The Year In Film: The Ten Unsexiest Movies of 2016

Keep up with all of our Year in Film features, including The Ten Sexiest Movies of 2016, here.

Arrival       unsexiest-movies-of-2016-arrival No film, science fiction or otherwise, is under any obligation to address sexuality, but some might’ve helped breathe life into the central bond between Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner’s characters here, serving better than the Hallmarkian platitudes blubbered by one of them towards the end. Considering the fate of Adams’s daughter, it might’ve been uncalled for, but Arrival’s rhapsodic gestures about time’s flat circularity, the wonders of non-linearity and cosmic human connection end up feeling a bit clinical and neutered. Justin Stewart


De Palma


This documentary features copious clips of the eponymous director’s oeuvre, but mostly it’s just him, sitting before a mantelshelf, rattling off pleased opinions about himself with remarkable self-possession—which never, astonishingly, tips over into arrogance. While we generally consider it sexy to be so confident, there’s nothing particularly arousing about this boyish yet graying yet ruddy man talking at you for 110 minutes about how good at movies he is. Holy mackerel! Henry Stewart




This fine, mesmerizing movie could be interpreted as a re-imagining of the mermaid myth. But it is dystopic, creepy, and extremely discomfiting—not least, because it’s teenage boys who give birth. Watching the film renders physical contact of all kinds but especially sex suspect and not at all inviting. Splash! this is not, and neither Tom Hanks nor Darryl Hannah is anywhere to be found. Jonathan Stevenson




Bernard Rose’s excellent new adaptation of Frankenstein skimps on the romantic edge that has made Mary Shelly’s modern Prometheus such a timeless revisit. What it does have is scads of the grossest stuff you’ve ever seen. Our latest monster is usually hunky Xavier Samuel, here a putrid yellow mass of decay and visible veins. After his creator/mother is killed, he’s adopted by a blind homeless guitarist who tries to get him laid by throwing his meagre busker earnings at the cheapest prostitute in LA. This naturally ends in murder and the film somehow gets less tender from there. The film is a formally beguiling take on the age-old tale, but you may want to keep a trashcan handy to deposit your sickness. Scout Tafoya


Green Room


Jeremy Saulnier knows how to sustain a mood, but that’s a small reward for enduring his dour, vaguely “badass” feats of atmosphere, which seem to think they have something to say about violence or human nature but offer only Flick Freak fanboy service. Sexuality is but one of the facets of the human experience barred from his hermetically sealed worlds, in this case a dank rock club’s sticky green room in some forgotten Oregon woods, where a touring punk band (themselves weirdly inauthentic, calling into question Saulnier’s scene “cred”) is picked off by neo-Nazis. Justin Stewart


Jason Bourne


Granted, the Bourne series, stoic and self-serious, has never been known for its sexiness. But it reached a chilly low in this year’s four-quel, wherein the Julia Stiles character, who has been with the series since the first entry and clearly had kind of a sublimated flirtation going with Matt Damon’s amnesiac superspy, was killed off in the movie’s opening —the shameless equivalent of a slasher sequel murdering the previous movie’s heroine for doomy shock value. Is anything less sexy than a supposedly brainy franchise indulging in another round of women in refrigerators? Jesse Hassenger


The Lobster


When John C. Reilly has his hand stuck into a toaster as punishment for masturbating, the real shock is that any character in this incredibly unlubricated dystopia has had the imagination to feel aroused. Amidst so much deadpan Yorgos-Lanthimossy mutilation (self-inflicted and otherwise), dour dry humping and pallid line readings, getting off is an authentically subversive act. Mark Asch


The Neon Demon


Nicolas Winding Refn’s take on the perils of the fashion industry, could be sexy if only it wasn’t so dreadfully obvious. This tale of a young model navigating through the literal horrors of a vapid world relies on a combination of cliche (the male photographer who demands she get naked) and over the top reveals that are easy metaphors for the fashion industry’s flaws (spoiler alert: models are cannibals and necrophiliacs). The film is brimming with sleaze, but it ain’t the fun kind. Abbey Bender


Sausage Party


To be fair, this slab of pure raunch wasn’t meant to be sexy. But when an animated movie starring Seth Rogen as a horny sausage relentlessly embraces shitty food puns and ethnic stereotypes as a means of spouting existentialism, all to culminate in a massive grocery orgy in which a milk carton fucks a Hitler-esque sauerkraut bottle from behind, I’m ready to make abstinence my new year’s resolution. Max Kyburz




Clint Eastwood’s sober ode to remarkable everyday heroism and commonsense integrity in the face of bureaucratic second-guessing and thin-slicing is entertaining, morally sound and made with old school fluidity and care. Perhaps that turns you on, and it would be indecent and wrong to desire a sex scene between Tom Hanks’s title flyer and wife Laura Linney. But since there isn’t one, this makes the list. Justin Stewart


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