Cheech and Chong's Up In Smoke: A Retro SSL Review

This was originally posted August 27th 2014. I'm reposting it because I'm back in Indianapolis from Des Moines  for the weekend working on a dance video shoot, and we just ate at our favorite Waffle House, here. It's Waffle House #420, which is obviously the best Waffle House number you could possibly be....and we're lucky enough to have it right here in Indy. So, I thought that in itself was enough of a reason to repost my Up In Smoke SSL Review. Enjoy, and do visit Waffle House #420 if you ever come to Indianapolis. It's the best.

So, just since I watched Felix the Cat, Netflix suggested I watch Up in Smoke, and I thought why not? I'd never seen it. Cheech and Chong. It's a classic, right? It was kinda funny. It would probably be a lot funnier if it was 35 years ago, ya know? Things lose their bite with age and imitation.

However, it just so happened that the person I found most amusing in the movie was also the one involved in the SSL Review eligible moment. Of course, a movie must depict or discuss female orgasm or masturbation in order to even get an SSL Review (the most coveted of all reviews!), but this one is a little interesting, because it is a completely fake orgasm, and I don't mean it was a woman faking an orgasm during a sex act. It is a woman named Jade (played by Zane Buzby) telling a story of this other woman having sex. Basically, she's giving a vivid account of this woman's ridiculously over-exuberant orgasm noises that go on through the whole sex act, and it's clear that Jade sees it and the woman doing it as silly and annoying. So, I think it's actually pretty right on, because it kinda calls out the incredibly unrealistic porny perma-gasms that are so common in our sexual media. Although my assessment of this lady-gasm depiction is actually a little more complicated, and I'll get into that later. For now, let me set up the scene.

This is the Up in Smoke orgasm scene...before Cheech wakes with a cramp

Jade is supposed to be this like ditzy, free-spirit that is just constantly talking. She's also a drug aficionado and has a case with all these pills and shit in it that she uses and gives to other people. The movie will just cut to her, and she'll be in the middle of telling someone some story that sounds crazy as hell. That's how we get to the orgasm scene, actually. Chong and another girl are sleeping in a van made of pot next to a line of people waiting for a concert. Jade is just calmly sitting there in the van brushing her hair and telling this story to 2 sleeping people. Even when the story gets all heated, it never stops just being a story to her. It's very matter of fact. She's still just brushing her hair and not really caring who's listening. Here's my by-ear transcript of her story. I had to pause and rewind a lot to get this, so at least read it and make it worth my while.

She was like nuts. You could always tell if she was in the hotel Bono(?not sure if that's the right word?) man ya know. Like everyone'd be dozin off and all the sudden she'd start up. First you'd hear it, it'd start up like ya know, ahhh, ahhh (real gentle and slow) but then she'd like really get goin' and she'd be more like ya know uh uh uh (a little rougher sounding) ya know and she'd start going like a motor boat, ya know fuu-uu-uuu-uuck me Alex. His name was Alex. Ya know, Fuu-uuu-uu-uuuck meeeee. fu-uuu-uuck mee-eee-ee fuck me Alex (loud and staccato reapeated about 4 or 5 more time) 
Then Chong wakes up. He has a cramp, and says so out loud. He starts grunting and stuff and moving around erratically in the van trying to work out his cramp. The van, my friends, is a-rockin' and the woman is still just chillin', brushing her hair and telling this story. She's getting louder and wilder sounding though.
yeah, yeah oh, yeah, oh yeah (repeated many times). But she's like this - she'd do this...oh yeah, oh yeah (repeated many times and then winds it down like she's finished up an amazing orgasm)...and then she'd have like 2 tears runnin' down her face...
At that point, Chong's cramp subsides, and he gets out of the van. All the people in the line cheer like wild.

