5 Great Movies Ruined by Pointless Nudity

Nude scenes can be a hit and miss when it comes to the big-screen. Play them the wrong way, and everything crumbles. When the full impact of a scene falls apart, the audience just winds up feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Perhaps even worse, they may just lose interest in the film’s gratuitous nature. After all, nudity is best used as a tool to enhance the story being told, not as a blatant attempt to keep audiences entertained with superficial pleasures.

Unfortunately, not all films seem to understand the way that pointless nudity can damage the momentum and tone of a given film, even dooming it to become one of the worst movies of all time. We’ve uncovered some of the more egregious examples of pointless nudity in cinema history and will be pointing out how the nude scenes in these films have done more harm than good. In the long run, the nude scenes below have damaged the reputations of their respective films and ultimately serve little purpose in propelling the narrative forward. Let’s begin.

1. The Piano (1993)

This Oscar-winning period piece — written and directed by Jane Campion — centers on a mute woman and her daughter who travel to New Zealand for the former’s arranged marriage. The production design and performances by Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin (both of whom won Oscars) are outstanding, but the film’s all too often remembered for the awkward moment when Harvey Keitel appears nude. Between this film and Bad Lieutenant, the actor has earned a reputation for being one of the most frequently nude stars who audiences wish would remain clothed.

2. Wild Things (1998)

No, we’re not talking about that scene. Nope, not that one either. Instead, we’re targeting the random moment when Kevin Bacon shows off his, um, wild thing for all to see. This film is already an exploitation B movie centering on all manner of sin and taboo subject matter — amid a non-stop flurry of twists and turns — but shoehorning in a random nude moment for Bacon’s character just made no sense. Had the nudity been in line with the story or included in a more relevant way, perhaps it wouldn’t take us out of the film so much. As is? Yeah, that just doesn’t need to be there.

3. Swordfish (2001)

There are pointless nude scenes, and then there are pointless nude scenes. And then there’s this. Swordfish has probably the most notorious example of working in a nude scene simply to drum up word of mouth. Star Halle Berry received an extra $500,000 for a brief, ridiculous moment in which her character appears topless reading a magazine. With literally no context or reason for being included, it is without a doubt the most memorable part of this film, since so much of the press surrounding it centered on Berry’s nude scene. Ultimately, the actress would bare all for her Oscar-winning role in Monster’s Ball that same year.

4. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Okay, so maybe The Matrix Reloaded isn’t a great film, but we stand by the fact that the decidedly un-sexy love scene between Neo and Trinity (Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss) — which is edited together with a sweaty, dry-humping rave scene within the bowels of Zion — is one of the dumbest, most unnecessary sequences in cinema history. Considering how anticipated this sequel was, we can only imagine how disappointed fans were to discover how padded out it was with pointless moments like this one. At least some of the action scenes (that highway chase, though!) were cool. Just keep the awkward sex scenes out of it next time.

5. Watchmen (2009)

Did someone say “awkward sex scenes”? When it comes to this Zack Snyder adaptation of the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel, many moviegoers complain that the slow-motion love scene between Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman’s Nite Owl and Silk Spectre remains one of the most cringe-inducing moments in a film that ultimately gets a lot right in bringing the source material to the screen. Even Doctor Manhattan’s naked blue body fits within the context of the story more than this unintentionally silly scene. We’re sure you will never hear Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in quite the same way ever again.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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