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The Most Bunkworthy Movie Performances of the 21st Century So Far

By Rebecca Pahle | Case Study In Hotness | July 27, 2016 |


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Now, I know we just did the Pajiba 10 and all, but are you ready for some more sexy? What am I saying? Of course you are. I know full well what site this is.

Kate McKinnon, Ghostbusters

We’ve discussed the Kinsey-wrecking powers of Kate McKinnon in the new Ghostbusters before. At length. She’s like a female version of Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park or David Bowie in Labyrinth—over the coming years, she is going to send so many baby lesbians hurtling into puberty.

Joe Manganiello, Magic Mike XXL


Charming Potato (are we still calling him that?) is very, very sexy in the Magic Mike movies, but he also never did a striptease to a Backstreet Boys song in a convenience store, so I think we know who comes out ahead here. Actually, never mind, the sexiest person in Magic Mike XXL is Jada Pinkett Smith.

Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung, In the Mood for Love
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On the opposite end of the sexy spectrum from Joe Mangianello shaking his ass in a 7/11, you have the impeccable Tony Leung Chiu Wau and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love. As neighbors married to other people who fall for each other, their performances are so blisteringly swoon-inducing not in spite but because of the fact that they never actually consummate their relationship. Hey, repressed longing can be hot. For extra sexy, check out this deleted dancing scene:

Cate Blanchett, Carol
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And speaking of repressed longing, Todd Haynes’ Carol gave us 1950s lesbian Cate Blanchett and her sexy, sexy glove lunches.

Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina


You thought I would leave out the reigning Pajiba 10 champ? Now, really. The hip swivel that moistened a thousand thighs.

Eva Green, Casino Royale

Fellow 2016 Pajiba 10 honoree Eva Green had been in a few movies before Casino Royale, but it was her turn as the sexy, sophisticated Vesper Lynd that first made the world at large sit up and ask, “who are you and how can I get your eyebrows against my face?” Bonus props to Green’s work in the deeply bland 300 sequel: An actress who consistently rises above mediocre material, Green was the only one who acted in the movie as it should have been, meaning she went full crazeballs ’80s action villainess. The sex scene in that, if you have not seen it, is gloriously stupid.

Tom Hiddleston, Crimson Peak and Thor (TIE)
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Hiddleston’s turn in Crimson Peak has posterior nudity and implied cunnilingus, but his turn in Thor doesn’t have incest. I couldn’t choose between the two, so I went with both. I didn’t think you’d mind.

Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha Raw, Beyond the Lights
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Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, about the romance between a sexxxy singer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and a humble cop (Nate Parker), veers occasionally into overwrought, bad romance novel territory—the cop is really into quotes. QUOTES. LIKE A PRETENTIOUS FORTUNE COOKIE. AND THIS IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE HIM DEEP.—but, on balance, it’s a damn fine film to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon. Any aforementioned script soapiness (QUOTES) is paved over by Mbatha-Raw and Parker, whose chemistry and collective charisma could power several small cities. Nate Parker also dresses like a stripper cop.

Idris Elba, Pacific Rim
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“Secondary character in a Transformers vs Godzilla movie” isn’t the most obvious choice for one of the most bunkworthy performances of the last fifteen years. The role of military leader Stacker Pentecost isn’t really supposed to be a sexy one, unless you’re turned on by Independence Day-type speeches about kicking alien ass, in which case, go you. And that Tom Selleckstache is horrendous. And yet … every ostensibly unsexy bit of this performance ultimately comes together to form one bangin’ whole. Isn’t that just the power of Idris Elba?


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