There are any number of reasons why Hollywood has chosen to incorporate spa treatments, such as saunas and massages, into feature films; enticing audiences by showing actors in a state of undress, revealing their vulnerability, or simply conveying luxury and pampering are but a few. Scenes of spa-like activity have been written into hundreds, if not thousands of films, ranging from action and drama to comedy and horror. Such repetition of its use is a testament to the timeless power of the spa, its firmly ingrained place in the American movie-going psyche, and further proof that Hollywood screenwriters are fresh out of original ideas.
Though we’ve found a few titles you might recognize that incorporate spas and massage, this is by no means a critical review or an endorsement for you to spend your valuable time watching them (hello, Hostel: Part II?).
Perhaps there is no character in movie history that more fittingly deserves a spa treatment than “Bond, James Bond.” After all, an international playboy and MI6 operative needs to unwind after a hard night of drinking, gambling, womanizing and killing. In Thunderball, Bond drags a lovely lass off into a steam room and makes love to her. Later that night in a private room, Bond, wearing nothing but a towel, gets a massage from her mink-gloved hand. Good for them that PETA wasn’t founded until 1980.
The Godfather (1972):
As we all know, this is considered one of the all-time classics, revered for its powerful performances, top-notch directing and melodramatic style. Though Marlon Brando gets to hog plenty of the great lines for himself, actor Richard Castellano, who plays Clemenza, at one point gets to deliver this zinger: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Anyway, it’s impossible to forget the classic murder scene in The Godfather, in which Vegas mobster Moe Green, laid out on a massage table, gets whacked with a bullet between the eyes. Who knew getting a massage could be so dangerous?
Meet the Fockers (2004):
It’s true, 2000’s runaway hit Meet the Parents was chock full zany hijinks that made audiences endlessly laugh. So when its sequel, Meet the Fockers, debuted four years later garnering a measly 38% critics’ approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, things were looking bleak. Thank goodness the film had a rollicking massage scene featuring a scene-stealing performance by Barbara Streisand, roaring like a tiger as she thrusts the backside of Robert DeNiro. In true Streisand fashion, she’s filmed from the left side, of course.
Hostel: Part II (2007):
And finally, we arrive at this little, truly unnecessary sequel. Two young female art students, played by Laura German and Bijou Phillips, are convinced by a sexy nude model they’re sketching that they should vacation with her at a luxurious spa. Arriving and bathing in a hot spring, German’s character ends up dozing off. Cut to another character getting slashed by a scythe and getting her throat sliced by a sickle, and then back to Beth who upon waking finds herself being approached by some dangerous looking men. If none of this seems to make any sense, it’s because it doesn’t. But we have to say, the spa in Hostel: Part II is quite lovely.
No matter the quality of the film, it’s always a treat when our affection for the movies and our passion for the spa come together for one big “CineSpa” love affair. We look forward to many more years of spas in the movies.
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