So the complication I mentioned with my assessment is that during Jade's story, people outside the van begin to hear what's going on and think that some crazy wild, highly orgasmic sex is going on. They cheer Chong when he comes out, so this whole joke is done with the understanding that the fake sounds Jade is making (as a way to make fun of another woman's craziness) are still taken as real and as an indication to the crowd outside of what a bad-ass lover the dude inside the van must be. So, it's complicated. Does the crowd's misunderstanding of the situation point out to the audience how ridiculous it is that these over-exaggerated orgasm shows seen in things like porn are taken so seriously? Or does it just add one more instance of an exaggerated porn-gasm for audiences to un-critically take in as possible way women might orgasm. It's probably the latter, but I don't feel I can hold Up in Smoke to that too harshly. In the end, it was just a joke, and it was at least partially based on making fun of the porn-gasm.

I'll give Up in Smoke a very wishy-washy 3 vulva rating.



Lady Bird: The SSL Review

If you haven't checked this movie out, I recommend it. First, it's directed and written by a woman - so that in itself to me is worth supporting, but it also feels like it was directed and written by a woman. I think we need more of that feel in the movie landscape. Second, it's just a solid coming of age movie. To me, it's an incredibly well done movie in this genre. Thirdly, it's SSL approved...which means I think what it puts out into the world regarding lady-gasms, lady-bation, and female sexuality is positive and helping to work towards orgasm equality, but you'll see more about that in the SSL Review.

For those of you new to SSL Reviews: They are a critique of depictions or discussions of female masturbation, female orgasm, or the clit. I only review scenes that include those things - not the movie as a whole (unless I feel like talking about more), and I focus mostly on the realism of the depiction/discussion and also how it fits into a larger cultural discussion of female orgasm and sexuality.

Check all the SSL Review movies HERE and TV SSL Reviews HERE.

Now let's get into it. I'm going to describe all the scenes first and then give you my thoughts on them all together.

Eating hosts and talking water-bation
The first SSL Review eligible scene was with Lady Bird and her BFF Julie. They are seniors at a Catholic high school, and somehow they are in the area where the hosts are stored. They are laying next to each other on their backs with their legs up against the wall, and they're eating hosts. For those not raised Catholic, that's the, ya know, body of christ, and it's pretty sacrilegious. Anyway, it cuts into the following conversation.

Still from Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird:
...in the tub I scoot myself under, just like now, like this, and the the water just...whoop. (she motions the water falling down onto her crotch area)Julie and Lady Bird together: Schwoop! (They are both laughing and moving their hands the same way Lady Bird just did)
Julie: (still laughing) You're soooo gross.
Lady Bird: I think I figured it out when I was like 3 or something.
Julie: I use...(laughing)...I take the showerhead...
Lady Bird: Oh my God...(laughing)Julie: Embarrassing (still laughing) I use that.
Lady Bird: I don't know if mine is the right kind though. Maybe it's different when you actually have a penis in there. Like it's more intense.
Julie: Mine was pretty intense, I think.
They both laugh, and then the scene ends after they get interrupted.

First Time
This scene is not technically SSL Reviewable because it's just about intercourse - not lady-gasm, clits, or masturbation. However, I'm including it because I think the lack of lady-gasms here is part of the big picture in this movie regarding female sexuality. So, here it is.

Lady Bird is making out with this popular dude that's kinda her boyfriend. She's made out with him before. They're in his bedroom, and she says she's ready to have sex. He's super cazj about it. She's on him cowgirl style. He puts on a condom, and she gets on that D. You can see her struggle through it a bit, like she sorta relaxes herself and takes it slow, and then she starts to move her hips so it's going in and out, and it's just a hot second before he kinda takes his hands off her. She kinda stops after a second and asks if he was done, and he says yeah (again super cazj). Then she gets a nose bleed and deals with that. Then she's all lovey talking about how they deflowered each other and he's all like, "nah, I've had sex with like 6 people." She gets pissed because he said he was a virgin. He's all like, don't be mad, and she says, "I just wanted it to be special." and he says, "Why? You're gonna have so much unspecial sex in your life," She comes back at him with, "I was on top. Who the fuck is on top their first time?"

