My Stepmother Is An Alien Had One Of The Wackiest Sci-Fi Love Scenes

Mainstream movies aren't as horny as they used to be. This is an unfortunate truth and it is a crying shame because, in times like these, we could all stand to be a little more risque. We don't even get funny sex scenes anymore! There was once a time when movies could not only show an intimate sex scene, but also make fun of its absurdities while still clearly having fun in the act. 

However, there is arguably one love scene that stands above the rest when it comes to demonstrating just how wonderfully weird the idea of a love scene can be. Richard Benjamin's 1988 science-fiction romance film "My Stepmother is an Alien" might not be remembered that favorably by critics or the few people that saw it in theaters. Despite this, it cemented itself in the weird cinema canon thanks to a scene involving love-making, military instruction videos, and fireworks.

Don't believe us? Take a look at the scene below, and the less context you have for the scene, the better it becomes. 

Breaking down the fireworks

So, let's break down what we just saw for a moment. First of all, there is a shirtless Dan Aykroyd laying on a bed, which some would argue is the best type of Dan Aykroyd. Next, you have a lovely Kim Basinger, acting a bit off-putting but still endearing, running to the bathroom to get ready to make love.

All of a sudden, BOOM! You've got a robot in a bag (voiced by Ann Prentiss) that has one blinking eye suddenly talking to Kim Basinger like they're friends. It turns out, they are, at least kind of; the robot, appropriately named Bag, is a robotic companion that proceeds to teach Kim Basinger's Celeste all about sex since, as it turns out, she's an alien from a planet that got rid of it centuries ago.

After getting a crash course in sex through military propaganda and softcore magazines, Celeste decides to finally have sex with shirtless Dan Aykroyd, aka Steven. After a slow-motion walk onto the bed, the two embrace in a very floppy manner, which of course means that fireworks are now able to burst over the bed. It doesn't seem to faze Celeste, but it does amuse a blissed-out Steven. And with that, one of the best love scenes ever put to screen was made. You're welcome.

What makes this scene so great

Look, the love scene from "My Stepmother is an Alien" is weird, slightly uncomfortable, and not really that sexy. However, it's also extremely endearing and a perfect encapsulation of how fun sex can actually be. When you think of love-making, you might automatically think of something steamy or intense. You could be thinking of ... well, actually, let's stop there as this is a PG-13 story. The point is that, at its core, sex is an absurd concept. In order to relieve all the built-up tension that some acts give us, we need to have intercourse? And we have to do this in order to ensure the planet is well-populated, as well?

When you put it into those terms, it sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous. Instead of shying away from its ridiculousness, it deserves to be embraced, which is exactly what the infamous scene in "My Stepmother is an Alien" does.

The larger discussion

Ann Hornaday wrote for The Washington Post that the 1980s and 1990s ("Stepmother" came out in 1988) were a gold mine for any legal type of sex scene in movies that were "frank, artfully staged and, sometimes, arousing in their own right." Even if the movie isn't particularly steamy, many of the love scenes within movies of this era had a particular je ne sais quoi that felt more authentic and real than anything else that's come afterward.

Perhaps the most infamous essay on sex scene discourse is Raquel S. Benedict's "Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny," which documents the decline of sex and sex appeal in modern cinema. A brief and not particularly risque scene in "Poltergeist," where Steve (Craig T. Nelson) jumps on top of the bed he shares with his wife Diane (JoBeth Williams) to have sex, is used as an example of just how inconvenient it has become.

"Neither character is glamorous in this scene," Benedict writes, "but their relationship feels frisky and lived-in and charismatic and real."

The scene in "My Stepmother is an Alien" is similar. It's not sensual, it has no nudity, and it's presented in a cartoonish manner. However, there is still a palpable sense of attraction, albeit in an awkwardly funny way, between Celeste and Steven that is rarely seen anymore in mainstream films.

In short...

Bring back the wacky sex scenes, and just sex scenes in general. "My Stepmother is an Alien" is not necessarily a movie to be writing home about, but it does represent a bygone era where free love-making was shown on screen in various different ways. Of course, it would be disingenuous to say that the sex scene has completely evaporated from the screen, but one would be hard-pressed to find one that actually looks like the people involved were enjoying themselves.

And that was exactly what "My Stepmother is an Alien" accomplished. Even if the movie was otherwise forgettable outside of the sex scene, it still has the guts to show a side of sex that is rarely seen anymore, and because of that, perhaps it should be looked at just a tad more favorably. Maybe all we needed to bring back sensuality in cinema were displays of fireworks during the act.