Bright Lights Film Journal

Kirsten Dunst’s nipples: Now ya see ’em, now ya don’t.

Mary Jane’s Mary Janes
Remember the iconic shot from Spiderman 1, the upside down kiss between Spidy and Mary Jane? OK, now remember the real iconic shot from Spiderman 1, Kirsten Dunst’s right-side up nipples. I mean, tight blouse, no bra,* and a drenching downpour, who could ask for anything more?

Given the fact that Spiderman 1 grossed close to oh, I don’t know, half a billion dollars, it’s no surprise that Mary Jane showed up wet and erect in Spiderman 2, with a “cross your heart” anchor chain courtesy of Doc Oc. Yes, you can improve on a good thing!**

So, naturally, naturally, one might expect, you know, just a glimpse in Spidy 3. Well, forget it, dude. MJ’s gone high-hat and uptown. She don’t dance with the one who brung her no more. There’s $250 million for butt-kicking, wall-crawling, and web-spinning, but as for erect nipples, no, not a penny.

It’s hard to blame Dunst, who surely didn’t appreciate an “ice cube moment” before each take. “I’m an actress, not an object, damnit!” But in fact the nipple shortage in Spiderman 3 is really only a symptom in a larger trend: the de-sexualization of American film!

There was a time, after all, when the movies were the sexiest thing in America. As late as the eighties, if you wanted to get it on, by yourself at least, you went to the flicks. But today, the supply of both soft-core and hard-core sex via cable, the Internet, and DVDs has made it impossible for Hollywood to keep up. So why try?

Even R-rated stoner flicks like the infamous Grandma’s Boy are much tamer than those of twenty years ago. The 1984 classic Revenge of the Nerds featured more beaver than a Walt Disney True-Life Adventure. Look for beaver in the multiplex today, and you won’t find it on the screen. Americans are happy to watch some dude eating another dude’s brain, but as for erect nipples, nuh-uh. It’s the end of an era, mon ami, the likes of which we shall not see again. And you read it here first.

*Thanks to the electronic wizardry of the staff of the BLAD tech department, we can see that Kirsten is actually wearing a “Sheer Heaven” support bra from Frederick’s of Hollywood, “The bounce he loves, the control you need!”

**We also get a glimpse of MJ’s panties in Spidy 2, but this is a throwaway, not a real tease.