Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

Our new column,Staff Picks, takes you back to a time when video stores reigned supreme andthe "Staff Picks" section was the placetofind outwhat films were worthy of one's time.Of course, our version of Staff Picks has a decidedly skintillating angle, as we suss out the films from a particular subgenre are the best to find great nudity. This week, we look back at some dystopian future flicks that have us dreading the future, but loving the possibilities for breaking free from our overlords through the power of sex!

A running theme through a lot of dystopian narratives is the discovery or introduction of sex into the lives of otherwise sexless beings. The dystopian futures of the 60s, 70s, and early 80s often presented sex as a means of escape from the drudgery of, well, a sexless existence. At the same time, sex is never the end of the story, it'susually the beginning of the end for our main character. Dystopian future protagonists generally don't do well once they've had sex, sometimes ultimately claiming victory, oftentimesat the cost of many other lives, and even their own.

These five recommendations represent some of the best examples of the genre, thanks to their multiple adherences to a similar structure. Each director then subverts it in their own way, and there are some true visionaries on this list. They've also got nudity, often thanks to that rule about sex destroying Eden, so just don't look for much of it to be upbeat—with one intentional exception.

1984 (1984)

While certainly not the creator of the dystopian genre, George Orwell perfected it with his 1948 tome which imagined a society enslaved to a master called Big Brother, who is constantly watching every thing every citizen is doing. Winston Smith (the late, great John Hurt) is a worker in Ministry of Truth, creating propaganda for the Party,yet he actively fights against it in secret, entering into a relationship—such things have been forbidden—with his co-worker Julia (Suzanna Hamilton). During their first clandestine meeting, Winston tells of a previous sexual encounter with a prostitute (Shirley Stelfox), who lifts her dress to flash her bush, although all he remembers was the smell of the room...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

Not long after, Suzanna Hamilton's Julia comes to Winston in the woods, through a field, stripping out of her clothes to have sex with him right there in nature...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

The pair spend several months co-habitating and otherwise enjoying life together...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

But their happiness is short-lived when it turns out that the Thought Police had been spying on them from the very beginning. Things get substantially worse from there, but I don't want to spoil the whole deal. It's a fairly faithful if desperately condensed version of Orwell's story and it's a much quicker watch than it is a read, so if you haven't ever spent time with this story, this is the best way to get it done in two hours. Plus there's tits!

Brazil (1985)

Right around the same time director Michael Radford was putting a fairly literal adaptation of Orwell's work on screen, Terry Gilliam was launching his own twist on the Orwellian nightmare of an all-knowing government-controlled society. Gilliam's unique vision of hell, however, is one bogged down in bureaucracy, offering no hope of upward mobility or escape for his protagonist Sam Lowry (recent first-time Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce). The film more or less set the standard for dystopian satire, but Gilliam's film has an edge to it and no shortage of skepticism about the ability of love to conquer all.

A lowlygovernment worker in an underground bunker of an office, Sam has very vivid fantastical daydreams, in which a woman played by Kim Greist appears to him, and though she's not nude, she's wearing very little beneath whatever sheer fabric Gilliam places in front of her breasts...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future MoviesStaff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

It turns out that Kim Greist, the woman from his fantasies, is actually Sam's neighbor Jill in his apartment complex, and we see her right breast when she is introduced in the tub...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

Jill gets herself mixed up in some intrigue and Sam makes a valiant attempt to track her down and help her fake her own death so she can escape pursuit by the authorities. They share a passionate night together, before being arrested the next day, and things only go downhill for Sam from here...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

Criterion put out a brilliant box set of the film—and have since upgraded it to Blu-ray—that features not only Gilliam's preferred cut of the film, but also the substantially shorter "Love Conquers All" cut that Universal made when they deemed Gilliam's version unreleasable. It's probably the "most" Terry Gilliam movie there is, the work of a true hopeless pessimist who dangles such beautifully realized possibilities in front of the audience before pulling the rug out and reminding us that there's no such thing as a truly happy ending. It might be the pinnacle of the genre on film.

THX-1138 (1971)

George Lucas' debut filmhelped establish a lot of rules about dystopian future films by cribbing from various other sources—including Orwell and Aldous Huxley—to create a uniquely stark vision of the future. In Lucas' future society,people—referred to only by a combination of three-letters and four-digits instead of names—take daily pills to suppress their emotions in order to be more subservient, better workers, and consummate consumers. THX (Robert Duvall) is an otherwise upstanding member of society, but his female roommate LUH (Maggie McOmie) has begun tampering with his pills, causing him to think independently for the first time.

While he seeks to suppress these urges at first, his libido proves too strong and he gets busy with LUH, breaking one of the sacred laws of their society...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

When they are eventually found out—ratted out by Donald Pleasance's SEN, no less—the couple is surrounded by guards, leaving them completely exposed to the elements...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future MoviesStaff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

The film then descends into your typical sci-fi "man on the run" movie with a particularly impressive motorcycle stunt along the way. THX 1138's fatal flaw is that ithas so many commentaries going on that it's hard to understand who Lucas' primary target is:Is it religion?Consumerism?Government? Pharmaceutical Companies?TechCompanies?Law Enforcement? It's all just a vague attack on authority in general, whose impact is lessened by not having a stronger thesis statement.

Death Race 2000 (1975)

Let's have a little fun with our dystopian future already! We've earned it at this point, which brings us to Paul Bartel's cheeky take on the subject, a future in which the world is dominated by a collision of sports, entertainment, and criminal justice. The film centers around a cross-country race in the titular year, provided by the government to distract the masses to the real injustice happening around them at all times. Or something.The United Providences of America, as the country is now called, plays home to this vicious race where in drivers rack up points by killing not only their opponents, but any poor soul who crosses their path.

At the first stop for the racers,everyone is treated to nude massages, just because, and B-movie queens Mary Woronov (playing Calamity Janes) and Roberta Collins (playing Matilda the Hun) getinto a fight right there on the massage table...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

None of this phases buxom beauty Louisa Moritz, who continues her massage like nothing's going on...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

Our hero in the flick is Frankenstein, played by David Carradine, who romances his co-pilot Annie Smith (Simone Griffeth), a woman planted in his car by the resistance to the current government. That doesn't stop Frankenstein from wooing her with the power of his ding dong...

Staff Picks: Dystopian Future Movies

In addition to the well-known series of remakes kicked off in 2008, there was also an official, Roger Corman-produced sequel made in 2017 titled Death Race 2050. I have no plans to see it, you'll have to let me know how it is.

What Happened to Monday? (2017)

I could have easily gone with Logan's Run in this slot, but enough with the 70s and 80s, what about a recent dystopian future flick? What Happened to Monday? was a Netflix Original, and while that's often a mixed bag, this was better than your average movie dumped on there on a Friday morning. In a future with a strict one-child policy, a woman dies while giving birth to septuplets. In order to hide their numbers, their grandfather names each of them after a day of the week, whichcorresponds with the one day they're allowed to leave the house and take up the role of playing the single child.

It's complicated, but that's merely the set-up. Further in the future, all seven siblings are now played by Noomi Rapace, and as the title might indicate, Monday disappears and the other sibs try to figure out what happened. It's even more complex than I'm making it sound, mainly because I'm really dumbing it down to sell you on watching it. Noomi Rapace has a steamy sex scene a little past the one hour mark, baring her breasts in bed while a guy goes down on her...

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