change clothes in a high security Mexican prison, and she is completely alone in there except for a carpenter who happens to be within the vicinity of her room, and also under supervision so that he doesn’t come across prisoners of the opposite gender. But he does… somehow. Yeah, it makes as much sense to you as it does to me. If this doesn’t make you flinch, what follows definitely will.
In as cliched a manner as possible, the second both parties look at each other, prison guards enter the room and the prisoner has no other option but to hide behind a poorly placed construction thingamajig with the carpenter (it isn’t explained why she hides, because the officials already know she’s in there). On top of all this, as you may have guessed, the two fall in love with each other, and have poorly edited sex, while the security guards look around for her within the tiny room. In all of that still wasn’t enough, none of this is brought up or ever mentioned within the rest of the film, and you’re left thinking about what the point of that scene’s existence might have been.
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8. Two Moon Junction (1988) – April and Perry
‘Two Moon Junction’ is a pain to sit through, but nothing riles me up more than its pivotal sex scene. The main reason it fails to deliver is because, despite sporting beautiful people like Sherilyn Fenn and Richard Tyson, the build up and the initiation is handled in as campy a way as possible. The setting is in a circus fair, late at night, with not a soul present other than the two lovers. Commencing the scene with a poor line of dialogue, (“We used to play this game – my cousins and I. They used to blindfold me. [giggle]”. Keep in mind that this is part of making “the move”) Fenn’s character proceeds to strip and blindfold herself, after which she walks around in circles and meets up with Perry who was standing about 8 feet way from her when everything began but since the script required it, came closer at the speed of light.
He proceeds to remove her blindfold after which the he kind of picks her up (in a similar fashion to the popular scene from ‘The Lion King’) and twirls her around, while she tears open the poor guy’s shirt. After the tiresome foreplay, the two have sex, and it is awful. The camera goes around and all over the place, the characters are emotionless and awkward, and even the music becomes annoying to listen to.
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7. Shoot ‘Em Up (2007) – Smith and Donna
‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ isn’t that bad of a film, and it can definitely be enjoyed by those looking to just kick back and relax. The film is a crime-thriller and is mostly effective, but it is not without its moments of cringe, the sex scene midway being the worst of them all. It is simple to understand what they were going for when the film-makers decided to include this bit. It was supposed to be the cool, memorable, and comedic point of the movie. Well, at least it’s memorable. So, this is how it goes: our two leads, a drifter and a prostitute, hide from a couple of assassins in a hotel room where they have sex.
It starts off fine and harmless, but then cranks itself up a notch when a group of masked men barge in with guns in their hands, ready to shoot at any time. Smith, the drifter, takes a gun in his hand and partakes in an action scene where he shoots all the men dead without anything happening to him or the prostitute. The funny thing is that throughout the gunfight, the two of them are making love. Through every shot, through every dodge, they keep moaning and humping. Though it might sound like a fun idea, the way it is portrayed in the film is so idiosyncratic that you just feel tired by the end of it all.
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6. Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002) – Ben and Catarine
It’s not surprising when a film that’s gone on to become an internet meme because of how bad (and therefore, hilarious) it is gets a spot on this list. The sex scene here walks the fine line between cringy and funny, but since the humor is unintentional, we laugh at the picture rather than with the picture. It is emotionless, badly filmed, and absolutely “ugh”-worthy. It starts with the initiation, brought on by Ben who proposes to Catarine by reciting in as bland a manner as possible the (famous) line, “What do you say I take you home and eat your pussy?”, to which she surprisingly responds in a silent and nonchalant way.
Following this is the sex scene, which is shot a little too close to our characters, and acted out very inexpressively. A clip of this scene has received over two million hits on YouTube, and the line of dialogue has gone on to become ever-present in today’s popular culture. Maybe all of this is a little too much praise for a film of this nature, but who can blame its fans? As squirmy as it makes me, ‘Shark Attack 3: Megalodon’ is outrageously funny, what with its underdeveloped effects, overblown sequences, surprising dialogue, and of course, cringe-worthy sex scene.
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5. Showgirls (1995) – Nomi and Zack
Despite harsh reviews on its release, ‘Showgirls’ developed something of a cult following soon after and many people consider it to be a clever satire today. That doesn’t excuse the infamous sex scene at about an hour and twenty minutes in, though. What doesn’t work here is the intercourse, which is all too unrealistically handled. It takes place in a swimming pool, and preceding this are a couple of quick and strange bits, like a 2 second long act of fellatio and weird Frankenstein-ish strides through the flowing water.
When they finally get down to it, Nomi slides on top of her partner and slowly begins to move around in concentric circles. As her pace increases, suddenly she shakes and wiggles about as though affected by a seizure of some kind. It happens so fast and is completely out of the blue that it is bound to take anyone by surprise. Naturally, that moment has gone on to become one of the major points of ridicule that the film receives, mainly because of how over-the-top and outlandish it is. Although there are some segments within the picture that are filmed really well, scenes like this are so cringe-worthy that they linger in the minds of the audience for longer.
