Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Quick and Dirties: When Netflix Attacks Vol. 2 - Dirty Docs

It's time for another round of The Quick & Dirties! This is where I review a number of movies all at once because, to be honest, I don't care to devote a full length, in-depth review to any of them. That's doubly true in this case. See, like I explained during my last When Netflix Attacks, I do a lot of blogging late at night. When I do, I often have a movie playing while I'm tapping away at the keyboard. Since it's late, and I'm otherwise occupied, it's usually something that doesn't require much brain-power. Often, it's Z-grade schlock like Zombeavers or Wolfcop. Other times, it's one of the very many documentaries on the sex industry floating around Netflix. And so, here we are. Don't judge me, just read.

Hot Girls Wanted
See that dude in the pic above. Yeah, the goofy dude in the hat. He calls himself a casting agent. You know how it is these days. Maid = household engineer, exterminator = pest control technician, pimp = casting agent. Whatever. Anyhoo, all he does is put ads on Craig's List and other such websites offering free flights to Miami and "a chance" at fame for "hot girls." Of course, if fame is to be achieved it will be in the porn industry. He gets pics of whoever answers the ads, flies 'em out to The Sunshine State, lets them stay in his apartment (all of them), and finds work for them taking it in the hoo-ha, the doo-da, and whatever else they're willing to open up for some cash. As they arrive, the girls are warned that this probably won't lead to the fame they're seeking because the average "career" is about three months. They're also told lots of girls wash out in one month or less. Of course, every one of them thinks they are different. They are THE ONE, the next Jenna Jameson, and are going to use porn to achieve, not only fame, but fortune. The movie then sets about following the current crop of girls staying with the, uh, casting agent. The problem with this one is that it utterly fails to say anything worthwhile. It pretends its some emotional film exposing the rotten underbelly of society. Nope. Not at all. It just shows us these girls on their new grind, and when the film has a chance to make us feel something, it chickens out. It never even tries to grill homeboy up there with any tough questions. The film does indeed have "hot girls" mostly in that 18-22 age range, and treats the one 24 year old like she's ready for the nursing home, but it's not much smarter than any of them. And, not to stereotype all porn stars, but this group of gals ain't that bright.

Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story
We take an insider’s look at the history of Hustler magazine. We get lots from the man who started it, the one and only Larry Flynt. While we do cover the various obscenity trials Flynt has gone through, and the shooting that permanently landed him in a wheelchair, this is not a rehash of the biopic The People Vs. Larry Flynt. See that movie, by the way. I love Woody Harrelson in that role and Courtney Love is amazing in a role that fits her like a glove. Back Issues is much more about the magazine itself, and subsequently, how the Hustler empire was formed and changed over the years. To that end, we get lots more from the editors, writers, photographers, models, and cartoonists who worked on it. We learn where they stole ideas from, how and why they pushed the envelope on certain things, how much the establishment bucked when they did, what it was like when Flynt and his wife were both heavily into drugs, as well as where Hustler stands in this, the digital age. In the midst of it all, we get a clearer understanding of why Flynt was brought up on obscenity charges in the first place. It’s a fun journey through a piece of Americana you won’t find on The History Channel.

Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry
World-renowned photographer Michael Grecco hangs around the 2006 Adult Video News Awards. This is The Oscars of the adult entertainment industry. He tries to convince as many porn stars to take a few photos for what he hopes to be a coffee table book. Along with his team, he parades one after another into a hotel room they’ve converted into a makeshift studio for impromptu photo shoots. Surprisingly, it’s pretty much a 50-50 split between pictures with nudity and those without. Actually, the ratio is probably more in favor of those without, but I wasn’t counting. As things roll along, this part of the movie becomes a quest to catch the two biggest fish in this sea: superstar Jenna Jameson and Hustler magazine head-honcho Larry Flynt. The far more interesting part has us following a pair of porn rookies who are both up for “Best New Starlet.” The bulk of this time is spent with Sunny Lane, who wants desperately to win. She has her parents in attendance to show their support. You read correctly. She has her parents...mom AND dad, their to...wow. Just wow. I like to think I’m a pretty open dad, but I'm fairly certain I would NOT be there cheering for my little girl to win something at that ceremony.  Sadly, we didn't get any face-time with dad because I sorely wanted to hear what he had to say. Anyhoo, if there can be real emotion in a documentary about porn stars at an awards show, Sunny provides it. You’ll either be genuinely moved by what happens, just roll your eyes at the whole thing, or laugh your ass off. It’s tough to say which.

After Porn Ends
What happens to porn stars after they get out of the business? This documentary seeks to find out by interviewing a number of former starlets and studs who, at least at the time of filming, find themselves trying to reintegrate into normal society. Mostly. The most recognizable names are Seka (one of the biggest porn stars of the 70s), Amber Lynn (pictured, one of the biggest porn stars of the 80s), Asia Carrera (the first Asian porn superstar, says she's a member of MENSA, and is a little nutty), and Mary Carey (once ran for governor of California using her porn name and persona). Along the way, we’re told some fascinating stories about how these people and a few others got into porn, things that happened to them while in it, and how and why they got out of it. Yes, there is footage of their work shown throughout, at least what can be shown in an R-rated format. As the title suggests, we also hear about what these folks are doing now. Along the way, there are a few tearful testimonies and defiant declarations. This is for those who have an interest in the personal lives of people they’ve seen doing the personal thing in the most public way. It’s not going to change anyone’s mind about porn, one way or the other because it really has nothing to say. It’s just an extended “Where Are They Now?” feature.