Girl Talk
Later she's talking to Julie about the sex she had, and says the following.

Lady Bird: People make so much noise in the movies when it happens, but it's really not a big thing. You can totally be quiet during it.
Julie: Was it amazing though?
Lady Bird: I wanted it so badly, but then I found that when it happened...I really like dry humping much more.

They both laugh, and begin talking about something else.

Expectations, The Actual, and Dry-Humping-Is-Better: My Thoughts
There are a few things I love about what Lady Bird insinuates about female orgasm and what it puts out in the world about female sexuality. I'll list them for you.

Girls masturbate. I mean girls do masturbate. It happens all the time all over the world, and as a culture, we're getting a touch better at acknowledging, accepting, and normalizing that, but it's still way, way behind how we acknowledge, accept and normalize that for boys. So, every time we get a chance to see girls in pop media that masturbate, and better yet, admit to masturbating with positive/neutral feedback in relation to that admission, we are that much closer to a world where it's almost expected that girls explore their own genitals and their own orgasms the same as it's pretty much expected for boys. And, we want a world like that, because girls who masturbate are girls who have a knowledgeable relationship to their orgasms, and they become women who have a fighting chance of finding ways to incorporate their own desire, fantasy and orgasm into their sexual relationships...and everyone benefits from that on so many levels.

The female reality of sexual expectations breaking apart when we encounter the actual. This is where Lady Bird's sexual story as a whole comes together, and I think it really captures the thing we really just don't want to admit - intercourse is kinda BS for lady-gasms and it's often a let-down. Intercourse is great for guys to get off, but not gals. Males orgasm from things encompassing their penises and moving around. Female have never ever, in all of scientific literature, been shown to have a physically verified orgasm from a something stimulating the inside of the vagina. So, uh, intercourse sucks for female orgasm and is super awesome for male orgasm. Yet, for some godforsaken reason, the whole world insinuates (and sometimes downright tells girls and women) that intercourse is going to be this amazing thing that is special and orgasmic and, I don't know, full of fireworks and rainbows and the universe or something. I mean it can be nice, and can be hot, and can be amazing in a way, and can even be orgasmic if you actually included clitoral glans stimulation during it, but the reality is for females it's not always even a little nice, it can hurt, it is often not hot at all- especially if there's not clit stimulation to keep up the arousal, and most women and men have no idea that orgasms come not from the vaginal canal, but from the clitoral glans...so it's not usually orgasmic either.

Whether we realize it or not, I believe all females who become sexually active with a partner (but especially a male partner) get smacked hard with the realization that their expectations about intercourse do not match reality. I think everyone integrates that new reality into their understanding of themselves and sex and orgasm differently, whether it be to adjust expectations, to assume you are broken or bad at sex, to just force into your brain the idea that whatever is happening during sex must be the amazingness it's supposed to be, or maybe for a few lucky ones to realize you need to get your clit involved to come and to begin demanding it. No matter what, though, I think the clash of reality vs. expectations is inevitable, and I love the Lady Bird does indeed encounter this....and you know what? She decides that dry humping is more enjoyable. Why? Well I imagine because her clit is getting rubbed against during the dry humping and only her vaginal canal was getting love during the intercourse. We need more dry humping (which can be orgasmic for all) in the world and less intercourse (which is mostly only orgasmic for males). Just saying.

The subtle poo-pooing of thinking that there are 2 orgasms and the one with a penis inside you is better somehow. Lady Bird masturbates. Obviously I love that for the reasons above. She orgasms, it's insinuated, but she expresses fear to her friend that it's not the "right kind." It's such utter bullshit that people are brainwashed into thinking there are different types of orgasms for women, and that the one involved with intercourse is the better of them, but the truth is we are brainwashed in that way, and her saying that is all too real of a fear that so many women and girls have. There is no 'vaginal orgasm' or g-spot orgasm or uterine or cervical or inner clitoral leg orgasm. People talk like there is, but there is no actual proof they exist. There is only orgasm, and there is no physical proof that this orgasm can ever occur from stimulating the inside of the vagina. The idea that women can get boned or finger fucked to orgasm is just, well myth, to be quite blunt. Female ejaculation can occur, it seems from a specific stimulation inside the vagina, but that is not an orgasm and it usually involvles liquid coming from the urethra. It is physically something completely different. The truth, that no one wants to believe, is that women orgasm from clitoral glans stimulation the same that men orgasm from penile stimulation.

