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Screening #9: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Ask (1972) – 88 min.

Sex

Because of the surprising success of the “auteur” movies of American New Cinema with the audience, in the early Seventies the Hollywood studios became ready to finance films like this masterpiece of the absurd by Woody Allen. New about Allen’s generation were not only their ideas but also their approach to film making. Predecessors had to learn their craft most of the times by working as assistant directors in the studios,  but Allen had learned the art as a graduate student of communication and film at New York University.

A descendant of Russian and Austrian Jewish immigrants, Woody Allen started his career as a writer for jokes and became successful as such at the early age of Seventeen. After his graduation he became a playwright, and wrote his first movie script in 1965 for the comedy “What’s New Pussycat?”. A year later he took the opportunity to direct his first first film “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” in which he took an existing Japanese spy movie (“Kokusai himitsu keisatsu”) and re-dubbed it in English with new comic dialogue. After Allen directed, starred in, and co-wrote “Take the Money and Run” in 1969, he got a deal with United Artists for several films, including “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex…”, which became one of his biggest financial hits grossing domestically 18 M US $ against a 2 M US $ budget, ranking on place 13 among the year’s highest grossing films. Since then, Allen, who also could be considered as the father of the modern romantic comedy, has received four Academy Awards (Best Original Screenplays for “Annie Hall”, 1978, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, 1987, and “Midnight in Paris”, 2011, and Best Director, again for “Annie Hall”) and more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer. And although he had hits and misses at the box office, he fully has recovered with “Midnight in Paris” (2011) gaining more than 50 M US $ revenues on the domestic market. Despite friendly recognition from the Academy, Allen has consistently refused to attend the ceremony. Back in 1974, Woody was quoted by ABC News as saying, “The whole concept of awards is silly. I cannot abide by the judgment of other people, because if you accept it when they say you deserve an award, then you have to accept it when they say you don’t”.

IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068555/?ref_=nv_sr_3

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14 responses to “Screening #9: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Ask (1972) – 88 min.

  1. hiro ⋅

    This film was strange but it was fun enough for me to keep my attention. Also I have never watched the movie which has several short stories in one film. I liked the fact that each story had slight change of taste so that I did not get tiered of watching. My two favorite stories in the film were Italian one and the last one. For Italian one, I was surprise that even though all conversation was in Italian and I did not understand what they are saying, I could understand what was going on and also the director’s purpose of making audience uncomfortable surprised me. The last story was fun for me because its idea of controlling everything of human by humans. I probably laughed the most in this story. The other thing I realized in this film was that same actors were used in different stories. It realizes me that this film was low budget film but I did not care so much about it. All stories in the film are strange and they are different but all of them have same main topic of sex. Overall I enjoyed this film and I really liked the idea of having several stories with one topic in the one film.

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  2. Derrick Gray ⋅

    Interesting film. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex had many different elements that made this film appealing. Firstly, the subject matter of this film is so incredibly controversial. It is interesting to contrast the subject matter of this movie to our other films. Even though Vanishing Point had drugs and naked women in the forefront, the over all content of Vanishing Point did not cross the boundaries many Americans at that time had set. Everything You always Wanted to Know About Sex however crossed so many cultural and societal boundaries that most feature films before, during, and after would never even dream of attempting.

    In addition to the controversial subject matter, the layout of his Everything You Always wanted to Know About Sex was different than most films. Derived from the book, this film is composed like a book. Each different section acts as a chapter. Every chapter has its unique plot and characters. What keeps everything relevant is that the underlying plot revolves around sex.

    An interesting chapter in the film was the orgasm chapter. Some people in the class were not too fond of this episode due to the lack of subtitles. I however applaud this episode because despite the lack of subtitles the audience can still clearly follow the story.

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  3. Reggie ⋅

    This film was interesting and funny, but it wasn’t everything I wanted to know about sex. All jokes aside it was a decent movie that you can tell was produced from an artistic view and freedom. Each scene had its unique plot and story with the only thing connecting them was the overall theme of sex and some of the same reoccurring actors. Though I don’t fully understand what was trying to be portrayed in the part with no subtitles. I thought it was pig Latin or sumtin, but I was told it was actual Italian which means it translated into something. I think the movie was going for a stupid approach, the its so stupid its funny kinda thing.

    I found that I couldn’t help myself from laughing at certain parts of the skits. It kinda of reminded me of listening to a CD where each song is different tells a story. An each story gives you a look into the mind of the artist. This film gave us a look into how they viewed sex and it many aspects that affect us. The last scene reminded me of the new Pixar movie inside out. Showing what goes on inside our brains making our emotions into physical entities and how the communicate with one another. This was my favorite scene, I could not stop from laughing at the different punch lines and situations.

