Off the back of the international success of Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone was catapulted to movie stardom. Writer Joe Ezterhas enjoyed the fruits of that too, and the pair decided to see if lightning could strike twice. Thus, Ezterhas, under the guidance of producer Robert Evans, put Sliver together, an adaptation of the novel by Ira Levin. An adaptation that is just landing at its 25th birthday, staggergingly.
In truth, Sliver should have opened with the song from Muppets Most Wanted. “We’re doing a sequel”, they joyously sing. “It’s more of the same!”. And whilst Sliver wasn’t Basic Instinct 2 – that cinematic joy would be over a decade away, and at that stage merely a glint in Stan Collymore’s eye – there’s little doubting that the plan was to recapture what had turned Basic Instinct into a huge hit several years before.
It did not work. Critically derided, and unable to escape stories that co-stars Stone and William Baldwin hated each other’s guts, the only thing to break out of Sliver was UB40’s cover version of I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.
But reflecting on the film now, it teaches some very valuable lessons about sexual intercourse in the 1990s, and specific techniques and approaches that few movies dare to tackle.
So with a salute to all concerned, here are the many educational lessons that Sliver had to teach us….
THERE’S NOTHING MORE EROTIC THAN PATTING YOUR TUMMY WHILST WEARING AN EXPENSIVE COAT
For a film sold off the back of its steamy content, it’s surprising that the first we see of such steam comes from Carly Norris’ bathroom.
But there’s more to it.
Naturally enough, Stone’s character in the film isn’t flush with cash, which is why she can only just about afford a luxurious apartment in an impressive, high rise tower block full of seemingly rich people. Furthermore, her lack of funds means that she has only so much to spend on clothes. Still, a nice, expensive coat is a nice, expensive coat, and Carly knows a non-bargain when she sees one. And once she’s slipped it on? Well, it’s time to look in the mirror at it.
Brilliantly, at this stage, some tantric piano music plays, she strokes her tummy, she breathes a bit, and William Baldwin watches on whatever his precursor to the webcam was. This is hugely erotic. It says here.
Carly then has a wash, making moaning noises because presumably she can’t lay her hands on a bar of soap. Baldwin, for some reason, has his spy camera focused on her ankles. But then maybe ankles were a thing in the 90s. Moving on.
BOBBING YOUR HEAD IN THE BATH MEANS YOU’RE AROUSED
Good to know, this. Sliver sports an 18 certificate, but that didn’t stop director Phillip Noyce from having his arty erotic moments. Thus, Carly entertains her nether regions whilst a) William Baldwin continues to pan his camera around her feet, b) Carly grabs the side of the bath with one hand, c) the tantric piano music gets more intense and – this is when we know we’re in business – d) Sharon Stone bobs her head around a bit.
It’s a bit like playing Samantha Fox Strip Poker on a ZX Spectrum in truth. Well, so my mate says.
AT THE MOMENT OF PLEASURE, YOU MUST PULL A FACE THAT SUGGESTS YOUR PET DOG HAS JUST DROPPED ONE
A crucial lesson in 90s movie sex this. Just do what Sharon does.
SHARON STONE CHARACTERS LIKE MEN IN SENSIBLE JUMPERS
This is also useful information. For Sharon Stone finds herself drawn to Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct, who was sporting this fine piece of knitwear…
…and then William Baldwin clearly put in a call to the sex in jumpers maestro, who recommended this number. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill missed a crucial product placement opportunity, you can’t help but feel. Were the camera to pan round, you’d see Stone’s eyes burning with woolly lust.
PEOPLE IN POSH TOWER BLOCKS HAVE TELESCOPES SO THEY CAN HAVE ACCIDENTAL NOOKIE-WATCHING PARTIES
Ah, the boring drinks party. At one stage a staple of a Hollywood thriller, all so we can meet a few characters, sink a few beverages and explore a few tensions.
Sliver, though, has educational matters at hand, and as a bunch of rich people gather in Stone’s high rise apartment, there’s a shriek from across the room. “They’re doing it!”, squeals a lady, as she peers through a convenient telescope at a pair who are rumping and pumping in full view. “Let me see”, says Stone, brushing everyone aside. She promptly looks. And by the look on her face, her dog has done another shit, this time in somebody else’s house.
PEOPLE WHO ARE SPIED ON BY PEOPLE WITH TELESCOPES LIKE LOOKING BACK ONCE THEY’VE DONE THE BUSINESS
“Hey look, Reg! It’s that woman out of Basic Instinct.“
PEOPLE WHO DESIGN COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES LOOK LIKE THIS
For that is genuinely the job description Baldwin is given in the film. Maybe he was responsible for Daikatana or something.
IF SOMEONE BUYS YOU EXPENSIVE LINGERIE, YOU SHOULD FIRST PUT IT TO YOUR FACE AND SNIFF IT
We like to think here that Sharon got a bit confused, and thought that her posh new bra was actually a superhero mask. Thus, after unboxing her surprise gift, she presses it to her face, has a good sniff, and her reward is that UB40 song starting to play in the background.
It’s surprising that scratch and sniff underwear, playing a medley of UB40 hits, never caught on. Oh well.
IF YOU TAKE YOUR GRUNDIES OFF IN PUBLIC, YOU NEED TO HAVE A SECRET SIGNAL TO LET THE AUDIENCE KNOW
It would be fair to say that subtlety isn’t something that Sliver particularly got the hang of. So Sharon does this, to signal that she has removed her pair of bum covers…
And William does this.
Nothing sinister in that look at all. Phew.
NOTHING IS MORE EROTIC THAN MAKING SURE THE ONLY LIGHT IN THE ROOM COMES FROM A MODEL OF A VOLCANO
This is true. Just look at the thing.
Furthermore, at one stage, Baldwin’s character declares that he would “love to fly into a volcano sometime”. Stone replies “why?”, with a beautiful tinge of WTF about her tone that the majority of us would struggle to match.
That’s why she got the big bucks.
WHEN WILLIAM BALDWIN IS MAKING LOVE TO YOU, BE SURE NOT TO LOOK HAPPY ABOUT IT
Considering that both Baldwin and Stone have made appreciative grunts in the direction of one another, both shedding their aforementioned knitwear, there’s something quite melancholy about the moment where the pair allow their bottom halves to finally ‘have a conversation’.
In fact, judging by the look on Stone’s face here, it’s as if they’ve been told that Piers Morgan is coming to tea, and looking to stay for the weekend…
JUST BECAUSE THERE WERE NO MOBILE PHONES, THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR NOT REMOTELY HACKING AN OFFICE COMPUTER AND DOING A BIT OF SEXTING
At one point, Sliver decides it wants to showcase a bit of computer hacking, and thus Baldwin – the videogame designer, remember – manages to gain remote access to Carly Norris’ Apple Mac in her office. Er, he then sends the following added message.
Still, he’s a romantic at heart, and we learn that nothing gets to Sharon Stone’s heart in quite the same way as remotely drawing a flower using whatever the Mac equivalent of Microsoft Paint was in the mid 90s. It’s like visual sexting, this. And it would be fair to say that Carly is impressed.
So, er, there you have it. A few helpful tips, and if you employ these, and happen to be journeying back to the 1990s anytime soon, then your luck will be in. Just remember to take some knitwear.
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