JESSICA: (in a sultry, low voice) Stephanie’s coming over tonight to work on our article on Cinema L’Amour. Thinking about it is getting me a little excited.   The pizza’s in the oven, the salad’s made… ding dong… oops! I forgot to put on a shirt! I hope she likes black lace, wink wink.

While it’s never hard to come up with topics every week   for Friday Film Review, I’ve often made the vow that I would go out more on the town to cover things like the other writers for the site do. After a few failed attempts, this past week I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience a night out with Sex Columnist Jess Klein to go to the historic Montreal porn theater Cinema L’Amour.

The woman at the ticket counter seemed perplexed when a “lesbian couple” (Tuesday night was free for couples) entered the theater. “There’s no women here” she said with her head slightly cocked.

“But there’s women in the movie right?” Jess giggled as she leaned her head into my shoulder.

We were then ushered into the empty couples only section, a roped off portion directly in the middle of the theater. As a couple it seems, you are also part of the show.

The sparsely populated theater was already dark when we walked in. There was a countdown on the screen set to operatic music, and it immediately set the tone for the weird evening that was to come.

At first, you can’t help but look around. From outside it really doesn’t look like anything special. You’ve probably walked passed Cinema L’Amour a thousand times yourself on St-Laurent and not thought twice about it.   Once you pass the florescent lights of the lobby the theater, which was built in 1914, is absolutely gorgeous. The gilded detailing, the balcony (which we debated the entire evening about attempting to sneak up to) makes you dream of what it was like to see movies there in the twenties.

Our  gaze immediately became glued to the screen the moment we started noticing the other patrons. In the age of internet porn, it’s not surprising that the majority of the audience was older men of the balding variety. It felt like every creepy mailman and janitor you’ve ever met in your entire life decided to get together and have a party.

Four minutes before the end of the countdown, the movie started. The movie was a parody of Seinfeld,  a television show from the nineties you may have heard of. This is the film review section of the article after all, and so it must be noted that the production value of the movie was surprisingly excellent.

The sex was so uninteresting that I kept thinking to myself wow, this really looks like Jerry’s apartment. Wow, that guy does a really good soup Nazi impression. I was so bored with the sex honestly that the actors had me more engaged when they were making fun of Seinfeld then when they were having sex with each other.

About half an hour into the movie, our tenure as the sole residents of the couples only section ended. A man lifted the velvet rope, and ushered his girlfriend in. They sat at the end of the same row as us. And that’s when the night really started to get weird.

Intrigued? For part two of Steph and Jess’s Cinema L’Amour adventure, read The Morning After with Jessica Klein.

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Photo from loyalkng.com

It’s still strange to me how technology has affected the way society  takes in  information. 40 odd years ago families gathered around their television sets to hear Walter Kronkite tell them the news that John F. Kennedy had died.  Cut to the present day,  where  I discovered Wednesday morning  the news that Elizabeth Taylor had died. Was I gathered by family and friends as we shared a moment  together morning  one of the greatest stars ever to come out of Hollywood? Nope.   I was  sitting in my underwear eating my cereal  with  my  laptop next to me, looking at my twitter feed. Immediately after seeing the news of course,  I changed my Facebook profile picture to honour her. What can I say it’s my 21st century way of saying you meant something to me lady.

Your life  was one crazy ride, and you will never be forgotten.

Taylor was the original diva and never once did she have to flash her crotch to get the attention of the cameras. What Taylor did have was two Oscars, eight marriages,  chronic illness and addictions. But during her life aka a tabloid publisher’s wet dream, she also made a few films as well. Good ones. So  for all  you readers out there who have never watched one of her films before, or just interested in some suggestions to plan your marathon, here’s a list of my favorite Elizabeth Taylor films:

1. A Place in the Sun (1951)

This film stars Montgomery Clift, who along with James Dean nailed the I’m a tortured, damaged soul but you  know you can’t help but love me anyways” style of performance. In this film he stars as poor boy George who  while dating a girl at his uncle’s factory Alice  (the amazing Shelley Winters, who sadly often got cast as the girl the hero didn’t want) meets socialite Angela (Elizabeth Taylor). Entranced by  Angela’s beauty and extravagant lifestyle George decides he must do anything he can to have her, even after Alice declares that she’s pregnant and expects to get married.

2. Giant (1956)

This big sprawling epic of a film stars Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean telling the story of a Texas family over several generations. Taylor plays the liberal eastern wife to Hudson’s conservative Texan rancher who has a uneasy friendship with the sexy helper boy James Dean. This was Dean’s third and last studio picture before he got himself killed in a car crash and one of my favorite performances by Taylor. Leslie isn’t just a look a me I’m a pretty girl character, but she gets to have some real moments. The scene where she stands up for  herself as a woman in front of her husband and all  his cattle rancher friends makes me especially happy in a film from the 1950s.

3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

This film, based on a Tennesee Williams play, about an alcoholic ex-football player (Paul Newman)  who spends his time drinking instead of spending time with his wife Maggie (Taylor) is one of those great melancholy stories that only a writer like Williams could have produced. Oh, and the hot, hot chemistry between Newman and Taylor is pretty dam exciting to watch as well.

4. Who’s afriad of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Believe in love? Just like the devastating Blue Valentine released this year, after watching Taylor and Richard Burton (Taylor’s  on again, off-again husband in real life)  play an aging married couple who rip each other new assholes one night while entertaining a younger couple. Both performances are so angry and raw this is one of those films that you can’t stop thinking about long after you watch it.

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