    Overall I think it was a good movie, but I’m not sure how many people would agree with me. The scene with no subtitles NEEDS subtitles! Was so confused other then they seemed like a couple of nymphos that were having sex anywhere and everywhere. This shows how crazy movies would be if people were giving more freedoms to express their ideas. They say the genre are limited to where they are now because moving making is become more of a business. Where movies are released in accordance with the audiences taste, but I believe that sometimes people need to be expose to be exposed to something new. Like Steve Jobs once said “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

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  4. Michelle ⋅

    “Everything you always wanted to know about sex, but were afraid to ask” is quite a film. I would say that I actually have mixed feelings about it. I do enjoy the witty dialogues of Woody Allen and I think it is pretty hilarious. The style of the film is pretty entertaining too. I really like how the screenplay was edited into short films into one film, all the time maintaining the theme of the movie which is about sex. I do like the very last vignettes and I’d say I was most entertained by it. Among the other vignettes, I understood this humor the most.

    However, the reason why I have mixed feelings about it is because of the peculiar plots. I understand that there are vignettes and it was somehow related to the plots but for the most part, I find them really weird. Maybe because I am not used to them. After the screening, I decided to look it up and realized that some of them are homages and parodies of old films and television shows. I am not a fan of parodies so I guess that is the reason I didn’t enjoy it much.

    Overall, I do like the wacky lines and some of the vignettes but I don’t think I’ll be watching it for the second time.

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  5. Yui ⋅

    “Midnight in Paris” was the only Woody Allen’s movie that I’ve seen before, so it was quite entertaining to see his different taste in this movie. It was a great opportunity to see his starting point, where he originally established his career.

    I think the second episode contains the simplest sense of joke that I could get through the entire movie. As the story goes on, I was kind of able to guess what is going to happen, but it was still entertaining to me. Looking at the moment when the doctor cracks a smile as he falls in love with a sheep was humorous.

    For the third one, I think I got the idea of the story line, but I still felt frustrated at not being able to understand the language at all. Some people might think that watching without subtitles would derive a sense of humor better, yet I would rather have subtitles and understand the details in the story.

    I think the fourth story has a softer approach to the humor compared to other stories. Now it is commonplace to see actual transvestites or jokes dealing with them, so I think people, back in the day, took the story on a different level and in a different way. Especially paying attention to what the wife says at the end of the story after she finds out that her husband enjoys dressing as a woman, it tells how people consider those people differently; she treats her husband as the abnormal person compared to “decent people” and urges him to receive treatment for his “diseased” mind.

    After watching the last story, I was simply impressed with his unique creativity. It shows how he is overflowing with ideas.

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  6. Sandra ⋅

    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, where do I even start. This was not a favorite of mine, perhaps a controversial and funny concept in its own time today however it felt very passé. I look at the film as a film that came out 1972 I can appreciate the concept of a film that willingly asks and looks for answers to questions that people I those days most likely were a bit embarrassed to ask. The film did not deliver on the title it did not “tell me everything I ever wanted to know about sex” however it does asks seven embarrassing sex questions which all are answered with seven comical stories, maybe the idea was to make it easier to talk about sex?

    As for the third story, I am one of those in our class that actually like that there was no subtitles for this story, together with the question the story just made sense even without words. It felt like a throwback to the silent films.

    The forth story had the best use of humor in my opinion. It was a suspense humor of modern standards and the ironic lines delivered y the wife in the end just killed it, brilliant humor.
    The last story however also had some jokes that works for a bigger audience and the line “What if he’s only masturbating? I’ll end up on the ceiling somewhere!” by Woody Allan himself dressed up as a sperm ready to make the “jump” cracked me up.

    However generally, I did not really enjoy the humor in the film, except for in the fourth story, perhaps an attempt to make the subject lighter it just felt childish and embarrassing. The seven stories did not feel connected by anything other than the theme of “sex questions”. I believe I have to watch this particular film again in order to find a new angle and perhaps gain some appreciation.

