It’s a difficult decision in a young actress’s career to decide when to bare it all for the screen. Should it be for the terrible horror movie that will crop up on Mr. Skin ten years from now? Should you wait until you can get half-a-million for one quick flash to an obviously gay man only to then bare it all while getting rough sex from The Chupacabra’s Bastard Southern Son half a year later? It’s like Chekhov once said, “Boobs lead to Oscars.” The Academy is paved with starlets who have shown their racks. And then there are those for whom it’s become more novel to not take it off in a film.
I’ve never been a fan of strip clubs. I can get not fucked for free from the comfort of my own couch. There’s something depressing about handing someone a dollar because they showed you their pudenda. But, for some odd reason, it’s been embraced as a form of female empowerment. Women are taking strippercize classes, throwing pole parties for their daughters, and even joining the menfolk on their outings, sending sweatpant clad ghouls scurrying for the nearest Denny’s. Hell, a former stripper just won an Academy Award — congrats, Scorsese, it’s been a long time coming.
So to staunch the flow of undress, I offer unto you my list of ten actresses who probably should not have played strippers. Note, this list is not comprised solely based on body type, because there are several actresses on this list that are extremely sexy. It’s just, when watching them writhe and grind in sequin bikinis and ghastly wigs, you’re compelled to throw a blanket over them rather than money.
Honorable Mention: Halle Berry in The Last Boy Scout; Rosario Dawson in Rent; Elisha Cuthbert in The Girl Next Door; and Penelope Cruz in Chromophobia. Sorry, ladies. It’s not that you were bad. It’s that you weren’t bad enough.
10. Jessica Alba in Sin City
Poor Nancy got roughed up the That Yellow Bastard, and it took Bruce Willis to save her. And like most victims of near sexual assault, she ended up on the pole, with a serious Daddy complex. The downside to her stripping, other than the fact that it’s done in black and white and she doesn’t actually take any clothing off, is that it’s comprised mostly of swinging a lasso in slow motion. That, and she’s not a very good actress. But she sure is pretty to look at it.
9. Heather Graham in The Hangover
For most gents my age — the early 30s — Heather Graham was our go-to sexual fantasy. She was the ultimate catch in Swingers, and then her pulling up her skirt over her head as Rollergirl started so many men to puberty, Kleenex and Jergens owe money to Paul Thomas Anderson. But she has not aged well, and has developed into sort of bug-eyed, jittery spaz. She’s funny as all hell, but so’s Lisa Kudrow. And it doesn’t mean I want her to necessarily take her clothing off either.
8. Demi Moore in Striptease
The age old debate as to whether you prefer fake breasts to real can pretty much be summed up by watching this film. Once the subject of an Indecent Proposal, we can see exactly how the money was spent. She comes bursting on to the stage with her manufactured mammaries exploding from her chest to the shock and awe of the audience. I thank God the movie was not in 3D, else people would have been killed. If those guns were on G.I. Jane, we would have won the war. But big jugs automatically a stripper do not make. At least Ashton will have something to play with during naptime.
7. Natalie Portman in Closer
Remember how you started feeling slightly guilty when The Professional came out that you might secretly be a pedophile? So you hid it, because you didn’t want people looking at you funny like when you told everyone you thought Taylor Hanson was the hottest girl ever. But then everyone slowly admitted it, and you felt OK. So when you heard she was going to finally be taking it off on the big screen, you swarmed to the theatre. But instead of the steamy Lolita finally ripened, she came off looking like that little pink haired girl from Nick Jr. As a Philadelphia fan, even I wasn’t prepared for that amount of disappointment. It was less seductress and more little girl gymnastics routine, with her walking across couches on her knees and her petite frame, I really did feel dirty.
6. Lindsay Lohan in I Know Who Killed Me
Anyone with the Internet and free time can find pictures of LiLo’s snizz. For a while there, it was like she was in a competition with Britney to see who could expose their vajayjay more. So why she felt people would take her seriously slouching around the stage and swaying as a stripper makes little to no sense. She was giving that shit away for free to TMZ on a nightly basis. Especially since almost all of her commercial success came from being a sprightly and comic actress. The dreary joke of a murder mystery plot inspired almost as much fury as the fact that Lohan keeps the gals in the saddle for the entire film.
