I’m sure that I’ll see Love Ranch eventually (I was stopped at the door when I tried to attend a Cannes market screening last week), but I’m sensing something that hadn’t occured to me before now. Most people love or admire costar Helen Mirren and are certainly down with seeing her perform in an erotic context, but — this is 90% theory, pulled out of my ass — they don’t want to see a movie that combines Joe Pesci and sexuality.
It’s partly Pesci himself (I distinctly remember an uncomfortable audience reaction during those two sex scenes he had with Sharon Stone in Casino) but also the idea of any middle-aged short guy participating in any sort of erotic encounter. Same thing with Danny DeVito or Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent, Find Me Guilty) or Mickey Rooney in his prime or anyone else under 5′ 6″ or so. It’s weird and unfair, but you just don’t put extra-short guys in this sort of situation. Ask any producer. People don’t want to know about it. I realize that Rooney used to shag Ava Gardner over-under-sideways-down, but you wouldn’t want to depict that in a film.