Steve Curtis. Dutch Flaherty. Chris Johnston. A.W. Anderson. Everett Rodd. Jeff Urban.
That’s a list of all the male actors in Hotel Exotica. I genuinely don’t recognise any of those names. No David Usher, no Brian Heidik, no Jason Schnuit. I’m genuinely surprised. Surrender had a tendency to wheel out the same people to play their generic cast of forgettable idiots.
Let’s look at the female cast, then. I should be recognising Taylor St. Claire, Landon Hall and even Ahmo Height. I’ve certainly seen them all in things… but then again, this is Surrender; the same actors are in everything. I’m just not fitting names to faces. I do, however, recognise Nikki Fritz. I’ll always notice her, even if she’s only in this for a few minutes and the character doesn’t warrant a name.
What I don’t quite get is how the eponymous hotel doesn’t turn up until thirty minutes in (that’s one third of the film). But let’s overlook that.
For now. I’ll come back to it.
Appearance: Hotel Exotica (1999)
Characters: Zeke & “Zeke’s Lover” (yes, really)
Let’s have a look at the plot then, shall we? Carly (Hall) and Rachel (Height) are sisters who look nothing alike. The passion has gone out of Carly’s marriage to Doug (Flaherty), so the girls go off to the Hotel Exotica, where stale relationships are rekindled with the help of the hostess and her girls. Doug and his business partner Frank (Johnston) follow them unnoticed. This, as I said, doesn’t happen until a third of the way into the movie.
There’s a lot of exposition here.
Rachel is one of the best characters in it, but she has a terrible backstory; her artist boyfriend, Zeke (Curtis), has a secret lover who he’s been not-too-subtly boning behind Rachel’s back. On account of the fact that she just walks in and catches them at one point (implying that he didn’t lock the door), he doesn’t appear to be too concerned.
Then again, were I having sex with Nikki Fritz I wouldn’t be too concerned either.
Anyway, this scene starts with boobs (as it should). One of Zeke’s designs is on the left breast (both a nice touch and a terrible waste of ink), but it’s a nice shot of some nice boobs, so I’ll give them that. Both participants are naked at this point, so there isn’t really any faffing around removing clothes. We can cut straight into the action, and by “action” I mean “softcore blowjob which is mostly just hair.”
Because that’s all it is for the first thirty seconds. Zeke is pulling very silly faces throughout while Nikki gives it all her best
hair acting skills, but it goes on for so long that they start to look bored towards the end. 31 seconds in and we switch up to…
OK, I’m going to focus on this for a bit. Softcore simulates a lot of sexual acts, but it’s an incredibly rare thing to see someone eating arse. You occasionally get something in lesbian scenes, but I don’t recall any other straight scenes which are clearly meant to be simulating analingus. This is clearly what Zeke is doing here, and although there’s a pan across this shot, it has him there for eight seconds. He’s clearly licking her “from behind”.
I mean, I do that if I’m asked. Welcome to the club, Zeke.
Ahem. Anyway. We then cut to the obligatory nipple suck part of our symposium – Nikki has very pert nipples, so may as well put them in a mouth – before we finally get to oral sex the other way, Nikki on her back with Zeke’s head between her legs. Because of course this happens. They are lying on a white sheet for this, presumably because the scene is meant to be happening in Zeke’s studio. I mean, it’s not like it’s clearly a house set with the bed moved aside or anything.
Nikki throws some “I am sexually excited” faces for a bit, and then – just over one minute into the scene – they get to shagging, a fairly lusty amount of bump’n’grind in a variety of positions. It’s not shot too badly, either – there are a few too many cuts, but Nikki gets a chance to show off her body while Zeke pulls some more silly faces. My favourite bit of the entire scene happens when they have sex balanced against one of his stools (it actually uses the set here, thankfully), which both generates a lot of steam and bends Nikki’s foot into an odd position.
Oh, and it also reveals Steve Curtis’ balls. I am 99.9% certain that this is completely unintentional, but his testicles swing out from between his legs no less than three times. It took me a while to screenshot it, but it most certainly happens!
There’s a fair amount of licking, sucking and sex after this, but there’s nothing new, and some of it is just reused footage from the beginning. Maybe it’s there to fill up the length of the music, or something (speaking of which, the entire scene is overlaid by a hard rock track – electric guitars and drums – which is the standard “cheating boyfriend” music in softcore. It fits the scene well enough.), but it doesn’t really add any more.
Having said all this, I think this is the best sex scene in the film (and there’s a lot of sex in this one, I mean really, there’s plenty to choose from). Ethically, of course, it’s fairly abhorrent – we shouldn’t be celebrating cheats – but, from a cinematographic point of view, it stands out. Yes, it could be better lit, there could be a few more wide shots, and maybe it’s even a little too long for what it is… but, overall, this is a nice scene. It’s hot, it’s horny, it’s fun…
…but it wouldn’t work at all without Nikki Fritz.
And there’s a lesson in that somewhere.