Sexy celluloid

This month’s Empire movie magazine has an updated 100 Sexiest Movies Stars of All Time supplement. Somewhat erroneously named since they issue a new one based on reader’s votes every few years, so it’s not exactly ‘of all time’ now, is it? However, my major quibble is not with semantics but with some of those who made it on and the many that did not.

Chiaki Kuriyama is (just) in at 100. Who? You may not know the name, but you’d recognise her as the sexy and deadly Gogo, the schoolgirl with the ball and chain in Kill Bill volume one. Very cute and saucy, but not exactly what I’d refer to as a ‘star’. Similarly the much higher-placing Elisa Cuthbert (Girl Next Door) and Eva Mendes (American Pie) are very pretty but they’re not stars, so what are they doing in here? Kiera bloody Knightley places at the top which really narks me. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very cute in an underfed kind of way (too skinny for my taste, I fear her neck would break if I bit into it too passionately). So I’m thinking this is less a Sexiest Movies Stars of All Time thing and more a simple flavour-of-the-month type of popularity contest. How else can you explain Kate Hepburn scoring far lower than Uma Thurman? And Louise Brooks is way down the list, despite being possibly the sexiest movie star in history.

In this it reflects the way in which Empire has changed over the last few years and not for the better. It used to be a popular but intelligent movie magazine aimed at people like me and others I knew who were serious movie buffs. These days it is full of plugs for products (not just in the adverts – a report from a film festival will be covered ‘using the new XZ5000 Phony Mobile Phone/Digital Camcorder/Vibrator’) and numerous ‘features’ which are sponsored and are in fact another form of advertising. The general content has become far more lowbrow over the years as well as they seek increased circulation over quality. Friends have stopped buying it. Why then do I still get it? Simple – there isn’t anything better to be had, alas. Sight and Sound is the more academic titles and one I still read from time to time to keep my academic hand in (was very handy during college) but lacks the comprehensive coverage of Empire. The other glossy mags are even more lowbrow. Oh well, it’s something to read in the loo, I guess.

Most scandalous of all, however, was the fact that neither of my top two movie hotties made it in (Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder, oh, yummy) and where the hell are the representatives of the vast army of French Film Babes? Anyone who knows films knows that France boasts not only an excellent movie industry but is peerless in finding utterly gorgeous women who are also bloody good actors (something many of the stars of Hollywood, male and female, cannot combine – they are either pretty and cannot act or can act but not hot, with a few exceptions). So in this whole list there is no Audrey Tautou – come one, most of the men in the Amelie audience fell in love with her! No Emmanuelle Beart, an actress who has crossed the French-Hollywood divide, acting in as diverse films as Mission Impossible and Un Couer En Hiver, and is utterly, ravishingly naked as the artist’s model in La Belle Noiseuse. Where the hell are the joint queens of French glamour, the delectable Isabelle Adjani (who has more elegant, effortless beauty than so-called stars half her age) and my beloved Juliette Binoche? Watch Les Amants de Pont Neuf and tell me you don’t want to kiss that woman! Hell, where are the French men??? Danielle Auteil is surely more attractive than Richard Gere? Vincent Perez? I know just saying his name makes my chum Lili weak at the pelvis! Even Gerard Depardieu for goodness sake (or her son, who many girls I know would love to bonk). And where were the Bollywood crew? Oh, well, at least I know I have good taste.