5. Jessica Biel in Powder Blue
For an actress who was slowly building cred for herself, inch by precious inch, her decision to bare the goods in this tragic farce of arthouse dreck is mindblowing. I can only assume it was the same frame of mind that some girls use when shucking their virginity to meatheads in college: might as well get this out of the way so I don’t have that over my head anymore. And Biel’s got a fantastic body. What puts her so far up on the list is the actual routine which is tear-inducingly bad. She rolls around on the stage in what looks like an Amish Slave Leia costume (for the truly wild Rumspringa) pouring candlewax over her body. Offstage trauma causes her to cover her body and flee from the stage to the boos and catcalls of the patrons. At least, it’s over, and now she can flaunt her cans to her heart’s and my pants desire.
4. Elizabeth Berkeley in Showgirls
This is almost like writing about The Godfather. What more do I need to say about Jessie Spano parlaying her “I’m So Excited” drug dance into a two-hour tragedy? It’s like finding out one of the hot chess club girls is giving handjobs for meth. Sure, it’s funny, and mildly arousing, but mostly you just end up feeling bad about her. Poor Lark Voorhies.
3. Rose McGowan in Planet Terror
I thought Helena Bonham Carter had ruined Tim Burton’s career, but she just sort of pulled him in a more goth-y direction. It was nothing compared to what Marilyn Manson’s talentless castoff did to Robert Rodriguez. I mean, motherfucker was set to cast her as Red Sonya?! Anyway, nobody knows what to make of Grindhouse, with the crazy old school trailer intros and whatnot. But gore and zombies aside, nothing but Fergie could have been scarier than the wailing sax into to Planet Terror with Rose McGowan twitching like an epileptic in spangles. I know it was supposed to be a comic satire, but seriously, she looked like someone had put one of the Chipmunks into her cooter and let it roam through her colon. She was spasming like she had the Holy Spirit up in her, but surely God had nothing to do with that abomination.
2. The Entire Cast of Dancing at the Blue Iguana — Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Kristen Bauer, and Sandra Oh
Nothing can make a strip club seedier than when you’ve got awful strippers. While Vegas and films glorify the mostly plasticine co-eds, most establishments tend to hire gals with episiotomy scars and needle tracks. These aren’t the taut gym rats carved for sexual fantasy, but desperate women swaying saggy or pre-surgical mosquito sized bosoms for the enthrallment of the deacons of their church groups. Hey, flowers come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them need to be on display for public gawking. If anything Dancing at the Blue Iguana was the closest cinematic representation of an actual strip club, because none of those women needed to be taking their clothing off, or scowling for my singles.
1. Teri Hatcher in Tango and Cash
Oh, my glorious goodness. This moment in the film pretty much expresses everything that can be wrong with a stripping scene in a film. A) Hatcher doesn’t have a stripper’s physique, B) which we don’t have to worry about because she doesn’t take her clothing off, and c) she’s dancing to some sort of techno-80’s jam while encased in metal and some leather. This alone was enough to get her on the list. But what put her over the top was that she rode in to the stage on a motorcycle, and during her St. Vitus fits, she proceeds to take reach to the bartenders for drumsticks so that she can perform a DRUM SOLO on ELECTRIC DRUMS. While frisky women everywhere tried to replicate Ali Larter’s whipped cream bikini in Varsity Blues, they should now try the Teri Hatcher strip with the Rock Band drumset.
As for the five stripping scenes I find to be the sexiest — from the music to the moves to the ladies doing the shaking — here they are:
5. Salma Hayek in Dogma
4. Mia Kirshner in Exotica
3. Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler
2. Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies
1. Salma Hayek in From Dusk til Dawn
And just to be fair, I’m working on assembling a list of the top ten Peen We Shouldn’t Have Seen on Screen: Unfortunate Examples of Full-Frontal Male Nudity in Cinema. Go ahead, and have at it in the comments section, ladies and gentlemen who prefer Blaines.