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  7. Max ⋅

    The first time I came into contact with a movie like this was with the animatrix. (Actually it might have been Fantasia which I owned as a child). But as with the animatrix I thought certain short films were better than the others.
    Humor is of course very subjective and I thought the pun heavy jokes in the first part were not for me. I definetly wasn’t giving up on the movie as I knew more variety was to come soon.
    The video with the sheep was funnier and had some hilarious scenes like the s&m sheep. I knew the actor from the chocolate factory movie so it was funny seeing him in bed with a sheep.
    The Italian skit was okay, though I must have zoned out for a bit because it ended so abruptly for me. I think there was potential for simpler funnier jokes trying to get his girlfriend an orgasm.
    The transvestite skit did not feel as funny. I liked how the whoooole neighborhood came to help this poor man who just wanted to hide his identity.
    I reaaaally liked the black and white skit. I think this skit did not make a great impression on the rest, but I thought the randomness (yet clever) jokes were hilarious. especially the wife who had to eat pork and looked so unhappy was funny to me. I think humor should have no boundaries and I think people should be able to make fun of people’s race or believe as long as it’s not insulting. Problem with this of course is that people’s tolerance for what’s insulting differs greatly.
    By the 6th movie I realized that a good thing about these short movies was that the pacing was really high. Never did I have the feeling that the intro for a skit dragged for too long.
    I think the humor in the 6th skit was the most simple but still thought some jokes were so random that I found them funny like the person trying to have sex with a giant bread.
    The highlight was the last skit. A presecessor to inside out! It just shows how hilarious the premise is of portaying what goes on in someone’s brain by using real people.
    Smart jokes (yet toilet humor-ish) like the Sperms worrying about if it was a homosexual encounter or the one single black sperm who was wondering what he was doing here were hilarious.
    Rather than seeing the whole movie again I might sometimes look up some of these skits, because some of these are funny to watch again and again

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  8. akems

    Everything you always wanted to know about sex is definitely one of my favorites that we have watched in this course. It is truly enjoyable and hilarious and through out the film it kept my attention. The short stories were all very entertaining. My favorite short stories were the “What is sodomy”, “why do some women have trouble reaching an orgasm” and “What happens during ejaculation”. I thought the stories and dialogs were well thought and very creative. I couldn’t stop laughing through out the film. The funny thing about the segments is the fact that even though they are talking or describing about sex for some reason it is not too erotic or anything like this. However, I could imagine people not liking it as much because it is more likely inside jokes if you are not into this kind of topic I don’t see it people liking it. For instance, the episode of the love affair with the sheep. Some people might think it is just purely disgusting. Therefore, I was a bit surprised to hear that it came out as a mainstream film. I thought it was an independent film because of its content. The “What happens during ejaculation” was my favorite out of all because even though I know that it doesn’t actually happens in real life ironically it all made sense in a strange way.

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  9. Lilou

    “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex but Were to Afraid to Ask,” is a brilliant, comedic piece directed by and featured as a lead actor, Woody Allen. The film is separated into seven vignettes, which all explore the perverse nature of mankind. My favourite segment in this film was “Why do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm?”, filmed with Italian dialogue, is about Woody and his partner, a beautiful woman who can never seem to achieve an orgasm with him, until she finds her fetish for public sex. I enjoyed this scene in particular because I find it interesting that it could grab my attention despite my lack of understanding for the language. Woody Allen pushes the envelope and shoves it down the audience’s throat with religious slanders, Sodomy between a man and sheep, a gargantuan breast etc. It is impossible to not cringe at least once throughout the entire film. Lastly, there is something to be said about the acting throughout the film, particularly from actors; Gene Wilder, Burt Reynolds and John Carradine. Only a director such as Mr. Allen could bring such a raunchy, risqué script to these famed names of Hollywood and have them act in this Comedy-erotic film.

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  10. Lance

    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex was a fun film. Well, at least some of it was. Due to the segmented format, some segments came across as funnier, or were simply stronger than others. Being a fan of Woody Allen in general, the style of comedy was very much enjoyable. The cast was definitely both very strong and as diverse as the segments themselves, it was great seeing all these big names, such as Gene Wilder, Burt Reynolds, and John Carradine, in what is a rather ridiculous film (I am of course referring to the subject matter and their presentation, rather than a general sense, when I say ridiculous). If I were to pick out a segment I truly enjoyed, it would have to be the first one, Do Aphrodisiacs Work? Simply because the setting was fun, and definitely the most different from the others, other than What Happens During Ejaculation? I enjoyed the awful puns that the jester provided. The weakest, in my opinion, was Are Transvestites Homosexuals? as, really, I just found it to be quite boring. The film may not be enjoyable for everyone, due to the rather controversial subject matters, but for anyone who is able to accept those, there is surely at least one segment a person can find amusement in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.

