sex, lies and videotape

“Garbage. All I’ve been thinking about all week is garbage. I mean, I just can’t stop thinking about it…”

As the 80s drew to a close, a new movie arrived in theaters. But this wasn’t any ordinary movie. No sir. This little bit of awesomeness was not only an instant classic in and of itself, it ushered in the dawn of a whole new (well, not NEW… but certainly old-in-a-new-light) kind of movie.

For years, independent movies had languished in the obscure art-house theaters in the bohemian section of town. And only people who considered themselves ‘cineastes’ would ever go see them. Usually independent films were weird, incoherent, and not at all entertaining for the average Joe.

Then came sex, lies and videotape (and its totally cool all-lowercase title).

And while, yes, it was still quite a bit ‘out there’, its cast included household names (Steff from Pretty in Pink, Dale from St. Elmo’s Fire, Michael from Summer Lovers, and Kit, who we’d already started seeing in trailers for the following year’s Pretty Woman).

The story of a loner named Graham (James Spader) who rolls into a sleepy little Louisiana town to meet up with his buddy John (Peter Gallagher), sex, lies and videotape had our attention from the very first shot of the asphalt rolling by to the tune of Mark Mangini’s percussive guitar solo.

Full of, well… sex, lies, and videotape, the movie tackled infidelity, impotence, and a loveless marriage like we’d never seen those topics done before. Anne (Andie MacDowell) is married to John, who’s cheating with Anne’s sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). When Graham arrives, he brings literal baggage (a duffle bag full of videotapes and a camera) and emotional baggage (he can’t be sexually aroused in the presence of anyone).

Secrets are uncovered, tables are turned, punches are thrown, and plants are used as sexual ornaments.

And it all came from the mind of an unknown writer and director named Steven Soderbergh.

sex, lies and videotape would not only win the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989, it would also score an Oscar nod for Best Original Screenplay, and it would help secure each of the main actors’ careers for many more years.

It would also help launch a fledgling movie studio named Miramax into the stratosphere. And Soderbergh did okay for himself, too.

sex, lies and videotape earned more then $24 million by the time 1989 drew to a close–– not bad on a budget of just over $1 million. More importantly it helped pave the way for other independent movies like Reservoir Dogs, Bad Lieutenant, and Pulp Fiction.

Not too shabby indeed.

“I think it’s gonna rain.”
“It is raining.”
“Yeah.”

We ♥ sex, lies and videotape.

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~ by weheart80s on April 12, 2017.

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