Bad Movies Done Right – 9 Songs

Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Sex, drugs and rock and roll!

Whether it was the gratuitous sex, the gratuitous rock and roll or the gratuitous chemistry between the leads, I gratuitously loved 9 Songs, the 2004 British film from writer/director Michael Winterbottom.

Winterbottom’s film is perhaps most notorious for its frequent unsimulated sex scenes. And it’s true, audiences will see a pendulous uncircumcised penis, a multitude of ball shots, close-ups of breasts and vagina a-plenty and, to cap it all off, a vivid scene of ejaculation. And, thanks to the film recently being released on Blu-ray from Palisades Tartan, you’ll see it all in glorious 1080p resolution.

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, the film is a sweet, if rambling, case study of a love affair that spans 12 months.

In many ways, 9 Songs would make the perfect double feature with last year’s (500) Days of Summer.

Kieran O’Brien and Margo Stilley star as Matt and Lisa, a pair of lovers whose yearlong love affair bridges the film’s threadbare plot.

9 Songs gets its title from the fact that the movie features nine live music performances from a variety of bands of varying mainstream recognition. Winterbottom frames his slice-of-life exploration into the relationship between two people with some really great music performances from artists such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Elbow, Primal Scream, The Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals, Franz Ferdinand and Michael Nyman.

The musical performances are all captured from within the crowd — giving audiences a realistic feel for what it is like to be in the midst of a packed concert venue.

While (500) Days of Summer featured some sharp writing wrapped around a catchy plot gimmick, 9 Songs relies almost entirely on the chemistry between O’Brien and Stilley to carry the film forward.

For the most part, the film finds the couples in various states of undress — either in the throes of sex or in the immediate moments before or after said sexual congress. When Matt and Lisa aren’t exploring one another’s bodies, they are exploring the English countryside or getting high in Matt’s apartment.

Also sprinkled within the movie are flashforward’s to an introspective Matt, whose day job is that of a British climatologist, exploring the frozen prairies of Antarctica and reminiscing over his failed relationship.

Even though I found myself enraptured by 9 Songs, I’ll be the first to admit the film is pretty weak in the story department. Not a lot happens besides Matt and Lisa having sex or going to concerts. I didn’t necessarily have a problem with this, though.

While, being a red-blooded American male, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy either the sex scenes or the musical performances — one maybe more than the other — I also found myself drawn to the quiet moments between Matt and Lisa as their relationship shined through the gritty veneer of the film.

It was the moments such as Lisa showcasing her impression of various cultures’ dancing styles, giving Matt shit for his Elvis-esque sunglasses or squealing in glee as her boyfriend stripped down and ran naked into the ocean where I found myself cracking a smile. O’Brien and Stilley were very believable as a couple.

Whether 9 Songs amounts to anything more than high-class pornography is very much open to debate. In fact, most pornos have more plot than 9 Songs did.

That said, the realistic and touching relationship captured in 9 Songs is what ends up, at least in my eyes, elevating the film above your standard masturbatory media outlet.

While most pornos are filled with a wide variety of douche bags and big-chested, yet artificial bimbos, 9 Songs follows two very likable, very believable people as their relationship builds and, eventually, falls — much Matt’s spent penis after he ejaculates all over his chest from the handjob he was just given by Lisa.

I just wanted to make sure you hadn’t forgotten there are some pretty graphic sex scenes in the movie.

Robert Saucedo is going to start to get a reputation if he keeps reviewing all these pornos. Follow Robert on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.

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