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  11. Adrian D ⋅

    This 1972 Woody Allen film was definitely in the top 5 least funny movies I have ever seen. The jokes were embarrassingly unfunny from start to finish. Moreover each of the 7 vignettes of the anthology could have been boiled down to 2 minute comedy sketches on television. Instead Allen stretches them out painfully for a total of 88 minutes.
    Each scene was a parody of some sort, but for me I didn’t care because the jokes were cheap and poor. For example, a man falls in love with a sheep. That’s not hilarious and I wasn’t cracking up. I did hear some people laugh throughout the film, but I think it’s because the jokes are so embarrassingly rubbish. I wish people were more honest and say what they truly think.
    I like absurd comedies when they are done well. I love Monty Python and still think a lot of their work holds up even today. My guess is that they would have took the subject of sex and made something a whole better than this. Allen behaving like a creepy pervert was very convincing though.

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  12. liannagutz ⋅

    Since I am a fan of a majority of Woody Allen’s films, it is pretty obvious that I expected to like this one as well. All of his films have a sort of realness to them and I like that. The film was not hard to watch because of the different scenes, this format really kept my attention. I like how the film really pushed the bounderies and talked about the most absurd and vulgar things. Just by hearing the title, it is quite obvious that the movie is already going to make some uncomfortable, but I like that aspect of it because as I said before Woody Allen always has a realness to all of his films.

    My favorite scene definitely had to be the scene where they answered what happens during ejaculation. I found it funny how big of a production they made it and also the whole concept. This scene really did remind me of the movie Inside Out, since they were sort of playing off the idea of a whole team of people inside your brain doing all of these tasks for you. The whole scene was extremely exaggerated and made me laugh the whole time.

    Overall, this movie has to be one of my favorites that we’ve watched so far not only because it’s a Woody Allen film but the concept is very creative and it really kept my attention the entire time solely due to the structure of the film.

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  13. Weni Chang ⋅

    This is the most interesting film I’ve ever watched in this class! Plenty numbers of elements composed with humor, hilarity, as well as inspiration.

    At the beginning, I was not quite understand what is going on. All the characters are wearing strange costumes, dressing like some kinds of people from Ancient Greece. As the story goes on, I realized that the entire film is sticked with one theme — sex! Not only the plots are all related to sex, but also the characters are acing in a very sexual way, especially felam e.

    Perhaps, it can be said that this film also has the function of educating the audience. Since the name Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, to a certain extend, it has the responsibility of answering things that we always wonder about sex. And it did provide us the answer — through a hilarious performance of the characters. The last theme where all the men are in pure white costumes in a female body, working really hard on figuring out the meanings of the woman’s body reaction is a highlight of the entire film.

    Personally, I think this film is incredible. It is not only highly entertaining but also meaningful. Of course, the portion of making fun of what we always wanted to know about sex covers 90 percent of the film, I was able to understand and experience what the director meant by the “things that we always wanted to know about sex” throughout the entire story.

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  14. meidecomm

    The first scene took me by surprise with a medieval location- “how does one initially associate aphrodisiacs with history?”, then our director, Woody Allen, embodies the classic jester WITH GLASSES! I had to step back and think, “didn’t Benjamin Franklin invent the bifocal?”, “why dodge continuity so blatantly– oh, this isn’t your standard spoke-of-the-wheel film.” By the time I had prepared myself for a film breaking the fourth wall and suspension of disbelief rules, I was hornswoggled into believing such a story could envelope at all in this type of scenario. The writers behind this were as bold as they were crafty.
    Gene Wilder? What are you doing outside of the Chocolate Factory? Oh no… The relationships revolving around the sheep ensued much hilarity in class, but I couldn’t help but think of how delicate this kind of story had to be told without becoming offensive to audiences in 1972. I was surprised how extended this story was- to include the doctor’s obsession tested to the point of his life unraveling. It was a tinge disturbing to see him spiral out of control in a restaurant trying to operate in a society that despises him. This is what I like best about Woody Allen’s work.
    The sexual biology played by human characters and machines was probably my favorite portion of the film. This is the epitome of covering sensitive subjects with comedy- relativity with your audience! I like to imagine I have Burt Reynolds operating a control panel in my testicles at the subatomic level.
    The giant singular breast portion had decent enough exposition and story, but when it burst on the scene all I could think was, “how crass”. I understand a level of homage to older monster films like Them! Or The Blob. But there’s certain things that humans are programmed by society to cringe to, so maybe that’s especially auteur of Woody Allen.
    The Italian portion was a bit jarring initially and the more I tried to understand the story, the more basic it felt. The shots were beautiful in their recreation of Italian cinema.
    The entirety of it, I don’t think I could watch with my parents, but would recommend they watch on their own; along with a few friends I wouldn’t be worried about.

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