The Sleepless Movie Review
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Directed by Meema Spadola
50 Minutes

Let's be realistic: Netflix's "Watch Instantly" or whatever the fuck it's called...the lineup is anemic at best. And in the Top 50 movies viewed, the vast majority are the only name movies in there (like "The Italian Job") and complete seasons of "Heroes" and "The Office." Hu-ray. Yet, naturally, amidst all of that, this movie ranks high. Judging from the title, it's probably pretty easy to figure out why.

I'll go ahead and get it out of the way: those with purely prurient interests are going to be disappointed hardcore. Here's a film that seems almost completely impervious to viewing by a heterosexual male audience, and there's a good reason for that: if most guys are anything like me, a pair of breasts on screen makes it God damn hard to concentrate on anything.

What it's really about is pretty simple: women of all ages and walks of life talk about breasts. Talk about their breasts, other peoples breasts, etc. To give you some sense about where the film's head's at, there's a title card which cites "22 Women and 41 Breasts." While the Asian kids in the audience will immediately see what's wrong with those numbers (kidding, kids, kidding!), the rest of us will need a second to realize that we're missing three boobs. It's not like they just fucking walk off, either.

And what it winds up being is an insightful treatise about all the stuff about breasts that men don't really know about; specifically, it's about more than "breasts have nipples" and "breasts are AWESOME." This movie may not be that useful to the more liberated women in the audience, but women who grew up more sheltered may get a lot out of this. The mature men in the audience, of course, are probably the ones best served by watching these women talk about growing up with breasts, breasts as they get older, how they feel about implants, etc. It really goes on for miles, it's pretty thorough.

There are some laughs. There's some stuff you probably don't want to be eating while you watch it. I'm not trying to be insensitive, just saying there's stuff here that may be a bit off-putting here; a mastectomy scar isn't really going to make you pick up that sandwich any faster, but it's a fact of life, and as someone who's known four (4!) different breast cancer survivors, the whole breast cancer portion of the film can be a bit difficult. Likewise, the parts involving breast implants and their potential health complications can be pretty harrowing. There are happy and sad people here, confident and borderline pathetic (in the dictionary sense of the word, look it up). One of the women is a 20-year-old stripper and mother of one, and her boob job is some kind of horror show. While I'm sure there are healthy, well-adjusted strippers out there somewhere, this one's not doing the profession any favors.

Of course, there are a couple women in here that any straight male will probably ogle for a while. The dancer (not exotic) with the A cups is a knockout any way you slice it, and has a great candor to boot that makes her one of my favorite ones to watch and listen to.

If I could fault the film on anything, it's that it seems a bit pedestrian. Understanding how straightforward it's trying to be (and for the most part, successful at it), cutting to 60s era and earlier footage is a bit overdone (although a nice reminder that naked women in the 30s didn't look any different than naked women now). Some of the shot composition feels pretty sloppy and uninteresting, and there are some shots that should've been cut a lot better, if for no other reason than to save the subject some dignity. You'll see what I mean when you watch it, where the camera will linger a little too long and you'll wonder why. It was disappointing for me; there was one woman in particular here who had clearly been through a lot in her life already and has her own problems. Literally the least the filmmaker could've done was cut respectfully.

The music was also kind of trite, but reminded me of Leslie Kernochan, which I liked, so I split the difference there.

One thing I think I'd've liked to really see was a more diverse array of women. While black and white women were accounted for, women of all ages, and even a transsexual (it'd probably be more surreal if she wasn't actually pretty attractive - once you get past the man voice), I think women from more walks of life would've been really choice. If a cultural aspect was introduced here, the movie could easily hit a feature length running time and prove more insightful still. As it stands, it's pretty much white and black women talking about their titties, and the movie suffers from the limited perspective.

All that said, though, it's still a good watch and I'd be remiss not to recommend it, at least for the guys in the audience. Those with prurient interests aren't going to get what they want here and it won't be worth it for them. That, and the guys who can't learn at least something from this and will bitch about "old chick titties" should probably be euthanized anyhow, and probably aren't intelligent enough to be reading this review anyhow.

Or any review.

Or reading.

- Dustin Sklavos

All written content and colored rating system copyright Dustin Sklavos 2009. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.