Sexy movies come out every year, but the definition of a sexy movie in a particular year evolves and fluctuates with public sentiment. In a sense, sexy movies come to define the sexual sentiment of the movie going public in any given year. 2016 was no exception with the diverse output of not only Hollywood, but foreign markets and independent cinema, as well. Of course, the definition of sexy is broad and subjective this year, as opposed to 2015 when everything was measured against the single standard of Fifty Shades of Grey. In 2016 there was something for everyone, from musicals to action. Even cartoon bread gets in on the action. The differences in opinion are no different than the divisions we face as a culture this year when it comes to sexuality, female empowerment and the art or erotic entertainment.
Everybody Wants Some!!
Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! was a spiritual sequel to his 1993 classic Dazed and Confused. It was destined to be one of the hottest films of the year. The movie’s stars, a group of young up and coming actors, are poised to become Hollywood royalty, much as the young stars of other movies, like Slacker and Dazed and Confused, did. On top of that, you’ve got a college movie set in the 1980s. Remember college movies from the 80s? Movies like Porky’s, Revenge of the Nerds, and PCU defined the hormone fueled early days of college for a generation, a trait that Linklater picked up and ran with. There are lessons learned in the end, but on the way there are pillow fights, and beer, and skinny dipping.
Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic is tailor made sexy. Set in early 1980s, the film is awash with loud scenery, artistic shots, and, obviously, jazz. What could possibly be sexier than one of the most profound musicians of modern times full of bravado in a romantic setting? Cheadle, one of the greatest actors in the last two decades, wrote, directed, and starred in this stylish period piece, the look of which mimics Davis’ smooth and psychedelic sounds. This moody atmosphere is the setting for Cheadle to woo us with music over the next couple of hours. Like Davis towards the end of his career, he’s working his way up, seducing us to his new style.
La La Land
If you ask anyone “who’s the sexiest actor in Hollywood?” 9 times out of 10 the answer will be “Ryan Gosling.” And he’s a big part of what makes La La Land one of the sexiest movies of 2016. The other part is Emma Stone, and their chemistry is remarkable. A musical about two starving artists navigating love and success in tinseltown, La La Land isn’t just romantic and fun, it’s also set to take home some major awards this winter. In addition to being a stellar movie about love trumping all, crooner John Legend plays a well fitted supporting role, as if it wasn’t hot enough.
The tale of a woman raped by a trusted neighbor wouldn’t typically be considered hot, there’s nothing sexy about sexual assault. But notorious director Paul Verhoven’s protagonist in Elle turns the assault on it’s head, stripping the assailant of his power and turning it into her own. Isabelle Huppert, in a career defining role, takes control over the terrifying assailant, and with him, her life as well. It’s a dark movie, make no mistake, but the way Huppert regains power over her employees, her friends, and ultimately her life, makes Elle a must see, and one of the sexiest movies of 2016.
South Korea is not typically associated with overt sexuality, in fact the country has a reputation of being a bit prudish. How appropriate then, that Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is set in the early 20th century, when Korea was under brutal Japanese rule. The film tells the story of a girl serving a family of con artists. Under their employ, she enters the life of a wealthy Japanese heiress, and target of the family. Things escalate to include vintage erotica, if period pieces about girls serving wealthy heiresses wasn’t sexy enough, and Park, director of the well known revenge trilogy including Oldboy, is well known for pushing the limits of taboo.
Knight of Cups
Terrance Mallick is known as one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation, and possibly all time. It should be no surprise that his deft handling of some mystical and arcane subject matter has divided critics and audiences alike. Christian Bale leads this brooding portrait, playing a screenwriter navigating a sordid Los Angeles underworld populated with former lovers, strippers, models, and other sordid sorts. It’s an artistic plot, and an atmospheric setting, but if you can get through it, it’s by far one of the sexiest movies of 2016, and depending on your take on the film, either a masterpiece or a confusing stream of consciousness.
When Brad Pitt stars alongside Marion Cotillard in a big budget spy thriller, how could you not have one of the sexiest movies of 2016 on your hands? Partners in spying on the Nazis during WWII, the couple end up falling in love against a backdrop of war. The tension rises as doubt is cast on Cotillard’s characters loyalty, both to her husband and country. What makes this film sizzle though is the chemistry between Pitt and Cotillard. They make audiences melt with a stare, and the heart wrenching tension throughout the movie keeps heart rates sky high. It’s a tale of romance, intrigue, assassination, and war, a perfect mix for a movie to warm up your winter.
Deadpool may seem like a strange choice for a sexy movie. He is, after all, a deformed superhero with a crass sense of humor, not traits generally considered sexy. But with a ripped star that’s been named the Sexiest Man Alive multiple times, a hilarious script, and nonstop action, this blockbuster hit has people shifting in their seats. Ryan Reynolds plays the titular Deadpool, starting out as a smalltime hustler and quickly meeting the smoking hot Vanessa. They fall in love of course, and proceed to have the steamiest love scenes in a large scale blockbuster in recent memory. This intense chemistry plus the wise cracking antihero’s drive for revenge put Deadpool firmly in place as the sexiest super hero movie ever.
The Neon Demon
No list of sexy movies would be complete without a story of lustful and envious models, helmed by the always controversial Nicolas Winding Refn. The Neon Demon follows a young model from a small town to the big city, where she’s put upon by fellow models, managers, agents, and, well, just the whole industry in general. Refn is known for dark, atmospheric movies like Drive and Only God Forgives, and Neon Demon continues the obsession with ego and worlds that go unseen or unknown, the dark underbelly of a seemingly normal society. Elle Fanning plays the role of the naive model beautifully, though it’s box office draw was minimal. Still, it’s hard to deny this as one of the sexiest films of 2016.
It may seem an unlikely choice, but Sausage Party, the animated movie for adults from the creators of the stoner hit Pineapple Express, is so chock full of innuendo, spoken and visual, that it makes itself impossible to ignore. Seth Rogan and Kristen Wiig’s romantic leads, a hot dog and bun respectively, carry this raunchy tale of food taken home from the grocery store to the promised land, only to discover upon arrival of the horrors that await them. Certainly unconventional, but definitely a no holds barred and hilarious addition to the pantheon of sex comedies. Sausage Party will go down in history as the first major animated release to contain a Freudian slip as the main character.