So, I love that Lady Bird expresses that fear because it's so very real. I love even more, though, that Julie says, "Mine was pretty intense, I think." Because, by god, it probably was. It was an orgasm. It wasn't a lesser, outer orgasm. It was an orgasm, and she trusted her actual experience of it being pretty awesome in the way orgasms are awesome, and didn't worry too much that the whole world is (incredibly inaccurately) telling her she needs something inside her to give her a really intense one. To me that scene was responsible in that it noted the reality of how insecure women feel about their orgasm, but didn't validate it. It countered it a bit with Julie's confident and self-aware response.

The physical description of the masturbation was realistic. Of course not everyone masturbates with running water, but some people do (2% according to the surveys in the 1976 book The Hite Report by Shere Hite), and it's clearly a way that could work. I mean, running water gives pressure and stimulation, and if it's right against the clitoral glans area, of course it could cause enough jostling to stimulate an orgasm. Why not? So, the realism of the physical description/depiction of masturbation to orgasms is realistic enough to get my SSL stamp of approval.

Vulva Rating
This movie had a realistic female perspective of masturbation and orgasm - which at times depicted the sadly inaccurate fears and worries forced upon women and girls. However, it never just let the BS set out there unchecked. Yeah, Lady Bird had ideas and worries about another 'better' orgasm that happened during intercourse, and yeah, she and Julie had deeply held ideas about how amazing intercourse was supposed to be, and those are accurate reflections of how a real woman in her position might be thinking. However, the movie didn't reinforce these by ending with these characters we like still just living contently in those myths, it kind of shattered them or at least poked holes in them before the audience said goodbye. I respect that. It's responsible movie-making if you ask me.

So, because of the reality of female perspective, the normalizing of physically realistic female masturbation and of openly admitting to it, and the lovely depiction of the journey a woman/girl takes from believing myths of sexual intercourse to experiencing the reality of it, gives this movie a progressive and realistic statement about female orgasm, female masturbation, and female sexuality.

I give it 5 out of 5 vulvas.


5 2018 Oscar Nominated Movies Directed By Women

I started doing this categorized List of 5 movies thing where I showcase movies that were directed by women and that I have actually seen. It all started during the Directed By Women Worldwide Viewing Party in September 2015, and it was pretty fun, so I've continued doing it from time to time.

It's a bit off-topic from my normal fare, ya know, being that it's not specifically about lady-gasms or anything like that, but I think it fits the blog because
1. this blog is also about indie movie-making, and
2. this blog is partially about getting the female perspective of sexuality into our media. So, to me, supporting female voices in our media  means we're creating more room for female voices to speak on all types of things, which sometimes will be sex, orgasms, and sexuality.

You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

The movies in this list were all nominated for the best movie in its category at the 2018 Academy Awards. Granted, those are months behind us now, but I say it's never too late checkout an Oscar Nominated movie. So, 4 of these are shorts, because, well, I haven't yet seen any of the full length docs or the full length animated films this year - which would have added a couple more regular sized movies to my list, but I'm sure I'll be checking them out soon.

1 Edith and Eddie - This was directed by Laura Checkoway. I saw this at Indiana University. They were hosting a series where you could watch all the shorts and we hadn't seen the docs yet. In fact, this was the first year we were anywhere near a place showing all the short docs, so it was quite a treat to finally see them all.