In case you didn't think Asia Carrera was a bit loony...

Back in the day...

As she appears in  After Porn Ends talking about how fans of hers actually helped her get through some tough times with monetary donations after her husband was tragically killed in a car wreck, how much she loves her kids, how she's actually a genius and a card-carrying member of MENSA...

All pretty normal, right? I mean, except for the part about being in MENSA, but who knows? According to Wikipedia, she performed as a pianist...read carefully, pianist, at Carnegie Hall when she was 15.

Well, let's look at her most recent drivers' license photo...

Woah, woah, wait...what?

What the hell is that on her head? It's a colander. Why? Because she's making a statement. See, she's a devout atheist and a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's members are often referred to as..."Pastafarians." I wish I was making this up. If being an atheist is your thing, fine. Why must you then make yourself look like a lunatic? It's meant to mock, or at least poke fun at religion, but doesn't quite work because most people aren't going to get that. We just see a nut with a colander on her head. Anyhoo, she's back to using her birth name, Jessica Steinhauser. The DL photo was taken in November of 2014. In March of this year, she was arrested for DUI, with her kids in the car. Nice.

For the full story about the colander, click here. To read about the DUI, click here.


  1. Wow.... what the hell did Asia do to herself? She now looks normal.... the MENSA thing isn't a total surprise. I mean, there are porn stars who are very intelligent. They just don't show it very much.

    I did see a doc on Larry Flynt some years ago. I applaud the guy for being a 1st Amendment figure as he was able to make a stand for his own mag no matter what people thinks of him. Plus, I remember he was going to post photos of a war veteran or something but changed his mind feeling that she doesn't need the exposure and thought she was a good kid. At least he does have his limits.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with porn. Sure, it might not have much plot but there are moments where they try to make films with substance. I would rather watch those than those awful Friedberg/Seltzer parody bullshit like Disaster Movie or something like that.

    1. I'm not totally surprised by the MENSA thing, except she just seems so loony.

      I actually applaud Larry Flynt. That dude stands by what he believes in wholeheartedly.

      I also don't think there is anything wrong with watching porn, either. There is plenty wrong with stuff like Disaster Movie.

  2. Courtney Love's role in that Flynt movie must be the only good thing she has ever done. The role certainly does fit her like a glove.

    Very interesting post Dell. That one about the 'casting agent'.... Wow, that shit is just bizarre. And its on TV which makes it even more crazy

    And the parents at the porn awards.... I'm not a father but WHAT. THE. FUCK?!?!

    Amazing that shit like this is on TV. Or netflix, whatever. The Flynt doco does look interesting though, and I loved the movie.

    As for that colander picture, that is wacky. You are right, I wouldn't have got the joke if you hadn't outlined it. How very very bizarre!!

    1. Believe it or not, Love was fantastic. She snagged a Golden Globe nom and there was some Oscar buzz (no nom). People thought she was on her way to becoming a legit movie star, but then Courtney Love happened to herself and shot it all to shit.

      Bizarre is a very good word to describe some of what's going on in these pictures.

  3. I saw After Porn Ends, you're right. It's mostly a "where are they now?" special. It had a few interesting things to say at the time, but I don't remember much of it now.

    1. Yeah, we're not talking hard hitting journalism, here.

  4. Hot Girls Wanted is the worst kind of documentary. It literally does nothing but affirm what we already know...and that is not, oh these poor girls are duped into doing porn. That is actually what this movie wants you to believe. No what we already know, what this movie is actually about is the celebrity-obsessed, money-hungry society of young girls (who aren't that bright, but are very cute, even hot) that have been created by E! and MTV, etc. I don't want to sound like an old cynic but this movie seriously considers itself a scathing indictment of the amateur porn industry (a la the movie's website). It's really just an episode of some MTV-style "Teen Porn" movie that won't actually reach nor affect the girls it wants to protect. Heavy sigh. I will admit that I only watched half of this doc. But apparently it stays the course the whole way through as per your review.

  5. Whoa. Very interesting post here, good sir. Quite the interesting theme.

    That said, the only one I actually intended on seeing was the first one, but it might be a pass now. Hmm. That whole Pastafarians thing is just too damn weird. What. The . F--k.

    1. That was my reaction to reading that story, too. If you're looking for the best film of the bunch go with the Hustler doc.

  6. no, nothing wrong with porn. except for the hpv, herpes and hepatitis spread through unprotected sex in every orifice. But hey, they are some (like our hero Rocco) that actually admit to spreading the herpes through viral shedding. Oh, well. Keep rockin'!