Monday, October 15, 2012
Male Full Frontal Nudity: Boardwalk Empire; Bobby Cannavale
We don't often see full frontal male nudity on TV, or even in feature films. And as an erotic romance author with over one hundred published works of fiction, I've always found that interesting. I do think there's a reason for this. I know some might disagree, and some would think this topic isn't important. But it's not something I see discussed often and when I see male full frontal in films and on TV I get curious.
We see breasts, a lot of ass, occasionally vagina, and pelvis shots, but never full frontal penis shots. So is there a double standard? Some might say we objectify women more than men. I think that's true to a certain extent, but I also think there might be another reason. More and more men are being objectified these days, but they still aren't showing everything.
I actually remember a web site a long time ago that was devoted to this very theme. They would follow films and TV shows where there was male full frontal nudity and post about it. It was always sketchy at best, with very little to see. And as I recall, there was a huge "thing" about Colin Farrell's male full frontal scene being removed from A Home at the End of the World because everyone thought it would be too distracting.
But last night on Boardwalk Empire Boddy Cannavale, who plays Gyp Rosetti, bared it all in a kinky sex scene that rivals anything I've seen on TV before with regard to male full frontal nudity. He not only showed penis, he showed it in a scene that lasted more than a split second. As one of my pithier writer friends on facebook would say, "Jebus Crisp, that thing was swinging back and forth."
It even bounced a few times, too.
And that's because it couldn't help itself. Anything that big is NOT going to remain stationary while a man walks naked down a hallway. And Bobby Cannavale was walking slowly. If he'd been running he would have had to hold it down with both hands.
The scene in which he showed all his full frontal began with Bobby having sex with a woman, both naked in a sleazy hotel room, with one end of a belt tied around Boddy's neck and the other tied to the bed post. Actually, that would have been enough for one book reviewer I know to shudder and cross her legs. But that scene led into one of those glorious fake gruesome massacres, with fake guns, plenty of fake blood, and everyone in the scene dying except Bobby Cannavale. When everyone was dead, Cannavale got up and started walking around in a daze, with the belt still tied around his neck and his penis swinging back and forth.
Of course you had to watch closely. I DRV Boardwalk Empire, so I rewound the scene a few times just to be sure I wasn't imagining it. Even though it was a longer full frontal shot than most, you could have missed it if you turned for a moment to get a snack. A few times Cannavale's head blocked the view. But it was there, in a rare moment of male full frontal we never see anywhere in the mainstream.
My theory as to why we rarely ever see male full frontal in films or TV shows is that most male actors are not willing to show what they have because they might be afraid is doesn't measure up to what viewers might expect of them. Would Tom Cruise have become the star he is if we'd seen a full frontal shot of him early in his career and it didn't measure up to what we expected? What about Ben Affleck?
I doubt anyone would throw Bobby Cannavale out of bed if he hadn't been blessed with something that impressive between his legs. He's a seriously good looking guy, in his forties, with a great body, and he's an excellent actor, too. But Cannavale is lucky in this respect. In this department there's a lot of pressure on men with regard to penis size and I'm sure a lot of actors don't want to take that risk. There was a great parody of this subject in a recent film I saw with Owen Wilson where Wilson is intimidated by a guy with a large penis in a locker room scene. And I wouldn't throw Owen Wilson out of bed for anything.
Women in films can get away with more in this regard because there seems to be varied opinions about breast sizes. Some like them big, others like them little and perky. But you rarely hear anyone say, "Wow, I like the smallest penis I can find, especially when it's little and perky." And, at a glance, vagina is vagina. I'm sure some would disagree with me here, but I'm talking about at a glance.
So I doubt we'll be seeing more male frontal nudity in the near future, unless they use stand-ins or some kind of prosthetic. It's just too intimidating for some actors and there's an unspoken bias that seems to linger beneath the surface all the time. We hear all the time that size doesn't matter. I've seen articles and blog posts written about how cliched it is to write male characters in erotic romances with extra large ones. But would people read an erotic novel if the main character had a small penis?
They say size doesn't matter, but I disagree...at least with respect to male full frontal nudity in films and on TV. I doubt Bobby Cannavale would have opted to do THAT scene if he'd been born with a pinkie finger between his legs.