2 Traffic Stop - This was directed by Kate Davis. I saw this at the Indiana University showing as well. It looks like this director is coming out with a full length doc this year that I imagine should be good called 'Say My Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland'

3. Heroin(e) - This was directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon. Again, this one I got to see at the ol' Indiana University showing. I thought this was a pretty well done and engaging short doc.

4 Watu Wote (All of Us) - This was directed by Katja Benrath. This one I saw at the Keystone Arts Cinema in Indianapolis (It's been nicknamed 'the evil Key' by one of our friends because we used to have a cool as fuck arts theater on the south side called Key Cinemas that brought in more 'artsy' low-budget movies but it closed down and the Keystone Arts on the upperclass northside (where the rich folk aren't afraid to go)  with lots more Hollywood, big-budget movies was all that was left. I personally am just glad we have any arts theater at all that brings in some good shit from time to time and that it is financially stable enough to stay around, but I still call it the evil Key). Anyway, the Evil Key brings in the Oscar Nominated short animation and short live action films each year and so we've always for sure checked those out.

5 Lady Bird - This was directed by Greta Gerwig. I saved this for last because it's the one everyone has probably heard about, and it's full length and all. I saw this when me and Charlie took our first initial trip to Des Moines to check out the city when I found out my work might be moving here. I have to say the fact that Des Moines has a solid and seemingly stable arts theater here was a true relief. It's called Fleur Cinema , and it definitely plays some more high-budget hollywood movies, but it also brings in some more lesser known films, which is all I ask. It's a Des Moines jewel if you ask me.


Lady-gasm Advice for Becca, The Bachelorette

Okay - 2 things.

1. I'm still settling into my new job and my new city and I've not been able to prioritize this blog as much as I'd like still, but I also love the shit out of this blog and have a thousand things I still want to write, so I'm not gonna go long periods without writing on here. Ya gotta stick with this kind of thing if you don't want people to forget about it, amiright? That means I gotta think up and write some things quick-style - but things I think are worth writing to some degree. This is what you'll be seeing here...because I'm in a new city and haven't made any friends outside of work and want to go to a local music show (I don't even really love going to live local music shows that much, but you know - ya gotta meet people) here in about 20 minutes, but Ima gonna get a post up first.

2. A friend convinced me to watch the Bachelorette, and I did. I watched the first episode, and I'm gonna get in on her group chat for the rest of them, because, well, it will be fun.

That's the two things you need to know for background. Here is the 3rd thing that actually has to do with the subject of this blog...lady-gasms.

3. Becca, the current Bachelorette, is living in a mansion with 28...well now only 22 I think, mostly hot dudes. They are scrambling to please her. If this lady does not take advantage of this and have a dude working that clit every night, I'm gonna flip my coffee table. This is the most golden of opportunities.

That arrogant, blonde, date-rape-face model who keeps running his mouth about how hot he is even though he's very much not the hottest dude there? Shut his mouth up by rubbing your vulva against it until you come, Becca. Then send him way and sleep like a queen in your mansion bed.

That guy that dressed up in a chicken suit to meet you so he could be memorable by making the sound Bekaw..bekaw until it turned into Becca? He tries too hard, and you need to capitalize on that and make him work. Get some toys and let him work those out on you. Maybe a vibe in the whole, a vibe on the clit (he's got two hands), and then he better be using that dumb mouth to talk dirty to you. If not, bye chicken.

The dude you love for some reason after he did a cheap-ass trick by rolling up to meet you in a mini-van full of car seats and baby crap. That's weird, and it makes me sad you went all melty about it, Becca. Get your shit together, don't fall for him, but do get a handy from him in that minivan. If he's good with his fingers on the clit...then maybe give him a chance, but just a small chance.

What I'm saying Becca, is that you better live this out right for all of us women who don't get the chance to have 20 sexy men at our beck and call all night. Please. I mean, I've never seen this show before really, but I KNOW the Bachelor makes use of the score of ladies desperate to please him. It's about equality, Becca...and also about just some good ol' gettin' off...but also equality.