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4. Howard the Duck (1986) – Howard and Beverly
Ever heard of the term ‘animal magnetism’? In ‘Howard the Duck’, the scene worthy of discussion involves a talking duck and a woman (who talks as well, but that’s not important). A huge portion of this is the build up, and that’s where all our teeth feel bitter from the grinding and cringing. Most of the scene is so lame that it’s kinda hard to handle. It begins when Howard (the duck) is aroused upon taking note of his newfound human friend’s backside. “I have developed a greater appreciation for the female version of the human anatomy”, says Howie before the both of them get into bed. Beverly starts to complain about how she hasn’t met “the right man” yet, to which the duck replies that maybe a man isn’t what she is looking for.
As if that’s not enough, the movie turns sides when Bev gets turned on by the duck’s smooth talk, upon which instance he responds with surprise, like he never expected or wanted it to happen. “It was a joke!”, he exclaims, but it is too late. He now tries to avoid getting her to sleep with him, but she is so deep in her desire to do so that his attempts are in vain. The entire scene is so stupid and unfunny, and it is only normalized by the rest of the picture, which is carried out in pretty much the same way.
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3. Gigli (2003) – Larry and Ricki
‘Gigli’ is, in short, unbearable. It tries to be serious, and it tries to be funny. Nothing about it works. The story is abysmal and the acting even worse. Considering the film is led by Ben Affleck (and Jennifer Lopez) this is a surprise. The film is called one of the worst of all time, and I fully agree. If you wish to cringe for two hours, then don’t fret, because ‘Gigli’s got your back. One of the worst things about this film has to be the chemistry between the two protagonists, Larry and Ricki. They have no charisma, no character, no emotions, and all of this carries over to the sex scene, which I honestly can’t stand.
It starts off with Ricki getting into a “seductive” pose on the bed, which confuses Larry. When asked what she is doing, Ricki replies blandly, “it’s turkey time”. Larry, like the film’s audience, is confused. In order to clear things up, the woman explains in detail the meaning of her words with “gobble gobble”. The sex scene is even worse, which must’ve been hard for director Martin Brest to do, considering the competition from the preceding couple of minutes. The actors try to look sexy, and it all comes off as a sad imitation of something that resembles a sex scene if you look really close.
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2. The Room (2003) – Johnny and Lisa
Considering the fact that this film is said to be the apex of everything ‘so bad that it’s good’, it doesn’t look like ‘The Room’ will waver from our memories any time soon. I for one love this movie, because despite the cheap acting, camerawork, dialog, story, script, etc. the movie has heart, and that I believe is due to director Tommy Wiseau’s innocent approach towards film-making which I find very cute. The film lacks intentional merits, but is one that can make you grin from ear to ear. Literally nothing hits the mark, but strangely enough, that’s what makes it interesting. There are many sex scenes to choose from here, but the one that I find makes me laugh while deeply rotting me inside is the second scene of intercourse between Johnny and Lisa.
The foreplay is so bad with unimpressive lines and awkward delivery, but it is the sex that’s much worse. There’s a pop song that plays in the background during the entire lovemaking session that doesn’t fit the moment or give off any emotions whatsoever. Johnny proceeds to hump Lisa, seemingly in her navel, and the entire bit drags on for three whole minutes. Most of this is basically the first sex scene all over again, because the actress reportedly was uncomfortable to go at it a second time. Add to all of this some dubbed moans and groans, and you’ve got something so cringe-worthy that it needs to be seen in order to be believed.
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1. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010) – Rod and Nathalie
I have no idea where to start with this one. ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’ is a movie inspired by Alfred Hitchcock‘s ‘The Birds’, but it was so poorly done that it gained a cult following due to its growing notoriety. The film is supposedly part of the horror genre, but there’s not much about it to be scared by. It’s largely an unintentional comedy like the previous film on our list, but there are moments in ‘Birdemic’ that drag on for so long that it isn’t one I’d be too pleased to sit through a second time. Although I respect the fact that it was made with a shoestring budget, the end result is so cringe-worthy that it would be totally unfair to leave this out of the list. The scene takes place around forty minutes into the picture and it really is something to behold (in a bad way).
It has some of the worst acting, editing, dialogue delivery, cinematography, etc. in the history of film but in it all I do sense elements of hilarity. The director, James Nguyen, ordered Whitney Moore (who plays Nathalie) to keep her underwear on through out the entire scene, and so the end product feels really uncomfortable and is likely to give a more defined shape to the wrinkles on your forehead. The “sex” in here is surely one of the most disappointing portrayals of the act in cinema, and therefore this makes one squirm and pull back more than any other picture on this list (and possibly ever made). It is worth a watch though, if only to see how horrible everything turned out to be.
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